Triumph of the Dinosaurs

An episode with a deliberately jokey title turning out into one of the most straightforward and fun episodes recently? And, after all I’ve bitched about this never happening, the story has feminism front and center and unashamed? By Chris Chibnall, whose record on Who* has been at best mixed?

I wasn’t expecting THAT.

O “Dinosaurs on a Spaceship”, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

  • I love the story’s categorical opposition to objectification.
  • I love Nefertiti’s agency.
  • I love Amy’s agency.
  • I love the way Riddell learns. He starts out straight-up misogynist, but he learns. This is so cool, people.
  • I love that no one makes excuses for Riddell’s behavior. No, the problem is him and his views of women, and Amy is quite right when she suggests a course of gender politics.
  • I love Amy fangirling over Nefertiti. (“She’s cooler than you.”)
  • I love Amy and Nefertiti getting along rather than catfighting.
  • I loved thatin the future, lots of countries have space agencies and seem to take turns defending Earth.
  • I loved that, after the Doctor kissed Rory, Rory just made this hilariously weird face (Arthur Darvill shines in this episode, especially his reaction shots) and then that was it; nobody lost their shit or anything.

* I’m being unfair to Chibnall here. He’s clearly a hell of a writer, because he wrote the hell out of some episodes of one of my very favorite TV shows ever, the exquisite Life On Mars.

4 comments

  1. Ritch Famous says:

    Yes.
    I also loved that Nefertiti and Riddell were both totally just horny and ended up hooking up. There wasn’t some bullshit faux-romantic courtship, it was just a couple of horny people dtf.

  2. Yes to all this!

    I liked that we got to see both Amy and Rory showing off how they have both changed and learned from their travels – the bit with Rory talking about how he picks up bits of medical equipment wherever they go was awesome, and balanced with Amy completely deciding that she IS the Doctor the second he’s out of the room, and that Nefertiti and Riddell are her companions.

    Also she did some brilliant button pushing. It’s so nice to see the Doctor and the Ponds acting as a competent team.

    Rory’s Dad (now also a Pond) was lovely – he could have easily been a dumb joke but instead we saw a character arc in 45 minutes, as well as some really subtle scenes that showed us his and Rory’s relationship in a nutshell. I loved the things that came out of his pockets, and how he got to appreciate Rory’s nursing (in a way that maybe, it’s implied, a blokey bloke as himself might not have done before?).

    Also, Amy is not a model anymore, hooray! Though actually we don’t know that’s the job she packed in… it could have been the one before that! I’m wondering how old she is now, because if Rory is 31 she can’t be more than a couple of years younger (given how short he was in the playground)… that suggests at least a decade since the Doctor first met adult Amy and Rory? He really has committed to this couple.

    I think this is my favourite Chibnall episode of Doctor Who and it bodes VERY well for his second ep of the season. Only two weeks away!

  3. Princess Jetbeard says:

    The thing I didn’t like—and I realise I’m just in a minority here—is that female oppression and marginalisation is, like it so often is, portrayed as a “battle of the sexes” in which men and women (presented as having completely equal rights) make good-natured witty quips at each other until whatever problems (and they’re always minor problems) are solved. (And if the author wants to be seen as a feminist, the women’s quips will be wittier.)

    It was still awesome, but I don’t think I’ll be singing its praises from a feminist perspective.

    • Bloking It says:

      I completely agree! I also didn’t like the use of rape, or mentions of rape in a roundabout way, to make the villain seem worse. Made me very uncomfortable and a Doctor Who villain doesn’t need that to be scary.

      That whole plot tidbit – that is “break Nefertiti” (break. BREAK)- was handled very badly and if anything, shouldn’t have been there at all.

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