Dinosaurs On a Spaceship is the second episode of the seventh series of Doctor Who. It stars Matt Smith as The Eleventh Doctor, Karen Gillam as Amy Pond, Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams. It also features Mark Williams as Rory's father Brian Williams, Riann Steele as Queen Nefertiti, Rupert Graves as big game hunter John Riddell, and David Bradley as the villain Solomon. This is as close to an ensemble cast as Doctor Who gets.
I have a semi-serious theory that Doctor Who plot ideas are made with some type of mad libs or dart board. "The Doctor and a Flying Shark Must Save Christmas". "The Doctor and Richard Nixon Must Fight An Alien Invasion". This story is certainly in that mode. Dinosaurs are good. Dinosaurs on a Spaceship? Even better! But to bring it up to the level of ridiculousness we expect from Doctor Who, Queen Nefertiti has to be there as well. And two wise cracking robots. After last week's psychological adventure, this was fun Doctor Who: corridor crawls and a ride on the back of a Triceratops.
All of this levity, which seems like it could have come out of Scooby-Doo, is wrapped around a darker plot. The spaceship has been pirated by Solomon, a ruthless pirate and slave trader whose actions bring out The Doctor's ruthless side (and Matt Smith's great acting). There is also (very unusually for Doctor Who) an implication of sexual violence, that I could have done without. The total immorality of Solomon drives the Doctor to a point we don't usually see him reach.
Although I am not quite sure yet, I think this episode works well as both a fun story and a more serious statement about the limits of the Doctor's mercy. A topic that might be covered more in next week's episode, A Town Called Mercy.