The Doctor Is On Duty In The 67th Century

“The Tsuranga Conundrum” is the fifth episode of the eleventh series of the revived Doctor Who in which Jodie Whittaker stars as the Doctor.  Bradley Walsh, Tosin Cole, and Mandip Bill play the new companions in the TARDIS.

The Doctor and her friends are injured by a sonic mine on some kind of junk planet in the 67th century and wake up on board a hospital ship taking them away from the TARDIS.  They encounter the two crewmembers on board a mostly automated vessel and the various patients including a man about to give birth and a well-known general of that time keeping secrets as to her health.

Things take a much more problematic turn when some kind of weird space gremlin shows up and starts eating its way through the ship.

Head writer Chris Chibnall turns in another pretty average installment, although there are some minor improvements.  The Doctor gets to show off her vast experience and knowledge when discussing the workings of the ship.  The only threat to the crew is from a new alien called the Pting. I do appreciate the effort to create new aliens for the Doctor to face, although this one wasn’t really intelligent, and couldn’t communicate on a level for the audience to witness some type of verbal sparring between it and the Doctor.

This was what was once dubbed a “base under siege” story with a small group of people trapped in a tight setting with a threat of destruction looming over them.

The appearance of the Pting is a little hard to take as a serious threat.  The guest cast was pretty good.  I rather liked Suzanne Packer’s role of General Eve Cicero.  The general is accompanied by an android consort and her younger brother.  The strained relationship between the siblings was well played.  I could have done without the pregnant man who is from an alien race, but that turned out to not be entirely intolerable.

Bradley Walsh continues to be a favorite casting choice so far.  The two younger main cast members are fine.  I am still hoping to see some moments where Whittaker’s version of the Doctor really makes a unique impression.  So far, she hasn’t made me want to smash my television in frustration but I have yet to be convinced that it was entirely necessary to cast a woman in the role after 55 years of the series’ existence.  I guess I will never think it necessary, but I have yet to feel pleasantly surprised at the effectiveness of such a decision.

There are some engaging moments in this episode, but overall it continues Chibnall’s string of mediocre contributions.

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