Doctor Who: The Tsuranga Conundrum
The Tsuranga Conundrum is very much a very traditional sort of Doctor Who story, and a very traditional science-fiction adventure where the TARDIS crew are seperated from the TARDIS, and stuck in an enclosed space with a nasty alien who is intent on killing everything on the ship including them.
I found lots to enjoy in Tsuranga Condundrum. I loved the design of the ship itself which was very futuristic and looked very impressive indeed and no expense was spared in the design for the spacecraft. The junk moon was also a very impressive design although that didn’t features that much in the episode but they made the most of using the sets in the spacecraft as the majority of the episode was set on the ship itself, which looked properly futuristic.
The actual realisation of the alien menace the P’ting was decent but it did not look that threatening (my wife thought it was cute and said that she wanted a plush version for Christmas, which probably wasn’t what they were going for) and did look a bit like Stitch out of Lilo and Stitch, but the fact of what it could do, and what it did do, did at least make it a decent threat to the passengers, and the TARDIS crew, alike.
If it could have looked a bit more threatening then I think that it would have been quite a well remembered alien race but, at the very least, it was very well animated. I could well imagine this episode working well in any previous series or era of the show by which I mean that this is quite a typical episode of Doctor Who.
I thought that the characters on board the ship were relatively well drawn in particular the two medics on board the ship, Astos a seasoned person used to these trips and the other Mabli, new and unsure of herself who was during the course of the story became more sure of herself and showed that she was much more capable than she was in her mind.
We also got a decorated general from the far future, Eve Cicero, who was hiding a secret that they didn’t want other people to know about. They also had a character, Yoss, who was not only male but was also pregnant. However as this man was not human then there is no reason why he couldn’t be pregnant, so I am not sure what the big deal is and it tied in nicely with Ryan’s issues with his own Dad, and also his realisation that he was the same age now as his father was when he was born.
It also gave Ryan and Graham some amusing scenes when the character was giving birth particularly the bits about Graham watching Call the Midwife but shutting his eyes during the squeamish bits, which is the sort of thing you would expect a bloke to say and is probably what I would have done if I had watched Call the Midwife, which I have never done.
Yaz had a bit more to do in this episode and her main piece of action was when she had to scoop up a stunned P’Ting and then get it as far away from them as possible and she had the nice little line that name checked the goalkeeper of the England ladies football team as she drop kicked the P’ting out of the way before scarpering.
As it quite common with this series of Doctor Who is that the majority of it is about the characters and how they interact with each other, and how they learn from the events of the episodes, and we learn a bit more about Ryan particularly about what happened to his mother which, was quite an emotional moment (especially when you consider that the only person he has now left is Graham, as his dad seems to be a total waste of space and he doesn’t seem to get on that well with Graham in general), and also gave him another nice little moment with Yaz.
Having said that though this was a very science fiction based episode what with it being set on a spaceship with an alien intent on killing everyone and, also a pregnant man, which is also a very science fiction concept which has been done to death on other shows but I don’t believe has been done on Doctor Who before.
I thought that Jennifer Perrott’s direction here was very effective and I thought that it was a good thing that you didn’t really see the P’Ting that often in the flesh as it were as it was much more frightening when you couldn’t see it but when you could hear it and also when you were being told that it was working its way towards you.
They went to town with the effects work and the set design for this episode with both the Junk planet and the ship itself being very well realised and both highly effective and it was a shame that we didn’t spend more time on the junk planet even though it was just a means to an end to get them onto the spacecraft in the first place.
In general this was a decent episode with lots to enjoy.