Doctor Who series 11 episode 5 “The Tsuranga Condundrum” has just aired in the UK, so BIG GIANT SPOILER ALERT for our US readers.
We’re off to a space ship. It’s a space ship in the future episode. Yes another one. So what makes this different – if at all?
1. Stunt Casting.
This is the episode that most excited by girls as Douglas, brother of the less famous, General Cicero was played by Doc Brown, out of The Four O’Clock Club. And especially my younger kid was thrilled to see Douglas as a put-upon ignored brother step up and save the day after the death of their older sibling, I hope she doesn’t get any ideas. Of course, why he would have ripped jeans in the 67th century is another question.
2. Sonic Screwed Intestines
The Doctor has a sonic screwdriver. Captain Jack from the 51st century had a sonic gun. Now in the 67th century, we have sonic mines that tear your insides apart. Things have moved on – both medical treatment, intergalactic energy drives but also weapons.
3. Look Her Up, She’s In The Book
The Doctor is getting famous again. Chapters or volumes in military history, the Book of Celebrants, have been written about her. And nice to see her geeking out about some intergalactic future history and its figures rather than Dickens, Agatha Christie, Winston Churchill or Rosa Parks. But there is a reminder that the history books always get it wrong. All bow down to Avocado Pear.
4. Doctor No
The Doctor gets things wrong. Has to be corrected and takes that correction. Her last incarnation may not have been as willing to concede these points -is the Doctor getting more mature? There is a third use of ‘get a shift on’ though – clearly defined as the new ”alons-y’ or geronimo’…
5. The Real Bad Guy
So it looks like the awful CGI spiders from last week were to make up for the CGI cash they’d have to spend on this cute critter, as the Doctor gets a case of the Gremlins by way of a gleaming-white Alien. The biggest enemy here wasn’t the Pting, but bureaucracy, health and safety. Death By Procedures, and the heart of the conundrum. Very understandable red tape but enough to strangle them all.
6. 67th Century NHS
It is nice to have a space hospital that isn’t trying to kill anyone. Or even charge anyone, free at the point of use it seems. Well, this future has male pregnancy sacs, Cotton’s fever and Pilot’s heart to look out for. All throwaway lines, or is there a chance some of it may revisit us? Chibnall isn’t showing any sign of anything carrying on episode to episode yet… though he gives the novels, comics and audios that ‘rainbathing in the upward tropics of Kinstano’ – who will get to that first?
7. Crazy Pting
The Pting – is it more like Crazy Frog or Stitch? Pting Pting Pting…
8. The Slow Bits
The last episode gave Graham the emotional beats, this episode it’s Ryan going through his daddy issues. WIth Graham right there, still refusing to acknowledge him as the family member Graham so wants to be. Will Yazz smack Ryan in the head and get him to throw Graham a bone?
9. Shutdown Solution?
Have Artificial Intelligence rights sunk so low that androids really have to be shut off when their human dies? A bit like slaves being buried in the tomb of their owners in Ancient Egypt? Not quite light in the dark times is it?
10. The Slow Way Home
If they can teleport such distances, why did they need the ambulance ship again? Especially one that has to fly into disputed, dangerous territories to get where it wants to go. Just wondering.
Here’s our first look at next week’s Doctor Who series 11 episode 6, “Demons of the Punjab”: