I’ll be honest with you, I was a little worried that Dinosaurs on a Spaceship would be a letdown. There was so much that could go wrong – the dinosaurs being giving only enough screen time or plot weight to justify the child-baiting episode title for a start. I should have known better of course. The second episode of the new series has made me very happy indeed.
It had its dud moments, (Queen Nefertiti like a cat on heat with the Doctor for one) but they were fleeting. Instead we got an explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs, the chance to meet Rory’s Dad (the brilliant Mark ‘we wanna be together’ Williams (or, yes Arthur Weasley if you’re too young to remember that building society ad)), the first stirrings of sadness as our time with the Ponds shortens (a quarter of that time elapsed while you were watching this episode – assuming Steven Moffat hasn’t lied about the timing of their leaving), a chance to slam those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing and remind them not to judge everyone by their own greedy, shallow standards (here ends the Save-the-NHS-from-privatisation speech) and Rupert Graves looking damnably hot.
Here be spoilers…
If you’ve stuck with Eternal Law this far, then this is the week in which your faith (or patience or inability to shift off the sofa) is rewarded.
The focus shifts firmly on to Zak and Tom’s case this week, which is nicely obscured and, naturally, much more interesting. Mack Steen (David Bradley – or Argus Filch – if you’re a Harry Potter fan) is a curmudgeonly old sod being turfed (along with all his fellow residents) out of his care home by the uncaring owner Keith Cedric (Adam Kotz). Mack poisons (but doesn’t kill) Cedric and what should be a simple guilty plea to ABH goes awry as Richard sticks his oar in and gets the charge raised to attempted murder.
The enjoyment is in seeing Zak unpick the layers of the story to get to the truth and understand why Mr Mountjoy has sent this case his way. The resolution also feels more in tune with what Eternal Law is about than the first two episodes too. (I’m deliberately not spoiling so you can go and watch this on ITV player when you’re done here.)
I already adore Zak (Sam West is pure class, even – or perhaps especially – in an apron) and he gets some beautiful dialogue from Matthew Graham this week. I liked his response to Mack’s “You want chat? Tickety-boo. Oprah, Jeremy, Trisha. All on right now…” – “I won’t if you don’t mind, I know what hell feels like already.” I giggled at “It’s like having Ned Sherrin to stay” (after Mack heads off to point his barrage-balloon bladder at the porcelain) and if you weren’t tickled by his teasing Tom about his new friend (“Hiya!”) then I don’t know what we’re going to do with you. You have to admire his restraint (“Ow! Bloody ow!”) when punched by Mack in thanks for Zak trying to stop breaching his bail conditions.
Speaking of which, Tom is growing on me too – his concern for the “lonely” internet ladies who really want to chat, his reaction to experiencing Joe’s dementia, his superior and ecstatic dance moves, copying Mack’s tea-drinking method – all make me want to bring him home and feed him biscuits.
The small snippets of angel mythology woven around this week’s episodes make the larger mystery all the more alluring. I was tickled both by the lawn full of four-leaf clovers as a potential portent of doom and at Zak’s expression of exactly how ‘impressive’ angels are between the sheets. Less joyful was learning exactly how Mrs Sheringham lost her wings. As brutal an act as placing Hannah in Zak’s path again, I would say.
All in all, very satisfying. I’m off to cultivate my new crush on Sam West, so see you next week.
Posted by Jo the Hat