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TV REVIEWS: FTN Reviews Doctor Who Season 11 Episode 5: The Tsuranga Conundrum

November 5th, 2018 by Todd Black Comments

Bit of a simple episode tonight. But even at its simplest, “The Tsuranga Conundrum” still showed why Jodie Whittaker is an amazing Doctor Who. And her companions are doing great too!

The episode started out another very fun way, with the team looking for an item in a scrap heap and accidentally uncovering a bomb. Which landed them in a medical ship. I like the idea of them getting on the ship not because there was trouble and they needed to stop it, but rather, they WERE in trouble, and then something happens to them. It’s a little more roundabout, but it breaks up the monotony at times.

Anyway, the Doctor was injured, and was desperate to get back to the Tardis. I really enjoyed Jodie’s performance at the beginning, with her injury and desperation to get back to the Tardis overriding her desire to keep everyone on board safe. It was her way or the highway! …until she calmed down.

Of course, nothing could go right, as a new alien called the Pting came on board and decided to eat…everything, pretty much. This led to the death of a medic, and put the whole ship at risk in numerous fashions. The problem was…this thing can’t be hurt or killed…and it’s eating a lot…so how do you stop it?

Plus, there was the issue of numerous other patients aboard this medical ship, and each had their own problems and issues to deal with. So at times, they were short-handed.

Still, the flow was good, although I think they let certain scenes drag on a bit. Like the explanation for the Anti-matter machine, or the pregnancy, and a few other bits.

Jodie’s talk with the female medic about how imagination makes the universe move wsa very lovely, as was all the things that she’s a “Doctor” in.

The idea to use the bomb to lure the Pting was clever, and the airlock was a great way to get it of the ship. But…why couldn’t she think of that earlier? After all, if it was all about energy, they surely could’ve thought of something else to bring to the airlock, right? Also, I find it a bit odd that the obvious answer of a stasis containment didn’t pop up. After all, you can’t eat what you can’t touch or feel, right?

Another issue was that some of the other passengers were a bit too cliche. The general who didn’t want to admit her illness, the brother who was trying to earn his sisters’ respect, the parent who wasn’t sure they could be a parent, etc. Yeah, it all worked out in the end, but it really was cliche at points.

Ryan and Yaz continue to shine (Graham did well tell, but the material was more for the others), and Ryan talking about his parents was another great dive into his backstory. The three companion setup really works, and I’m glad they went back to this classic formula.

I will say this though, I’m really tired of these abrupt endings. It happened in “Rosa”, and it happened here too. It feels like an ending for a commercial break, not an episode ender. I hope it gets off of this habit.

Upon reflection, I’d say, “The Tsuranga Conundrum” was the worst episode of the season. It wasn’t bad per se, but it didn’t shine quite as brightly as the others. Even “Arachnids In The UK” had more twists and fun surprises to offer. And I hate spiders!

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Todd Black is reader of comics, a watch of TV (a LOT of TV), and a writer of many different mediums. He's written teleplays, fan-fictions, and currently writes a comic book called Guardians ( He dreams of working at Nintendo, writing a SHAZAM! TV series, and working on Guardians for a very long time!