Doctor Who #932: Oroborus

"Starkey will be the bait because the snake will see him as a time-snack?!"
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Mar.22 2010.

IN THIS ONE... Starkey finds out he's been vaccinated against time anomalies created by a giant CG snake.

REVIEW: You know, if Starkey keeps showing up in different "Stark Reality" shirts, I'm going to start asking where he gets them. This hasn't exactly been shown to be a future where you can let your creativity run free. A different question about Starkey is answered, however, and that's the issue of his parents. He's been an orphan all his life, but as we discover, they were a couple of man immunologists who experimented on themselves and their child, and then disappeared. Starkey has to be this child because he's got the experimental alien antibodies in his blood. These make him sneeze when the Oroborus, an alien creature that eats time, creates anomalies, and protect his memories from time loss. That's fine, though the Professor's space-time manipulator might have raised his hackles before if they're really time-sensitive. But then, the episode has the usual problem with plot holes.

Consider, for example, that K9 doesn't provide the necessary info-dump. Instead, the Professor seems to know all about the "cosmic snake" and what it did to another planet. Has he been reading through K9's files, or does Earth often suffer from time snakes on our plane of existence? The snake is a bit "muppety" for my tastes (and it's CG!), but at least they keep it for the end. We don't have to bear it too long. I do find it rather annoying that the Prof claims the "STM" absolutely can't activate by itself, when it does on a regular basis. And you can "breach" it from the other side, well, okay, but that means it DOES activate by itself, doesn't it? But for the truly irritating, check out K9's new laugh. He's obviously been fiddling with emotions since Fear Itself, but man, that electronic chuckling is creepy.

But it's not all bad. I find K9's convoluted attempt at technobabble entertaining by virtue of it lampooning so many scenes like it across all of science-fiction. The time-fragmented news report is also amusing, with things happening out of sequence or repeatedly depending on where you are in the studio. That's generally where the time anomaly stuff works best. The stuff around Gryffen Manor is rather more ordinary. Unless they really needed more opportunities for Darius to be a jerk, then I guess they're a great success.

WHO REFERENCE WATCH:
We get an alien POV shot, which seems very Whovian to me. The Centauri destroyed by the Oroborus is unlikely to be connected to Alpha Centauri, which pretty much needs to be intact by the time of the Federation for the Peladon stories to work. Or does it?

REWATCHABILITY: Medium (but just)
- A few amusing moments and important back story about a main characters raise this one to a higher rating. On the whole, it's more clunker than winner.

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