TV review by Kevin Carr, co-host of The Idiot Boxers
Show: Doctor Who
Airs: BBC America, Saturdays, 9pm
Episode: “The Hungry Earth”
Episode synopsis: The Doctor and his companions aim for Rio de Janeiro but end up in the far distant future of 2020 (damn, that makes me feel old!) in South Wales to discover a quaint little mining town. However, like most places the Doctor visits, this isn’t what it seems. There is something beneath the surface that is consuming people – whether they be from buried graves or companions in the TARDIS. The Doctor must discover what’s behind this in order to save Amy and the entire Earth.
Major developments: No major developments to the Doctor Who universe. Roy continues to tag along with Amy and the Doctor, and it appears that Amy is still more committed to him than Rose ever was to Mickey. Of course, it’s Amy who gets into deep shit with the bad guys in this, and we think we might have lost her to the Hungry Earth. This does lead into a cliffhanger in which the Doctor has to save her – and a few other incidental cast members – from the ancient Silurians, whom we haven’t seen in the Doctor Who television universe since the Peter Davison years, and before that Jon Pertwee.
What rocked: One of the hallmarks of the new series and the new showrunner Steven Moffat is its eagerness to dip into previous Doctor Who serials. Not to say that Russell T. Davis didn’t do that (because he did his fair share, including the resurrecting of the beloved Sarah Jane Smith character), but Moffat seems even more aggressive about it. Like the return of the Weeping Angels a few weeks back, the return of the Silurians is an awesome thing for the fans, showing a love for the series’ legacy.
Much of this episode was build-up to the second part next week, so it wasn’t exactly full of action. However, I have enjoyed these two-part episodes immensely since shows like “The Satan Pit” in season two, which hearken back to the serialized nature of the series in its early years. While there’s not huge scenes in “The Hungry Earth,” there’s a lot of set-up, and this season has yet to disappoint in that realm.
What sucked: As much as I adore Amy Pond as a character, it does get a bit old that the Doctor has a non-negotiable nature about saving his companions over other puny human characters. Just once I’d like to see a companion bite it early in the series, without coming back in a few minutes. I do realize that would have meant an end to Amy Pond, which would cause great sadness, but it would have been different. Ultimately, seeing her get sucked into the ground held no peril on my end because I knew she wasn’t going to die.
My only other complaint is that this episode had such a similar set-up to last week’s “Amy’s Choice,” featuring a quaint little town in the British Isles, I almost thought I was in a rerun. I’m looking forward to a change of scenery in future episodes.
Final thoughts: Considering last week’s “Amy’s Choice” was such a fantastic one-off episode (arguably the best one I’ve seen in a while) and this was mostly set-up for next week, I was a little disappointed with this episode. But I’m welcoming the return of the Silurians, and I think we have great things in store for us next week.
What’s next: The second part of this tale, “Cold Blood,” shows us what happens when the Doctor faces off with the homo-reptilians.