This was a perfectly fine episode of Doctor Who - but as a season finale it was rather weak. It would not have looked out of place mid-season. Chris Chibnall decided to dispense with a story arc this season, only to spring one half-heartedly at this late stage, with direct references to the first and second episodes. The Ghost Monument had simply mentioned the Stenza and introduced the Sniper-bots, who are as inept here as they were in their first outing. They hardly make the Stenza look like any kind of serious threat if this is the best they can manage. After The Ghost Monument, the Stenza were never mentioned again. Perhaps if they had been threaded through the rest of the season then their reappearance here might have worked better. As it is, we did not get to see them in their massed ranks. All we got was the one from the opening episode - "Tim Shaw". He's been hanging around a planet for 3407 years, building a weapon with which he plans to take his revenge on the Doctor. He's aided in this by a pair of humanoid aliens called the Ux, who are basically Earthbenders from Avatar: The Last Airbender. They think Tim is their god, or creator.
One thing which really did not work for me in this episode was the way in which the Ux simply stopped believing in Tim after a few minutes chat with the Doctor. Half a dozen planets have already been destroyed by the weapon, and yet they only now suddenly realise Tim might be up to no good?
What made them think he was their creator in the first place, considering he was just a weak individual from a relatively minor species?
The idea of planets being removed and shrunk is hardly a new one for the series. Davros and the Daleks were stealing planets back in Series 4, and the Captain and Queen Xanxia were doing it as far back as Season 16's The Pirate Planet.
The episode was rather slow to get started, which meant that the ending was a little rushed. As I said, the Ux are suddenly turned against Tim and begin collaborating with the Doctor. The TARDIS is then used to send the planets back to their rightful places before they can destroy Ranskoor Av Kolos.
As usual Bradley Walsh was one of the best things in the episode. Finding out that Tim Shaw is here, he decides that if he gets the chance he will kill him - as he was responsible for Grace's death. He's prepared to stand up to the Doctor over this. In the end, he does get the chance to kill him but elects not to, and Tim ends up imprisoned in one of his own stasis chambers - leaving the door open for him to make a return appearance. Another disappointing thing this week was the title. The battle is over before we join the action. There isn't even any flashback to it as Mark Addy's character regains his memories. All in all, the title is a bit of a cheat.
At least this week we actually got some scenes set in the TARDIS and, as mentioned, the ship was used to help resolve the threat.
The BBC decided not to provide any preview screenings for the finale, prompting many fans to speculate that there would be something on screen that was worth keeping secret. I have absolutely no idea why they did this. If it was to keep us guessing if all of the Doctor's companions would make it out alive, then they should not have published that photo of all of them from the New Year's Day special (the title of which has been announced as Resolution). Rumours have been flying around that there will be Daleks at New Year, which might have featured in the throw-forward teaser. The "deadliest being in the universe" does get a mention - but then the Doctor claimed that title for the P'ting not that long ago.
We can now stand back and look at the season as a whole. For me, it has been a disappointing one. We've had a couple of good episodes, but have also had to sit through a lot of very weak ones - mostly courtesy of the new show-runner. We've had promising potential story arcs introduced then promptly forgotten about - the Timeless Child, for instance. Dispensing with old monsters, in favour of ineffectual new ones, was a mistake in my view. As I have said before, the Doctor is defined by how they respond to the monsters, and Jodie Whittaker simply wasn't given anything substantial to stand up to this year.
Then today it was announced that there would not be another series until at least January 2020. The complexities of making the series have been cited. That's the same complexities which Russell T Davies and Steven Moffat faced, and they managed to give us at least a season of specials or half a season every year, bar 2016. Hopefully Chibnall will use the downtime to take some script-writing classes...