Vloggers neither mourn nor vlog in this well-intentioned eco-piece. Also, why would you camp in a tip?!
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An astronaut returning to Earth is kidnapped by aliens inexplicably hiding out in Hong Kong, but manages to text his unlikely husband and spare-time child-tackler to come rescue him, using a mobile phone he probably doesn’t have. Meanwhile in Peru, the travel blogging duo of Gabriella and didn’t-catch-her-name-but-she’ll-be-dead-soon-anyway discover a beautiful river has been turned into a tip and decide to camp out in it. Also meanwhile, on Madagascar’s only stretch of beach, a submariner washes ashore with some very plasticky eczema. What do these places have in common except for a morality tale about pollution?
Doc and her fam are there, that’s what. Never mind that, though, because birds are falling out of the sky and humanity is about to be afflicted by a global pandemic with deadly consequences. No, not that one, the kind that can be fixed simply by douching the stratosphere. Good thing Doc’s three companions are about to be joined by three further idiots travelling, because how else could the fam possibly tackle such a confluence of calamitous events? When the pandemic in this case is identified as an alien pathogen that metastasises plastic and turns people into dust, Doc and her chums must act fast before it’s too late.
(Vindex Thumbs will be added post-holiday trips. Watch this space! /Leon)
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– *That* effect. That is total David Cronenberg body horror yukiness right there.
– The echo-horror parasite and investigation feels quite X Files.
– Freaky gas masked horrors resemble the nasty from My Bloody Valentine
– The malevolent birds remind me of the malevolent birds in, erm, The Birds…
…wait a minute! This is a Frankenstein’s Monster of other peoples ideas cobbled together with some smug location work. Why would anybody camp in a rubbish tip?! Do they want Cholera and rabies for breakfast!? Why would Ryan poke a nasty alien growth?! What is wrong with you people!
Rating: 2/5 dumb people (that includes you Ryan) who deserve to be consumed by killer alien eczema.
So it’s our second story of the series with an environmental theme. Nothing particularly new there, the show has been doing that since the 70s (if not before). The main issue with Chibnall’s era is that it’s often lazily written. So with the low bar set by Orphan 55, is this better? Well, yes. Yes, that’s not particularly hard. But still.
Maybe surprisingly I actually find our Astronaut/Copper couple a decent pairing. I suspect some might be finding them a bit cheesy and cliché but they were alright to me. The Vlogging pair weren’t that much to write home about (or is that vlog home?), and the guy in Madagascar was….there I suppose. Oh well. Suki is fairly well played with an air of something not quite about her and the lab at the beginning, thus setting the second half. Unscrupulous scientists are slightly different to the normal fare so not too bad.
With respect to the gang, well everyone has something to do which is always good. The Doctor is a little scatter-brained which I know is the style for 13 but it does distract at times.
Ah, a story about a plague which came out in February 2020…hmm. That said it’s a fairly tame plague, not like say Doctor Who and the Silurians with dozens collapsing at Marylebone.
Microplastics and plastic waste is a big issue and I didn’t find this too bad theme wise. The beginning was very choppy between scenes though. 3.0/5 It Should Have Been Autons
I’ve been struggling to write this review because this episode just does not stick with me. After a week of not writing anything I decide to take a page out of Drew’s book and watch it again, it did not help. The biggest thing that stuck out to me was how even after one of the vloggers dies the other one keeps on being amazed that the TARDIS team has never heard of them.
Also this is the second episode this season about how “people are terrible to the environment” but gives no Solutions on how to solve the problem and only says “plastic bad” which, I think most of us agree with.
With that said this has to be the second worst episode of the season after Orphan 55, so I’m giving this a 2.2 people exploding into plastic out of 5
No really, why do they camp in the rubbish tip?
This story has a reasonable premise at its heart but is very poorly executed and scripted. The characters are not believable, even the regulars are not up to their usual sub-average standard. Why does Yaz goes off on a random tangent?
The dialogue is horrendous, doesn’t feel at all natural and there is so much exposition. Yaz standing next to a submarine “I think we’ve found the missing submarine”. BOOM. Ryan, whilst being chased by a flock of birds ‘they’re following us!” BRAVO! The Doctor “That’s why you smell of dead bird. I thought you’d changed your shower gel”. GOLD. More of this please! 😏
The music is even worse than usual. If feels like it’s from a tropical holiday infomercial, not building tension for a deadly out-of-control pathogen.
You’ll need your best Sherlock skills but if you look hard enough and really concentrate, you’ll discover there’s a very subtle message hidden inside this story. Did you spot it?
Unfortunately, the on-the-nose messaging is just too much. Beating even Orphan 55, Praxeus had four whopping moralising lectures, era total of 26. Coupled with a script that seems to have been written by a student not even studying any sort of creative writing, it makes for the most irritating episode of the Chibbers era to date and thus earns 1.7 plastic bottles thrown into the ocean.
I’m going to go ahead and dub this another good one on balance, albeit somewhat confusing on the first watch. I mean the plot twists from birds, to married astronauts, to aliens, to science imposters, to plastic, to the ocean as an alien lab, to bacteria and viruses- it’s dizzying.
Some things begin to stand out about the Chibnal era. He really loves a multifaceted plot with elements spread all over the world, that later link up. For me this format gets old very quickly. That said, it’s a solid, and very beautiful theme he’s going for- interconnectedness. And this episode probably gets closer than any other one will. I also note he is fond of exploring relationship dynamics amongst the guest stars, something he hasn’t been doing lately with the main cast. I can’t help but feel like one is at the expense of the other.
And now for some real science! The Doctor talks quickly and uses a lot of shorthand, but she seems to be explaining a plan that would utilize bacteriophage- literally a virus that eats bacteria. Not only that, but it’s a virus that she engineers herself, splicing in genes to code for bacteria-destroying enzymes. None of this is quick work, but all of it is actual work science already does. It’s about as real as it gets, and way better than ‘marinating a giant spider’.
Rating: When a mommy virus and bacteria-killing gene love each other very much…