By, Heather Maloney
The second installment of “Doctor Who” series seven is a whimsical and entertaining romp in space. Writer Chris Chibnall expertly mixed humorous dialogue with serious overtones to delight audiences on both sides of the pond. As the Doctor and his gang of friends find themselves among dinosaurs contained within a spaceship, they must deduce what happened and how to stop the craft from being destroyed by missiles.
The Doctor and the Ponds are joined on this adventure by new travelers. First, the audience meets Queen Nefertiti who is beautifully portrayed by Riann Steele. As a strong woman, the Queen proves to be a force within the team. Also joining the crew is Riddell, a big game hunter brought to life by Rupert Graves.
Rounding out the guest star appearances is a bit of a “Harry Potter” reunion. As Rory’s father Brian Williams, Mark Williams depicts a man who is not a traveler, however is always prepared for adventure. As the antagonist Solomon, David Bradley embodies pure evil and greed. Solomon is a man who is not afraid to cause mass genocide in the pursuit of a profit.
In a delightful voice over appearance, David Mitchell and Robert Webb give life to two depressing and sarcastic robots. Reminiscent of Marvin from “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy”, Robot 1 and 2 are Solomon’s henchmen. Mitchell and Webb’s humor and delivery lead to some of the funniest moments in the episode.
While a good portion of the episode is fun, there are some very serious dilemmas that the viewers must work through with the Doctor. Is it justified to take a life that has taken many? Is it more justified if by taking that sole life you save many lives? The Doctor has one of his darkest moments so far this season. When he finds out the fate of the spaceship builders and watches the mindless slaughter of a friendly Triceratops, the Doctor must decide the ultimate fate of Solomon.
“Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” foreshadows the upcoming demise of Amy and Rory. Seeing Rory’s dad brings an extra dimension to his character. One quickly realizes that Brian Williams, like Rory, is a great man with many of the same mannerisms. In addition to this, Amy tells the Doctor that every time he leaves she is afraid he will never come back. She feels that they will soon be replaced.
After the dark tone of “Asylum of the Daleks”, “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship” was a refreshing hour of hilarity, however it also pushed the story forward. Like a train that cannot stop, it feels as though one is accelerating forward toward New York. A very heartbreaking moment is waiting there. Until then, there are two episodes beginning next week with “A Town Called Mercy”, when the Doctor becomes the Sheriff of a western town.