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Review: Doctor Who – Dinosaurs On A Spaceship

John Riddell, Amy Pond, Rory Williams, The Doctor, Brian Williams, and Nefertiti.

The latest episode of Doctor Who starts out with a romp through time and space. The Doctor, having saved the day yet again (off screen), only this time in ancient Egypt, finds himself in a bit of a sticky situation with a very … appreciative Queen Nefertiti, only to be saved by a message on his psychic paper. He and “Nefi” make a quick hop to a slightly future Earth to the Indian Space Agency (oddly enough, not a surprise with how much of our tech support comes from there any more!) and there is a ship headed towards Earth of unknown origin. Another few quick hops back and forth to pick up another friend, John Riddell, a big game hunter from the plains of Africa, and then to the Ponds. Only, this hop doesn’t go as expected, with the TARDIS materializing AROUND the Ponds–and Rory’s Dad, who had stopped over to fix a light. Then on to the space ship in question.

This was a cute and very amusing montage way to start out the episode and shows just how absurdly busy the Doctor is keeping his life. He’s almost frantic with his movements through time and space, which actually goes to illustrate just how lonely he is. He does find other friends, like Nefi and Riddell, but they are something transitory in his life, unlike the Ponds, but he also seems to trying to distance himself from them, to the point Amy pointedly asks him if that is what he’s doing. The Doctor has a way of trying to protect the things (and people) he loves, but not always in a straightforward way.

Rory, The Doctor and Brian meeting a triceratops–who likes to play fetch!

The dinosaurs. What can I say about the dinosaurs, but I loved them! The Triceratops was both adorable and heartbreaking at the same time. Tricie came across as an overly large, but loveable dog who loved to chase balls and bring them back, which was one of the most adorable moments, but so lovable that it was heartbreaking when Solomon made his point with just how serious he was. The sleeping T-Rex was also an amusing moment. The Raptors at the end had me looking at the friends I was watching this with and saying, “What movie does this remind you of?” Very Jurassic Park with the CGI, but with better firepower. All in all, very well handled. Of course, this isn’t the first Doctor Who episode to have dinosaurs. The 1974 episode, Invasion of the Dinosaurs had them running around London with John Pertwee’s Doctor, Sarah Jane Smith, and Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart.

The robots. I adored the bickering robots! The comedy duel of David Mitchell and Robert Webb did a brilliant job as the two griping robots.

Nefertiti and Riddell were an interesting addition to the episode. Two very different companions than we’re used to, but very useful for this episode. This Doctor seems to favor larger groups of people around than other Doctors. In Demon’s Run, we also saw him with a “gang”, but for different reasons. It’s almost as if the Doctor is afraid to be with any companions for very long after all the things that happened to Rory and Amy. This will be interesting to see as it plays through the series.

Amy, Riddell, and Nefertiti Find Out About The Silurians.

It was nice to see the Silurian again, if only in a recording. Chris Chibnall, who wrote the episode and also wrote the episodes “The Hungry Earth” and “Cold Blood” which chronicle the return of the Silurian, made it all the more interesting.

Rory’s Dad was such fun in this episode. Mark Williams is never a disappointment as an actor and gave us such insight into the Williams men. I loved Rory’s quip about “It’s all about pockets in our family,” and answered my question for Asylum of the Daleks of “Why did Rory have a flashlight in his pocket?”

On a side note, it was fun to see more Harry Potter actors on Doctor Who! Mark Williams had played Arthur Weasley, and David Bradley played Argus Filch in the Potter film series.

This episode was much lighter than the previous episode, but still shows the darker edge Matt Smith’s Doctor has compared to other incarnations. There is a definite feel in these stories that the Ponds are going to be leaving him as companions soon and they are growing in their lives to a point they need and want to settle down. The Doctor has been a part of their lives for twenty-four years at this point, and they have been traveling with him for nearly twelve of that. Longer than most companions ever have.

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4 Comments

  1. Jessica Greenlee

    It was a strange episode, great fun but with an unexpected dark twist at the end there–all the darker because it was unremarked.

    But I nominate Rory’s dad sitting at the edge of the TARDIS eating lunch as the single most adorable moment in Doctor Who.

    • Rebecca Miller

      It was and did have that really dark under tone to the end. It reminded me a bit of some of the darker side of Tennant’s Doctor. This Smith’s Doctor does have that darker undertone under the frenetic energy.

      Rory’s Dad was utterly adorable and make’s Rory’s feet dragging much much more sense. I loved the postcards at the end!

      • Jessica Greenlee

        Yes, the postcards were great. Once he got started, he didn’t stop! They’re all the better because they are such cheesy, happy, touristy postcards. He’s totally enjoying himself!

        • Rebecca Miller

          I know! I love those “I’m here!” bubbles on them!

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