Doctor Who – Series 12, Episode 3: “Orphan 55”

  • When the Doctor mentions how she didn’t know it was the space squids’ mating season, one really hopes that’s actually a tentacle on the floor…
  • Hyph3n is definitely not a high point for Doctor Who‘s costume/makeup department; she looks like John Candy in Spaceballs. I guess their budget for this episode all went on the Dregs.
  • Line of the week: “If I had crayons and half a can of Spam, I could make you from scratch!”
  • Tranquility Spa – which I was hoping was on the Moon – looks rather bland from the start. You’d think a fake-cation would have a bit more effort put in if it’s funding the terraforming of a whole planet.
  • What exactly have all those Dregs been eating in this barren landscape before the tourists came along?
  • I really wasn’t that bothered about the side characters in this episode. Bella with her mummy issues had some potential, but became less sympathetic in the later stages. And Kane is given no motivator to suddenly change her mind and (apparently) sacrifice herself to protect the Doctor.
  • The Planet of the Apes-style twist that it was Earth all along doesn’t make much sense in the continuity of the show, given what we’ve seen about the future of Earth and humanity in other episodes.
  • I personally felt that in Series 11, the writers managed to integrate their social agendas into the episodes pretty well for the most part. But this time, I do have to say that they were too preachy, as much as I agree that climate change is a serious issue. The ending essentially has the Doctor turning to the camera and repeating Greta Thunberg’s “how dare you” speech to the U.N. That’s perfectly appropriate when Greta’s saying it to that particular audience, or when it’s a documentary intended and expected to educate people; but people watch Doctor Who to be entertained and have a story told to them. Directly lecturing and berating the audience doesn’t feel like the right approach to me in a production like this.

As perfectly watchable as most of the episode was, I have to take marks off for the bland or unsympathetic side characters, and for taking the sledgehammer approach with its message. Rating: 2.5/5.

About R.J. Southworth

Hi there. I've been blogging since January 2014, and I like to talk about all sorts of things: book reviews, film reviews, writing, science, history, or sometimes just sharing miscellaneous thoughts. Thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you find something that interests you!
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