Our son vowed that nothing in the universe was going to stop him from loving this episode, and indeed he thought it was terrific. It’s only just occurred to me that these first five stories in series seven do a good job in grounding the program back in one-and-done big concept ideas, after the timey-wimey and intricate storylines of series six that had him very frustrated. This one’s got a simple enough plot, some crowd-pleasing dinosaur action, goofy robots, and the only Who thing the audience needed to know going in was that there were once aliens called Silurians who were reptile people and hung out with dinosaurs.
I could give or take most of this adventure, but there is an interesting little twist that puts the whole audience, briefly, on the same page as an occasionally frustrated nine year-old trying to comprehend things. This story is set several months after the previous one, and since the Doctor returned Amy and Rory home, he either traveled or spent time on Earth with a big game hunter named John Riddell in the early 1900s. Then he left Ridell, had an adventure in Egypt with Queen Nefertiti, and then they picked up Ridell and then Amy and Rory and Rory’s dad Brian, and then after this story, he travels with Brian for a while. There’s not enough room in the story for Nefertiti or Ridell to be drawn in anything but very broad strokes – they have an actual antagonist, a nasty villain played by David Bradley, and he gets more character definition than these two – but Brian is pretty interesting. He’s almost like a trial run for the character of Graham, who the writer, Chris Chibnall, would introduce six years later, especially the way he comes prepared for trips in time and space with some sandwiches and a thermos of tea.