Doctor Who review: Fugitive of the Judoon is the boldest episode of Chris Chibnall’s era yet

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Doctor Who

Fugitive of the Judoon appeared to be just another standalone episode. What we got was something far, far bigger…
Photo Credit: Ben Blackall/BBC Studios/BBC America

With some of the biggest surprises in Doctor Who history, Fugitive of the Judoon definitely has a lot of hype and controversy surrounding it right now. But is it a strong story in its own right?

Well. That was certainly quite an episode. In fact, Fugitive of the Judoon was a Doctor Who story so big that I honestly needed a few days to process it. And of course, to let things cool down after the hype. (I’d say “spoilers follow”, but let’s be honest: you all know the big twists by now.)

And there has been a lot of hype around this one. Whether you loved it or hated it, Fugitive of the Judoon achieved exactly what Chris Chibnall set out to do – it got everyone talking. And I mean everyone. Not just Doctor Who fans, but people who don’t even follow the show have been talking about the new Doctor.

But is the story worth the hype? That’s the key question. To answer it, we need to look at three key elements of the episode: the Judoon, the Captain and the fugitive. (Yes, I’m a fan of spaghetti westerns.)

The Judoon

While it’s definitely been overshadowed since, the return of the Judoon was hugely important because, let’s be honest, we all thought that this was going to be the main draw of the episode. So how well was their return handled?

Overall, really well. Writers Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall could have easily fallen into the trap of making them too nice, as they’re broadly speaking a force for justice. But they made them just as nasty, heavy-handed and dangerous as they’ve ever been. “All Ears Alan” getting executed just for shoving one of them was a nice touch. He may have been a creep, but you couldn’t help but feel a little sympathy for him at his undeserved fate.

The Judoon weren’t focused on too much for the overall story. Especially during the second half, when the focus shifted to Ruth. But their return worked well, and it’s great to see such an unusual monster again, for the first time in far too long.

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