Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

If last week's episode was a lot like Escape From New York / L.A., then this week Doctor Who seems to be doing Jurassic Park… or is it Indiana Jones?

This one is a whirlwind comedy, and refreshingly feels as free as being mates with a bloke with a TARDIS should.

And if ever there were a story in which the Doctor were the protagonist, then this is it.

In the future, there's a giant spacecraft heading towards Earth. But it's not a threat. This time the Earth itself is the threat, as its bureaucrats sharpen up their pencils to blow the approaching ship out of the upper atmosphere. The Doctor and Queen Nefertiti could just vworp away and forget about it. But they don't. Except that first they do.

Choosing to get involved and turn the ship away peacefully, the Doctor decides to try out having a gang, and so first he whizzes around the continuum picking up gang-members before boarding the ship that they don't have to be bothered with saving.

As well as current co-traveller Queen Nefertiti from ancient Egypt, explorer John Riddell is recruited, along with stalwarts Amy and Rory Pond. And by accident Rory's dad Brian, who is played quite wonderfully by Red Dwarf's Peterson. Sorry Mark Williams, I know you've done other successful and fast shows, but to me you'll always be Olaf.

In fact, the casting of Mark Williams is quite a cheek, since he wasn't visible anywhere at Amy and Rory's wedding in The Big Bang. In further fact, there seems to have been a quite different looking guy sitting where he really ought to have been in that episode, but the angles on offer are sparing, so maybe he really was just off-camera, if only on the 4:3 version.

No, wait, in Let's Kill Hitler the Doctor claimed to have danced with everyone at that event, including the men.

Oh, and he doesn't recognise the TARDIS. Ah, well, that settles it then - he missed his own son's wedding. Maybe he was away that day bailing out his granddaughter Mels. Hrrrm.

Anyhow, at the end of the very long pre-credits sequence, the spaceship unexpectedly turns out to contain dinosaurs. Well, it ought to be unexpected, since we haven't seen the episode title yet. Perhaps it would be more accurate if I said that the episode title turned out to be the unexpected component here. Good job I hadn't watched the trailer last week.

As with the previous episode, there's lots of creeping around a slightly dangerous environment, with great direction and plenty of good gags throughout. Even Rory got written well here, which makes a change. I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, and was quite pleased to see the homo reptilians getting referred to by Amy as Silurians again, even if I was still a little hazy on why that name was used.

When the Doctor and friends run away from the pterodactyls on the beach, the throwaway line to explain why they can't just teleport away is really lame - "Local teleport's burnt-out on arrival!" - but at least there is a line.

However I don't think the same can be said of baddie Solomon's ultimatum to the Doctor to bring Queen Nefertiti to him. Surely with both his scanners and a functioning teleport he needn't have gone after the Doctor to ask this in the first place? Look, mate, take a leaf out of Peterson's book, and do it yourself.

Some of the CGI lacked weight, but most of it I was convinced by. There's a misjudged joke when the Doctor kisses Rory which rendered the gag that it was setting up awkward, which is never a context that you want for slapstick, but on the whole the comedy throughout this worked well. (I think a hug would have succeeded better there)

Queen Nefertiti turned out to be a weakly written 'tough' female character, who despite all her talk, proved incapable of defending herself against Solomon for ages. No wonder she ended up with the chauvinist explorer John Riddell - he was after just such an incapable waif to look after. Let's hope they can still understand each other's languages without the TARDIS. Or maybe it will work out better for them if they can't.

The whole race against time thing is always going to be a tough sell for a guy who wields a time-machine with such expertise, but what the hey. Matt Smith was firing on all cannons throughout most of this. If he can keep that up for several years - note 'several' not 'two' - then he has the option to become one of Doctor Who's all-time greats.

Here's hoping.

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