Each week the Blogtor Who team give their first thoughts on the latest episode of Doctor Who. Here’s what we thought of the Orphan 55.
Please note we used a mop up picture to add spoilers space from those who need to see the episode first.
Our earth is rapidly deteriorating. We as humans need to take ownership of the damage we are inflicting on our planet. Given the increasing global crisis, it is inevitable that Doctor Who would address climate change and the expected wars and famine that climate change would cause.
Orphan 55 shone the light on our global crisis but it didn’t jell together as a coherent story. The story was essentially a repeat of Voyage of the Damned but without the character development, that story had. Apart from Benni and Wilma, I found it hard to sympathise with any of the characters. I also couldn’t understand a number of the Doctor’s actions or why she let so many people sacrifice themselves.
There were some good elements – the speedo humour with Graham, and Ryan’s poor pick-up lines – but overall Orphan 55 didn’t work as a story. But I applaud the show’s creative team for addressing climate change.
BTW, for the Twitter commenters who were wonder about how the Doctor survived so long without oxygen – look up respiratory bypass system.
Wow. You couldn’t get a bigger contrast between writer Ed Hime’s previous story, It Takes You Away, and Orphan 55. While that was a slow-burning mood piece centred around a psychological drama, this is a full-on action/horror/comedy hybrid. And one of its best qualities is how smoothly it gradually descends from Doctor Who at its lightest and funniest into the darkest places the show can go.
From Graham’s Speedos and giant tentacles in mating season (a Hentai gag! In Doctor Who!) to a scathingly bleak prediction of human apathy and brutality. It also sees Hime give full flow to the ecological themes so evident in his theatre work. The Doctor’s fam has established effortless chemistry this season. Yet, between this and Spyfall, it also feels like some of them have really been put through the emotional wringer. Could there be one or more departures coming as, like Tegan, they decide it’s stopped being fun?
Another very topical episode this week! ‘Orphan 55’ certainly didn’t pan out quite how I was expecting it to. It very much reminded me of episodes like ‘Voyage of the Damned’ or ‘The Impossible Planet’. In that sense, Ed Hime put an interesting spin on an established Doctor Who story format. ‘Orphan 55’ was also absolutely stunning visually, especially those exterior shots of the dome-like something out of Blade Runner! I think one of the most interesting parts of this episode (as with last week’s) was getting to see the ‘fam’ separated, particularly Ryan. I’ve not found I’ve quite connected with these companions even after a whole series, but I feel in these latest episodes I’ve finally started to get a proper sense of them. Another similarity I felt between this episode and the last was the lightning-quick pace, and the numerous twists and turns, which sometimes made it hard to keep track of what was going on. Nevertheless, this episode really stood out to me in terms of its characters – Laura Fraser particularly stood out to me as Kane, as did Gia Ré as Bella. Although some people might feel it was a little on the nose, ‘Orphan 55’s overall message about climate change is an enormously relevant and vitally important one, not at all hindered by some brilliantly unsettling creature design!
Doctor Who continues next Sunday 19th January with ‘Nikola Tesla’s Night of Terror’ on BBC One and BBC America.
The time: the earliest years of the 20th century. The place: New York City. Inventor Nikola Tesla is at war with his rival Thomas Edison. However, there’s an even greater threat in their midst…
Written by Nina Metivier. Directed by Nida Manzoor. Guest-starring Anjli Mohindra, Goran Visnijc, Robert Glenister, and Haley McGee.