The Tsuranga Conundrum
Cast: Jodie Whittaker, Bradley Walsh, Mandip Gill, Tosin Cole, Suzanne Packer, Ben Bailey-Smith, Brett Goldstein, Lois Chimimba, David Shields, and Jack Shalloo
Writer: Chris Chibnall
Producers: Chris Chibnall, Matt Strevens, Alex Mercer, and Nikki Wilson
Composer: Segun Akinola
Director: Jennifer Perrott
Doctor Who was created by Sydney Newman, and follows the adventures of the time-traveling alien known as the Doctor, along with their companions, as they explore and help the universe.
Wounded and deserted, the Doctor and her friends find themselves in a peculiar hospital, with no way out, and no access to the TARDIS. To make matters worse, an incredibly deadly, yet peculiar creature has invaded the construct, and before it can destroy the ship, the Doctor, Graham, Yaz, and Ryan must work together with the crew members to stop it. Can they keep themselves alive in this hostile environment? And what exactly is the mysterious creature, anyway?
While Arachnids in the UK was incredibly enjoyable despite it being the weakest of Series 11 so far, I would say that The Tsuranga Conundrum was definitely better as a whole, but not as enjoyable as the previous episode. I feel like this is another case that’s been all-too-familiar to Doctor Who since its return in 2005, where a story is hindered by its one-episode format, and needed to be a two-parter in order to let things breathe.
As always, Jodie Whittaker continues to kill it as the Thirteenth Doctor, and we get to see much more range from her in this episode than usual. In one brilliant scene, she displays the separation anxiety the Doctor feels towards her TARDIS beautifully, going as far as nearly putting others at risk to get back to it. While some would see this as out of character, I, for one, loved it, as it shows how she’s still figuring out who she is as the Doctor.
Some of the side characters this episode were great as well, like Eve and Durkas. Their relationship, as well as how it developed, was incredibly well-done, and very heartfelt. However, some of the other side characters, and even the companions at times, felt like a bit of an afterthought. The cast felt far too plentiful and cluttered for just one episode, and since the main cast is twice the size as it is normally for the show, it’s not unreasonable to hope they’d all be balanced well. Also, after the reveal of the creature, the episode started to dip down into average territory, which isn’t terrible, but after all the brilliant build-up, it was rather disappointing for it to result in the rest of the episode being just okay.
Overall, The Tsuranga Conundrum was a bit better than the previous episode, but not as enjoyable. As a writer, Chris Chibnall seems to have more strength as a writer when he’s not limited to penning a stand-alone episode, so the fact that Series 11 has no two-parters perplexes me, honestly. Next week’s episode is shaping up to be something truly unique, so I’m holding out hope that the rest of the series can capture the magic of Jodie’s first three episodes.