Doctor Who‘s recent New Year’s special was largely a big crowd-pleaser. As it saw the return of a Dalek for the first time since Jodie Whittaker took over as the Time Lord, “Resolution” is probably the episode of season 11 that’s got the most fan approval after a controversial run. However, there was one brief scene that got folks riled.
When the Doctor realizes that the Dalek has been resurrected and is going to start an assault on the planet, she gets on the phone to Kate Stewart, her old friend and the head of U.N.I.T., the alien-busting military organization. However, she’s reconnected to an unhelpful woman on a helpline who informs her that “U.N.I.T. operations have been suspended pending review.”
The reason why it’s been shut down is said to be because of “financial disputes and subsequent funding withdrawal by the U.K.’s major international partners.” For anyone up to date with British politics, the implication is clear: Brexit killed U.N.I.T. It’s a clever, timely joke from writer Chris Chibnall, but some didn’t see the funny side about writing out an organization that’s been a massive part of Doctor Who lore since its creation in 1968.
But is U.N.I.T. really gone for good? Well, the scene itself is such a comedic moment that it’s tempting to say that Chibnall just needed a quick explanation for why Kate can’t help the Doctor, as he wanted the story to focus on the time traveler and her friends, so he came up with this light-hearted poke at current affairs. He does like the show to reflect the world we live in, after all.
If he wanted to bring back U.N.I.T. in the future, Chibnall could easily just write in a brief explanation that the financial troubles were sorted out and now the organization’s back in business. Perhaps the outcry that this sequence caused on social media, from people wanting to see Kate team up with the Thirteenth Doctor, will give the showrunner the idea to make it happen for real when Doctor Who season 12 finally rolls up in 2020.