Monday, April 26, 2010

5x02-The Beast Below

Story:  The Doctor and Amy visit Starship UK, a vessel fleeing a burning Earth.  But the ship has a terrible secret...

The story was an excellent one-off.  As the sun heated up, the world's population escaped in giant ships divided by countries.  Starship UK was the last but they had trouble with their engines.  Like a miracle a space creature called a starwhale comes along.  The engineers captured, harnessed, and, using torture, goaded the beast to carry their ship away.  Now Starship UK uses Police State-styled tactics to keep its population in line, and ignorant of the truth  And true to form, the Doctor decides to meddle.  Caught in a moral dilemma between saving a creature who is the last of its kind, and dooming the passengers of Starship UK, the Doctor decides to kill the beast's higher brain functions.  But Amy has other ideas.  Seeing how the creature treats children, she decides to end the torture and let the creature decide what to do.  The starwhale stays, and in fact the only reason it came to earth was to help Starship UK.  A happy ending to a very good episode.  4 Tardises

Things I like:
  • Amy Pond made the ultimate decision to free the starwhale.  Contrary to most Dr Who canon, the companion saved the day.  
  • The Doctor has a problem with this.  Yes, I like this.  When there is a terrible decision to be made, the Doctor makes it and takes the terrible responsibility.  I think the Doctor was a bit jealous of Amy making the right decision when he didn't see it.  But the reason he has companions is to, as he puts it, "stop him." 
  • Liz 10, the Queen of Starship UK.  I found her very likable, in the "King trying to stop the conspiracy" sense.  
Things I didn't like:
  • The end, which showed the crack.  Sigh...foreshadowing.
Other thoughts:
  • Watching the episode again, I saw that the crack had appeared AFTER the Doctor and Amy arrived.  Is Amy causing the cracks?  First the lack of information on Amy, and now this.  
  • Interestingly enough, this story jibes with the history of Earth from waaay back in Tom Baker's time, from "The Ark in Space." 
Next Time:  Victory of the Daleks

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