Demons of the Punjab
11 November 2018
|Written by||Vinay Patel|
|Directed by||Jamie Childs|
|Produced by||Nikki Wilson, Adam Friedlander & Alex Mercer|
What’s the point of having a mate with a time machine, if you can’t nip back and see your gran when she was younger?” India, 1947. The Doctor and her friends arrive in the Punjab, as the country is being torn apart. While Yaz attempts to discover her grandmother’s hidden history, the Doctor discovers demons haunting the land. Who are they and what do they want?
Yasmin Khan is in her flat with her family, celebrating her nani Umbreen’s birthday. Umbreen provides each of her granddaughters with a gift. To Yasmin she gives a broken watch, warning her never to fix it. Her nani doesn’t reveal anything, and Yaz gets a desire to to travel back in time to see her family. In the the TARDIS Yaz asks the Thirteenth Doctor to, but she refuses because of the potential damage it could do to Yaz’s personal time line. After some arguing from Yaz, the Doctor finally agrees.
Upon their arrival, the Doctor is struck by some sort of vision of dark figures, and stumbles into a road. There they meet Prem, who is driving an ox-pulled cart. They claim to be family friends, and get a ride to see Umbreen.
In the forest, they track the “demons” to a ship of some kind, the “demon’s lair”. The Doctor can’t get any readings. Eventually she acquires species data, and Bio-ID. The ship is a Thijarian Hive and the Thijarians are assassins, their target is a sadhu, Hindu holy man known as Bhakti. Prem claims to have seen them before, standing over the body of his older brother, Kunal while serving in the Second World War. Then the Thijarians appear and they are forced to evacuate the hive. Out in the forest, Ryan and Prem are transported away and the Doctor notices a device on a tree nearby, a transmat lock, and confiscates it.
Ryan and Prem appear some distance away and Prem asks what happened. Ryan says he does not know, but the Doctor said to get out of the forest so they both run. The Doctor continues to find more locks. Back At The farm, Umbreen continues to argue in favour of her marriage.
Yaz becomes discouraged when she believes she doesn’t truly know her nani, and Graham comforts her. Suddenly, they hear Ryan yelling and rush to discover what is wrong. The Doctor arrives shortly after an tell them to run for the barn. Inside the barn the the Thijarians arrive and threaten everyone there with death, but the Doctor drives them away with the locks. She promises to protect them all. Then the Doctor requests oil, tree bark, 9 sauce pans, ox spit, a biscuit, and a chicken poo. She uses them to make “demon repellent”.
Umbreen speaks with the Doctor, Yaz and Umbreen’s mum sit and speak together. Umbreen says she’ll go through with the wedding, and her mother adamantly protests. Umbreen asks the Doctor to officiate the wedding, and she agrees, claiming she hadn’t officiated a wedding since Einstein’s and that his mother disapproved, and that The wedding was non-denominational. Elsewhere, Ryan, Graham, Prem, and Manish are playing cards. Manish appears to be winning. He argues with his brother, asking Prem not to go through with the wedding.
In the barn, the Doctor is studying some material recovered from the hive and notes it is some of the densest organic material she has ever seen, and it contains carbon, phosphorous, oxygen and sulfur, creating billions of DNA fragments. Suddenly she is transmatted away to the Hive. There she learns that The Thijarian world was destroyed in the assassin’s absence. They claim to have become witnesses, and spent 100 generations honouring their lost world. Now they travel to witness and honor those left dead, unseen and unknown, in the wake of the Partition. Now they come to honor Prem. She asks to see how the holy man died, and they show her.
The Doctor returns to reveal that Prem must die today, and that The Thijarians are not actually assassins but merely observers to those who are killed. She warns that They cannot interfere, or Umbreen will never become Yaz’s nani.
In the morning, Ryan and Graham help Prem prepare for his wedding day. He mourns that so many around him seem to have lost their minds. Muslims, Hindu and Sikhs, who lived together for decades are now in a frenzy, convinced their differences are more important than what unites them. Graham comforts him, saying the best they can be is good men.
The Doctor officiates the wedding by a small stream, At The border of India and Pakistan. Using her sonic screwdriver she removes the rope border markers Manish had placed up earlier. She admires the certainty of Prem and Umbreen, the certainty of love. She says right now, they are the strongest people on the planet, maybe even the universe. She then admits she doesn’t know how to formalise the ceremony. Umbreen says she does, and picks up one of Manish’s boundary ropes and asks Yaz to tie their hands.
Later, inside the barn, Umbreen offers Manish reconciliation, and Manish coldly casts her and his own brother aside. After that, Prem offers Umbreen his watch, but drops it on the ground, where it breaks. Umbreen’s mother says the day is truly cursed, but Umbreem says it is instead perfect, and that The watch is theirs forever, their own moment in time.
Manish leaves to find his brother’s rifle and the Doctor follows him. He then points the rifle At The Doctor and warns her to take her friends and leave if they want to get out alive. The Doctor realises he has betrayed his whole family as well as murdering the holy man. Men on horseback are charging down the road to take their land. The Doctor warns Prem and Umbreen to run. Prem tells Umbreen to go to the house and take anything essential.
In the house, Yaz finds a map of the Earth, with Sheffield marked on it. Umbreen says she just pointed to a map and that was where her finger landed, and so that is where she will go one day.
In the barn, Prem offers to stay behind and distract the groups of thugs, and tells them all to go ahead, across the border in to the forest, and kisses Umbreen goodbye. He tells the Doctor to go as well, claiming he must face these demons alone. He confronts his brother and the thugs. He recognises a man named Kanon, a soldier he fought with during the war only to now see his former ally is prepared to shoot him. Nothing he says changes their minds, however, and Kanon shoots Prem, killing him. The Thijarians stand vigil, honoring Prem, as everyone flees.
Back on the TARDIS, Yaz speaks with the Doctor, acknowledging that Umbreen lived.
At Flat 27, Yaz speaks with her nani. Umbreen notices the design on Yaz’s hands, saying it isn’t much good, but asks if the wedding was at least any good. Yaz affirms, her nani not knowing it was her wedding she had seen. Yaz asks her if she is happy with how her life turned out. She says she is happy with it, because it gave her Yaz’s mum and sister. Yaz says she no longer wants to know about the watch, and tells her nani she loves her.
While participating in the pre-wedding celebrations, the Doctor mused that she never used to do this kind of thing when she was a man, a reference to her previous thirteen male incarnations.
A Hindu wedding custom is to have the couples hands tied together during their vows.
A Muslim wedding custom is for the groom to give a prized possession to the bride.
Henna is body art used to celebrate weddings in the Punjab.
Food and beverages
Umbreen celebrates her birthday with a shop-bought cake.
For the second time this series, the usual Doctor Who theme does not play over the ending credits. This is the third episode overall not to use the theme in the credits after part four of Earthshock and Rosa, and the second to play a different piece of music over the credits after Rosa (the credits to Earthshock simply ran in silence).
The Doctor pilots the TARDIS again using the telepathic circuits to find a specific place and time in relation to one of her companions. (Listen, Dark Water)
The Tenth Doctor also visited India during the 1947 Partition, with Donna Noble. (Ghosts of India)
The Doctor mentions that she was giving points to everyone. (The Tsuranga Conundrum)
Yaz’s Muslim faith was briefly touched upon before. (Rosa)
The Doctor recalls having been a man. (An Unearthly Child – Twice Upon a Time)
Graham calls the Doctor “Doc”. (Rosa, Arachnids in the UK, The Tsuranga Conundrum, Dr. Thirteenth)
The Doctor refers to the dangers of going back in time to observe family members. (Father’s Day) Though this time, its not disastrous.
The Doctor states she is too kind, something her predecessor told her to be. (Twice Upon a Time)
The Doctor remarks she loves weddings. Her tenth (The Runaway Bride) and eleventh incarnations held similar opinions, The Big Bang, Let’s Kill Hitler) although the Tenth Doctor remarked he was “rubbish” at his own. (Blink) The Twelfth Doctor hated weddings. (The Clockwise War)
The Doctor has attended several weddings before. (Father’s Day, The Big Bang, Hunters of the Burning Stone)
The Doctor states that The people with her are under her protection. The Eleventh Doctor has voiced a similar sentiment multiple times. (The Eleventh Hour, The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe, Nightmare In Silver)
The Doctor incorrectly assumes malicious intent from aliens present at people’s deaths. (Twice Upon a Time)