Recap: Doctor Who 11.5 “The Tsuranga Conundrum”

After battling with giant spiders last week, the Doctor and his crew seem to be battling a smaller creature, but it’s really an episode that’s part cat-and-mouse battle, and part outer space version of ER. It was a bit more suspenseful, but fans may be wondering when something epic will happen this season.

SPOILERS BELOW

After they get caught in the blast of a sonic bomb at a junk planet, the crew find themselves in a medical ship called the Tsuranga, seriously jolted but OK except for the Doctor’s injury to her ecto-spleen. The crew includes Cicero (Suzanne Packer), a decorated general with a hidden condition, her brother Dukhas (Ben Bradley Smith), Mabli (Lois Chimimba), a medical official who’s still new at the job, and Yoss (Jack Shalloo), an alien guy who is pregnant but isn’t sure he’s up to parenthood (a TV medical show cliche, only gender-switched).

Things get bad when something gets through the ship’s shield, and it turns out to be a Pting, a nasty alien who can eat anything and seems upset it didn’t get to be a Pokemon. Some are already predicting it’ll be a Pop Figure soon.


Don’t be fooled by its cuteness, though. It devours energy, even from the Sonic Screwdriver.

The Doctor and the crew are worried if the people at Resus One know a Pting is on board, it’ll be forced to blow up the ship. However, it’s not the only problem. Cicero is hiding a serious medical condition that could lead to a heart attack, her brother’s mad she didn’t tell him, Yoss is about to give birth, and Mabli wonders if she can survive it all.
The episode tries its best to juggle all these balls, while the Doctor tries to resolve the problem with an injured spleen. It’s one of the few times the Doctor has had to fight through an injury to save the day. Maybe her regeneration powers helped her heal, but the injury should have lasted a bit longer.

There are some good moments in the episode, like the Doctor desperate to get back to her TARDIS, but forgetting about the patients that need help. It’s a rare example of the Doctor being selfish and realizing she’s wrong. Ryan also talks to Yaz about how he saw his mom die of a heart attack, and surprises himself about how open he was.

Things get serious when Yoss is about to give birth, and wants Ryan and Graham to be his male midwives. This turns out to be a good way to use these guys, as they try to talk Yoss into keeping his baby.

As for the Pting, Yaz stuns it and kicks it away from the anti-matter engine room. The Doctor laater feeds it a bomb which doesn’t exactly destroy it but stuns it enough to get it ejected out of the ship.
Oh, and the sonic screwdriver can actually recharge itself.

However, they still have to get the ship to Resus One by breaking the remote control. Cicero and Durkas are able to take control of the ship to find a faster route while avoiding asteroids. However, Cicero dies from a heart attack, but Durkas is able to take over. They are able to get to Resus One safely, and it’s implied the Doctor will get back to her ship soon.

The episode ends with this prayer to honor those who lived and died in the experience, but it can also apply to the journeys of the Doctor, Yaz, Ryan and Graham.

May the saints of the stars and constellations bring you hope, as they guide you out of the dark and into the light. On this voyage and in the next, And all the journeys still to come. For now and evermore.

It’s also the first time this season the Doctor has taken a more direct approach to battling the bad guy, and the situation itself. As she tells Mabli, it’s best to take the situation as a disease, and figure out how to find a cure.

Halfway through the season, the 13th Doctor may be trying to find herself, but the process has been interesting. It even includes the Companions, who find themselves changing and dealing with their own needs and issues while battling big spiders or small aliens who’ll eat anything. Fans are still waiting for that one big epic episode, though, that will make the season memorable. They’repast the excitement of seeing a woman as the Doctor. Now, they want something special

Next week, Yaz gets a peak at her family’s past when the Doctor gets them to Pakistan in the 1940’s, but they also deal with demons.

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Post Author: David Mello

Worked nearly eleven years at a radio station as a board operator, news reader, and assistant producer for baseball broadcasts. Have been a staff writer for Whedonopolis since July 2008