First time through S5 I rolled my eyes at this one and its sequel – what is it but ‘Doctor Who and the Silurians,’ Take Two? Well as it happens, it’s quite good. Scary things out of the ground stealing people, frightening little boys and their mothers. Fantastic side characters. Rory getting to Do Stuff. I’m sorry I can’t watch Part 2 (‘Cold Blood’) tonight, as I’m quite engaged!
Two highlights: One, as I’ve mentioned, Moffat’s treatment of disability. The boy Elliot has dyslexia. “I can’t do the words,” he tells the Doctor. “That’s all right,” says the Doctor, “I can’t make a decent meringue. Draw as if your life depended on it.” With the Eleventh Doctor, it’s okay to not be able to do things. It’s okay to be differently abled. Elliot can’t read and it doesn’t make him weak or helpless or broken. He can do other things. He’s curious and brave and he can draw like hell and he wants to be Sherlock Holmes. Reading is a struggle, maybe out of his reach, but it doesn’t hold him back.
Two, the fabulous Nasreen. She’s brave, brilliant, curious, non-white and over forty. She gets to ride in the TARDIS – she even gets a dash of romance! I remember how her story ends – it’s certainly better than some – but I would dearly love to have seen her as a companion. What couldn’t the Doctor do with her on his side!
Chris Chibnall wrote this episode, he of the glorious Broadchurch and cringe-worthy ’42.’ Definite points in his favor.
ETA: What are the Silurians but a reflection of the Israel/Palestine conflict? All this concern with who was there first and wiping out the other…