Once again, none of us had any idea this was to be a two-part episode because the powers that be behind Doctor Who don’t seem keen on making it obvious. It’s only when it gets to the end and you realise they are still in as much danger as ever that it can’t possibly be solved in the next five minutes.
Anyway, what of the Hungry Earth then?
It was a long old introduction with no Doctor. Normally, we see him arrive, bouncing out of the TARDIS first, then finding out where he is and what is wrong. This time, we had an entire build up, setting the scene in what appeared to be a rather rosy village in Wales.
My first thought with the man that disappeared down the hole is that it’s his own fault for sticking his hands in there anyway. But I suppose if you are in charge of the site and a mysterious hole appears in the ground, you might have to get your hands a little bit dirty. I know I wouldn’t though.
My second thought was that as (there’s no way to write this without a mild spoiler) Amy disappeared as well, she would be fine because hadn’t they just seen her and Rory waving at themselves from ten years in the future? That seemed like an odd thing but maybe put in to try and temper the scary “being eaten by the earth” thing?
With Rory investigating empty graves, and Amy, erm, tied up somewhere else, the Doctor was left to investigate and hatch a plan with regular human beings. It was great fun watching him interact with them, particularly when he said “I’m making perfect sense, you’re just not keeping up”. Meera Syal’s reaction was funny.
A couple of other things to note, I love the idea of “sonic-ing and entering” rather than breaking and entering. I would pay good money to see someone use that excuse in a court of law. I don’t think they would get very far. I also love the fact that the Doctor produced a catapult as if from nowhere. Once he’d used it, it was tucked into his pocket and mostly getting in the way, so where had it been before? And does he always carry it?
Finally, I did like how brave Amy was, even though she was clearly very scared she still shouted at the aliens: “Did you just shush me?”
It’s hard to comment on the story enormously until it has played out in the second half, but I did wonder about the Doctor leaving the humans alone with the alien. They clearly weren’t displaying much in the way of friendliness towards her/it, and it’s going to be left to Rory to sort them out. Worrying!
Bring on Part 2!