Doctor Who: The Unicorn and the Wasp

Recap

When the Doctor and Donna gatecrash a 1920s garden party, it looks to be a fairly sedate and high class affair- with the added bonus of being able to meet the real Agatha Christie thrown in. Naturally, however, wherever a Time Lord goes, trouble is not far behind, and in short order our heroes find themselves caught up in a murder mystery not dissimilar to one of Agatha Christie’s novels- with the rather unique addition of a giant alien wasp.

Alien, Planet and Tech Guide

  • Vespiform: A race of giant alien wasps, at least one of which has visited Earth. As shapeshifters, they are able to take human form and seal part of their personality and heritage in the form of a jewel. Procreating with humans is possible, although the offspring may not be aware of its heritage until strong emotions break the genetic seal.

Episode Thoughts

I know I must seem extremely hard to please (well, come to think of it I probably am), but even by Doctor Who standards this was a bit of a silly episode. I suppose it was a nice touch that everyone had their little secret as if it were proper murder mystery, but other than that it was all faintly ridiculous- especially the buzzing of the giant wasp in human form, or indeed the giant wasp itself. And the whole subplot about the jewel thief named the Unicorn seemed a bit unnecessarily tacked on.

Nitpickers’ Corner

  • Not a nitpick, but an attempt to name all the Christie novels slipped into the script- I noticed Crooked House, Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, Nemesis, They Do it With Mirrors, The Moving Finger, Sparkling Cyanide, The Body in the Library and Murder At the Vicarage (or at least vicar’s rage), whilst the Radio Times also picked up on Cat Among the Pigeons.
  • Okay, so I have major problems with the giant wasp; aside from the fact that an insect’s circulatory system isn’t up to supporting such a huge size and that it’s highly unlikely such a thing would evolve on another planet, how could it be compatible for breeding with a human, let alone taking human form and violating mass conservation? Let’s not even try to explain the mechanics of the gem, or how it could become connected to Agatha Christie just because the person wearing it was reading one of her books.
  • I also find it hard to believe that a) Agatha Christie will be the bestselling author of all-time in the far future and that b) her books will still be printed on paper in that era (perhaps for the retro look, though).
  • Another observation, but note how the Charles Dickens episode was referenced.
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