‘Doctor Who’ Recap: ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’

Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

We begin, once again, with the Doctor pressed up against the TARDIS by a woman keen to find out if any of his other vital organs appear in duplicate form. And as usual, he’s delightfully flustered, but immune to her charm. Well kind of immune. The kind of immune that means you invite the girl in and actually give her coffee rather than… anything else.

Some time later (OK, four thousand years later), and there’s a big spaceship (the size of Canada) that looks like a baby’s activity toy, and it’s heading for Earth. Thankfully the Doctor is on hand to sort it out, although he’s only got six hours before the missiles are deployed.

Got that? Nefertiti is in the TARDIS, six hours (and 19 minutes) until the missiles. What next? Oh yes, the hunter Riddell. A curious choice after an Egyptian queen, although his hunting skills MAY come in useful later on, we shall have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, at the Ponds, Brian (Rory’s dad) thinks the problem with their light is to do with the fitting, and it probably is, until it’s the TARDIS, which has materialized around them. And they’re off to the Canadaspaceship, with Brian in tow. Brian doesn’t seem to remember the Doctor or the TARDIS, even though both men must have been at the Pond/Williams wedding (Brian out of shot during this moment. Probably attending to his other family of red-heads, in the non-muggle realm):

Anyway, the important thing is they’re all together now, in a gang (it’s new), exploring a spaceeship that appears to be suffering from a nasty infestation of… dinosaurs.

Oh except they’re not all together any more. Brian, Rory and the Doctor are suddenly on a beach with a metal underbelly, which is also in the spaceship. Because if you’ve got room for dinosaurs (Canada, remember), you’ve definitely got room for a small ocean and some coastal erosion. Brian’s not happy, he doesn’t like traveling. But he does have a portable trowel.

Riddell is acting the big alpha male in the company of two actual alpha females, Nefertiti and Amy Pond, and it’s only during their bickering that they realize they’re walking over a sleepy teenage tyrannosaur. Cue a tiptoed retreat, and more bickering.

Oh dear, the other three are being attacked by not-kestrels. Or pterodactyls, as paleontologists would call them. The local teleport has burned out, so it’s time to run away. Into a cave blessed with ominous footsteps, which are being made by two prissy robots. They’re very cross with our threesome, and they say so.

Elsewhere, Amy has got the ship’s computer working, and it’s clear that the Canadaship was build by Silurians as an escape vessel from their home planet (which would be Earth. The implication being the Silurians took the dinosaurs and flew away when the meteor we currently think destroyed them was about to hit the planet. And now the Canadaship is heading back towards Earth like that same meteor, ready to spread dinosaurs over the face of the planet and properly wipe them out, only now there are no Silurians present. Even Alanis Morissette would recognize the irony here).

The boys are being led away by the prissy robots, although they do stop to make friends with a licky triceratops, one with a peculiar fetish for grass-flavored golf balls. Something that has to be real, because it’s hard to conceive of an imagination that could make such a situation up.

Riddell offers to spank Nefertiti, to Amy’s disgust, which seems a little double-standardy, given the nature of her past relationship with the Doctor and Rory. Anyway, she’s found out that the Silurians have gone, and has discovered the other spacecraft inside Canadaspaceship. It belongs to a man called Solomon, who likes Franz “the hands” Schubert. This passion for the classics is clearly becoming a theme among the extra-terrestrials that the Doctor encounters. Remember Carmen from last week?

However, Solomon is no Oswin and he instructs Prissy Robot #1 (or is it #2) to shoot Brian. Luckily Rory has nursing supplies, which he puts to good use while the Doctor and Solomon learn a few things about one another. Solomon is a trader, selling species for cash, and he’s going to sell the dinosaurs, after freeing the Silurians from cryosleep, a few at a time, and throwing them out into space. Trouble is, he can’t fly the Canadaship anywhere, as it needs two genetically related beings to fly it. That’s why it’s heading back to Earth.

Oh and now there’s an escape, the Doctor, Brian and Rory ride off on the slow-running triceratops, to get away from the slow-walking prissy robots. it’s like a half-speed car chase, precipitated by another golf-ball. But everything is fine now.

Except it’s not. Canadaspaceship is entering Earth’s atmosphere, so the missiles (remember the missiles?) have been launched. What we need right now are a hunter and a prize, and a bit where the Doctor snogs Rory. Tick, tick and tick.

Solomon holds the gang to ransom, demanding Nefertiti as his new prize, or the prissy robots (“WE DO NOT HAVE TANTRUMS!”) will shoot everyone, just like they will shoot THIS TRICERATOPS HERE (yep, it’s that triceratops). Being a queen, Nerfertiti acts regally, putting the gang’s safety ahead of her own. Solomon proves to be an irredeemable cad, the kind of person whose comeuppance will be justified and grisly. And the Doctor finally has a plan.

It involves two genetically related pilots flying Canadaspaceship (stroke of luck Brian was fixing that lightbulb, eh?), and a hunter keeping velociraptors at bay, with the help of Amy Pond (stroke of luck Riddell was recruited too).

Amy and the Doctor have a tender moment in which it becomes clear they know their time together is coming to an end, and then it’s PLAN O’CLOCK. Rory and Brian drive the ship, Amy and Riddell start shootyflirting sedatives at the dinosaurs, and the Doc goes off to get Neffie. But OH NO! the missiles are locked on to the ship, or at least that green crystal at the heart of the ship. What to do?

How about killing the prissy robots, putting the crystal in Solomon’s ship, watching while Nefertiti knocks him over (only fair), and then letting him head off into space. The missiles will chase Solomon and kill him too, and the Doctor made it happen. Remember the comeuppance? There it is.

Then the Ponds ask to go home for a bit of peace. But not before Brian has a good look at the Earth he has avoided travelling, while sipping tea and dangling his legs out of the TARDIS. Oh and Riddell and Neffie have, uh, forged an alliance, somewhere in the past.

And it turns out it was the fitting all along. There, loose ends all tidied up.

Next: A Town Called Mercy

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 13 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Music.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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