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Doctor Who Recap (Season 12, Episode 6)

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I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more plastic!

This week's recap is a bit late due to technical difficulties and a few other factors. Nevertheless, I hope you'll join us as we take a look at the most recent Doctor Who episode, "Praxeus." Unlike last week, this episode stands almost entirely on its own. It is a singular adventure requiring no prior experience with Who

On the whole, there’s a number of things I liked about this episode. There were some failings however, but we’ll get to those. To begin, I love when this show goes to places outside of Britain. I understand why so much of the time spent on Earth-based episodes occurs in Britain. But, when you have a machine that can take you literally anywhere at any time, it seems silly to have so much time spent in the present-day United Kingdom. So I was glad to see this episode trot the globe.

Ryan was given a solo task, which I was glad to see. He had to investigate the bizarre behavior of birds in Peru. He runs into a girl that runs a travel vlog (and thinks she’s world renowned). Her companion has gone missing, and it has something to do with the birds. They manage to track her down to a creepy, abandon hospital. They find her body covered in really gross scales. Then she disintegrates. There isn’t much of an explanation as to how she got to this hospital or why it’s so empty, but there we are.

The Doctor is off in Madagascar. She finds a man washed up on the beach. He came from a submarine that has gone missing. That sailor dies of the scale disease.

Meanwhile, a British Astronaut has gone missing. Somehow or other, his husband receives a text to come find him and (conveniently) his GPS location. He’s in a creepy warehouse place in China. The husband catches up with the Doctor and friends. They rescue the Astronaut and fight off some humanoids wearing gas masks.

Yaz gets to go on a bit of an adventure. She follows one of these mysterious enemies through a teleporter to what she thinks is an alien planet. Turns out it was the bottom of the Indian Ocean. This ultimately ends with an alien ship launching out of the ocean and piloted by our heroic lost astronaut.

I don’t feel the need to recap every single event of this episode. Largely, that’s because I had an unusually hard time following it. As mentioned above with the hospital, things just sort of happened in this episode. I couldn’t always find the logical line of cause and effect. It felt to me like the writers were just improvising the entire episode. They were saying, “then this happened! And then this happened! And then this happened!” I just found it to be some ineffective storytelling.

Speaking of which, we’ve previously discussed how the show could stand to use some subtlety in its messages. This episode falls into the same trap of beating the viewer over the head with the message. Plastic is bad! Plastic is dangerous! Stop using plastic! If you don’t, we’ll all contract a space-virus that will kill our species. I also find it quite odd that the invading aliens crossed three entire galaxies before happening upon a planet rich with plastic. Am I expected to believe that a universe as diverse as that of Doctor Who doesn’t have more civilizations that use plastic? As with “Orphan 55,” the message of this episode is good. We should be aware of our plastic production and consumption. We should be aware of the harm it causes to the planet and our bodies. But the delivery of this warning was heavy-handed.

On the whole, I don’t think this was a bad episode. I do think it was mediocre. I think I’ll find myself largely forgetting about it in the future.

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