Doctor Who season 11, episode 5 recap: The Tsuranga Conundrum


Doctor Who introduces to the cutest little Pting–sort of.

Doctor Who brought a new creature into our lives with a tiny, murderous alien known as a Pting. It’s actually quite a jarring episode that includes not only this alien but a man giving birth, so it’s safe to say things got super interesting.

This episode almost felt like a culmination of multiple sci-fi space movies all smushed into one making for a rather enjoyable and silly hour. I think Entertainment Weekly describes this new alien best, “a cross between Disney’s Stitch and a Funko Pop.” I couldn’t have described that better myself.

So, basically, it’s near impossible to kill a Pting–it eats everything, touching it is poison, and it can run extremely fast. When one of their expeditions fails and they end up on a sonic mine that detonates, the companions and the Doctor find themselves aboard a ship, some sort of medical ship that is run by two individuals, Astos (Brett Goldstein) and Mabli (Lois Chimimba).

Their job is to find anyone in space that is hurt and help them get better by treating them with medical supplies, so it’s basically a floating hospital of sorts. While on the ship they also meet a pregnant man named Yoss (Jack Shalloo) and a General Eve Cicero (Suzanne Packer).

After the alien ends up killing Astos, the Doctor and companions have to do what they can to make sure they keep everyone else safe. I wasn’t super into some parts of this episode because it came across as too silly and often random. However, the parts that did come across in an emotional, impactful way are the moments where Ryan talks to Yaz about his mother’s death and the relationship he has with his father.

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Being away from her TARDIS, the Doctor is eager to get back to it and return to the planet from which they were picked up from.

But if she does so, it would spell trouble for other patients on board including General Cicero and Yoss.

After coming face-to-face with the Pting, the Doctor tries to explain who she is to one of the colleagues on board the ship saying she’s “a Doctor of “medicine, science, engineering, candy floss, Lego, philosophy, music, problems, hope — mostly hope”. Hope, indeed.

It turns out the medical ship is extremely advanced and when something bad is on board, it will detonate a bomb to try and take out the threat.

While talking to Yoss, Ryan and Yaz learn that after he gives birth, he’s going to give up the child. Cue, Ryan’s journey down complicated family relationship lane.

As he opens up about his father, he tells Yaz he hasn’t seen him in a year, and his father gave up him because it was too hard to be around him after Ryan’s mother died. Sigh. And if that doesn’t break your heart, then Ryan revealing he found his dead mother after her heart attack will have you in tears. Oh, Doctor Who.

Yoss soon goes into labor and asks for Yaz and Ryan to be his doulas while the Doctor eventually figures out that the Pting is feeding off of energy hence why it went straight to the lifepods, then her screwdriver, and the antimatter aboard the ship.

After stunning the PTING, they wrap it in some sort of super blanket and Yaz kicks it down the hall. This leaves one more attempt before a bomb detonates so the Doctor finds the bomb and brings the detonation on quicker. By doing so, the PTING was attracted to it, then tried to eat it, and then absorbed the blast as a result as she threw it out of the ship.

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Meanwhile, Ryan helped deliver Yoss’ baby and gave him a pep talk about being there for his child, and not abandoning it like he was. This motivates Yoss to keep the baby and give fatherhood a shot. Bravo, Ryan!

While we didn’t see the Doctor reunite with the TARDIS, she was promised that it would happen soon. Here’s to hoping!

Doctor Who airs every Sunday on BBC America at 8 PM EST!