The Water Thief

Roots: The Mummy. There are references to Lawrence of Arabia, Tutankhamen, Menander, Sherlock Holmes, and CSI. The Doctor quotes John Donne.

Goofs: How does Manu look sheepish whilst wearing an Anubis mask?

Dialogue Triumphs: “Whether someone lives for fifteen or fifty years might not make that much difference in a few centuries’ time, but today – today it means a lot.”

Continuity: The “Water Thief” is a non-sentient purple reed that absorbs water from any source, and can reduce living beings to desiccated cadavers in seconds. Its spores can animate the cadavers, which also absorb water, but explode if they absorb too much. The Doctor isn’t sure how it travelled back to Ancient Egypt from the twenty-seventh century, but having visited both time periods briefly worries that he may have accidentally carried its spores back either on his clothes or in the TARDIS.

The Doctor has a bucket and spade in the TARDIS. He keeps the psychic paper in a waterproof wallet. He and Amy pose as visitors from the Pharaoh. They eat bread and fruit in the Nomarch’s house. The Doctor claims that pomegranates are his favourite fruit. He can now survive cyanide poisoning relatively easily because he’s been poisoned before and his body knows that it can defeat it (The Unicorn and the Wasp). He wears a mask and Amy wears heavy make-up to disguise themselves at the funeral. He uses the TARDIS’s Force Field to scoop billions of gallons of water and transport it through the Vortex.

Rory has been to Southend. He wears shorts here; Amy wears a bikini. The Doctor provides long white robes for all three of them. In ancient Egypt the Doctor and Rory wear white tunics and make-up. They drink tea with Grenfell and Hunt. Amy and Rory share a picnic on the unnamed planet.

The TARDS contains a lifeboat from the Mary Celeste

Links: The Doctor has a choking fit at the mention of Sutekh (Pyramids of Mars). Amy notes that she and Rory have died three times between them (The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang). Amy also refers to River Song impersonating Cleopatra (The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang). She recalls snogging someone the night before her wedding (The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone). The Doctor mentions Daleks and Krillitanes. He recalls that he was once quite good at cricket, in a nod to the Fifth Doctor.

Location: Oxyrhynchus/Behnesh, Egypt, c1896AD and c100BC; and unnamed planet.

Future History: The “Water Thief” is a genetically engineered crop from the twenty-seventh century called the water hunter, which is designed to grow in desert regions.

Unrecorded Adventures: The Doctor has taken Amy and Rory to Phintus Beta, where Rory drank iced ambrosia.

The Bottom Line: An entertaining romp with some nods to classic horror, although something of an oddity, with no real villain and a non-sentient “monster”. Rayner’s knowledge of history is subtly deployed, providing interesting historical detail without being a blatant lecture.

Discontinuity Guide by Paul Clarke

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