Following on from last week’s Doctor Who episode, [[The Hungry Earth (Doctor Who episode)|The Hungry Earth]], we’re back in a remote Welsh village for the conclusion, [[Cold Blood (Doctor Who episode)|Cold Blood]]. Well, technically we’re quite a few miles under a remote Welsh village, but none of you guys are that pedantic, are you?
So where were we? Ah, [[The Doctor (Doctor Who)|The Doctor]] and Nasreen are underground in the Silurian city. They waste no time in getting captured by the Military Commander. On the flip side, a nifty spot of pickpocketting by [[Amy Pond]] helps her and Mo to escape from the scaly-faced Silurian scientist. So, plenty of action underground, what’s going on up on the surface?
Well, captured Silurian Alaya is being shockingly racist to her captors, hoping to taunt her way to martyrdom. And eventually, wronged mother Ambrose obliges. Her son has been taken, her father infected with venom from a poisonous reptilian tongue. Oh, and her husband has also been abducted, but she forgets to mention that bit. Poor Mo. You can almost feel her pain. She’s lost her entire family due to these creatures, and now one is condescendingly calling her an ape. Wouldn’t you unleash the taser on her green, scaly ass?
Neve McIntosh should be singled out here for her fantastic dual role: reprising the character of Alaya from last week, and now playing military commander Restac. Restac is a piece of work. She’s just itching to go to war with the ‘apes’, and any old excuse will do. Nor is she very happy when doddery scientist Malokeh wakes the Silurian leader Eldane to bring her into line.
The arrival of Eldane heralds the first chance of a fair trial for the humans, and it’s not long before The Doctor manages to get Eldane to negotiate with Amy and Nasreen about how the two species might share the planet. The ‘hand of history’ moment is not lost on the Time Lord as he guides both races toward a peaceful settlement. And you remember those parallels with immigration we talked about last week? Those themes are clarified somewhat: imagine thinking you had exclusive rights to live in a country, then discovering that someone had been there before you and had a more legitimate claim? Suddenly you are the immigrant. Interesting proposition. And, I think, a valid notion in Britain today.
Of course, no sooner than a plan for peace between humans and homo-reptilius is brokered than Ambrose, Tony and Rory show up with the corpse of Alaya. Buzzkills. The dismay on The Doctor’s face is etched on my mind. For once, things had worked out his way. They’d negotiated, and the negotiation had worked. Now the humans show up with a dead dealbreaker. And once Restac discovers her dead sibling, all hell breaks loose.
This pushes things toward a speedy conclusion. Eldane pushes the self-destruct button on the SIlurian city – forcing any militant reptiles to either return to their cryo-chambers or die. The city is to be sealed off and the humans must get to the TARDIS and return to the surface. Tony must stay in order to have the infection cured, which brings some form of punishment upon Ambrose for her actions. Lovestruck Nasreen opts to stay with him and be frozen until the Silurians opt to return in 1,000 years time.
But…it doesn’t end there. En route to the [[TARDIS (Doctor Who)|TARDIS]], The Doctor is unsettled to discover another crack in the universe. He stalls, working on the hypothesis that if the crack is caused by an explosion, then there might be shrapnel. He gamely reaches inside the crack (would you?) and pulls something out, but before they can see what it is, Restac shuffles out of a passageway, aiming her gun at The Doctor. Rory pushes him out of the way and takes the blast himself. As he dies, the light from the crack seems to reach out and consume him. However, Arthur Darvill has been confirmed for the final episodes this series, so theories abound that he might return somehow.
And that piece of shrapnel turns out to be a part of the TARDIS, a corner of the notice on the door of the police box. It’s charred and broken, and causes a look of distress from The Doctor. I wonder if the explosion that caused the cracks was the regeneration prior to this series that destroyed the time machine, or if the crack story is working in reverse: the final episode title is The Big Bang, so perhaps the explosion in question might happen at the end of the series? And will it destroy the TARDIS? Oooh missus!
I have adored this two-parter. As a matter of fact, I would have applauded the braver decision to stretch this out to three episodes somehow. It would have given more time to allow Ambrose to build up her resentment of Alaya. It would have given The Doctor some time to try and reason with the fanatical Restac.
Overall, there was an undeniable ‘classic’ [[Doctor Who (TV Series)|Doctor Who]] feel to this. A plot that could breathe, and The Doctor acting as Switzerland, trying to encourage the two races to find a middle ground rather than doing all the fixing himself. Even the music in the episode had that vintage feel. If you’ve ever wondered – as I have – if elements of the ‘old’ series would work in 2010, then here’s your answer: yes they bloody do.
Shockingly, a TARDIS companion has been killed off (and not somehow reanimated within the same episode, Captain Harkness). Those last few weeks of building up the character of Rory – the stag night, the dream world where Amy realises she loves him – result in his shock death. Abrupt, at the end of the episode, and now the inclusion of future Amy and Rory waving at the start of The Hungry Earth makes sense. What’s worse is that Amy totally forgets him, despite her best efforts to remember.
Oh, and I’m not an old-skool Who fan, so I don’t care about the Silurian third eye. I loved the make-up and presumably prosthetics that went into those creatures. The Telegraph moans about this being a carbon copy of the original Silurian storyline. Don’t know, don’t care. I may compare the two at some stage, but I feel Chris Chibnall did a fantastic job on this story, and perhaps the most subtle, clever reusing of an old-Who race of the new series. Daleks and Cybermen? Pah. I want more Silurians. I want to see that episode 1,000 years in Earth’s future.
Quotes from Cold Blood
- Malokeh: “The female appears to be more resistant to the cold than the male.” Amy: “I dressed for Rio!”
- Alaya: “Why would I want to escape when I can watch you die? The first ape death of the coming war?”
- The Doctor makes a nice fifth Doctor reference: “Not got any celery, have you?”
- The Doctor: “There are fixed points through time where things must stay the way they are. This is not one of them. This is an opportunity. A temporal tipping-point. Whatever happens today will change future events create it’s own reality.”
- The Doctor: “Bringing things to order. The first meeting of representatives of the human race and homo-reptilia is now in session. Ha! Never said that before, that was fun.”
- Mo: “I’ve got to be honest with you son. We’re in the center of the Earth and there are lizard men.”
- Eldane: “We lived on the surface of the planet long before you did. Our sole purpose is to return to our rightful place.”
- Eldane: “We work together, this planet could achieve greatness.”
- The Doctor: “We had a chance here. In future, when you talk about this you tell people there was a chance. But you are so much less that the best of humanity.”
- The Doctor: “If there can be no deal, you go back into hibernation. All of you. Now.”
- The Doctor: “Squeaky fun time!”
- Eldane: “So The Doctor sent our warriors back to their rest on the promise of future harmony with the humans.”