"Overdue library cards... you deserve erasure for that alone."
IN THIS ONE... Starkey is sent to an alien planet by a "library card".
REVIEW: After a trip in time, a trip in space. Sort of. The planet in question is actually "saved" on an alien "library card", something of a nod to Mr. Atoz' library in Star Trek's All Our Yesterdays, though the technology's roots in the Whoniverse would actually go back to Nightmare in Eden. Ugh, imagine that, a sequel to Nightmare of Eden. Well, it really isn't that bad.
Inspector Thorne seems to have come in exactly where Drake left off, causing more jurisdictional strife at the Department (sigh), but he's a much better character. He's so dry, he works as both a threat and comic relief. Drake was neither. His CCPCs are just as incompetent, of course, but he at least has the wherewithal to punish them severely for their flubs, and he's a more public figure, so Starkey and co. can visit amusing indignities on him, where Drake was too much of creep. Half the joke is in the straight man's reaction, after all, and Drake didn't do a lot with those. And while his plan in this episode has its problems - the kids get to his office, but how did he know they'd try? - but his goal, to turn an archived planet into a prison colony, is an interesting one that fits his position.
Make no mistake, this is a comedy no matter how serious Thorne's goals are. It mostly works, thanks to a stern, tidy alien librarian (your mileage may vary with the make-up) who plays on stereotypes, but takes it to fairly amusing extremes. Too much of it does hinge on choice insults though, and while several are witty (Starkey saying Thorne looks like he's selling funeral insurance, for example), a little of that goes a long way. I'd still rather have Don Rickles' ghost writing the comedy than the poop jokes we also get however. Character humor would be best of course, which is why I give Thorne in particular a passing grade, though also props to K9 for his "butch" negotiation with the inspector. He really has been accessing old movies from his database.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - A mildly amusing comedy episode that showcases a new recurring villain who is head and shoulders above the old one. Not quite as sharp as I'd like, but still watchable.