I watched episode 6 of the new series with a certain trepidation: for the second time this season the BBC was choosing to revisit a highly sensitive moment in recent history. In the Rosa Parks episode (4), such revisiting had come disturbingly close to revisionism, cultural appropriation and the Doctor playing white saviour, all in the name of light entertainment/edutainment! It was a relief, therefore, to see the BBC judge it perfectly with ‘Demons of the Punjab’. Phew. This was an extremely moving episode. It was far more than light entertainment. Far more.
The Doctor’s assistant, Yaz, convinces her to take them all back to the Punjab of 1947 so that they can see the wedding of Yaz’s grandmother (an episode the grandmother is too reluctant to talk about). They arrive to discover that the Partition of India and Pakistan is just about to take place. Added to it all, the holy man who is due to oversee the wedding winds up murdered (apparently by demonic aliens), so it seems that the wedding won’t take place and Yaz will never be born! She’ll be erased from history.
More than that will spoil it, but it’s safe to say all is not as it seems. Of course, there can be no happy ending either. And it was extremely pleasing to see Yaz central to events, since she barely got a single line in episode 5. I highly recommend this episode – and trust that it represents the series really getting into its stride (after a slight wobble in episodes 4 and 5). Keep the faith!