We’ve come to a point in our series about fallout from season 11 episodes that I have to say, I’ve got nothing. This episode, while not well loved, did get one thing right: it gave us an episode that is truly a standalone adventure. There may be questions and things wrong with it, but as for fallout… well, there’s nothing. The events take place on a medical transport where a man gives birth. There needn’t be any greater significance than that. A woman dies and her brother learns he was just as a good a pilot as his sister. (Even though he had no training and the whole reason the Doctor couldn’t fly the ship was that she also had no training.) We learn a little about the technology of the time too, but it’s a blip. Like our own technology, if we never heard about that wonderful antimatter drive system again, it wouldn’t have any impact on established history in Doctor Who. Even the android amounts to a tech-blip. (Short of being told he is the only one capable of touching the Pting, he never does.) This is a lite one… nothing to say to investigate the fallout of the story.
Oh, wait, what’s that? The Pting? Yeah, he was the little fellow that the Doctor tricked into the airlock to feed it an explosive that detonated in his stomach… leaving him blissfully full for a few minutes while drifting in space. No, fans of cute, cuddly aliens, don’t despair! That doesn’t kill a Pting. Like a Tardigrade (no relation to the TARDIS), the Pting can live in the vacuum of space. Like a TARDIS (no relation to a Tardigrade), it’s virtually indestructible. Which does leave one great big stinking problem!! Did the Doctor actually just send that creature out into space to go elsewhere and cause more problems? This is the cuddly version of the Xenomorph from the movie Alien. It can survive almost anything, eats ships like I eat ice cream, and can’t be killed. So the Doctor proves once again to learn nothing from her encounter with “Tim Shaw” and, rather than finding out how to maybe make the creature less dangerous, she shoots it out into space to what? Float back to another planet? Land on a passing spaceship? Yeah, yeah, I read the Hitchhiker’s Guide, I know space is big and my chemist isn’t that far away after all! I also know that space lanes exist in SF, and that ship was en route to safety. I know the Doctor pulls off a standard “nick of time” victory, meaning the Tsuranga was awfully close to its destination. So it’s just a matter of time before our friendly neighborhood Pting, who is moving with great speed having been jettisoned from a moving ship, lands on an inhabited planet and eats through all of the infrastructure. Who could stop it? You can almost hear the little creature singing, “Can’t touch this…!”
And that says nothing of the species itself. I mean, we are treated to a one-time only monster, but if Alien taught us anything, it’s that there are more of them somewhere. Maybe a lot more! Aliens made that abundantly clear! So does this mean there is a planet full of these adorable little monsters? Let’s not bother dealing with the morphology of a species like this because fine, Doctor Who is fiction and we don’t need some dopey story about a planet of nuclear reactors and their one natural predator was a Pting, but you can’t have an indestructible monster that is hyper dangerous… but no one has ever thought to mention it before. I mean, sooner or later, won’t we encounter one of them? We’ve been with the Doctor on more journeys than many of us can count. And this season has been all about name dropping, so why not let us see one of the creatures she name-dropped? No, forget that, it would be too cohesive! Does the Doctor mean to tell us that there are only one or two of these little buggers in existence? That would tie in with my big complaint about Doctor Who writing: the Doctor needs to learn from (at least) the major lessons of his/her life. In Terror of the Vervoids, it was made pretty abundantly clear that genocide is a no-no! There were 8 Vervoids. So it’s either that there is a planet full of these horrifying nightmare travesties that should be avoided more than any big red threatening button, or there is only one and the Doctor attempted to blow it up and throw it out into space. To quote a certain character from Rick and Morty, “Ooooh-eee!”
So yeah, the fallout from the episode is really, really light. Assuming that Doctor Who is just about pulp stories that are loosely connected by a cast of recurring characters. But if Doctor Who has a universe within which it exists and it’s laws matter, well, we might have a problem here. Because the way I see it, someone needs to scoop up a bunch of Pting in a net, and fly them through space to the planet Skaro and drop them off and watch the fireworks. The Pting could be to the Daleks what Tribbles are to Klingons. No, actually Tribbles are like having an infestation of chipmunks; you don’t want them in your house, but you can’t really bring yourself to kill them. The Pting are more like having an infestation of sharks that can wander about your house and eat whatever they please, water be damned.
Right, I guess there wasn’t much fallout from this episode after all. Or a story. ML