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‘Doctor Who: Flux’ recap: Chapter 1 “The Halloween Apocalypse”

Doctor Who: Flux recap: Season 13, Episode 1, “The Halloween Apocalypse,” Aired Oct. 31, 2021

Happy Who-loween, Whovians! Doctor Who: Flux is a six-chapter arc, and I hope you’ll join me every Sunday! 

“I can’t help feeling that some of this is my fault.”

The Doctor and Yaz hanging over boiling acid on a planet about to be engulfed by an exploding star – sounds about right for Doctor Who. Chibnall leaned into the comedy for the beginning of the episode. We got some good Yaz/Doctor banter, plus a very high-stakes, Halloweenish escape that looked like they were riding broomsticks like witches – nice touch, that. 

I very much want details of how the two ended up there, but it looks like we’ll have to use our imaginations for that.

“The Halloween Apocalypse”

The aptly named “Halloween Apocalypse” featured a couple new villains, a few old classics, a “haunted” house, and, oh, the end of the universe.

Everyone meet Swarm, who I definitely thought was Tzim-Sha/Tim Shaw for a moment. He’d make a good Halloween costume, really – like a skull with crystals coming out of his head. Even better, there’s two of them – that we know of.
Apparently Swarm and the Doctor have history, and the Doctor doesn’t remember any of it. Uh-oh. That definitely puts her at a disadvantage. And there’s a lot on the line. 

We all remember the Sontarans and their reverence of war and combat. If those potato creatures are excited, humanity should be scared. They say the Flux is imminent, and the Flux does not sound fun – bloodshed, the universe breaking, all of time and space in danger. That’s definitely spooky.

I have to admit the most terrified I felt the whole episode was the appearance of the Weeping Angels. The scene with Claire’s attempt to escape the angel had me white-knuckled. Second to this in spook factor was the scene where Diane was beckoned to the creepy house with overgrown plants and a threatening white light shining out the door. When her feet started walking toward it against her will and the door threw itself open, that was scary. Major Halloween points.

Seems like the Doctor is in for a lot of tricks this Halloween, not so many treats.

“I’m not your human!”

Welcome aboard the TARDIS, Dan Lewis! Yes, it’s bigger on the inside, which can be said for your house now, too, as it’s been compressed. Let’s save the universe first, then worry about the house. Dan seems like an all-around good dude. I like him so far, and I think the show definitely benefits from having fewer companions.

Early in the episode, the doglike Karvanista, who I’ve decided to call Not-Chewbacca in my head, kidnapped Dan and brought him to his ship. Time for a rescue mission.

I loved, loved, loved watching Yaz totally hold her own as she rescued Dan. She strode in and broke him out of Karvanista’s cage with all the confidence of the Doctor walking into battle without a plan. 

Too bad Karvanista (“man’s best friend” – good one, Doctor) didn’t abduct Dan after all. He rescued him – from the Flux. In fact, every Lupari was assigned to a human, and their job was to get the humans off Earth before it was destroyed. And, no, they didn’t think to ask humanity before crafting their plan. I have to say the back-and-forth between Karvanista and Dan was hilarious, definitely a highlight. 

“Nothing has changed. Nothing ever changes.”

So what’s up with Observation Outpost Rose? I have no idea. However, I do know whenever a character on Doctor Who says nothing ever changes, that’s when stuff goes down. Faced with the first change in his many, many entries of observations, Vinder abandoned his post. With so little part to play in “The Halloween Apocalypse,” I feel like he’s going to be important later.

Side note: There’s no way Observation Outpost Rose is a coincidence. Add Rose to the list of the many, many references and callbacks we got. It might be worth a rewatch just to try to pick up on them all.


Well, there was certainly a lot going on there. Honestly, I was confused most of the episode, and I still am. One thing I’m sure about – the episode was visually stunning. Doctor Who really has come so far from 1963.

There are about a thousand different plots playing out at once. It’s a lot to keep track of, and I hope Chibnall finds a good way to tie everything together over the remaining five episodes because I feel like I still have no idea what’s going on. 

What is the Division? Who’s a part of it? Also, I have a feeling we’ve gotten only a glimpse of the Flux. And surely Vinder will play a bigger role in future episodes. Will the Doctor ever get her missing memories of Swarm back? I guess we’ll have to stay tuned to find out. Time for a rewatch to attempt to make sense of everything that just happened!

Next week:


What did you think of “The Halloween Apocalypse”? Let us know at @PureFandom on Twitter!

Doctor Who airs Sundays on BBC America at 8/7c.


Jordan Alperstein

Jordy has a degree in English literature and communication studies. When she isn't attending concerts, she's watching way too much TV for her own good and fangirling over fictional characters. Jordy is a self-proclaimed optimist and bookworm, and she's a sucker for fantasy, superheroes, and good old-fashioned villains.

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