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Recap / Doctor Who S37 E1 "The Woman Who Fell to Earth"

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The Doctor has her "Eureka!" Moment, and just in the nick of time.
Click here to see the Radio Times magazine poster for this episode: 

Tzim-Sha: Who are you?
The Doctor: Yes! I'm glad you asked that again. Bit of adrenaline, dash of outrage, and a hint of panic, knitted my brain back together. I know exactly who I am. I'm the Doctor. Sorting out fair play throughout the Universe. Now please, get off this planet while you still have a choice.

The one where a guy throws a bike off a cliff and starts an Alien Invasion.

This is the first episode of Series 11, introducing Jodie Whittaker's Thirteenth Doctor. It premiered on October 7, 2018. Written by Chris Chibnall and directed by Jamie Childs.

We open on young Ryan Sinclair on a YouTube vlog, where he says he'll tell us all about the most amazing woman he's ever known. It all begins with the fact that, at nineteen, he can't ride a bicycle (though this is due to his having dyspraxia, a neurological condition which causes — at best — poor coordination). Scene change to his grandma Grace and her second husband, Graham, trying to teach him to ride (over rough ground near a cliff). After falling, Ryan chucks the bicycle over the edge and into the woods below. And since Nan and Graham's train is leaving soon, it's up to Ryan to go retrieve the bike. Just as he finds it hanging in a tree out of reach, a pattern of light appears in the air nearby, with a glowing button in the centre, which Ryan of course touches. The lights disappear, and a giant Hershey's Kiss appears on the ground nearby. Which Ryan also touches. It's burning cold. Ryan calls the police. Probationary Officer Yasmin Khan, an old schoolmate of Ryan's, shows up and is initially disdainful of his claim that the pod just appeared, ordering him to remove it before he convinces her he didn't put it there.

Meanwhile, a mechanical thing that looks like the Flying Spaghetti Monster soon attacks a train, containing Graham, Grace and a third random guy. By sheer coincidence (or for dramatic purposes, because the TARDIS doesn't normally do coincidences), it is also into that train that the newly-regenerated Thirteenth Doctor, who has been falling from the sky for a little bit, makes rather a rough landing... right on to of the Monster of the Week — nice shot TARDIS. Gotta love the first fifteen hours of a regeneration. Only barely noticing she changed her gender in the past half an hour — and liking it when it's pointed out — she assumes command even over the protest of policewoman Yaz, who has just arrived with Ryan in response to a cut-off call Ryan got from his Nan about the stalled train. The Doctor zaps the thing with a loose electrical cable, but since the sonic fell out of her pocket mid-fall, she's unable to stop the spaghetti monster from zapping all six of them and flying off. They return to the woods only to find the pod also gone.

The Doctor, after a brief collapse and rest, discovers they've all been implanted with DNA bombs which could kill them all remotely, then commandeers Ryan's phone to create a tracking device to locate the signal the bombs are connected to. The freezing Kiss is actually the travel pod of a tooth-stealing warlord-to-be named Tzim-Sha who has come to Earth to Hunt the Most Dangerous Game and thereby earn the leadership of his people, the Stenza. Only, he has no intentions of leaving anything up to chance, cheating by bringing the sparking, electric Spaghetti Monster (actually a part-creature part-machine called a "Gathering Coil") to help him find his target. The pod disappeared from the woods because Rahul, the brother of a previous target of such a hunt, recognized similar atmospheric anomalies happening, realized the creatures who took his sister Asha were coming back, and brought the pod to the warehouse that serves as the base for his search for Asha. He died trying to find out from Tzim-Sha where Asha was taken, but not before leaving a message that fills in the Doctor and company on much of what's happening.

Once again missing her sonic, the Doctor uses bits from the travel pod and odds and ends from the warehouse (and Sheffield steel) to construct a new sonic screwdriver. They use a tip from a fellow bus-driver mate of Graham to locate the Gathering Coil, learning from it the identity of the hunter's target, then encounter Tzim-Sha ("Tim Shaw") himself and learn of his cheating, not only with the Gathering Coil from which he uploads information on his target, but also a short-range teleport device. The target of his hunt is Karl, the other passenger on the stopped train. Thanks to Yaz's taking down his info as a witness, they track him to his workplace, a construction site where he operates a very tall crane. Unfortunately, Tim Shaw arrives before them, climbing the crane's tower while using the Gathering Coil to block pursuit by the same route.

The Doctor, Yaz, and Ryan climb a second crane (especially dangerous for dyspraxic Ryan) and swing its arm out to almost meet the crane Karl is on. Graham and Grace work on the ground to stop the Gathering Coil from bringing down the cranes, while the Doctor makes a leap across the gap and rescues Karl. Turns out she'd removed the DNA bombs from herself and her friends, and piggybacked them into the upload Tim Shaw had made from the Gathering Coil. When Tim Shaw sets them off, they all five go off inside him. The Doctor offers him an out with a key piece of the teleport recall, but Karl is not so forgiving and kicks him off of the crane. He teleports mid-air, dying from the DNA bombs. Unfortunately, Grace is knocked off the crane while disabling the Coil and falls, à la the Fourth Doctor. After a few words to Graham, she perishes.

The new friends all attend Grace's funeral, where Ryan's dad, her son, is conspicuously absent. Afterwards the Doctor heads to a charity shop to replace the Twelfth Doctor's notably damaged clothes at the insistence of Yaz, and chooses a rainbow shirt with a longcoat and some braces. They all go back to the warehouse, where with her new friends' help she uses the rest of the travel pod and even more eclectic junk to adapt the Stenza teleporting device, hoping to get to her TARDIS...

Only for viewers to be treated to a thrilling cliffhanger as the teleporter lands not only her but also her new companions in the void of space, with no blue box in sight... sans spacesuits. Cue the Oh, Crap!, then cue the new theme.note 


  • Absurd Phobia: Karl is a tower crane operator who is afraid of heights. While this is a very common, it does make it almost impossible for him to do his job without self-help tapes.
  • Accidental Passenger: At the end of the episode, Yaz, Ryan, and Graham all get accidentally transported along with the Doctor into space when she tries to lock onto the location of her TARDIS, leaving the episode on a Cliffhanger.
  • Alien Abduction: Rahul believes this is what happened to his older sister when he was a child, and it's confirmed by Tzim-Sha that she was the "trophy" of a previous hunt.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: "We don't get aliens in Sheffield", says Graham, with Karl backing him up. Until now, that is.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Introduced without contact with the Doctor, and thus the TARDIS' telepathic translation circuitry, Tzim-Sha is nevertheless fluent in English. Presumably due to his species visiting Earth before.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Even more than Twelve, regeneration puts some weird gaps in Thirteen's memory. She doesn't know the name for her tongue, and is under the impression that she's looking for a doctor initially. She also doesn't realise that she is a woman until told so by Yaz, nor does she remember her name until the climax.
  • And I Must Scream: Tzim-Sha describes the process used to preserve his hunting trophies, which involves trapping them in a state somewhere between life and death.
  • Arbitrary Scepticism: Graham initially insists that there's no such thing as aliens, earning an incredulous look from the Doctor.
  • Art Imitates Art: The Stenza travel pod is visually reminiscent of the distinctive "Nancy style" of art nouveau glassware.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Much of it can be attributed to her post-regeneration haze. (This time, anyway.)
    The Doctor: Right, then, troops. No, not troops. Team. Gang. Fam? I'm distracting myself.
    Grace: You came crashing through that roof.
    The Doctor: I was thrown out of my TARDIS. (Horrified) Oh! I've lost my TARDIS! It was exploding and then it dematerialized! Don't panic. Not the end of the world. Well, it could be the end of the world, but one thing at a time.
    Graham: Are we supposed to understand anything you're saying?
  • Bait-and-Switch: The episode opens with Ryan talking about the greatest woman he's ever known. We assume this is the Doctor, but the end of the episode reveals that he's talking about his grandmother, who died during the events of the episode.
  • Battle in the Rain: Downplayed, as there's only light rain and heavy winds, but it doesn't make climbing or jumping from the cranes any easier.
  • Battle Trophy: Tzim-Sha collects a tooth from each being he kills as a trophy, and implants them into his face, as is the cultural norm for the Stenza.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Grace and Graham grab a couple of reflective vests and act like supervisors to get the rest of the construction crew off the worksite.
  • Big Bad: Tzim-Sha.
  • Big "OMG!": Everyone, staring in disbelief, utters a slow, "Oh, my God", as they watch the Doctor back up and then take a running leap toward Karl's crane.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology:
    • Somehow, the Doctor can figure out exactly when she's going to pass out by sticking her finger up her nose. Or, given how the time kept changing, not so exactly. ("This new nose is so unreliable!")
    • While the Doctor is unconscious, Grace looks after her and discovers she has two separate pulses. It only gets weirder as Grace and Ryan watch the post-regeneration glow leave the Doctor's body; and later, Graham and Grace are on the verge of Heroic BSoD as the Doctor explains what regeneration feels like.
  • Building Is Welding: The Doctor is shown using a blowtorch while constructing her new sonic screwdriver out of bits and piece she finds in Rahul's workshop. She frowns at it and then builds herself a much larger blowtorch, which she uses to melt down a number of spoons for raw materials.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • One of Tzim-Sha's victims is a drunk who sees this dark, imposing creature that doesn't look like he even came from this world, assumes he's some guy in a costume, and ridicules him while throwing food at him. Do we even need to tell you how this ends?
    • This doesn't stop the Doctor from doing exactly what she does best and taking a well-aimed pot-shot of her own. She survives, of course.
      Tzim-Sha: Tzim-Sha! Soon to be leader of the Stenza warrior race, conquerors of the Nine Systems.
      The Doctor: When you say soon to be leader, what are you now — the office junior?
      Graham: Eh? No, don't wind him up!
    • The Doctor frequently (and, knowing that the Doctor likes poking the rat trap, probably deliberately) gets Tzim-Sha's name mixed up and calls him "Tim Shaw". Did we really expect anything else?
  • Call-Back:
    • The Doctor gets a moving scene in which she says that she lost her family, but that she carries them with her.
    • The Doctor, at the end, converts Tzim-Sha's pod into a teleportation device to send her to the location of the TARDIS, setting it to track down the errant time machine by the unique energy the ship runs on.
  • Came from the Sky: The Doctor finishes her unplanned trip from the TARDIS by crashing through the roof of the train in front of the data coil.
  • Cassandra Truth: Discussed. When Yaz wants to inform her superiors of the alien, the Doctor rightfully points out that they wouldn't believe her even if she could accurately explain just what it is she's reporting.
  • Character Title:
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • As Karl crawls along the crane arm, he passes a sign indicating a broken guardrail. Karl ends up kicking Tzim-Sha through the simple chain being used as a replacement.
    • The Doctor identifies the recall circuit in the pod, and later attempts to use it in a Hostage for MacGuffin exchange.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Karl, the other passenger on the train when the data coil and the Doctor arrive, leaves shortly thereafter, freaked out about what happened. It turns out he is the reason the data coil was there, as he has been selected as the target of Tzim-Sha's hunt.
  • Cliffhanger: Just after the Doctor activates the rig that's intended to teleport her to the TARDIS, it winds up sending her and her new friends into the depths of space.
  • Climbing Climax: Justified, as what the villain wants is at the top of a crane tower.
  • Clipboard of Authority: The Doctor assigns Graham and Grace to clear bystanders from the construction site where Tzim-Sha is hunting. They grab reflective vests and clipboards, pretending to be supervisors.
  • Close on Title: Just like "Sleep No More", this episode's title card appears at the beginning of the credits. Unlike the former episode, though, there's no flash of credits early in the episode, and the reason for the title's placement is very different.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Creepy Souvenir: Tzim-Sha takes a tooth from each of his victims as a trophy, which he then embeds in his face.
  • Crowbar Combatant: Rahul grabs a crowbar to defend himself against Tzim-Sha. It doesn't do him any good.
  • Dead Hat Shot: Rahul's killing is depicted by showing his crowbar falling to the floor.
  • Dead Man Writing: Rahul leaves a video file prominently placed on his PC desktop in case the occupant of the pod, Tzim-Sha, kills him, which he does.
  • Defeated and Trophified: The fate of hunted humans is to be trapped in a state somewhere between life and death and shown off as a status symbol of the Stenza leader.
  • Disappeared Dad: Ryan is not happy when his apparently deadbeat father is a no-show to Grace's memorial service, especially since his father was Grace's only son.
  • Disney Villain Death: As Tzim-Sha starts to dissolve from the DNA bombs, Karl kicks him off the crane. Subverted when he teleports away while in mid-air and turns up alive in the final episode.
  • Dissimile: The Doctor describes the sonic screwdriver as a "Swiss Army knife... only without the knife. Only idiots carry knives."
  • Distinction Without a Difference:
    Yaz: You don't know your own name?
    The Doctor: Of course I know it! I just can't remember it.
  • Double-Meaning Title: The Doctor, of course, falls to Earth from the TARDIS. At the end of the climax, Grace falls to Earth off a crane after destroying the data coil.
  • Dynamic Entry: The Doctor enters the plot by smashing through the train's ceiling right before the data coil attacks Graham, Grace and Karl.
  • Eager Rookie: Yaz is still just a probationary Police Constable, so her superiors don't give her anything more challenging than resolving parking disputes and dismiss her out-of-hand when she wants to handle bigger things. Her supervisor has her answer Ryan's call mostly to keep her busy.
  • Enclosed Extraterrestrials: Downplayed. Tzim-Sha mentions that his home planet is much colder than Earth and his armour presumably allows him to deal with Earth's climate, but he can expose his hands and face for short periods of time without suffering any ill effects.
  • Explosive Leash: Everyone who saw the data coil is implanted with a DNA bomb to Leave No Witnesses.
  • Extremely Short Timespan:
    • The bulk of the episode's action takes place over the course of a single night — with the exception of the prologue set a little earlier in the evening, and the coda set several days later.
    • Also, from the Doctor's perspective, everything from their last stand against the Cybermen on Floor 507 of the spaceship in "The Doctor Falls", right up until the defeat of Tzim-Sha and Grace's death in this episode, all occurs within the span of less than a day — possibly no more than several hours.
  • Facial Horror: Tzim-Sha has a collection of human teeth on his face, which he took from the victims he's killed.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: After an epic forging montage, the Doctor proudly shows off her new sonic screwdriver, which appears to fuse out the moment she turns it on. It does work fine, however.
  • Falling into the Plot: The newly regenerated Thirteenth Doctor falls from the sky into a moving train after the other major characters have been introduced and the Stenza storyline has begun.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Dennis, Karl's workmate, has just got off a video call with his granddaughter when he gets killed by Tzim-Sha.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: The Doctor, while explaining how the teleporter she's made from the pod is designed to follow the TARDIS's energy signature, mentions that there are some parts of the Stenza technology that don't make any sense to her. Is it any surprise that the teleporter doesn't work the way the Doctor intended it to?
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Grace and Graham met when he was being treated for cancer and she was his chemo nurse.
  • Flung Clothing: The Doctor tosses several articles of clothing out of the changing room while picking out her new outfit.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the attack on the train, the electrical creature goes straight for Karl.
    • The first hint that the electrical creature and the pod in the woods are from the same source comes when the tracking device the Doctor programs Ryan's phone into, to search for the electrical creature, leads everyone to the garage where Tzim-Sha has emerged from the pod instead.
  • Forging Scene: We get to see the Doctor making her new sonic screwdriver from spoons and bits of circuitry. It's pretty epic.
    The Doctor: Swiss army sonic. Now with added Sheffield steel.
  • Framing Device: Ryan's YouTube video serves as one for most of the episode, excluding the denouement, as he recounts the events that led to his nan's death.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Ryan's video is simply titled "Hey", has only been seen by a few people, and two were even heartless enough to give it downvotes. Quite a few fans praised this exceptionally realistic portrayal of YouTube. Most of the rest of the visible videos are variations on how to create a successful vlog.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Doctor finds herself without her sonic screwdriver and TARDIS. So she builds another sonic screwdriver! Including creating a souped-up welder to help build the screwdriver. Also reprogramming Ryan's phone into a device to track the signal to the Gathering Coil. Then another device to teleport her to where the TARDIS is! Almost, anyway...
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see Rahul's body after Tzim-Sha kills him. Given that his jaw was cracked open because Tzim-Sha took one of his teeth as a trophy, it was likely not pretty. The Doctor even apologizes to her human friends for them having to see it, and Grace goes to find something to cover it.
  • Guile Hero: See Hoist by His Own Petard and Mexican Standoff. Thirteen is very compassionate, but she's no fool.
  • He Knows Too Much: The most logical reason why Tzim-Sha had the data coil plant bombs in Grace, Graham, Ryan, Yaz and the Doctor is probably to dispose of the witnesses to his cheating.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Grace falls while preventing the gathering coil from taking down the crane the Doctor, Ryan, Yaz, and Karl are all on, and dies from her injuries soon after.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Tzim-Sha responds to the Doctor's ultimatum by activating the DNA bombs he implanted in the humans... not realising the Doctor removed them and tricked him into absorbing them into himself using the data coil. The same data coil he brought with him to cheat his way through the hunt. Ironically, had he played the hunt honestly, he probably would never have been stopped.
  • Hope Spot: Karl works up the nerve to jump to the Doctor, only for Tzim-Sha to catch up and grab him mid-leap. The Doctor is forced to jump the distance herself, which is problematic since the crane she's on is positioned lower than Karl's and her legs aren't as long as they used to be.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: The Stenza ritual of leadership involves hunting and capturing a randomly designated target. The victims are then taken home and preserved in a state between life and death as trophies.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    • When Yaz introduces herself to the Doctor as "PC Khan", the Doctor retorts that she asked for Yaz's name, not her title. This, from the person who only ever introduces themselves with nothing but a title.
    • Graham asks why they should be running after the dangerous alien, then follows the others who are running after the dangerous alien.
    • The Doctor declines a visit to A&E, stating that she never goes to places that are "just initials." This coming from someone who lives in a TARDIS.
  • Indy Ploy: The Doctor's plan to save Karl involves climbing to the top of the other crane, then... coming up with a proper plan by the time she gets there. To be fair, she does.
  • Instant Expert: The Doctor seems to expect these humans to work out technology just as fast as she can, tossing Ryan and Yaz a bunch of keys and telling them to figure out how to operate the crane: Ryan Googles the answer.
  • Ironic Fear: Karl, who operates a tower crane for a living, is — by his own admission — "not very good with heights".
  • It's a Long Story: The Doctor, on how she just smashed though the train roof Just in Time for a Big Damn Heroes.
  • It's What I Do:
    Tzim-Sha: You're interfering in things you don't understand.
    The Doctor: Yeah, well, we all need a hobby.
  • Kill It with Ice: The Stenzas' body temperature is so low that Tzim-Sha can cause lethal freezer-burn to humans just by touching them.
  • Kick the Dog: When Rahul demands to know what happened to his sister, Tzim-Sha cruelly replies that he will never know before killing him.
  • Kirk Summation: The Doctor to Tzim-Sha. As per usual, the Villain of the Week rejects this.
    The Doctor: Poor Tim Shaw. The wannabe leader who has to cheat because he knows he's unworthy. See, that's why I know you won't detonate. Although, you could prove me wrong cos we're all capable of the most incredible change. We can evolve while still staying true to who we are. We can honour who we've been and choose who we want to be next. Now's your chance.
  • Last-Second Chance: At the climax, the Doctor offers Tzim-Sha the option to end the hunt and go home peacefully. He refuses, just as she expected.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Late in the denouement, Yaz suggests to the Doctor that she get some new clothes, as she's been wearing the Twelfth Doctor's clothes for several days, including to Grace's funeral. Said clothes having been damaged by a fight with the Cybermen and a massive fall.
  • Literary Allusion Title: To Walter Tevis' The Man Who Fell to Earth.
  • Ma'am Shock: An unusual example, relating to the Doctor's recent Gender Bender:
    Yaz: Hold on there, madam, I need you to do as I say. This could be a potential cri–
    The Doctor: Why are you calling me "madam"?
    Yaz: ...because you're a woman?
    The Doctor: Am I? Does it suit me?
    Yaz: What?
    The Doctor: Oh yeah... I remember! Sorry. Half an hour ago I was a white-haired Scotsman.
  • MacGyvering: The Doctor combines Stenza technology with spoons and a welding torch to make her new sonic screwdriver. A microwave oven is the central piece to her teleporter.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Downplayed: The Doctor mishears "Tzim-Sha" as "Tim Shaw", and makes no effort to correct that. He's even called that in the credits!
  • Mexican Standoff: During the climactic crane scene, the Doctor and Tzim-Sha have leverage over each other; she's grabbed the recall unit that he needs to get home, while he controls the DNA bombs inside the Doctor and her friends. At least, that's what the Doctor lets him think...
  • More Dakka: While building her new sonic multitool, the Doctor gathers a bucket full of spoons and looks at the handheld propane blowtorch she has with some disappointment. Smash Cut to her gleefully wielding a much bigger double-nozzle torch to melt them.
  • Must Be Invited: The Stenza hunt must be permitted by a human before the pod can be teleported to Earth. Unfortunately, permission comes in the form of a glowing button with no instructions, so all it takes is a human ignorantly pressing it to give consent.
  • Nepotism: Implied to be the case for Karl, who mentions the construction company he works for is owned by his dad. He isn't entirely comfortable with the job he currently has, as he's a tower crane operator with a fear of heights, and has self-esteem issues, which can't be helped by this.
  • No-Gear Level:
    • The Doctor doesn't have her TARDIS (last seen as the time rotor shattered and the entire interior erupted in flames), sonic screwdriver (fell out of her pocket mid-freefall), or psychic paper, and has to rely on her scattered wits and whatever she can cobble together.
    • Tzim-Sha's ritual of leadership is supposed to be this, but he cheats by using the smuggled data coil to track his prey.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: The Stenzas' hunt is supposed to be without weapons or assistance. Of course, Tzim-Sha decides to use a massive data coil to help him identify which "random human" is his target. When the Doctor confronts him, he uses a short-range teleporter to escape.
  • No Theme Tune: The episode has no Title Sequence at all.
  • The Noun Who Verbed: "The Woman Who Fell to Earth".
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Doctor has one when she, for a brief moment, regains some of her memory and realises that she has no sonic screwdriver and her TARDIS has just exploded, several thousand feet in the air, leaving her stuck on a train in the middle of nowhere.
    • Our trio of new companions' reaction when the Doctor's teleporter sends them along with her into deep space, and without spacesuits. The Doctor's reaction, on the other hand, is a combination of this and what some have interpreted as a little very misplaced glee.
  • Organic Technology: The data coil isn't so much a lifeform as it is an amalgam of lifeforms repurposed into an advanced computer.
  • Painful Transformation: On hearing the Doctor describe regeneration, Grace says it sounds painful. The Doctor replies that she has no idea, one of the rare occasions the Doctor admits regeneration does indeed hurt.
  • Plummet Perspective: Ryan drops his torch as he's climbing the crane tower.
  • Police Are Useless: Discussed. Yaz wants to call her superiors, but the Doctor points out that what she would tell them would be unbelievable. Yaz, herself, is far from useless.
  • Produce Pelting: A drunk decides to throw his salad at Tzim-Sha while telling him that Your Costume Needs Work. This ends badly for the drunk.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The Doctor's intervention saves one life — Karl's — but Grace dies instead. Both of them accomplished their objective, but the latter died in the process. Not to mention those who Tzim-Sha killed during his hunt for Karl, although the Doctor does save everyone he injected with DNA bombs and makes sure the rest of the site workers are sent to safety.
  • Quirky Town: Yaz asks her boss if anyone's reported anything out of the ordinary. He snarks that, in Sheffield at night, everything is out of the ordinary.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Doctor denounces Tzim-Sha as a "big blue cheat" for breaking the rules of the hunt.
  • Remonstrating with a Gun: The Doctor assures Graham and Grace of her good intentions while waving a hammer about. They back off nervously.
  • Resurrection Sickness: The Doctor's regeneration sickness this time round is giving her memory problems bad enough that she can't initially remember her own name, nor what a tongue is called.
  • Retool:Like "The Eleventh Hour", this is the start of another major retool for Doctor Who: New logo, format, theme (composed by by new composer Segun Akinola), et al. In addition, Series 11 consists of nine 50 minute stand-alone episodes (not counting this hour-long premiere) airing on Sundays, with no appearances from the show's established Rogues Gallery.
  • Running Gag: The Doctor lamenting that her pockets are empty, or having trouble finding anything in them.
  • Schmuck Bait: The glowing button that summons the Stenza pod, which Ryan just can't resist pressing.
  • She's Back: The Doctor is looking for a doctor. By the time she gets up on the crane, she's found the Doctor again.
  • Shout-Out: The title references the novel and film The Man Who Fell to Earth.
  • Sound-Only Death: Dennis the security guard.
    Dennis: What do you think you're— ARRRRRGGHHH!
  • Stock Phrases: The Doctor starts to say, "If you want something doing..." (you've got to do it yourself) on seeing that she's going to have to make the jump after Karl is captured.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Lightning among storm clouds is shown as the data coil does its work.
  • Survival Mantra: Karl recites from his affirmation tape when nerving himself to jump from one crane to another. Unfortunately, it gives Tzim-Sha enough time to catch up and grab him before he jumps.
  • Tantrum Throwing: Ryan gets so frustrated at his difficulties learning to ride a bicycle that he throws the bike off a cliff. He regrets it immediately afterwards and has to go down the hill to fetch it, setting off the plot.
  • Teleportation:
    • Tzim-Sha has a short-range teleporter that he uses at one point.
    • At the end, the Doctor rigs the remains of Tzim-Sha's pod into a teleporter intended to send her, and only her, to the current location of the TARDIS. Instead, it sends her, Graham, Ryan and Yaz off into deep space.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Yaz is frustrated with handling parking disputes and tells her supervisor to give her something more interesting.
    • Karl listens to an affirmation tape assuring him that he's special, valued, and that someone out there wants him. Yeah, about that...
    • Shortly after that, the security guard says, "Not every grandad's this lucky." Moments later, Tzim-Sha kills him.
    • Then there's a sign: Site Safety Starts Here, and another showing a falling man and DANGER OF DEATH-DO NOT CLIMB.
    • When firing up the device she's cobbled together to take her to the TARDIS, the Doctor says: "This should work." It doesn't.
  • Time Skip: The denouement, involving Grace's funeral, the Doctor getting new clothes and then building the teleporter, jumps forward several days, probably a week or more, after the rest of the episode.
  • Title Theme Drop: A very brief snippet of the new theme can be heard when the Doctor crashes through the roof of the train.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Externally, at least. The Doctor takes the trouble to genuinely apologise to these new humans, something the Twelfth Doctor had trouble doing convincingly. This may be due to Twelve's advice to Thirteen: "Always try to be nice, but never fail to be kind."
  • Trailers Always Spoil: All the pre-publicity mentioned the Doctor's three companions, Ryan, Graham and Yaz, while leaving out Grace. So when she turns out to be related to Ryan and Graham, has a major role in the episode, and is the most obviously gung-ho about the adventure they've wound up on with the Doctor, it's obvious something is going to happen to her before the end so she can't come along.
  • What Does This Button Do?: Ryan sees a glowing square floating in mid-air which expands to form a glowing button. He presses it. When the others give him flak for it, the Doctor admits she'd have done the same.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Doctor is not impressed when Karl knocks Tzim-Sha from the top of the crane, telling him he "had no right to do that."
  • Who Are You?: And the third time she's asked, the Doctor does remember who she is.
  • Why Am I Ticking?: Tzim-Sha implants DNA bombs in the Doctor and her new friends as a means of eliminating them as witnesses. During the final showdown with the Doctor, he activates them, only to discover that she had removed them earlier and tricked him into absorbing them into himself when he interacted with the data coil.
  • Womanchild: When in Yaz's patrol car, the Doctor asks if they can have the lights and siren switched on, then looks disappointed and petulant when Yaz refuses.
  • Wrong Line of Work: Karl is a tower crane operator with a fear of heights. He shows signs of low self-esteem while working, and is implied to forced into the job as a result of Nepotism from his father.
  • You Have No Idea Who You're Dealing With:
    Tzim-Sha: You're interfering in things you don't understand.
    The Doctor: Yeah, well, we all need a hobby.
  • You Have to Believe Me!: Invoked by the Doctor to get Yaz to work with her instead of reporting the Gathering Coil to her superiors, who won't believe anything they say when they don't have physical evidence. Averted with Graham, who leaves out the fact that he's searching for aliens when asking his fellow bus drivers if they've seen anything unusual.
  • Your Costume Needs Work: Tzim-Sha meets a drunken man, who looks at his armour and mockingly tells him he's a bit early for Halloween before throwing his salad at him. The drunk doesn't live long enough to tell any more jokes.