The latest episode of Doctor Who’s 11th season sets the stage for a seemingly typical story of human beings versus an unknown creature in space. The end result isn’t a horror story like Alien. Doctor Who season 11 episode 5 is a story about the heart at the center of those conflicts that’s rarely explored in stories about thrilling space heroics.
Rescue from the Junk Planet.
Since we last saw them, the Doctor and her companions have grown close enough to work together including when it comes to scavenging parts on a “junk planet.” It’s part of a junk galaxy. They’re nearly killed when their scavenging turns up a sonic mine. They’re saved by a medical ship and told that the doctors on board spent four days stabilizing their organs. Motivated by trying to return to the TARDIS, the Doctor attempted to take over the ship’s navigational controls. Astos reminded the Doctor that she’d be putting her other passengers at risk, including General Eve Cicero, her brother Durkas and their droid Ronan, and Yoss, a man about to give birth.
Both Astos and the Doctor investigated a suspicious crash to the side of the ship. Chief Medic Astos was promptly jettisoned into space thanks to a mistake with the life pods.He passed on a pep talk to his colleague Mabli before passing, leaving a lasting impression. It also leads to the introduction of the episode’s “unknown creature” the PTING. The Doctor has encountered the PTING before, but the alien was unimpressed. It ate the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver and spat it back up. That left the passengers aboard the ship to stop the PTING, as it was attempting to eat the energy used to power the ship.
Doctor of Hope
The Doctor and her companions found themselves working with Astos’s colleague Malbi and the patients on the ship. When Malbi asked for her qualifications, the Doctor declared that she’s a doctor of many things, but “mostly hope” She added that hope will be what gets them through this. The Doctor learned that the company operating the ship can detect hostiles and will destroy the ship if they don’t receive a response every time they ask about the ship’s status. If they couldn’t stop the PTING, the company will kill everyone on board to stop the hostile.
As the Doctor tried to solve the PTING problem, Ryan and Graham work with Yoss, a young man about to give birth to his first child. Yoss was unprepared for fatherhood and resolved to give the baby up. Ryan bonded with Yoss over fatherhood. Yoss was the same age that Ryan’s father was when he had him, and the same age that Ryan is now. He confessed to a poor relationship with his father.
The Doctor briefed everyone on the PTING just in time for Yoss to go into labor and insist on Ryan and Graham acting as his doulas. From there, General Cicero revealed that she has Pilot’s Heart, a disease which inhibits her ability to fly without becoming reckless. She had to take adrenaline blockers just to function.
Yaz and Ronan were guarding the antimatter drive that powers the ship. The Doctor formulated a plan that used the strengths of General Cicero and her brother Durkas. She transmited a clear flight plan to the ship’s controllers and enlisted Durkas to engineer a system that would allow Cicero to pilot the ship safely.
The Doctor transmits the final denial to the company that runs the ambulance ship, insisting that everything on the ship was fine. Yaz and Ronan stunned the PTING and kicked it down the hallway to the Doctor. She then used her sonic to accelerate the bomb’s detonation to entice the PTING, who promptly ate it. The Doctor then jettisoned the PTING into space, leaving it to float away with a belly of energy.
In the aftermath of the PTING’s defeat, General Cicero and her brother reconciled. Her heart gives out and Durkas helps finish piloting the ship, proving that he’s more than an engineer. Yoss gave birth to his son. Convinced by Ryan that he doesn’t need to be a perfect parent, Yoss decided to accept to fully embrace being a father. In honor of Ryan and Graham’s assistance during the birth, Yiss names the baby after an Earth hero from his people’s history books. Avacado Pear.
Later, Malbi explained that the danger has passed, which allowed the Doctor and her companions will be transported back to the TARDIS. Before his shutdown, Ronan led a group prayer, which called upon the stars themselves to provide hope and light in the darkness of space.
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