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Who Review: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

September 11, 2012

With a title like “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship,” you know exactly what kind of episode of Doctor Who this is going to be. It’s fun, lighthearted, and doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s also incredibly enjoyable and hilarious with great special effects, and it now ranks among my all-time favorite episodes of Doctor Who. SPOILERS BELOW!

While Moffat sometimes struggles with stuffing too much into an episode, writer Chris Chibnall manages the same task with ease. We’ve got dinosaurs, Nefertiti, a big game hunter, Rory’s dad Brian, space pirates, missiles, Silurians, and a pair of surly yet polite robots voiced by David Mitchell and Robert Webb. I KNOW.

This episode had some of the greatest, most quotable dialogue of any Doctor Who episode. Every single character had a few terrific lines, and every single actor gave a terrific performance. Mark Williams as Rory’s dad Brian felt a little bit underutilized, but that’s a minor quibble. I would have liked to see more interaction between him and Rory to better establish their relationship. But honestly, where would that fit?

Speaking of Brian, found a plot hole! It’s not Doctor Who without a plot hole!! Say, wouldn’t Brian and the Doctor have met already? The Doctor appeared at his son’s wedding in a big blue box and top hat. The Doctor said that he danced with everyone at the reception, even the men.

Also, did anyone else notice Rory’s lines with his dad (“This won’t hurt. I lied.”), were exactly the same as River’s lines to Amy in Flesh and Stone? Like father, like daughter!

But my, what guest stars we had! Hamlet‘s Riann Steele as Nefertiti, Sherlock‘s Rupert Graves as John Riddell, and Harry Potter‘s David Bradley as Solomon! Graves was easily the best of the three. While his character was a bit forgettable, it was delightful to see Lestrade having so much goddamn fun.

And this episode was just plain fun. Yes, there were certainly darker moments, but they felt natural. The death of Solomon was deserved, and the Doctor has killed people who deserved to die many times before. Yes, most of those awful people were aliens, but this terrible man shouldn’t be let off the hook because he’s human.

There was also a sweet moment between the Doctor and Amy in this episode that has the fans wondering if there is something else going on. Moffat has claimed that there is no bigger story connecting the episodes this season, but some people have theorized that the Doctor is visiting the Ponds in reverse. It’s possible that in his timeline, he’s already lost the Ponds and now is scrambling to spend as much time with them as he can. It’s a very interesting theory, but we’re too early in the season to see if it has merit just yet. Then again, we might see their relationship break down and lead to the sudden divorce last season. Who knows!

Now I’ve gotten to the point where there isn’t any more to review and comment on. Now I just want to gush about my favorite moments. Amy playing Doctor! The Doctor and his Christmas list! The robots singing Daisy Belle! The fact that the Doctor had a gang (harkening back to A Good Man Goes To War)! Every single Matt Smith scene!!

Phew. Yeah, this one was a fun episode. Mostly fluff, sure. It was a candy bar, delicious and very enjoyable, but lacking in nutritious content. Here, nutritious means emotional depth and meaningful character development. But hey, not every episode needs to be an epic journey full of tears and gut punches. Sometimes we just need to enjoy riding a triceratops.

out of 5 Tricies

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Christopher permalink
    September 11, 2012 11:31 am

    You know, it’s things like that dorky little ‘yeah!’ fist pump that he delivered when he said “I have a gang” at the start of the episode that make Eleven my favourite.

    And it seems that “Christmas” is the Arc Word of this year. In the first episode, he tells the Daleks it’s their Christmas because they have him caught. In this one, Rory says he doesn’t have a Christmas list, but the Doctor… “I DOOOOOOOOO!” Next episode in the teaser there’s a line about Christmas as well.

    Not sure if they’re just teasing for Clara, or if something bigger/more important is coming with the Xmas special.

    Also, I shed tears when Tricie died. Yeah, Solomon deserved what he got. The Doctor gave him several chances to renege, and do the right thing. He didn’t. He sealed his fate.

    • September 11, 2012 11:38 am

      I watched this episode twice (once to enjoy and once to watch more critically for review) and I still laughed out loud at half the Doctor’s lines.

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