Doctor Who: The Hungry Earth
Ten years in the future a deep drilling project causes problems with the reptiles living beneath the Earth’s surface.
“The Hungry Earth” sees the return of the Silurians, reptiles from the Earth’s past. Humans may not know of their existence but they know about us and aren’t exactly happy to know that their planet has become dominated by apes. A war for the planet is brewing.
In South Wales a project is going on to drill deeper into the Earth than ever before. Problems begin when the night shift starts and one man is sucked into a spontaneously appearing hole in the ground. The Doctor and Amy investigate the drilling area while Rory is informed by one of the locals that bodies have been disappearing out of their graves and into the ground. Amy is sucked into another hole and the Doctor insists that the drill be shut off. Using the sensors they find that something is coming up through other tunnels in the Earth. The creatures trap everyone in a shield and create darkness for their arrival while the Doctor and Rory try to prepare in any way they can. The creatures attack; kidnapping a young boy. The Doctor catches one of the creatures and realizes that they are reptiles who used to control the Earth before the evolution of apes call Silurians. The captured Silurian insists that there will be a war for control of the planet so the Doctor takes the TARDIS deep into the Earth to talk to the others, finding there are far more of them than he anticipated.
“The Hungry Earth” starts off the second two part story of the season focusing on a creature that hasn’t appeared in “Doctor Who” since 1984. The Silurians are a reptilian race that lived on the Earth during the Silurian period (hence the name). By the time 2020 comes around it seems as though they’ve had plenty of time to build up their species again (so why the Doctor would expect to only see a small group, I’m not sure) in the depths of the Earth’s crust and they want to take the rest of the planet back as well. We don’t see a lot of the Silurians in this first episode but so far they’ve made a more interesting enemy than “Doctor Who” has had in the past few weeks. Earth is their planet as much as it is a planet belonging to humanity and thus their desire to return to the surface is quite understandable. The only question is how far they will go to get what they want and why the desire to dissect humans while they’re alive.
Amy gets incapacitated relatively quickly in this episode leaving the Doctor and Rory (and of course the guest stars) to find out what is going on. When Rory became separated from Amy and the Doctor at the beginning I immediately thought “Oh good, Rory will get to do something on his own and prove that he does have a character.” But unfortunately Rory’s time on his own doesn’t last very long and very little information comes of it that the Doctor hadn’t already found on his own. Hopefully the second part of the story will give Rory the opportunity to do something apart from Amy and the Doctor otherwise there’s really no purpose to having him tagging along on the show at all.
One question that occurred to me while watching “The Hungry Earth” was why exactly are they drilling in the first place? Nasreen tells the Doctor that they chose this location because of the minerals found in the grass nearby but not the goal of digging in the first place. They don’t appear to have any method of retrieving these minerals even if they were present and I can’t see drilling a huge hole just so you can claim to have dug deeper than anyone else. It seems as though it would be an expensive thing to do for no reason.
Another curiosity I had was about the quick appearance of future Amy and Rory at the TARDIS’ arrival. I expected them to play some part otherwise why mention it at all. It seemed as though it was meant as some conclusion to last week’s episode in that we could see they were still together after 10 years. Still it seemed a wasted scene. Amy quickly asks if they can go talk to their future selves but when the Doctor tells her that it makes things complicated she shows no further interest.
The last couple of episodes of “Doctor Who” have been mostly forgettable so thankfully “The Hungry Earth” manages to bring in some villains with actual menace and a bigger threat. This time the whole Earth could be at stake if the Silurians were to win a war against humanity. Hopefully next week can present an exciting conclusion and maybe even some character development for Rory.