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Doctor Who Praxeus Review - The Birds, The Astronaut and The Worst Episode of the Season

by Dana Andersen. Published Mon 03 Feb 2020 12:42
Doctor Who - Praxeus
Doctor Who - Praxeus

Crossing the midway point of the season, Doctor Who is struggling to keep it’s momentum, and originality.

Praxeus leaps into action by introducing us to a slew of new characters. A currently crashing astronaut, an ex police officer, and two travel bloggers, ready for Team TARDIS to bump into.

The companions split once again this episode. Ryan is off to Peru, where he finds the remaining travel blogger, looking for her recently missing partner. Graham and Yaz split off to Hong Kong, meeting the previously introduced ex police officer, as he joins their hunt for the astronaut.

Meanwhile The Doctor is off in Madagascar, because as much as she apparently likes her companions, it’d obviously be impossible for her to actually keep them around for any prolonged period of time.

Watching the companions run around to gather information, which The Doctor will undoubtably use later on to fix everything, is getting stale.

Consistently having this be the format, shows how difficult it is to have this many companions with The Doctor. Three human companions of base intelligence, is just more characters than the show needs, or can utilise.

It’s not all bad though! The death of Jamila, the missing travel blogger, is one of the scariest deaths we’ve had in Doctor Who for a while. The shards of plastic growing from the skin of those affected are gross, and painful looking. Them exploding into dust to die is an impressively good looking effect.

For all the ways Doctor Who is growing, there are plenty of moments that send our thoughts back to past episodes. Seeing Adam, the missing now found astronaut, laid at a tipped back angle, still in his space suit, will remind many of us of the lonely astronaut from Matt Smith’s era.

Following Captain Jack’s return last week, gas-masked creatures fighting The Doctor’s companions was sure to take many fans minds back to The Empty Child, though thankfully it was simply praxeus infected, humanoid aliens.

As the episode moves along, Yaz and Gabriela are off to grab some alien tech, spotted while they were saving the astronaut. The tech is of course completely useless, but going back gives them the chance to spot an alien teleporting.

Of course they follow, and end up on what Yaz wrongly assumes is an alien planet, because anytime Yaz finds something out, its either something The Doctor already knows, or its just wrong.

With a typically brilliant, and scientific sounding speech, The Doctor informs the astronaut that he has an alien disease, and you may be mistaken for thinking that means the episode is about to get good.

The Doctor figuring out whats going on is the highlight of this episode. Whittaker is superb when it comes to making long speeches, most of which the audience won’t fully understand, interesting and able to be followed.

Having figured out the disease is attacking plastic in birds, and the micro plastics in all humans, The Doctor is able to begin piecing everything together to create an antidote.

A one liner from Yaz is enough to reveal to The Doctor that Suki, the scientist The Doctor had been working with in Madagascar, is an alien who bought the disease to Earth.

With the many praxeus-infected birds going full Hitchcock, The Doctor, and her many companions run for the TARDIS, heading straight for Yaz.

As the episodes ending stretches on and on, The Doctor faces down Suki, who dies from praxeus. Adam is saved by the antidote The Doctor made, so that is put into Suki’s ship to disperse it across the world.

Putting a plot twist like Jake staying on the ship to resolve the autopilot failure, and so he can finally measure up to his astronaut husband, right at the end of the episode, leaves it feeling shoved in. Possibly an afterthought.

It does lead to a romantic reunion though, which The Doctor is apparently all about.

A highlight of this episode is Jake and Adam’s relationship feeling genuine, being free of many stereotypes, and feeling natural. They’re just a couple, not the token gay couple shoe horned in to show acceptance, and diversity.

Following such a strong start to the season, this episode was a big let down. It felt disjointed, the characters felt disconnected from each other, and having had Orphan 55 so recently, another message of ‘look after our planet’ just isn’t needed.

Praxeus isn’t the worst episode of Doctor Who we’ve ever seen, but its by far the worst of this season so far. Let’s hope this is a temporary blip, please let the second half of this season be as good as the first!


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