By Tyler Dawson
Dinosaurs… on a spaceship! There are many great Doctor Who episodes and story arcs but none are as perfect as this series 7 gem. It’s got something for everyone: Action, adventure, romance, sorrow, and darkness. I love everything about this episodes from start to finish. All of the dialog is crisp and intelligent, somehow managing to balance witty humor, darkness, and gut wrenching sadness. Also, dinosaurs! On a motherfucking spaceship! You really can’t go wrong with that, I don’t care what you say.
The premise is simple enough: The Doctor stumbles upon a spaceship hurtling toward Earth sometime in the distant future and of course they are going to blow it up with missiles because humans (those assholes ruin everything right?). So the Doctor recruits Queen Nefertiti of Egypt, some generic, sexist, big game hunter, and of course the Ponds (while unwittingly bringing along Rory’s dad, Brian, for the ride). Hilarity ensues! Because did I mention fucking dinosaurs?
So once he gets his gang together, the Doctor pilots the TARDIS to the spaceship and then BAM! A door slides open and we get our first look at fucking DINOSAURS! The Doctor then says with the delight of a five year old, “dinosaurs… on a spaceship!” Thus the adventure begins. As the Doctor begins to doctor the situation, he inadvertently transports himself, Rory, and Brian to a beach which he quickly surmises is the engine room powered by the waves (it is a prehistoric vessel after all!) then instructs Brian and Rory to dig. Brian obviously has this covered because he is a badass and literally has everything with him at all times including a trowel. But of course Rory doesn't have one which leads to the Doctor proclaiming “I do!” when Rory says he is too old to have a Christmas list. Classic Rory. And then they are chased by a motherfucking pterodactyl, because dinosaurs! Which leads to them being captured by two Marvin-esque robots who are really quite entertaining in a Douglas Adams way (fun fact: He was a writer for Who back in the day). Speaking of fun facts, the gentleman who plays Brian “Pond” also was Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movies, further intertwining the two franchises (David Tennant as Barty Crouch Jr., anyone?). The robots take them to their leader, but on the way they encounter a motherfucking TRICERATOPS… who loves Brian’s balls. His golf balls, you sick bastards! Because what triceratops wouldn’t like to play a game of fetch with some grass scented golf balls?
Finally, after all of these fantastic scenes the episode gets to the real heavy handed meat and potatoes: We meet Solomon, who is a real piece of shit if I’m being honest. Another fun fact! David Bradley, the actor who portrays Solomon, was also in Harry Potter as Argus Finch. It’s like a Harry Potter reunion in here! Additionally he portrayed William Hartnell in the excellent An Adventure Space and Time, which I highly recommend if you are a REAL Whovian. Anyway, he bullies the Doctor into stitching him up from injuries sustained courtesy of raptors by having the robots shoot Brian. What a dick. Fortunately Rory has a nurse pack and fixes Brian right up in a lovely father-son moment. This of course angers the Doctor, but what pisses him off even more is that Solomon confesses to killing all of the Silurians because they wouldn’t give him the dinosaurs. This is one of the only moments in recent Doctor Who memory that you can literally see the disgust in his eyes (very similar to the scene in Runaway Bride when he is flooding the chamber). It is here where we get a glimpse into who the Doctor REALLY is inside and what he is fighting every day of his life, especially in the Matt Smith era.
After exchanging threats, they are then chased by the two robots and they escape by riding our friend the triceratops before arriving to a control panel. The Doctor seems to be without a plan until Rory suggests to check for defense systems and this happens:
Of course there are no defense systems (it’s a fucking ark!) and Rory is once again left looking stupid. Classic Rory. Suddenly Solomon and the robots teleport in, demanding the Doctor give him Nefertiti as she is more valuable than the dinosaurs. Of course the Doctor refuses and Solomon shoots the triceratops. Several times. And it dies. This fucking guy is literally the worst person in the universe. Pretty sure he is worse than the Daleks or Cybermen. And on top of that he fully intends on leaving everyone else on board the ship to die; remember this missiles? Yeah, they launched and shit is getting real.
Inevitably the Doctor finds a way to save the day but here is the kicker and why this episode is my favorite despite it’s silliness: The Doctor kills Solomon. Not directly, of course, but purposefully. He doesn’t even attempt to save him. He doesn’t even offer to. In fact, he is gleeful about it. In his mind this guy is so irredeemable that he doesn’t even grant him the same courtesy that he would his mortal fucking enemies. He just teleports into his ship and explains that he is going to kill him via redirecting the missiles toward him as he escapes and as Solomon begs for mercy the Doctor, who basically tells him to fuck off and enjoy his bounty with a smile on his face. Not only is it a reminder of why exactly he needs companions, but also a great build up to the end of the Pond era. At the end of the episode, the Doctor invites them to drop the dinosaurs off but Rory and Amy decline. This is the first time we see them start to grow apart. Brian, on the other hand, relishes the opportunity and the Doctor takes him literally everywhere. The old man companions are the best (Wilf!).
In conclusion… dinosaurs! On a spaceship!