A Special Look at: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

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Dinosaurs on a Spaceship isn’t a particularly good episode. For this post, however, the focus will not be on the Doctor, Rory, or Amy, but rather Queen Nefertiti and Riddell, who by the end of the story, end up a couple in the 20th century African wilderness.

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The story begins with the Doctor and Queen Nefertiti in 1334 B.C. where the Doctor just rescued the Egyptian people from a swarm of giant alien locusts. On his psychic paper, he receives a message from the Indian Space Agency from the 2367 A.D. when an unidentified spaceship was hurtling toward Earth, with Queen Nefertiti in tow.

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Because they are going to “need help,” the Doctor goes to pick up John Riddell, a big game hunter from the African Plains in 1902 A.D.

Doctor: More stew?
Riddell: Where’ve you been, man? Seven months. You said you were popping out for some liquorice. I had two very disappointed dancers on my hands. Not that I couldn’t manage.

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He then picks up Amy, Rory, and accidentally, Rory’s dad, Brian. With all of them on board, they begin to get acquainted with each other. As they speak to each other while searching the ship, Queen Nefertiti shows her leadership:

Riddell: There’s clearly more than just two of these creatures.
(He takes a pull from his hip flask.)
Amy: Hey, put that away. I need you sober.

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Queen Nefertiti then reveals who she is to Amy, which she responds with, “You’re awesome.”

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Queen Nefertiti than inquires on who everyone else is.

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Later, inside a Laboratory, Queen Nertiti and Riddell have a verbal altercation.

Riddell: Lizard people herding dinosaurs onto a Space Ark? Absolute tommyrot.
Nefertiti: Only an idiot denies the evidence of their own eyes.

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While still inside the Laboratory, Queen Nefertiti asks if Amy is the Doctor’s ‘Queen.’

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Amy: I thought you had a husband?
Nefertiti: The male equivalent of a sleeping potion.

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Amy: So, human sleeping potion or walking innuendo. Take your pick.

The idea of mutual exclusion presented, the fact that Amy says Nefertiti could take King Imhotep (“human sleeping potion”) or Riddell (“walking innuendo”), should be noted.

After the Doctor discovers Solomon, who had been injured when he boarded the ship (“attacked” and “cornered” by three raptors “chewed through part of the bone in my legs.”). Solomon tells the Doctor that he “search[es] out opportunities for profit across nine galaxies” and that he “ejected” the Silurians (the “robots woke them from cryosleep a handful at a time and jettisoned them from the airlocks. We must have left a trail of dust and bone”) because their “ship crossed my path” and when he saw the cargo, “things became complex.” The Doctor states it was “piracy and then genocide.” Earth has launched missiles, much to the dismay of Solomon, and realizes he can’t “can’t keep the dinosaurs and live myself” but “I had the IV system scan the entire ship” which found “something even more valuable. Utterly unique” in “Earth Queen Nefertiti of Egypt.”

Nefertiti: I demanded to be brought here.
Doctor: No, no, no, no, no way.
Nefertiti: It isn’t your choice, Doctor, it’s mine.
Doctor: Listen to me. If you go with him, I can’t guarantee your safety.
Nefertiti: You saved my people. I am in your debt.
Doctor: No. No debts. You don’t owe me anything.
Nefertiti: Then I do it on my own.
Doctor: No, Neffy, Neffy.
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Solomon: Do it, boy.
(Riddell lowers his rifle.)
Solomon: My bounty increases. And what an extraordinary bounty you are.
Nefertiti: Never touch me.
Solomon: I like my possessions to have spirit. It means I can have fun breaking them. And I will break you in with immense pleasure. Thank you, Doctor. Computer, take us back to my ship.

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As the Doctor teleports away to save Nefertiti, Amy and Riddell have to fend off dinosaurs.

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Once on board, the Doctor saves Nefertiti and stops Solomon.

Doctor: Ship’s still magnetised. Just couldn’t bear to lose you.
Solomon: Release my ship, Doctor, or I kill this precious little object.
(Nefertiti kicks his crutch and Solomon falls over. She grabs the crutch and puts the point at his throat.)
Nefertiti: I am not your possession now, nor will I ever be. Now, stay there.
Doctor: Don’t mess with Egyptian Queens, Solomon. I hope you’ve learnt that now.
Solomon: What are you doing?
Doctor: Disabling this ship’s signal and replacing it with the one from the Silurian ship. I send this craft off emitting the signal they’re looking for, the missiles will follow. Hopefully, Siliurian ship safe, dinosaurs safe, everybody safe. Bit tight for time, though. Shouldn’t really be chatting. Neffy, let’s go. How remiss of me. Almost forgot. The thing about missiles, very literal. This is what they latch on to.
(The gubbins from the machine.)
Doctor: Now, one press of this and the ship’s demagnetised.
Solomon: Doctor, whatever you want, I can get it for you. Whatever object you desire.
Doctor: Did the Silurians beg you to stop? Look, Solomon. The missiles. See them shine? See how valuable they are. And they’re all yours.
Solomon: You wouldn’t leave me, Doctor.
(The Doctor closes the gate to the main compartment.)
Doctor: Enjoy your bounty.
(The Doctor leaves.)
Solomon: Doctor!
(The little ship whooshes off into space. The missiles corner quickly and follow.)

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Solomon then dies on the ship. It is revealed that Nefertiti is with Riddell in (presumably) 1902 A.D. by episodes end.

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Is Queen Nefertiti a Straw Feminist? (See Feminist Frequency‘s #6, future references of this post will be used with this symbol: Ω) She fundamentally represents this quite well, actually. Let’s look the things she does well in the narrative.

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First, she encourages Riddell to listen to Amy during their situation. Women being viewed, and listened to, as capable leaders is a real world issue.

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Second, when Riddell asserts himself as a leader presumably due to his gender, she speaks back to him.

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And finally, she does make a decision on her own, without the help of any other character during the episode. But there are some important things to take notice of that really make her a straw feminist.

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First, when she continues to ask Amy if she is also a Queen, this is suggestive that in Nefertiti’s world view, all women are Queens. Of course, whether you are in Ancient Egypt, Modern Day London, or 2367, this is a ridiculous point of view. This serves to imply that, for Nefertiti, power comes from her title, rather than her own sense of individuality. That’s how this episode suggests that feminism is ridiculous.

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Second, it suggests that feminism is bad for marriage by having Nefertiti having expressed interest in the Doctor, and later Riddell, rather than her unseen husband “human sleeping potion” Pharaoh Imhotep.

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Third, it suggests that men need to stand up against feminist women to change their views (tame them) by having Riddell do this within the episode.

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Fourth, it suggests that feminist women are foolish by having Nefertiti allow herself to get captured by Solomon. This leads to her being later becoming a Damsel In Distress (see Feminist Freqeuency‘s Damsel In Distress Series), which the Doctor actually does in the story.

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Finally, it suggests that misogynist men are better leaders and more capable leaders (“I had two very disappointed dancers on my hands. Not that I couldn’t manage.”) due to several of his endeavors, such as fighting the dinosaurs with Amy, and wooing Queen Nefertiti all prove to be entirely successful.

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Is Amy Pond a Feminist in this episode?

Oddly enough, Amy acts in the functions that Nefertiti upholds through most of the episode.

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This includes fighting dinosaurs alongside John Riddell,…

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….taking charge when necessary,…

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…and focusing on the important things at hand at nearly every turn.

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But under no circumstances does Amy express any feminist views, and her marriage to Rory instead comes up.

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8 thoughts on “A Special Look at: Dinosaurs on a Spaceship

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