Monday, 5 November 2018

Doctor Who - The Tsuranga Conundrum



P'Ting On The Bits

Doctor Who - The Tsuranga Conundrum
Airdate: 4th November 2018
BBC 1


Okay so, many apologies but this is going to be yet another brief review, mainly because this episode was a classic ‘Doctor Saves Almost Everyone On Board A Spaceship In Peril’ episode that was done exactly right. I mean, when they’re good they’re good and, though their were more dissenting voices in our household about this episode and the state of the show now in general, I’d had to say I have to disagree with the criticisms I heard levelled at this one.  I think I’m beginning to warm to Chris Chibnall as a writer, scary as that is for me to admit.

So this one dealt with a fair few classical and, yeah, admittedly clich├ęd science fiction concepts but it did so with a certain amount of style and matter of fact, throwaway attitude to the introduction (or probably reintroduction) of those concepts that was handled quite well.

So The Doctor and her new crew accidentally get caught in an explosion of a sonic mine which scrambles their insides and, leaves them in a bad way which we don’t really see until they wake up on a hospital ship with their insides still slightly scrambled but otherwise reconstructed and kinda okay. Except we have a new, gremlin like alien called the P'Ting that eats anything in its path eating the ship around from everybody and also killing one of the crew in the process. Meanwhile, they have to also deal with a male pregnancy, a war hero pilot who is dying while keeping it a secret from her engineer brother and also a small scale Hadron Collider which powers the ship's anti-matter drive.. oh and a big detonater which will blow them all up once the place they are rendezvousing with triggers it if they think the ship is in trouble.

So, yeah, lots of balls in the air in this one which is fortunate, actually, because it could have been a really boring, straightforward non-starter of a story without all the constant rushing about, fast explanations and cross cutting between different groups of people doing different things. It was also a big plus that the cute CGI creature was actually quite well done so, yeah, sometimes special effects can serve the story in a worthwhile fashion, I guess.

Once again, Jodie Whittaker was awesome as The Doctor and her companions played by Bradley, Walsh, Mandip Gil and Tosin Cole more than held their own. Their were some great lines given to Walsh here who continues to be both the comic relief and part of the emotional heart of these new stories and once again we have the running gag of a lack of ‘knuckle touching’ with one of his co-stars. I also liked the proud statement from Graham (Bradley Walsh) that he’d learnt a lot about delivering babies as he’d seen every episode of the BBC TV show Call The Midwife... along with his later admission that he looked away during the squeamish bits.

Another thing which really helps... and this is a fairly crucial thing with Doctor Who... is that, once again, the writers and producers aren’t shying away from the deaths of likeable characters in the episodes to show the consequences of people's actions and inaction... which also helps the dramatic beats along. This is all good stuff and a very necessary part of these kinds of stories, as far as I’m concerned.

So.. actors all good, nice budget conscious sets which didn’t look too bad even though I can assume the same bits of corridors were doubling for one another during the shoot, an okay musical score and more than enough dialogue and world building to distract from the somewhat jaded story line and the sheer obviousness of the 'two birds with one stone' solution to the creature and the bomb that The Doctor will eventually come up with. Yeah, okay... saw that coming a mile off but it’s cool, they did it with a certain style.

And I don’t really have much more to say about that one, I’m afraid. Good episode. Nothing much to complain about. Well, alright, maybe wondering how The Doctor’s ‘found’ costume managed to change colour between episodes but, apart from that... not really. Keep them coming and fingers crossed they do one or two really great stories at some point this season. At the moment it’s, for the most part, sure and steady and it’s working just fine. Don't kick it.

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