TV Review: Doctor Who: The Tsuranga Conundrum

Episode five, and this one was my favourite in the series yet!

The Doctor and companions wake up on a hospital ship after being caught by a sonic mine while scavenging (bit of a new hobby for the Doctor).  Unfortunately, the hospital ship is rerouted through an unusual sector of space due to some asteroid activity, and so it picks up a Pting, a creature that passively kills people on spaceships due to the fact it eats all the essential parts of the ship.  The Doctor manages to get all the passengers working together and eventually gets rid of the Pting by realising that it seeks energy and letting it eat the ship’s self-destruct bomb.

Even though the episode’s set on a ship, it’s a very classic base-under-siege style story due to the fact that the characters have very limited control over the ship’s flight.  The concept of a creature that eats everything non-organic is a bit comedic by Doctor Who standards – it kind of reminded me of Nibbler in Futurama – but I did think it worked here, and I also liked that the Doctor managed to solve the problem without destroying the creature (although this does beg the question of what happens when it finally stops gorging itself on the energy from the bomb!).

I was a bit worried when we first saw Eve Cicero and her robot buddy Ronan being all secretive about something, as I thought that they were going to be the kind of annoying semi-villains you get in Doctor Who that impede the Doctor’s efforts to save everyone’s lives.  Happily, this did not turn out to be the case, and the Doctor quickly got everyone on the same team and working to their strengths, which was a nice punch-the-air moment.

More good characterisation for Ryan and Graham in this episode, as their interaction with pregnant dude Yoss was very funny.  Male pregnancy is not something we’ve seen in Doctor Who before, I don’t think, but it was done really well – it was both comedic and touching, and I loved the juxtaposition between Yoss changing his mind about keeping his baby and Ryan realising why his own dad has made so many mistakes.  We’re back to Yasmin being a bit ‘generic female companion’, but next week’s ‘go back in time and meet a family member’ story looks like a really strong episode for her, with shades of Rose in Father’s Day back in 2005.

A historical episode next week!  That should be good.

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