Saturday, August 24, 2013

50th Anniversary Countdown: Doctor Who 7.02: "Dinosaurs on a Spaceship"

“Did the Silurians beg you to stop? Look Solomon. The missiles, see them shine. See how valuable they are? And they’re all yours. Enjoy your bounty.”
- The Doctor

We jump right into the action in episode 2. The Doctor has just had some fun shenanigans with Queen Nefertiti in Ancient Egypt. He gets a message on the psychic paper and she kind of invites herself along. They end up on a space station in 24th century near Earth. There’s a spaceship starting to head towards the planet and there’s only 6 hours (give or take) until it’s within missile firing range. The Doctor loves a challenge and rounds up a guy named Riddell he met in the early 1900s in the African desert and then pops back to current day Earth to pick up the Ponds. Rory’s dad, Brian, is over and he’s sort of pestering Rory about a light fixture when the TARDIS materializes around them and whisks them off to the aforementioned impending spaceship. The Doctor is all excited to have a gang and momentarily gets side tracked by Brian’s presence. Naturally, Amy leaves Rory to explain the whole time/space travel thing. Brian isn’t quite all caught up when a set of doors open and honest to goodness dinosaurs come rampaging out. Yes, Stephen Moffat has said on many occasions this entire plotline came from the phrase “dinosaurs on a spaceship”.

Once the dinosaurs pass, the Doctor finds a computer access panel and starts figuring things out. Like the fact that there’s lots of little compartments. He asks the computer to show him the engine room and he, Brian and Rory get sucked in via transport to a beach. Brian starts panicking and Rory has to explain that it’s possible to be on a beach in space. The Doctor goes to investigate some rocks, leaving Rory and Brian to dig in the sand. Brian whips out his ever-handy trowel (no man should leave the house without one) and they discover they are in fact in the engine room. With a flock of pterodactyls. Oh and the ship is apparently powered by waves. I have to say the interplay between Mark Williams and Arthur Darvill is great. They act like they are related. It’s kind of awesome.

Meanwhile, Amy is left with our historical newcomers. Riddell is something of a womanizer and is disappointed to find out he’s not famous (he’s a big game hunter). Nefertiti is way cooler according to Amy. Not surprising, there’s more than just the two dinosaurs they narrowly avoided earlier. They happen upon a T-Rex nest and Riddell nearly steps on a baby dino’s head. Poor thing (the dinosaur not Riddell). And it wouldn’t be complete without a nefarious, shadowy figure waiting for the Doctor. And he sends some robots to go get him. These are probably some of my favorite robots ever. They find the Doctor and the Pond men in a cave (having escaped the pterodactyl flock) and the first things the robots say is “We are very cross with you”. Freaking brilliant! And then they continue bickering with each other the whole way to their leader. Best part of the whole episode if you ask me. Oh and they encounter a triceratops on the trek through the ship. It likes Brian because he’s got grass-y golf balls. And for the adults in the audience, there was a rather sexual joke about Brian’s balls and vegetable matter in his pants.

Amy and her set of companions happen up on a console and gets it working by pressing buttons. She finds a data log and after some coaxing, learns the original inhabitants of the ship were Silurians. There were thousands of them at launch and then they all disappeared. Doing a bit of “spot the difference” between the then and now life signs images, she sees another ship. Which is exactly where the Doctor and his boys are headed. Only the Doctor is allowed in to see the little ship’s pilot, Solomon. Some raptors started to feast on his legs and so he’s kind of a cripple. He wants the Doctor to fix him. If he doesn’t, he’s going to kill Brian and Rory and to show he’s serious, he has one of the robots burn Brian. This gives Rory the chance to be heroic nurse guy (he carries a nursing pack in his pocket instead of a trowel. Both helpful in this particular situation as it turns out). The Doctor manages to coax some more information out of Solomon. He is a trader of valuable things, like the dinosaurs and Solomon had the Doctor scanned to see how much he was worth. As luck would have it, the Doctor doesn’t come up in the database. Interesting.

Amy phones Rory to fill him in on the missing Silurians and she tells the Doctor about it, too as he’s fixing up Solomon’s legs. Oh did I mention that Solomon is played by the actor who played Mr. Filch in the Harry Potter films. The Doctor gets Solomon to do a bit of an info dump wherein he admits to massacring thousands of Silurians. And he wants to get to a trading planet but he can’t change the ship’s course. Good one, moron. Kill off everyone who could have done it. The Doctor refuses to help and he and the Pond men race off, even getting a ride on our friendly (and rather dog-like) Triceratops. She likes to play fetch. It was rather adorable to be honest. And the robots continued to bicker with each other after they were sent to apprehend our guys. They remind me a bit of the robot in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Unfortunately, the missiles are being locked on and the Doctor only has 30 minutes to save the day.

Elsewhere on the ship, Amy and her pals find tranquilizer guns. This only makes Riddell seem like a bigger douchebag to be honest. Solomon teleports to where the Doctor and the Pond men are trying to find a way to the control deck. Solomon has done another scan of the ship and discovered something far more valuable than the dinosaurs. He wants Nefertiti. The Doctor refuses as is to be expected. So Solomon has the robots shoot the poor Triceratops. Bastard! The missiles are getting closer and the Doctor really needs to sort out a plan. Nefertiti offers herself up to Solomon, giving the Doctor and the other companions enough time to sort things out. Brian and Rory get to pilot the ship away from the missiles and the Doctor whilst having a chat with Amy about her life and how he’s not trying to wean the Ponds off being companions, pulls out the signal beacon that the missiles are locked on to. He pops over to Solomon’s ship (after having magnetized it so he couldn’t leave), tosses the beacon in and demagnetizes the ship. So now the missiles will target him and not the dinosaurs. We saw some of Ten shine through at the end of the episode where he tried to give Solomon the chance to do the right thing. He doesn’t and the missiles blow him up. Good riddance, I say. Meanwhile, Amy and Riddell bond a bit by shooting raptors.

With the day saved, the Doctor drops Nefertiti and Riddell back in Africa (together) and Brian gets a view of Earth from the TARDIS. The whole trip sparks a desire in him to travel and he sends loads of postcards back to Amy and Rory. And we get a postcard from the Doctor from Siluria with the dinosaurs. Overall, I enjoyed the episode. It had lots of good laughs and some serious stuff that I liked from days gone by.

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