In the fifth episode of the eleventh series of Doctor Who, Team TARDIS finds hope in the darkness. Intrigued? Then itâ€™s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.Â
HI, I LOVE SERIES ELEVEN SO MUCH, HOW ARE ALL THESE EPISODES CONSISTENTLY SATISFYING AND THRILLING. Every single one!!! â€œThe Tsuranga Conundrumâ€ had so many things to love, so letâ€™s discuss them.
I remain impressed by the look and feel of Doctor Who under Chibnall. Every one of these episodes has been gorgeous and filmed in a style that fits the story being told. The audience has to feel like theyâ€™re trapped alongside the Doctor and the companions; we have to believe that weâ€™re in the 67th century on a state-of-the-art ship. The design for the ship is crisp and bright, and loved the mixture of blues and whites. Plus, the shape of the ship made sense, especially once weâ€™d seen from the outside and through the digital schematics. And the cinematography remains stunning, yâ€™all. STUNNING. Every episode has been so beautiful!Â
And then thereâ€™s the Pting, who I find endlessly perfect. There is something beautifully hilarious about a creature who can consume any non-organic material, that cannot be seriously harmed or killed, being that tiny and silly looking. The absurdity works so well for this episode. This is a story about hope during the darkest of times; thus, this creature had to be designed in a way to maximize the lack of hope these characters felt. And what is less hopeful than this tiny fucking monster tearing apart a ship that could be remotely detonated at any moment?Â
A conundrum indeed.
The Tsuranga Conundrum
Itâ€™s difficult not to see this episode as a product of its environment. We, frankly, live in a pretty depressing and awful time in human history, and there are days when imagining hopeâ€”as the Doctor asks of Mabliâ€”seems impossible. How can there be any hope in the darkness that surrounds us? Which is precisely why this episode hit me so hard. Sure, itâ€™s a sci-fi thriller about a dangerous alien and being trapped on a spaceship. But of the many plots that intertwine in â€œThe Tsuranga Counundrum,â€ thereâ€™s a pervasive theme: the world may seem impossible, but we can imagine a way through.Â
The main plot here, referenced in the title, is the seemingly impossible situation that occurs when the Doctor and her companions are injured by a sonic mine and must recover on the Tsuranga, which is basically a high-tech ambulance in the future. While on the way to Resus One, a Ptinga breaches the hull and begins eating energy sources. The conundrum then, comes from this: the Ptinga will destroy the ship in a matter of time, so they need to get off of it. However, if the controllers at Resus One learn of the Pting, theyâ€™ll remotely detonate the ship. So how can these people stay alive without life pods to escape the Pting?Â
This main plot twists and turns until it reaches a rather hilarious conclusion, but prior to that, this was STRESSFUL. Again, it has to be; these people have to believe at one point or another that theyâ€™re not going to make it. The first of those to do so was Mabli, who, after the loss of Astos, worries that without her mentor, sheâ€™s not going to be able to do what needs to be done. The Doctor is SO wonderful to her, helping her to find the strength to imagine hope.
We see this theme over and over again. Thereâ€™s Eve and Durkas, siblings who are on the ship because of Eveâ€™s terminal heart condition known as Pilotâ€™s Heart. The conflict here is both physicalâ€”in order to pilot the ship back, Eve will have to risk her lifeâ€”and emotional. Eve cannot imagine telling her brother the truth. Actually, itâ€™s not just her brother: she cannot imagine hope in a world where people discover that sheâ€™s got Pilotâ€™s Heart. So even though her brother knows the truth, she keeps this information to herself. The fear of disclosing this prevents her from being close to her brother.Â
Then thereâ€™s Yoss, whose pregnancyâ€”which is not subject to the usual jokes we often see with male pregnancy storylinesâ€”has left him unable to imagine a future where he can be a father. Iâ€™m curious if weâ€™ll see Ryanâ€™s father by the end of series 11, as this episode introduces the first moment where Ryan begins to empathize with his father. This doesnâ€™t mean heâ€™s forgiven him, which is why Iâ€™m saying this is just the beginning. When Ryan watches Yoss agonize over having a sonâ€”alone, on a ship with strangers, uncertain of the futureâ€”he is taken back to his own fatherâ€™s grief after Ryanâ€™s mom died. Like I said, I donâ€™t think Ryan is going to run back to his father immediately and everything will be all right, but at least now, Ryan has some context or understanding for how grief affected his father and why it may have pushed his father out of his life.Â
Iâ€™m just so happy that there continues to be this much character depth within the show. I feel like Iâ€™ve gotten to know these three companions a lot in a relatively short span of time. And this episode was entertaining, frightening, and heartwarming, too! YOSS GIVING BIRTH WAS SO AMAZING, THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD, I AM FULL OF EMOTIONS.
The video for â€œThe Tsuranga Conundrumâ€ can be downloaded here for $0.99.
Mark Links Stuff
– The paperback edition of my debut, ANGER IS A GIFT, is now OUT!Â If you’d like to stay up-to-date on all announcements regarding my books, sign up for my newsletter! DO IT.