• 29th May 2010 • Review by Ben Paddon •
Oh my word, wasn’t that exciting? The twists, the turns, the astounding revelations. My heart was pounding in my chest when it wasn’t leaping up into my throat. And that ending! What an ending.
But enough about the Ashes to Ashes finale. Let’s talk about “The Hungry Earth”.
There were some people here at URP! who were convinced, convinced, that Chris Chibnall’s Silurian two-parter would be the low point of Series Fnarg. And there were some people, like myself, who were equally convinced that even Chibnall’s stories would glow under the watchful eye of the Moff. I was certain that, assuming Moffat took the same “I’ll rewrite everything!” approach that Russell T Davies took during his tenure, Chibnall’s two-parter would be worth watching, especially with the Silurians returning. After all, a long-standing fan like Moffat would want to do justice to a fan-favourite classic series baddie, right?
I was wrong. Completely and utterly.
“The Hungry Earth” is the first time since “Fear Her” that I haven’t felt compelled to watch every moment of the show. At several points, while others were happily watching the episode, I got up and did other things without asking someone to pause it for me. I didn’t feel like I needed to, in all honesty. The episode had all the excitement of a 1950s cereal commercial, and the pacing of heart transplant surgery.
In fact, I will be brutally honest with you, this review is so late because I knew I couldn’t review it properly having not seen the whole thing and I was not looking forward to the idea of seeing it again. I hate that I’m the URP!er tasked with reviewing this episode. I could’ve reviewed “Flesh and Stone”. I wanted to review “Flesh and Stone”. I was excited about reviewing that one. But there was a last minute shuffle, and I ended up with Chibnall’s shit-tacular turdfest of a Part One story.
I realise that isn’t a very professional attitude and I should just take the work I’m given and do what I can with it, but tough. I really don’t know what else I can say about this episode, apart from commenting on its rather lackluster cliffhanger that seemed entirely the wrong way ’round. If ever there was evidence that Chibface shouldn’t be writing for Doctor Who, this is it. This episode was just bad, the first terrible episode of the entire series so far (and I don’t care what anybody says, “Victory of the Daleks” was cracking).
Although, it has dawned on me that it’s been some time since the Doctor properly addressed the cracks in the skin of the universe. Since the events of “Flesh and Stone” the Doctor appears to be more concerned with Amy and Rory’s relationship that he is with what he has already described as the end of the universe. I’m not complaining, of course – Moffat does relationships rather well, as do most of the writers he’s brought in for this part of the series so far – but while we’ve seen cracks the entire thing hasn’t really been addressed. In fact with “The Hungry Earth” we have now traveled about ten years after the event that’s supposed to have caused the cracks, and nothing. Yes, yes, I know – wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey – but this is a point of consternation for me. The Doctor had been very concerned about the cracks, and now he seems largely uninterested in them. Did the Angels seal the cracks up long enough for him to decide to play Intergalactic Relationship Therapist? Or is there something more going on?
All of this is largely irrelevant to “The Hungry Earth”, of course, because Rory and Amy’s relationship isn’t really put to good use in this episode beyond Amy falling into the traditional “companion in distress” role and Rory getting all Rory about it.
Look, I don’t like it. It was terrible. I don’t want to write about it anymore. If I never have to review another story by Chibface I’ll be a very happy man indeed. Can I just go home now?