The Hungry Earth is the eighth episode and seventh story of the fifth series of Doctor Who. It stars Matt Smith as The Eleventh Doctor, Karen Gillam as Amy Pond, and Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams. It is a two part story, with the second episode being "Cold Blood", but I will treat the two as one story.
The story starts when The Doctor, Amy and Rory end up in Wales in the near future, instead of their intended destination of Rio de Janeiro. While his two companions want to move on to warmer climes, the Doctor is fascinated by a "big miney thing" and quickly goes to investigate. It seems that he has found an experimental mining station that has managed to drill deeper than anyone has before. However, in a somewhat-predictable tale of hubris, they have managed to disturb the Silurians, a reptilian civilization that has been hiding under the world for millennium. The Doctor must protect the human miners, at the same time as he must make peace between the humans and Silurians, and between different factions of Silurians. This episode combines two common Doctor Who plots, The Base Under Siege and the tale of political intrigue.
Apart from the main plot, at the closing of the episode, the season arc is moved forwards, with the death and erasure from history of Rory Williams, and further revelations about The Cracks in Time. However, these are not part of the main plot of the story.
One of the good things about my viewing of Doctor Who is that it been all out of order, and I have picked up different parts of the tradition along the way. If I was writing about this episode a week ago, I would say that it was an interesting political story, but that it fell short of what I expected from a Doctor Who story in terms of plotting, pacing and weirdness. But I have recently begin to watch Classic Who, and doing so put this story in perspective. The high kinetic pace of modern Who has not always been part of the show, and many of the early stories involved a lot of talking, plotting, and visual chess matches. I can see echoes of such classic stories as The Aztecs and The Sensorites in this story, as The Doctor must sort out competing claims and try to find out people's true motivations. In light of the fuller Doctor Who tradition, I find much more purpose in this story.