This series of Doctor Who has been nothing if not a long, strange trip.
Based on my informal research – okay, hours logged onto Twitter – one thing is clear: you can actually smell what The Chibs is cookin’, or you want to dig out your eyes with tiny plastic forks.
I’ve toughed it out so far, and the third episode, “Rosa,” pays off well. Taking on a crucial chapter in American history – Rosa Parks’ act of quiet rebellion in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama; triggering the Civil Rights Movement – the showrunner needed to get this right or take down his shingle. Writer Malorie Blackman delivers. The actors deliver. I’m not sure of the purpose of including an angry white male Time Agent bent on nudging history rather than rewriting it completely, but with the intervention of #TeamTARDIS away he goes and we hope the door don’t hit him where the Good Lord split him.
“Arachnids In The UK” lost me as soon as it’s revealed that Chris Noth (Law & Order and Sex And The City) is playing the part currently being acted out in Real Time in the U.S. by a haughty hotelier with political aspirations. J.K. Rowling’s solicitors ought to have a chat with the BBC. The uncredited cribbing from her Harry Potter series needs to be addressed, stat.
Finally, a short comment about “The Tsuranga Conundrum,” the episode that brings us to the mid-way point in the series.
I’m pretty sure this was time I’ll never get back. Chris Chibnall tries what I think is his hot take on binary humanoid reproduction, but it leaves skid marks on its corner of the universe. Our monster is a P’ting – a cross between Disney’s Stitch and Doctor Who‘s Slitheen and one of those Pokémon that are released on Community Day and are impossible to catch – which feeds on energy. People on my Twitter feed are actively asking the BBC to have this P’ting mass-produced.
Put a toddler in a costume and let ‘im rip. Make sure it’s someone else’s toddler. Then it can go back to its parents when the novelty wears off. It will. Trust me, I’m a grandmother.
It is the topic of families that ultimately keeps this episode from drowning in its own muck. Graham and Ryan are closer than they have ever been. When the male humanoid who got pregnant by a female gives birth to a son after – get this – one week and a painless C-section procedure, and decides to keep the child; Ryan gives one of the best pieces of parenting advice: “Yoss, you don’t have to be perfect. You just have to be there.”
Amen to that.
Next week: “Demons Of The Punjab”