I had high hopes for this season after the initial 2 episodes to launch off our newest iteration. Skyfall was fun and enjoyable and made me think that a lot of the problems with season 11 were in the past. Sadly Orphan 55 was nothing if not disappointing.
A complete filler episode this one had no continuation on the cliffhanger we were left with the timeless child. There was a brief allusion to the doctor being in a mood at the beginning of the episode but aside from that, it moves straight into the to the bulk of the episode which was basically drac.
I’m not really going to be too worried about spoiling this episode for anyone as they have to be a real fan to want to watch it and if they were a real fan they probably would have already seen it. But basically the Doctor and family go on a mini-vacation where they are teleported to what is meant to be a paradise planet. However, immediately after the arrive trouble ensues as you would expect. This time it is actually not caused by the Doctor though.
The planet that they land on is actually not a planet, rather they are in a self-contained dome on a hostile planet. Within this dome which is basically just a fancy holodeck, they are attacked by creatures that are called Drags or Dracs or something like that. The creatures are the remnants of a civilization that was left to survive when something cataclysmic happened on the planet.
Over the course of the episode, many of the other guests are killed and when the Doctor and all of the remaining guests set off on a search to try and find 1 old man who somehow managed to escape onto the hostile planet the Doctor discovers that the planet is actually the Earth.
Da, Da, Daa …
Sadly, this is not a Planet of the Apes quality moment or reveal.
There are so many issues with this whole episode aside from the fact that one of the guests who turns out to be the daughter of the owner manages to smuggle on a multitude of bombs or bomb components through a teleporter? Also, manages to smuggle multiple different viruses through the same teleporter? I mean they’ve got the holodeck so any decent teleport system would have the capabilities of analyzing what is being transmitted, wouldn’t it?
And you got the old couple who are together for 46 years without being married but then the old man manages to wander off when he can barely walk on this hostile planet and it takes the crew, it takes everyone else in a Land Rover truck multiple minutes to get to him? And then every time they seem to get into trouble you’ve got the people that aren’t part of the Doctor’s family jumping in to sacrifice themselves for the strangers? It just is so weird.
However, that’s not really the thing that stuck in my craw. The biggest issue with this whole episode is that the whole thing was basically a climate change piece. I mean they could have gotten Greta onto the show at some point or something like that to drive the point home even further but that’s not what the Doctor and the whole show is about. It’s about fantasy it’s about the future it’s about escapism. You can have a bit of education – I mean there was the episode with the British Empire flying through space on the remnants of the space creature where Amy Pond was the only one who had empathy or something like that. That was cool. It was presented as part of a story.
This was just too heavy-handed and too annoying. I mean all of the other episodes of Doctor Who we’re seeing the doctor many times visit the Earth and its future and in no scenario is the Earth a barren wasteland as it’s portrayed on Orphan 55. The Doctor this time says that this is just one possible future in this timeline but the whole premise of the show is that there is one path and that there are fixed points in time. it’s great to hear that the future can be changed by billions of individuals and the different actions that individuals can make. But that’s not this show!
I understand that they are trying to educate us and I understand that they’re trying to give us a message but that’s not why I’m watching Doctor Who. I get enough of that in the news and if I want more there are many different documentaries including BBC ones that I could watch. Go back to escapism and let me enjoy an hour with the doctor. Give me a mystery and some fun and stop trying to teach me something.