Doctor Who - The Woman Who Fell to Earth - 11.01 - Recap

The Woman Who Fell to Earth**Below is a detailed recap of the episodes, including quotes and spoilers. You can also check out my recent review.**

Doctor Who - 11.01 - “The Woman Who Fell to Earth”

The episode opens with Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole) recording a video on YouTube about the greatest person he ever met. He continues by saying that he’s not an idiot, he is capable, even though he’s nineteen, and because of the thing he’s talked about before, he can’t yet ride a bike.

The scene switches to Grace O’Brien (Sharon D. Clarke), Ryan’s grandmother, and her husband Graham (Bradley Walsh), trying to help him learn to ride. After falling and becoming frustrated, he throws the bike over the cliff, to the disappointment of his nan. They want him to not give up. They send him to retrieve the bike and tell him to meet them on the train.

Doctor WhoRyan finds his bike in a tree, but more importantly this weird diamond of light appears in the air. The geometric shape turns and changes and leads to what almost looks like a button at the center, which Ryan touches.

The geometric shapes of light shoot through the air, and then suddenly there is a bright light, and a large, weird, blueish, teardrop/candy kiss shaped object appears.

He reaches out and touches it, pulling his hand back as if burnt.

He calls the police.

Meanwhile, Yasmin “Yaz” Khan (Mandip Gill) is working her shift as a junior police officer in training, settling a boring dispute.

After, she talks to her superior, wanting to be over training and to experience something that tests her. He says there is something different she can check out.

She shows up for Ryan’s call. They know each other from primary school. She assumes it’s a prank, but he assures her it’s not and tells her to touch it; it’s freezing cold.

Meanwhile, Grace and Graham are traveling on the train without Ryan, when what looks like an electrified ball of lightning made out of tentacles comes straight at the driver. The windshield shatters and the passengers are knocked around.

The lights go out. Grace goes to have a look. She sees passengers from the other cars running off the train, and she yells at them that the track could be live.

Suddenly all the doors lock. Scared of what’s approaching, they head to the back of carriage.

Doctor WhoGrace calls Ryan on his cell and tells him where the train has stopped and that something weird is going on. She gets cut off.

Ryan and Yaz head there in her police car.

Back on the train, a weird tentacled mechanical-looking thing bursts in, emitting electricity. It heads towards them, until suddenly, a woman falls through the ceiling. They look at her funny as a bit of the Doctor Who theme song plays. She asks, “What?” and they indicate the creature behind her. The Doctor attempts to help them by shocking the thing with a hanging live wire. It knocks it out for a minute.

They still look at her funny after her entrance. She says it’s a long story, and she’ll tell them later.

They tell her the doors are locked, but she says she will see about that and reaches into her pocket. She realizes that her sonic screwdriver is gone, and she makes a comment that she hates empty pockets.

The creature gets back up and comes at them. She asks it what it is, but it doesn’t answer or acknowledge her.

It decides to ignore them and moves over to the other man left in the train car, Karl Wright (Jonny Dixon). The Doctor tells them to stay still. It could have already killed them, but didn’t.

The moment is interrupted when Ryan and Yaz come in through the broken windshield. The creature blasts the two of them, the Doctor, and Graham and Grace with a blue bolt of some kind of electricity before it flies off, but they seem to be okay.

The Doctor tells them to stay put and she’ll check the rest of the train. Then she comments sarcastically that Ryan and Yaz weren’t any help.

DOCTOR: Fat lot of use you two were.

She walks off, but is stopped by Yaz.

Doctor WhoYAZ: Hold on there, please madam; I need you to do as I say. This could be a potential crime scene.
DOCTOR: Why are you calling me madam?
YAZ: Because you’re a woman?
DOCTOR: Am I? Does it suit me?

She suddenly remembers something.

DOCTOR: Sorry, half an hour ago I was a white-haired Scotsman.

She asks them their names, and Yaz asks her in return, but she doesn’t remember who she is. She turns to Ryan.

DOCTOR: Are you a doctor, Ryan?
DOCTOR: Shame. I’m looking for a doctor.

The Doctor goes to the front of the train and finds the controls for power to open the door. She moves to the dead driver. She thinks she died of shock when the creature smashed through the window, however, not from the creature itself. It didn’t kill anyone else.

Yaz is ready to call in what happened, but doesn’t know what to say, because they won’t believe her. The Doctor tells her she can hold off until they get answers to the bigger questions: why is it there, where is it going, and how do they stop it? She doesn’t think it’s done.

Yaz seems to accept it, but moves takes down Karl’s information.

Grace questions about the Doctor crashing through the roof. She babbles on a bit, talking quickly, as she remembers bits of what happened, saying that she was thrown out of the Tardis. It was exploding and then dematerialized.

DOCTOR: Don’t panic. Not the end of the world. Well, it could be the end of the world, but one thing at a time.

Graham asks if they are supposed to understand any of that. Ryan tells him that she thinks it’s an alien. Graham says that there is no such thing, and if there were, it wouldn’t be on a train in Sheffield. The Doctor asks why not, because she’s alien, and she’s there.

Graham thinks she’s nuts and tells Grace they are going, but she doesn’t want to leave; the Doctor saved their lives. The Doctor tells him that all of it is new and new can be scary, but if they want answers, if they stick with her, they might get some.

Karl, however, doesn’t care and just wants to leave. He agrees with Graham about the aliens. He takes off.

The Doctor asks if anyone noticed anything else out of the ordinary. Ryan raises his hand.

They head in Yaz’s police car to find what Ryan saw.

RYAN: There’s my bike.
YAZ: Why is it in a tree?

Grace and Graham explain about Ryan having dyspraxia, a coordination disorder.

They get to where the object was, but it’s gone.

A van drives down the highway with the object. It pulls into some kind of service garage. Two men get out.

Andy (James Thackeray) suggests that if Rahul (Amit Shah) thinks he’s right about the object, he should tell someone. He responds that it won’t do any good. Andy is worried about him, but Rahul is just glad he got it and tells him to go have a pint on him and gives him some money.

Rahul sets up video cameras to record the object. He sits down to watch it and waits.

The Doctor says that two weird things in one city in one night makes her nervous.

Yaz says that she will see if there have been any more reports on the object. Graham says he will ask some of his old work buddies: if you want to know what’s happening, ask a bus driver. Ryan will search on social media, and Grace will check with her nurse’s group.

The Doctor says that she’s feeling really tired and starts to sway. Grace says she had a big fall and they should take her to A&E.

DOCTOR: No, I never go anywhere there’s just initials.

She asks if someone can catch her; she’s going to fall over. She sticks her finger up her nose, calculating it will be two minutes and nineteen seconds. She suddenly says she was wrong it’s only nineteen seconds; her new nose is so unreliable. She passes out.

At the police station, Yaz asks her superior about anything weird going on, but he just says it’s the night shift in Sheffield, everything is out of the ordinary.

Graham talks to his bus driver friends.

Meanwhile, Grace and Ryan have taken the Doctor back to their home. Ryan is on his ipad searching while the Doctor is sleeping on the couch. Grace notices yellow waves of regeneration energy coming off of her. She takes her vitals and tells Ryan that she has two separate pulses.

Doctor WhoBack in the garage, the object suddenly starts to crack open to Rahul’s shock.

A small building is shown with the tentacle-y energy ball on the roof, scanning the city below.

Rahul’s camera melts and he readies a crow bar for protection.

The Doctor wakes up and says she’s not ready; she’s still healing.

She suddenly feels something and says she has bad news. The creature implanted DNA bombs into their collarbones, hers included. They are microimplants which code to your DNA. On detonation, they disrupt the foundation of your genetic code, melting your DNA. It’s outlawed in every civilized galaxy.

Graham asks if they are going to go off.

DOCTOR: Quiet. I’m trying to think; it’s difficult. I’m not yet who I am.

Her brain and body are still rebooting and reformatting. She notices Ryan’s phone and asks to use it.

She thinks the alien zapped them with the bombs to take out witnesses.

DOCTOR: I reformatted your phone.
RYAN: No! All my stuff’s on there.
DOCTOR: Not anymore!

She then uses it to shock herself in the neck. She runs out of the house and tells them to keep up.

Rahul approaches the object. A humanoid alien in armor steps out of the open pod.

Rahul yells, asking him what he did with his sister. He tells him he will never know, and then kills him. He bends over his body and takes something from it.

The group is in the car again. Ryan guesses correctly that she is using his phone to track the origin signal for the DNA bombs. They follow the signal and stop and get out of the car.

The tentacle creature is still on the roof of the tower filled with electricity.

There’s an explosion. The humanoid alien walks out of the garage. The Doctor says that she was expecting a “tentacle-y thing.” She yells at it not to move, but it ignores her, so she chases after it. They all chase after her, which Graham doesn’t think is a good idea.

They lose it, but Ryan notices the garage. They go in and find Rahul’s body. The Doctor thinks the fatal injury is from some kind of ice burn. His jaw is broken in two, and it looks like a tooth was taken.

The Doctor apologizes for what’s happened.

They move to the pod. The Doctor says it’s some sort of transport chamber, but wonders why it’s there and why that night.

Doctor WhoRyan realizes it might have been him that caused something, and he explains what happened with the light in the air and how he touched one of the shapes. He says they all would have done the same thing. Graham gets upset, saying he wouldn’t have, and asks if he is blaming doing it on his dyspraxia as well. Grace makes him stop. The Doctor admits she would have done it.

Ryan admits that he made a mistake, but questions why Rahul moved the pod to the garage and how he even knew it was there. The Doctor says they are good questions.

Yaz and Ryan go to look around.

The Doctor finds the the tracking on the phone has been blocked, like the alien realized what she was doing. She needs to analyze the pod, but she needs her sonic screwdriver.

DOCTOR: I could build one! I’m good at building things! Probably.

Yaz tells Ryan it wasn’t his fault. They both agree they believe the Doctor is an alien.

They find some of Rahul’s research and a computer screen that says if he dies to play the video.

As the Doctor looks for parts, Graham tells her that she doesn’t look like an alien. She tells him he should have seen her earlier; her whole body has changed - every cell burning, some of them still reordering, regenerating. She explains how it’s like you are about to die and then are born; it’s terrifying. She says that she’s a stranger to herself with echoes of who she was and feels a call to who she is supposed to be. She needs to trust her instincts and shape herself towards that. She says she should be fine. Hopefully.

Doctor WhoDOCTOR: Well, I have to be, because you guys need help, and if there’s one thing I’m certain of, when people need help, I never refuse.

She proceeds to melt some spoons and other things, adds some circuit boards, and eventually comes out with an odd-looking sonic screwdriver with a yellow light.

Yaz and Ryan show the rest of them the video. Rahul says that “it” has come back, the thing he saw the night his sister, Asha, disappeared. He knows she was taken. He’s been tracking it for seven years. He plans to find out what happened.

They know that he knew he might die, but she was his family.

Ryan asks the Doctor about her sonic screwdriver. She says it’s more multi-purpose than that and lists some of the things it can do. It’s like a Swiss Army knife-without-the-knife. Only idiots carry knives.

She knows part of the pod is recall circuitry for a return journey. The alien will be back.

Her guess is there are two alien species (the humanoid and the tentacle creature) at war using earth as a battleground. She plans to stop it, capture them, and send them home, away from earth.

Graham gets a call from one of the truck drivers.

Outside, a drunk man walks down the road eating a salad when he sees the alien. He says it’s not Halloween and starts throwing the salad at him. The alien kills him.

The group goes to the roof of the building, after receiving the information from the driver, and they find the tentacle thing. The Doctor stuns it with wires again. She examines it and says that it is half organic and half machine. It’s actually gathering coils. The tentacles are creatures which were lashed together to create a super creature to gather data. It’s more of a semi-species - weaponized biotech.

She thinks she was wrong about the alien battle, and they need to access the data the creature has gathered. She messes with it, and a hologram of Karl is displayed. It was gathering data about him on the train.

Before they can do anything, the alien comes up behind them asking whom he should kill first.

Doctor WhoThe Doctor says she’s voting none of them and tells the others to get behind her. She threatens to blast the tentacled thing.

She still doesn’t remember who she is when he asks.

She asks him why the teeth, and he takes off his face plate, revealing a blue face embedded with human teeth. He says that a Stenza warrior wears his conquests.

He explains that he is Tzim-Sha, a hunter from another planet. The leaders of the planet pick a random human which he has to find and bring back as a trophy without weapons or assistance. Eventually he will become the leader.

The Doctor, taunting him, calling him “Tim Shaw,” tells him that earth is not a hunting ground.

He says that he was granted access to be there. Ryan jumps in that it was a misunderstanding and he is revoking his permission. Of course, he ignores him.

She asks how he killed the people without a weapon. He says that they live at temperatures well below earth, and a touch will kill a human.

She tells him that he is cheating, because she knows he used the gathering coil to find Karl.

DOCTOR: Tim Shaw is a big, blue cheat.

He threatens her, and when she backs away, he takes what he needs from the creature - total transference. She tells him that he isn’t going to take another human and to leave the planet or they will stop him.

He disappears. She calls him a double-cheat for using a short-range transport. She realizes he is going to hunt Karl.

Karl is in a crane on his job saying affirmations from an audio recording.

Meanwhile, a man talks to his granddaughter on the phone. Tzim-Sha shows up and kills him.

Doctor WhoThe group finds out where Karl works and they head there.

Tzim-Sha starts to climb up the crane to get to Karl.

They find the man’s radio and realize that not only is Karl the crane operator, but the tentacle-y creature is guarding the bottom of the crane.

The Doctor tells Grace and Graham to take the equipment and get everyone off the site, and not to come back. She asks how Ryan and Yaz are with machinery and heights.

The Doctor, Ryan, and Yaz start to climb up the side of the other crane.

Grace and Graham pretend they work on site to get everyone out for a shutdown.

The Doctor yells to “Karl from the train” to climb out of the crane and up and over.

The three ofthem continue to climb up the crane. Ryan has some difficulty because of his disorder, but continues the climb.

Karl slowly crawls his way across the crane arm as he is followed by Tzim-Sha.

The Doctor tells Yaz and Ryan the plan. She will go onto the crane arm and one of them will use the crane to put her towards the arm of Karl’s crane, and he can just walk across over to her, and then they can swing them back to safety.

She gives keys to Yaz.

DOCTOR: You can figure out how to work a crane, right?

She starts to climb onto the arm as Grace has started back over to the site against Graham’s wishes. The tentacle creature has swapped cranes to bring them down. She rushes to stop it.

Using information from the internet on Ryan’s phone, Yaz tries to work the crane, at first swinging the Doctor the wrong way. She moves it the other way.

The Doctor tells Karl to step across when the arms line up.

Doctor WhoThe bolts of electricity from the tentacle creature cause the crane to stop, leaving Karl a few feet away and above the Doctor. She tells him that by step she meant jump. She says she can catch him. He tells her he’s not good with heights; it’s his dad’s company.

After some coaxing and Karl reciting his affirmations, he finally runs and goes to jump to her, but as he leaps into the air, Tzim-Sha, who has come up behind him, grabs him and pulls him back onto the arm, dragging him away.

While the others watch, the Doctor runs across the arm and jumps, grabbing the edge of it, dangling.

DOCTOR: These legs definitely used to be longer.

The Doctor makes her way over to Tzim-Sha and tells him to stop. After complaining she needs a new coat, she pulls the recall out of her pocket and threatens to destroy it. Without it, he can’t go home. She says that if she falls, it goes with her, and then he is stuck.

Meanwhile, Graham and Grace are below, pulling cables over to the crane where the tentacle creature is.

The Doctor asks the alien what he does with his trophies. He says that they are put in their trophy chambers, held in stasis on the cusp between life and death. He tells her that they aren’t important.

She says that if she doesn’t stop him, his kind will keep doing this.

He threatens to detonate the bombs in her human friends if she doesn’t give him the recall.

She asks him if he put one in Karl, but he says that he didn’t need to, because he was tagged.

She says if he sets off the bombs she’ll destroy the recall.

Doctor WhoGrace tells Graham to hook the wires up to the electricity while she heads to the crane with them. To Graham’s annoyance, she’s enjoying herself.

The Doctor says again that he’s a cheat, and she guesses that he won’t detonate the bombs. She starts giving a speech about how he can choose who he wants to be. We can evolve and still stay true to who we are.

He asks who she is, and she says that she’s glad he asked again.

DOCTOR: Bit of adrenaline, dash of outrage, and a hint of panic knitted my brain back together. I know exactly who I am. I’m the Doctor, sorting out fair play throughout the universe.

She tells him to get off the planet while he still has a choice.

He tells her he chooses to win and hits the detonator. Grace is now close to the crane. Tzim-Sha makes a noise in pain.

She tells him that she removed the bombs from her friends using her Swiss Army sonic, now with added Sheffield steel. She implanted the bombs back in the other creature. The transference he performed wasn’t just data, it was physical. He got everything transferred into him, including five tiny bombs.

He yells as he starts to melt.

She says that he did it to himself and throws the recall at him and tells him to go home.

Suddenly Karl, feeling brave, kicks Tzim-Sha off the crane. As the alien falls, he uses the recall and disappears.

The Doctor tells Karl that he had no right to do that.

Meanwhile, Grace has climbed up the crane, and sticks the end of the wire in the tentacle-y ball, and Graham turns on the power. The electricity is too much and flows through her, and she falls backwards off of the crane as she is shocked. The creature falls with her.

Graham is the first to rush over to her. She tells him not to be cross and to promise her he won’t be scared without her. She passes. Ryan and Yaz make it over to them. The Doctor follows, but she’s too late.

The scene moves back to the beginning of the episode with Ryan on YouTube, talking about the greatest woman he ever met: his nan, who died. His mother died six years ago. He had a lot to learn from his grandmother and was looking forward to it. She died like she lived, helping people. He says that he loves her and the next day is going out for her.

Ryan goes back outside by himself and gets on the bike. He falls over and over again, but he keeps getting back on, as the Doctor watches unnoticed from up above.

At the funeral, Ryan waits, but his father doesn’t show up. He tells the Doctor he’s never been the best at being reliable. He’s understandably upset.

Graham gives a speech about Grace, the Grace he met when he thought he didn’t have much time left. She showed him life had more to offer. He says that if she was there, she would tell him they had three glorious years and there’s no reason to complain, but he wanted more. He says that he should have gone and she should still be here. Ryan has tears running down his face.

Doctor WhoOutside after the funeral, the Doctor asks what he meant by thinking he’d run out of time. He had cancer and is now in remission. Grace was his chemo nurse; that’s where they met and fell in love.

Yaz asks the Doctor if she has family. She says she lost them long ago.

Ryan asks how she coped with that.

She says she carries them with her, what they would have thought and said and done, and makes them a part of who she is. Even though they’re gone from the world, they’re never gone from her. Graham says that’s the sort of thing Grace would have said.

Yaz asks her if the kinds of things they saw, if it’s normal for her.

DOCTOR: I’m just a traveler. Sometimes I see things need fixin’. I do what I can.

Except right now she’s a traveler without a ship. She’s stayed too long and needs to find her Tardis.

YAZ: Can I just say, you really need to get out of those clothes.
DOCTOR: It’s been a long time since I bought women’s clothes.

Doctor WhoAt a clothing store, the Doctor is behind a changing curtain and throws out tons of clothes she doesn’t like, until she finds what she does. Yaz questions that that’s what she’s going with, but the Doctor is happy with her new signature look.

She asks if they can help her with finding her Tardis.

Back at the garage, the Doctor explains that she tracked the energy trail from her Tardis. She has configured Tzim-Sha’s transport pod to send her to the planet where it is.

She says she is going to miss them and readies to leave, using a microwave as a timer. She zaps it with her sonic as she says goodbye. Unintentionally, all four of them disappear.

The four of them reappear, floating in the middle of space.

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