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The Doctor Who Episode That Still Has Fans Scratching Their Heads

Just like its titular character, the British sci-fi series "Doctor Who" regenerated itself with its new run of episodes beginning in 2005. For a show that started in 1963, its fanbase is remarkably alive and kicking, still watching while the series completely changes its cast every few seasons. However, there are plenty of episodes that haven't hit that sweet spot of time travel and alien action the show is known for.

The Season 12 episode "Orphan 55" begins with the Thirteenth Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions going to an all-inclusive resort, where they meet an old couple, a mechanic father and son, an unemployed woman, and the resort's three-person staff. Of course, since this is "Doctor Who" and not an anime, this is no simple spa day episode: A virus infects the resort's system, revealing that it's on a wasteland planet, and letting in creepy, bloodthirsty monsters called Dregs.

Although this is a show based on time travel, it isn't some complex plot of paradoxes that's confusing fans, but rather the creative choices that went into making the episode.

Orphan 55 has too much going on

It all goes downhill in the second half: To find the lost old man, the group ventures out of the resort, loses a few people, and gets stranded with little oxygen supply. Then the old couple gets engaged, but he dies; the father refuses to listen to his son until he does. Oh, and, the woman declares she's the abandoned daughter of the resort owner and had sabotaged the resort to get back at her. Plus, we learn this is Earth post-climate disaster and the Dregs evolved from humans. To put it bluntly, there's a lot going on. Of course, that's made it a popular topic among fans.

Redditor u/framed1234 brought it up on r/doctorwho, writing, "I just watched orphan 55 for the first time and what the hell is going in this episode?" They questioned the point of having so many different plotlines, calling it a "confusing mess." They thought surely there's no way the planet designated Orphan 55 would actually be Earth because that would be too obvious. Of course, that's exactly what happened.

User u/TheCoolKat1995 had an answer for their question about what's going on: "A beautiful, beautiful trainwreck." Also, several users agreed on the episode having too many side characters. User u/AlthricPasta wrote, "Did we really need this incredibly weak arc where the father doesn't let his son do the work but then...does? It's supposed to demonstrate a change in character but nothing really happened for him to allow it." Some fans called it the worst episode of "Doctor Who" and plenty criticized the Doctor's on-the-nose speech about how humans need to stop climate change.

Perhaps the harshest comment, though, was user u/TheHarkinator's sharp "I wish I could forget Orphan 55." Evidently, that's harder than it sounds.