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No Doctor Who This Christmas?

(Review) Doctor Who: The Tsuranga Conundrum

We're at the halfway point of series 11.  The Doctor and friends find themselves on a ship that's under attack, and we're feeling some deja vu.  Let's discuss...

Warning:  Spoilers ahead

Observations:

  • Did we establish what the Doctor and crew were doing on that junk heap planet in the first place?  For a second, we thought we were back on the planet from The Doctor's Wife, and perhaps she was looking for some new parts for the revamped TARDIS.  Apparently not.

 

  • Speaking of the TARDIS, oh come on, the Doctor just found her, and now they're separated again?  You know the ship's consciousness is muttering to herself about abandonment issues while she waits for #13 to return.

 

  • There are few situations that are more "classic" Doctor Who adventures than a base/ship under attack. 

 

  • Why did we spend so much time on the Doctor wandering around trying to get back to the TARDIS?  That seemed to stall out a bit.  However, it was interesting to see the Doctor briefly forget that there were other patients on the ship, and that it wasn't all about her.  That part where she bragged about being a volume in the Book of Celebrants was also pretty egotistical.  Is this the beginning of the emergence of #13's darker side?  Show us more of that, please.

 

  • It feels a little weird that the Doctor would be so excited about meeting a general.  

 

  • We were expecting more from Ronan the Android.  For a second, it seemed like he might be a threat, but he just stood around a lot.

  

  • Is this an oddly large ship for only 10 people?

 

  • Hi Astos, bye Astos.  That seemed like a bit of a swerve.  We thought the show would feature Astos and the Doctor working together to save the day, and then he's gone in the blink of an eye.  His death raises the stakes of the situation, but at the same time, he's gone so quickly, we didn't have a chance to invest in him long enough to really feel the loss.

 

  • First the TARDIS disappears again, and now the new sonic screwdriver is kaput?  Oh wait, it's back about 15 minutes later.

 

  • The Pting is a solid idea for a dangerous monster.  It won't eat you, but it will eat your entire ship.  We can work with that, but this would have worked better if it had been a larger creature.  It's creepy looking as hell, but at that size, it reminded us more of a small dog.  The size-danger disconnect never worked for us with the Adipose, and this also doesn't hit with the impact it should.

 

  • We were getting ready not to love the pregnant guy story, but it provided an opening for more of Ryan's backstory and for him to start gaining a better understanding of his dad.  Our early money was on Graham leaving at the end of the year, but might Ryan go with him?  Perhaps this is all leading to one big family reunion, and the two guys decide they'd rather stay on Earth, leaving Yaz as #13's companion.

 

  • One thing we're particularly enjoying about the new era is the character development.  Graham and Ryan are being fleshed out, and it looks like Yaz will get her spotlight next week.

 

  • Jodie Whittaker continues to settle in nicely as #13.  Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious, and the humor is strong, but as we said earlier, it feels like we're starting to see her edgier side now, and that's one of the things that makes the Doctor such a fascinating character.  She's no longer "a mad man in blue box," but she's no pushover either.

 

  • The Doctor may change, but one thing remains the same:  There's always a lot of running.

 

  • Is it just us, or is Durkas Cicero dressed like he could be a member of Team TARDIS?  Jeans and a t-shirt is an odd fashion choice.

 

  • That was a lovely prayer at the end.

Doctor Who The Tsuranga Conundrum November 5 2018This week's threat is tiny, but it's still deadly.  (pic via trustedenews.com)

Final Thoughts:

The Tsuranga Conundrum is probably the fourth best episode out of the first five.  There are a few moments here and there that are engaging, while the rest of it is competent.  You won't rave about it, but it's hard to get angry about.  It's just sort of there.  It feels like a bit of a resting point at the halfway mark of the season.  We've met the characters, and now it's time to see where we're going this year.   

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