Doctor Who – Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

As with last week’s new episode post, this won’t be a full run-through of the story, but will involve details that anyone who hasn’t seen it may prefer not to read just yet. Or, in short

Here be spoilers!

OK, all ready now?

Earth has a bit of a problem. There’s this giant spaceship heading towards it in a sort of general looking like it’s going to crash sort of way. The Doctor, having been alerted to this, assembles his gang. Well, he’s never had one before, so thought it might be a good idea. The gang consists of Queen Nefertiti (yes, that one, the actual ancient Egyptian one), Lestrade from Sherlock Ridell, an early 20th century big game hunter, and of course the Ponds. Well, the Ponds plus one, as Rory’s dad Brian (played by Mark Williams) happened to be there when the Doctor picked them up by materialising the TARDIS around them.

Much of the usual fun follows, what with there being actual dinosaurs on the spaceship, a pair of comedy robots[1] and an actually Very Nasty Villain.  Now the first question is what the photon a load of dinosaurs are doing on a spaceship the size of Canada in the first place. Not running it, obviously (“they’re probably just passengers”). Now anyone who knows their Who and has a bit of a think might work it out. Who might have had the technology to build an ark to try to save as much of life on Earth as possible when faced with imminent catastrophe about 65 million years ago? Yup. It’s a “Silurian”[2] ship, only there don’t seem to be any actual Silurians running it.

This is all thanks to the delightful Solomon, as dark and just plain nasty a villain as you’re ever likely to meet. Not content with wanting to steal the dinosaurs, he massacred the Silurians, who were in suspended animation. Now normally, when the Doctor hears about something like that, he gets a bit shouty and angry. But this time, there’s something colder and darker going on inside him…

It’s not all doom and gloom of course. Writer Chris Chibnall delivered some lovely dialogue, including such gems as

What do we do about the things that aren’t kestrels?

And we learn that the average triceratops loves to fetch golf balls. No course should be without one. Brian Pond Williams[3] is a lot of fun, with a nice line in put downs

Thank you, Arthur C Clarke….

But the real point of this story comes near the end. With missiles heading for the ark, the Doctor takes drastic action to save the dinosaurs. As the ark turns away from Earth, Solomon’s ship draws the missiles and is destroyed, complete with Solomon. The Doctor declined to rescue him in one of his rarely seen moments of being utterly ruthless. Now, given that Solomon was a genocidal evil waste of air, it was pretty obvious that he wasn’t going to survive the story, but it’s quite rare for the Doctor to actively kill someone (lots of beings die as a result of his actions, which may well amount to the same thing, but…). The Doctor is heading into darker territory, and the last time we saw that was when he started losing the plot and calling himself Time Lord Triumphant, which didn’t work out too well…

Things are going to get interesting over the next few weeks.

[1] Voiced by Mitchell and Webb…
[2] Yes, we’re stuck with the wrong name, but it makes no less sense than Homo Reptilia
[3] The Doctor insists he’s a Pond, of course

One thought on “Doctor Who – Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

  1. Pingback: Doctor Who – A Town Called Mercy : Losing it

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