Hello everyone! 🙂
Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!
I’ve seen ‘The Tsuranga Conundrum’, the fifth episode of Series 11 of ‘Doctor Who’. The episode is by Chris Chibnall. I enjoyed seeing this episode via BBC iPlayer. Although saying that, comparing it to the first four episodes of Series 11 which I have enjoyed, I found this one to be the least good so far.
How can I put it? Well, let’s talk about the story. The episode begins with the Doctor, Graham, Ryan and Yaz on an alien junkyard planet. They find a sonic mine which very soon goes off whilst they’re standing there. Surprised they didn’t run for their lives in that instant when they saw the sonic mine.
Anyway, the TARDIS team wake up to find themselves on board a medical spaceship called the Tsuranga. Our heroes are in the 67th century by the way. The spaceship is on its way to a ‘resus’ space station where our heroes are to be decontaminated. The Doctor however does not want that.
She wants to get back to the alien junkyard planet where she and her friends left the TARDIS. The medical staff consist of Brett Goldstein as Astos and Lois Chimimba as Mabli. They’re very concerned about the Doctor and friends’ well-being. But before long, the Tsuranga faces trouble with an attack.
An alien creature called the Pting infiltrates the Tsuranga and causes havoc by eating the spaceship’s power supply. The Doctor and Yaz have to find a way to stop the Pting whilst Graham and Ryan are called to assist a male patient…who’s pregnant and about to give birth? I’ll get onto that bit later on.
Okay, so you have the story. A medical hospital spaceship on its way through space gets attacked by an alien creature that causes trouble on the journey and the Doctor and friends have to stop it. That is fine. In fact, I think the beginning; middle and end parts of the story manage to hold up quite well.
However I feel the second half of the story is weaker than the first half. Not to say the episode had a rushed conclusion compared to ‘Arachnids In The UK’, even though I like that episode a lot. But I think there was a lot of science stuff that got a bit beyond me as it was a bit challenging to process it.
Not to say the science wasn’t interesting. I think it would’ve benefited the episode if more time was given to explain what was going on in order to appreciate the urgency of the perilous situation our heroes were in. I found the first half intense and exciting before it got above me during the second half.
It was intense when the Doctor was trying to find an exit out of the hospital before she realised she and her friends were on a spaceship in flight. It was also interesting to see her relationship with Astos, the chief medic on board the spaceship and they seemed to bounce off each other really well.
I liked Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor in this episode. I know there are still people out there who haven’t taken to her as much as I have. But I liked it when she’s working things out and trying to solve a situation where things became critical and she has the energy and enthusiasm to achieve this.
I did enjoy it when the Doctor found a way of luring the Pting creature out of the spaceship into the airlock by using some sort of bomb to act as a ‘cheese’ to lure the ‘mouse’. I also found it really good when the Doctor surmised Suzanne Packer as Eve Cicero didn’t need certain medication given to her.
The Doctor also becomes an encouragement and a beacon for Mabli to keep on going in doing her job when things became bleakest and Astos wasn’t around. I found it funny when the Doctor lost the power in her sonic screwdriver for a bit and she had to cope without it in order to solve the big crisis.
I am noticing a trait in the Thirteenth Doctor where she says random things that make her awkward, including when she claims to be a doctor of medicine; science; engineering; candy floss?; LEGO; philosophy; music; etc. But what I like most about Jodie’s Doctor is that she loves humanity and hope. She’s a reassuring presence.
Bradley Walsh is good as Graham. His cynicism comes through at times. I enjoyed that moment where he asked questions and the Doctor replies “Yeah” to them. It was also amusing when Graham points out to Yaz that maybe the Pting won’t eat them alive but will eat the spaceship with them inside.
But it was interesting when Graham spotted Ben Bailey-Smith as Durkas Cicero, Eve Cicero’s brother doing something when accessing computer records and has a conversation with him. Graham helps with Ryan to deliver a pregnant man’s baby and I laughed at the ‘Call The Midwife’ references.
Tosin Cole is also good as Ryan. I don’t think he and Yaz have a strong outing in terms of character development in the episode, but there were some good moments in the episode to enjoy. I liked it when Ryan shares his family background with Yaz including what occurred between him and his Dad.
It was interesting to see Ryan’s reaction to Jack Shalloo as Yoss Inkl who’s about to have a baby aboard the Tsuranga. I can appreciate and understand his reaction. It was also interesting to see Ryan help delivering Yoss’ baby and he encourages him to be strong when he’s about to become a father.
Mandip Gill is equally good as Yaz, but like I said, she and Ryan don’t get a strong outing of character development here. She’s not completely useless though, as she’s given a job to do by the Doctor. She and David Shields as Ronan, Eve Cicero’s android have to protect an anti-matter device on the ship.
This they do, as Yaz and Ronan manage to zap the Pting creature out with energy weapons to trap it and stop it eating the anti-matter device. It was bizarre when Yaz kicked the creature away in a bag like a football. I liked it when Yaz accompanied the Doctor to witness the Pting lured into the airlock.
Now I must address a few things regarding parts of the episode that I consider weak. The first is Yoss Inkl as a pregnant man. Now, I’m not against this. I like how they establish that Yoss is of an alien species called the Gifftans. It makes sense since our heroes are in outer space as well as the future.
However, I do feel that Yoss didn’t look alien enough to establish that his species can be pregnant on the male side. Wouldn’t it have helped to make him blue-skinned; give him pointy ears or put tattoos on his skin to make him more alien. I’m just saying that he seemed more human than an alien in the episode.
Then again, Nyssa and Adric were aliens from other planets and they looked just as human as well as the Doctor in the TV series, so what do I know? Also I couldn’t help but feel Jack Shalloo’s performance as Yoss was a bit over-the-top especially in those scenes where he gets emotional and is giving birth.
Mind you, I can’t blame Jack Shalloo for giving it a try to play a pregnant male alien who became overwrought with emotion. It must be a challenging character to play and it’s not without its disadvantages. There are moments where he can be convincing; but there are others when he isn’t.
Another aspect to this episode I found a bit weak was the alien creature, the Pting. It was simply a small creature that had a ravenous appetite for energy. Wouldn’t it have been better to see this creature grow into giant-size in order for it to become a deadly and lethal problem to the spaceship?
I think it would’ve been great and more intense if the Pting grew to a Hulk-sized form and became harder for the Doctor and her friends to stop it with the spaceship about to crumble apart. I would’ve done it if I was writing this episode. Sadly that didn’t happen, which is a shame. Still I can’t complain too much.
Overall, ‘The Tsuranga Conundrum’ wasn’t the greatest ‘Doctor Who’ episode I’ve seen in Series 11 so far. It’s such a shame as I’ve been enjoying Series 11 for the most part and this happens to be the episode that is the least good. But this was still fun and enjoyable to watch as it had good moments.
I did enjoy watching the TARDIS team in this episode. It might not have been greatest outing for them in terms of character development, but there were some good moments for them as well as for the supporting characters involved. I only hope that the next episode in the season will be better.
Next week’s episode is called ‘Demons of the Punjab’ by Vinay Patel.
Thanks for reading!
Bye for now!