Sunday, September 09, 2012

My Review of Doctor Who's 7x02: "Dinosaurs On A Spaceship"

Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Saul Metzstein

Amy: “Doctor!”
The Doctor: “I know – dinosaurs on a spaceship.”

If ever there was a title that could be taken literally, it’s definitely this episode. If you were hoping for actual dinosaurs on a spaceship, well then, this episode certainly delivered on that promise and more.

I know when an episode happens to be penned by Chris Chibnall, it seems like a lot of viewers are almost waiting for the man to fudge it up but with this episode, he gave easily one of the most bonkers and fun set pieces you could’ve imagined.

Chibnall was wise enough to realise that the novelty of dinosaurs on a spaceship wouldn’t be enough to sustain the episode, so he found different ways of making it interesting. The fact that the Silurians were making an attempt to preserve the last remaining dinosaurs by sending them on a spaceship for a new world worked as an explanation for the title.

But what happened to the Silurians themselves? This episode should’ve been crawling with them and low and behold, we also quickly learned that a nasty bounty hunter named Solomon woke them up from their sleep and ejected them out of the ship when they wouldn’t hand over the dinosaurs for him to sell.

Basically, unlike Chibnall’s other Silurian adventures, they were actually the heroes in this one – albeit, tragic unseen ones (excluding the briefly seen Bleytal) apart from the moment where Amy was piecing things together but more on Miss Pond’s savvy later in the review.

I liked that the dinosaurs weren’t actually the problem of the episode. Yes, they were on a spaceship that was due a collision course with the Earth and the Doctor assembled a rag tag team of sorts in order to prevent that from happening and Indira and her missile happy organisation from blowing the ship up as well.

Instead, it was Solomon who was the nasty piece of work in this episode and David Bradley made the character into quite a deplorable piece of work with finesse. Killing the Silurians for the dinosaurs had been start but along with threatening our gang at various points in the episode, it was the means of acquiring Queen Nefertiti that really left bad taste for this particular viewer.

I’m actually surprised that Chibnall managed to get away with the lines Solomon spouted about wanting to break the Egyptian queen but his antics in the end did cost him spectacularly when the Doctor left Solomon in dire consequences. Seeing the Doctor react in such a brutal manner was shocking but it seems that if next week’s episode is anything to go by, there will be some consequences for his actions.

As for the rag tag team of the episode – well, what a bunch of interesting characters we got here. Amy and Rory was one thing but the addition of the latter’s father, Brian was a lot of fun. Mark Williams was such an effortless choice to play Rory’s dad and he’s every bit as cautious as his son can be from time to time but I did like that by the end of the episode, Brian went from being against travelling to going on many expeditions of his own.

It’s nice that such a fleeting enough with the Doctor could have a positive influence on Brian in that regards. Plus, the fact that it was him who figured out that both he and Rory could fly the ship due to them genetics really did demonstrate where Rory got his savvy from.

Then there was mixture of game hunter John Riddell and Queen Nefertiti, who between them became Amy’s companions more than the Doctor’s and had more innuendo charged moments with each other than an entire Sunday marathon of Carry On movies. Still, there was some excellent chemistry between Rupert Graves and Riann Steele and both characters were immensely enjoyable to watch in this one.

As for the Ponds themselves – Amy and Rory are definitely in a better place than they were in the previous episode and while they were largely seperated from each other on the spaceship, it does seem that their marriage is in a good place, even if there was some obvious foreshadowing in relation to their dynamic with the Doctor and Amy’s inability to stick at a job for a certain amount of time. Still, it was nice seeing them once again,

Also in “Dinosaurs On A Spaceship”

I’m guessing ISA, the organisation that Indira works for has some form of a connection with UNIT, right?

The Doctor: “Time flies. Never really understood that phrase.”

Rory got a snog from the Doctor in this episode, which means that Mickey, Sarah Jane and Wilfred are the only new series companions not to have that type of contact with the Doctor. Anyone want to bet what episode Clara will snog/get snogged by the Doctor?

Rory (to Brian): “Dad, I’m thirty one. I don’t have a Christmas list any more.”
The Doctor: “I do.”

Amy (to Riddell): “Face it, she’s way cooler than you.”
Nefertiti: “And you, Amy, are you also a queen?”
Amy: “Yes, yes I am.”

This is the second episode in a row to reference Christmas, have something about the Doctor having no evidence (Solomon’s scanners couldn’t identify him) and also something musical related – this time around Four Hands by Schubert.

Robots (to the Doctor/Rory/Brian): “We’re very cross with you.”

Solomon: “It’s fate that you came.”
The Doctor: “Is it? I'm the Doctor.”
Solomon: “Yes, I know. I’m Solomon.”

This episode seemed to give a rather interesting answer in relation to Nefertiti’s disappearance as well as a new planet named Siluria that Brian later visited with the Doctor.

Solomon: “You won’t profit from me, Doctor.”
The Doctor: “Don’t ever judge me by your own standards, Solomon.”

Amy (to Nefertiti, re Riddell): “So, human keeping potion or walking innuendo, take your pick.”

I did love the scene with the Doctor, Rory and Brian using a triceratops to escape with the use of golf balls. Too bad the poor thing died at the hands of Solomon’s annoying robots (voiced by David Mitchell and Robert Webb).

The Doctor (to Rory/Brian): “Guys, comedy gold. Where’s a Silurian audience when you need them?”

Riddell: “You know what I want more than anything?”
Amy: “Lessons in gender politics?”

While Confidential may no longer exist, the BBC site is still providing behind the scenes clips of each episode as a consolation.

Solomon: “You wouldn’t leave me, Doctor.”
The Doctor: “Enjoy your bounty.”

Chronology: It’s been ten months since the events of “Asylum Of The Daleks” for Amy and Rory.

“Dinosaurs On A Spaceship” won’t go down as a classic, but you’d want to be a right misery guts not to have laughed a bit during the episode. It had fantastic dinosaurs, great guest characters, some witty banter and Solomon really was a nasty piece of work. It mightn’t persuade me that Chibnall should run the series after Moffat but this was a hoot nonetheless.

Rating: 8 out of 10


Anonymous said...

"I’m guessing ISA, the organisation that Indira works for has some form of a connection with UNIT, right?"

I dunno. It stands for Indian Space Agency.

shawnlunn2002 said...

I checked that bit out. They seemed kind of UNIT-ish.