It’s the beginning of the end for the Thirteenth Doctor. Following January’s Doctor Who New Year’s special, Jodie Whittaker’s incarnation of the Time Lord has only two episodes to go until she regenerates into the as-yet-unknown Fourteenth Doctor. Her penultimate adventure arrives on our screens this weekend in the form of “Legend of the Sea Devils”, which pits the time-traveler against a (very) old enemy.
While it will be mostly standalone, fans can expect the Easter special to offer a few hints at the Doctor’s impending doom. Speaking to the BBC, the Doctor Who cast and crew hyped up the episode. For starters, John Bishop — who plays the Doctor’s newest companion Dan — promised that there’s an ominous atmosphere in the air as you can sense that something big is coming.
“You know there’s something big about to happen,” Bishop teased. “You can see the change in the Doctor and change in the dynamic and you just know there’s something big around the corner.”
Mandip Gill, who has been with the show just as long as Whittaker in her role as Yaz Khan, added that the special will leave things for this year’s third and final special to resolve — including the “will they, won’t they” nature of the Doctor and Yaz’s relationship.
“Things have not been resolved by the end of the episode and I think that can be said for the relationship between Yaz and the Doctor – but also the Doctor’s history and future,” Gill said.
Whittaker herself, meanwhile, was keen to stress that “Legends” is still a one-and-done story and can be enjoyed without any knowledge of the past or even of the future.
“It’s interesting because time wise, it’s such a long time off [before they air],” the actress explained. “What’s great about the standalone episodes are that if you do watch it now and then you watch another episode in autumn, you don’t need to rewatch it to understand what’s happening in the next one. They are great standalone individual stories, that obviously marry all of my seasons together, build on relationships and things like that.”
Outgoing showrunner Chris Chibnall summed it up best by teasing that this episode is the calm before the storm of the Doctor’s final journey.
“It’s a big standalone bank holiday action romp for all the family,” he said. “A rollicking, swashbuckling adventure for the Doctor, Dan and Yaz with big monsters, big pirate ships, the sword fights, lots of fun, loads of action, lots of lovely jokes and a great, fun tone – before we go into the big epic battle for survival with Jodie’s final episode.”
A release date for Whittaker’s last ever episode has yet to be confirmed, although it’s known to be airing as part of the BBC’s centenary celebrations later this year. And going by the actress’ “autumn” comment above, it seems we can expect it to drop sometime in the fall. In the meantime, fans can hear more of Whittaker in the role via a brand-new official podcast, which launches this April 17, alongside the Doctor Who Easter special.