Thoughts on Doctor Who: The Tsuranga Conundrum

It’s time to do a thing. A Doctor Who thing.

As always, spoilers are the enemy, and I won’t have them in the house. 

Also, it was pointed out to me that I missed a rather obvious reference in last week’s episode that should serve as fantastic spoiler space. Content warning: Contains both strong language and, well… spiders.

For the record, I’m very much with Phil there — and I have the misfortune of living in a house surrounded by category 2 and intermittent category 3s!

So, after the B-Movie horror of last week’s effort, it’s time to head to space for a conundrum, wrapped up in a medical mystery.

My thoughts, in no particular order, except possibly chronological:

  • Is it wrong that I’m starting to want a Bluey T-Shirt, based purely on the fact that Bluey’s Dad is EXCELLENT? He’s also totally right about waiting for the spring rolls, too. (Comment may not make any sense to anyone not watching The Tsuranga Conundrum on ABC. I apologise for nothing.)
  • Still loving the deep tones of the rearranged theme tune. I sense my new phone ringtone coming soon…
  • “The Doctor” is apparently a “very common name”. I love Jodie’s deft touch with what are very simple jokes.
  • I love the variety of actors and accents the show is using. Clearly, space has (amongst other things) a Scotland.
  • What the Doctor really needed to get the TARDIS back was a Stattenheim remote control. So I hear, she’s always wanted one of those…
  • There’s an interesting dynamic at play here, where the Doctor is still quite manic (albeit not to the same level as in prior episodes — clearly the regeneration is settling) while Malcolm takes the role of being the essential empathy at the heart of Doctor Who. I can’t help but wonder if he’s due for a fall, or if this is an intentional move to make The Doctor more alien. The discussion between Yaz and Ryan, giving them context and character quite aside from The Doctor only accentuates this. 
  • Visually, this is one half Alien, one half Tron, by way of Casualty. Which naturally means I can’t help but think of the Ark in Space, as well as New Earth.
  • The P’Ting (I’m guessing the spelling) is a ridiculous name on any level. Also, while it would have been more obviously an Alien rip, it’s rather too cute for its own good, in a somewhat Sarah Jane Adventures way. And I loved SJA!  Although possibly it’s also a sideways Monty Python reference:
  • Minor niggle: I’m not sure about the proper scale of the ship. Sometimes it’s so big that they have to run around, but there’s only lifepods for 5 people per side? So it’s small… except when the plot needs it to be?
  • I probably didn’t need the C-plot about Malcolm and Ryan being the birth partners. Not freaked out by it, but the fact that it was mostly just played for light comedy left me wanting… something. Something more than this was. 
  • Also, I was present for the birth of all 3 of my kids, and I can attest that there’s a lot more shouting, a fair bit more swearing and a certain quantity of… fluids… that this totally skipped around. That was a fairly damned clean baby!
  • The antimatter drive is totally a silly straw. I can’t entirely blame the  P’Ting for wanting to drink from it.
  • Was I the only one who saw how they stunned the P’Ting and thought “Yaz ain’t afraid of no P’Ting!”? Clearly, busting P’Ting makes her feel good.
  • The solution to the P’Ting problem was made rather obvious, I thought. As was the fact that the female pilot wasn’t going to make it. I don’t mind obvious plots well done, but this was just a bit too obvious.
  • Rhesus, it turned out, was also Deep Space Nine, at least visually. 

This season has been on a bit of a high of late, but this episode was just… OK. I mean, it’s Doctor Who, so like Pizza, it’s always good, but I’m pretty happy to say on first watching that it’s been my least favourite episode so far.

Next week: Demons of the Punjab! I shall have to avoid all the obvious curry/digestive jokes, I guess.

2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Doctor Who: The Tsuranga Conundrum”

  1. I really enjoyed the scienc-y discussion they had at the anti-matter drive. It harked back to classic Doctor Who science discussions, without anyone mentioning reversing the polarity. I also liked Yaz’s high school recollection of Cern.
    Graham and Ryan being Voss’s birth partners at the c-section birth of Avocado Pear just added to the unusual experience they share, while both moving through grief. Ryan still won’t fist pump! Graham talked in the previous episode that he needs something else to do while going through grief. The grief is there, so make the situation as out of the ordinary as possible, while also allowing Ryan to put himself in the mind of his absent father. If Ryan does end up referring to Graham as `Grandad’, I’m going to cry so hard. If he doesn’t, I’d still see he has a connection to Graham anyway.
    Agree with you about Rove. The voiceover mentions Whovians before this episode started. Why can’t they do Rove’s segment before the opening credits? We’re already waiting for Doctor Who to start, so we’re a captive audience. Roving over the credits feels like a mortal sin for a show on the ABC.

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