Away from the noise and craziness of last week, and all those damn returns, we have a much more scary threat then even angry Judoon this week as the Doctor and co have to fight Praxeus.
All season long I have praised having the TARDIS Crew split up and for the first time I didn’t really like it in this episode for the beginning part of it.
Then again this episode started off losing me but by the end won me over big time in a episode that managed to make Earth seem huge yet tiny as well as telling a very scary real life story in a good way.
Once again it was a week that felt like it had one too many people in it. Whilst I loved Jake and Adam, adored Gabriela and understood the need for Suki some of the other characters suffered from being there purely to be killed off.
Not that I’m saying the death by birds wasn’t impressive and terrifying but it felt like a waste of a character.
It also did a good job of making everything terrifying but this time I feel like it could have been a little less terrifying and focused more on the message it was trying to get across and the different kind of threat that was happening.
Praxeus as it turns out is a virus, a virus that was eating away at plastics. Plastics in Earth’s water, in the birds stomachs and in humans themselves. It was transported here via another species who were going to use humanity as a testing ground to find a cure for the remaining members of their species.
It made the message of humanity having destroyed Earth via their need for plastic very clear and did it so much better then Orphan 55s “humanity is going to turn into oxygen hating monsters” tacked on message. Praxeus wasn’t just scary because it was a alien virus but it was terrifying because it spread so easily in our species and on our planet because of the state we’ve left it in. Nothing would have been safe because humanity had done this.
For me it worked and it did it in a subtle way unlike Orphan 55 which had a great alien threat and then tacked on clumsily “oh yeah by the way this is Earth and this is what happens when humans are left to human.”
This episode did manage to balance a little of the character driven stories out better though.
I really wish Gabriela had her own story. As a character she was the perfect kind of person to have fallen in with the TARDIS crew for a adventure and Joana Borja was such a delight in the episode. There was not nearly enough of her or Gabriela with Yas for my liking.
Then again the reason for that was because the story of Jake and Adam was so integral to the story.
Adam the astronaut and his husband who felt like he would never be good enough to be married to him. Adam also just so happened to be infected with Praxeus so through his bravery, or at least realisation that he was either dying to this disease or to the make shift cure for it, the Doctor was able to save the day. Then through Jake’s the world itself was saved without ever knowing it was under threat.
Their story was adorable and I cried so much in the last few minutes of the episode. I feel it was the right decision to focus on that story but this is the problem we have at the moment with so many guests in one episode, a character like Gabriela deserved more and I would have actually loved to have seen more of Suki and heard about her race or even Aramu whose horrible death was ruined a little by him being a bit of a nothing character.
Again though it wasn’t a episode that could have been longer to give us more character time. It was perfect in its own way but will forever feel like a bit of a missed opportunity to really get to know a exciting character.
Not that I will ever be upset that we got the beautiful story of Adam and Jake which may I add was even more beautiful because it was so real. So many people love their partners so much that they feel they can’t live up to some stupidly high standard that they feel they need to reach and then end up being destructive and destroying a perfectly happy and healthy relationship. It is sad but it was nice that Doctor Who portrayed a relationship like that instead of it either being over the top over or over the top in love or some wet in between.
All episodes this season have hit so many right notes but at the same time seemingly missed a few on their way up.