The Doctor, Rory and Amy find themselves in 2010 Wales, where apparently Future Rory & Amy will be vacationing in ten years, not that we get to say hi quite yet. Also, and more pressingly, an experiment concerned with drilling super-far into the earth has woken up the dirt. Holes are appearing everywhere, and an annoying man has already been taken. The creatures wall off the drilling site, which contains a church and graveyard, and the rest of the mining team: This awesome lady named Nasreen, her secret crush Tony, and Tony's daughter and her family. The daughter, Ambrose, is sullen and Welsh and ginger. Her husband is the annoying man who has disappeared. Their child is sort of creepy, sort of obnoxious, and sort of awesome.
While Rory is off acquainting himself with Ambrose and her son under the guise of being a policeman or dirt-investigator or something, Amy and the Doctor meet up with Nasreen and Tony, and Amy gets sucked into the earth with a quickness. The Doctor freaks out for a little while, and then realizes that the dirt has been bioprogrammed to snatch people, as well as the fact that there are a few monsters headed up from the bottom of the earth. Everybody rushes around a whole lot but there's not really a cohesive plan. The little boy disappears, causing Ambrose to act up and get weird.
One lizard appears, and whiplashes her tongue up in Tony's business, resulting in a spreading green taint he hasn't yet seen fit to tell anybody about. The Doctor and Rory catch her, and Rory is actually charming for once. Not so charming is the alien lady, who it turns out is just wearing a scary mask for some reason, but who is even uglier inside. She is a total bitch to everybody, and explains that she is a warrior class Silurian, which is the lizard race that used to own earth before we got it. Mostly what she is into is genocide.
Now that they have a hostage, and things are officially getting out of control, the Doctor gives everybody a patronizing speech about their moral fiber and heads downstairs to talk to the Silurians about possibly not massacring humanity. Given Alaya's poor behavior, I think this will be a difficult sell at best. Luckily, he is accompanied by Nasreen, who is fantastic and deserves to be a Companion for a season or two. They discover a whole civilization underneath the earth, which makes their diplomatic mission a whole lot less hilarious. Slightly funnier is how Amy wakes up in a fairytale glass coffin, gets gassed, and wakes up next to Ambrose's annoying husband, who explains that they are in a total vivisection situation right before a big old lizard guy starts cutting her open.
Upstairs, Tony is in love with Nasreen and has the green skin issues happening, while Alaya explains to him, Rory and Ambrose -- each of whom now have compelling reasons to want this situation resolved as quickly as possible -- that one of them will end up killing her. Given that the Doctor has already given Ambrose a patronizing speech about weaponry -- and given what season we're watching -- I'm guessing we already know. On the other hand, I would happily volunteer, because Alaya is a total bummer.
Next week: Surprising resolutions, women are still worthless, and at least one major game-changer they don't even know about yet.
So "Amy's Choice" was pretty good, and "Vincent" is going to be fairly awesome, and "The Lodger" is probably the best episode of this show I've ever seen, barring or perhaps equal to old Redfern and the Family of Blood. Which means things are about to get real awesome, but also means we have to slog through this effing mess first. I'll try to be nice, but honestly it's so stupid that it's offensive, and it's so offensive that it's just stupid, and between those two options I don't know which is more of a turnoff.
So come with me now to Cwmtaff, ten years hence in 2020, where apparently people are still not sick of The Gruffalo. Or maybe it's having a resurgence, and Spike Lee will be making an unloved and vastly underrated movie of it, starring people from HBO shows of the future. The story is about a little mouse that goes through the forest scaring off predators by pretending to be friends with the imaginary creature the Gruffalo. He's like Mark Ruffalo, but even more annoying.
At the end there's a twist because he meets the Gruffalo and he is real, but the mouse is still awesome and leads the Gruffalo through the forest and all the aforementioned predators go running off due to the Gruffalo, who is so dumb he thinks they're all afraid of the mouse, and eventually becomes afraid the mouse will eat him. (Essentially, gruffalo gruffalo gruffalo gruffalo gruffalo.)
I guess there's something to be said here about creatures preceded by their own propaganda, the way our fear leads us to do abstractly stupid things like run screaming from a tiny mouse or, in this case, threaten genocide all over the place and generally act like assholes. But the story is itself so reductive -- and racist, and sexist, and generally ill-devised -- and childish that it's like having a literary reference to Goodnight Moon show up in the middle of Pat The Bunny. Not too many aspiring Northrop Fryes in the under-tens. Particularly not in South Wales.
Meet Elliot Northover, child, and his father Mo. They are both fairly obnoxious but we'll dispatch with them soon enough. They are struggling to read the Gruffalo book, but Elliot's got dyslexia -- which never stopped anybody from doing anything, not even being an annoying pint-sized twit -- and Mo... I don't know about Mo, why he struggles with the Gruffalo so, but I do know that he A) Married this lady Ambrose, who is just the worst as you'll see, and B) takes the book with him to work. Like for his personal enjoyment.