Well, going to have a lot less to say about this episode than the last one, I expect. Praxeus was a nice, simple done-in-one adventure without any particular connectivity to the ongoing arc of the series. Without the lead-in bit last episode, you really could have watched this one at any point during the series.
And I found it solid and entertaining though not spectacular. I liked the ethos of it–the idea that events large and small all across the globe are all connected, including the people. There was a nice message in that. And I also liked seeing the Tardis crew split up for most of the episode, which gave the characters a chance to shine. This was probably Yaz’s best outing, where she got to show a lot of the sort of individual personality that I keep hoping they’ll invest the companions with. Here, she got to be brave, reckless, cheeky, just a tad prideful–it was all good. I still think more could be done with Yaz’s background as a policewoman, especially in the presence of another copper. But this episode represented some very nice strides forward.
Similarly, Ryan got to really come alive when he was on his own and leading is particular charge. I liked him both taking charge with Gabriela and dissecting his trophy bird. And even Graham got in a few good moments, both on the hunt with Yaz and in talking to Jake about the way e was choosing to live his life. As these things go, this was one of the better displays from the companion team. And they certainly faced the challenge of having to compete with the guest star cast this time out. Praxeus is almost overflowing with guest players scattered all across the globe, all of them demanding their screen time. Most of them got enough to do where it gave them enough personality to carry the day without overshadowing the core cast.
And the Doctor came across well in this outing as well. From the jump, she’s putting together the pieces, trying to figure out the connections and save people. It’s a flaw in the episode, really, that the connections are truly impossible to figure out ahead of time–the audience just isn’t given enough information to do so. It’s also something of a flaw that the thing the Doctor and company are up against here is effectively a germ, which doesn’t give them much to push against, Suki Cheng to the contrary. I found that I was glad of the passing reference to the Autons, as that’s exactly where my mind went with the first mention of plastics being involved, so good one on not mentioning this recurring foe at all. And I was concerned right at the end that the Doctor was going to stand by and let Jake die (especially after having done so with Suki moments before) , so I was quite happy that the story didn’t go in that direction. A solid outing for the Doctor and all concerned.
The plotting was a little bit weird, throughout, though. First and foremost, it was super-strange to see Gabriela palling off with Jake and Adam at the end of the episode given that her partner of five years had been killed only hours earlier. Similarly, nobody seems to notice or care when Amaru is killed by the birds (and given his connection to Suki, was he an alien as well, or was she working with a human being for some strange reason?) And we really never do quite get an understanding as to who and what created the Praxeus infection in the first place. And I suppose it doesn’t really matter–but this seems to be an episode where, the more you think about it after the fact, the less the whole thing holds together.
Not much else to say about this one, really. I don’t know that it will get multiple viewings from me, though I’d probably sit through it again if I stumbled across it.