Saturday, May 01, 2010

My Review of Doctor Who's 5x05: "Flesh And Stone"

Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Adam Smith

River: “It’s never gonna work.”
The Doctor: “What else have you got? River, tell me?”

And here’s an episode where there are enough moments for the Doctor to get spectacularly angry at different things, people and situation and the one that I’ve learnt about this new Doctor, it’s that he doesn’t hold back when someone/something’s riled him up big time.

The Weeping Angels are a prime example of something that been riling him up in this story as well. Having the image of one of them in Amy’s mind was going to make things a lot worse for everyone involved. Amy might not have turned into a Weeping Angel but she was certainly screwed and more off than usual.

The first clue to that this week was when she was counting. Everyone had managed to make it into the Byzantium and while the Doctor was trying to get to the secondary flight deck and keep the Angels out, Amy was on a countdown. It made sense given the spoilers that were released for this episode this week.

But what could’ve Amy been possibly counting to? Her death of course. The Weeping Angels wanted to use everyone to swell in their ranks and Amy was already on the verge of death in this episode. Even when the Doctor and River confronted her about the counting, it was the Angel Bob who had to fill in the blanks.

I really do love the fact that the Weeping Angels have gone from the kindest killers in the world to the most malevolent and spiteful ones there are. They took absolutely joy in telling the Doctor that they were hurting Amy for kicks and even more in telling him that he stood no chance of succeeding against them.

Yeah, it’s a classic villain mistake to make and for a moment, the Angels did have the Doctor in their clutches but it was also their own fault that he slipped through their fingers in a bid to get to the main deck in this episode. As for Amy, well she was definitely having the worst time of it.

You know there’s something odd when it’s River who was comforting Amy more than the Doctor in this episode. Granted he was too busy trying to come up with a plan to save Amy and destroy the Weeping Angels but he wasn’t exactly a beacon of sensitivity even if he was right in telling Amy that she’d die if she kept her eyes open for more than a second.

Although it won’t be another two weeks before Karen Gillan gets an episode largely dedicated to her character, this is definitely one of her strongest episodes, performance wise. Some fans have bitched about Amy being a little too cool for school when it comes to facing the strange and alien. This episode saw her more human reactions to things.

Like anyone else in her situation, she was terrified of dying and really had to get the Doctor to open up about what the Angels were doing to her. She also might have claimed that she wasn’t that clingy in the previous episode but in this one, she was reluctant for the Doctor to leave her. It seemed those lingering trust issues are definitely still there. Man, he has been a letdown to the girl.

But the biggest factor of this episode was her coming face to face with the crack in her bedroom wall. I’m delighted that both the Doctor and Amy were forced to meet this head on and I was more than interested in the face that it was time energy as well that ended up being powerful enough to destroy the Weeping Angels.

For a death scene of a big menace, it did feel a little besides the point because as soon as that crack appeared, everything became about Amy in a much bigger way. You had the Doctor telling River about the lack of ducks in a Leadworth pond as well as Amy’s obliviousness of the Daleks. Something is more than off with Amy and the Doctor is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Even if it meant that by saving her life, him and River nearly came to blows over if. For all the Doctor’s strategic telling of Amy to keep her eyes shut and walk like she could see, it was River’s use of teleportation that actually got Amy out of a nasty predicament with the Weeping Angels.

Then there’s the trip back to Earth. Amy finally told the Doctor about her wedding and then responded by trying to seduce him. Thanks, Daily Mail for spoiling that scene but I have a feeling that it’s going to anger a lot of fans as well. It also says a lot about Rory too.

Not in a negative way but if Amy’s so determined to bed the Doctor (and it’s made clear here than she means one night stand, not love), then you have to ask why the hell is she marrying Rory? Is Amy something of a cheat or does she have some genuine reservations about marrying her lover? Rory’s a nice guy but if Amy’s not that into him, then it’s odd that she’d go through with the wedding.

The even odder part was when the Doctor wasn’t making a balls up of blocking Amy’s advances, he finally really seemed to get that Amy needed sorting out. Unfortunately for Amy that does not mean seeing her raggedy Doctor naked anytime soon and from the trailer for next week, it looks like Amy’s going to be stuck with the two most important men of her life for the time being.

As for River Song, if she’s not the Doctor’s future wife, does that mean she’s his killer? That was why she was in prison – because she killed a good man. And both her and Octavian (before he became a victim of the Angels) were being annoyingly cryptic when the Doctor tried to get more information out of them as well. And if we didn’t know that River was due back for the finale, we sure as hell do now.

The Doctor for a minute didn’t sound like he was taking River’s warning of the Pandorica seriously but the ending certainly suggested that he was. I’m going to assume that both Amy and the Pandorica are linked. For all we know, Amy could be the bloody Pandorica. It certainly wouldn’t surprise me, come to think of it.

Also in “Flesh And Stone”

The title for this episode was suggested to Steven Moffat by his son. It’s a terrific title for the episode. And was there an eye watching River in this episode as well?

Father Octavian (re the Doctor): "Dr Song, I lost good clerics today. Do you trust this man?"
River: "I absolutely trust him."
Father Octavian: “He’s not some kind of madman then?”
River: “I absolutely trust him.”

River was kept prisoner in the Storm Cage facility and according to Octavian, she’s trying to earn a pardon. I’m surprised it wasn’t Volag Noc.

Amy: “That’s, that's like the crack from my bedroom wall when I was a little girl.”
The Doctor: “Yes.”

The Doctor (to Weeping Angels): “And I’ll tell you something else. Never let me talk.”

Interesting idea the oxygen factory/forest on the ship as well as the tree borgs. A forest can certainly be something else in a Steven Moffat episode.

The Doctor (re Amy/Weeping Angels): “Bob, why are they making her count?”
Bob: “To make her afraid, sir.”
The Doctor: “Okay, but why? What for?”
Bob: “For fun, sir.”

The Doctor: "You need to start trusting me. It's never been more important."
Amy: “But you don’t always tell me the truth.”
The Doctor: “If I always told you the truth, I wouldn't need you to trust me.”

Even though I’m glad that Octavian told the Doctor the truth about River, it also could’ve backfired in his face. If he had survived this episode, I imagine that River would’ve gotten him back in some way.

The Doctor: “Never mind the Angels. There's worse things than Angels.”
Father Octavian: “I beg to differ, sir.”

The Doctor: “I wish I had known you better.”
Father Octavian: “I think sir, you know me at my best.”

There’s an almost deliberate “Doomsday” reference when the Doctor, Amy and River have to hold on tight as the Angels get sucked into the crack in time. A crack that’s anything but healed as well.

The Doctor: “River Song, I could bloody kiss you.”
River: “Ah, well maybe when you’re older.”

River (to the Doctor): “You. Me. Handcuffs. Must it always end this way?”

Um, here’s a hoping, only next time with the Doctor and not River in handcuffs. And there was a reference to the Cyber King as well, which spoils something else.

River: “You’ll see me again quite soon when the Pandorica opens.”
The Doctor: “Pandorica? That’s a fairytale.”
River: “Haha, Doctor, aren’t we all? I'll see you there.”
The Doctor: "I'll look forward to it."
River: "I remember it well."

Amy: “I’m getting married in the morning.”
The Doctor (re engagement ring): “Why did you leave it here?”

The Doctor stated that he was 907 in this episode. It was this time four months ago (TV wise) that he was telling Wilfred he was 906.

The Doctor: “I’m 907 years old. Do you understand what that means?”
Amy: “It’s been a while?”

The Doctor: "It's you, it's all about you. Everything. It's about you."
Amy: "Hold that thought."
The Doctor: "Amy Pond. Mad, impossible, Amy Pond. I don't know why, I have no idea but quite possibly the single most important thing in the history of the universe is that I get you sorted out right now."
Amy: "That's what I've been trying to tell you."
The Doctor: "Come on."

Chronology: 26th June 2010, the date of Amy and Rory’s wedding, a certain base code and the date in which the finale for this season should also air, barring interruptions.

Actually somewhat better than the previous episode, “Flesh And Stone” certainly amped up the mystery angle of this series big time. Anyone for the crack plot to be gone in this episode, I can honestly say that it’s only widened. I’m so looking forward to see what exactly happens when the Pandorica does open up.

Rating: 9 out of 10.


Anonymous said...

Actually, from the Doctor's perspective, he does end up in the handcuffs - when he has to watch River die at the library.

There's also a continuity issue when he reminds amy about what he told her when she was seven. His jacket reappears; In the shots before and after, he's in his shirtsleeves. It's possible that he's actually a future doctor who popped in briefly - after all, young Amy heard the TARDIS and smiled in the first episode, after he'd already dematerialized. Curious!

Weirdmonger said...

I'm not sure your quote above about truth and trust is correct.
Here is my take on it:

shawnlunn2002 said...

I looked into the continuity thing as well and I've been reading theories that it's two Doctors, which I don't know seems odd - but then we have the oddest companion in the new series with Amy so maybe it's true.

As for the quotes, I've rewatched the episode and verified them correctly now.

Weirdmonger said...

Thanks. I've corrected my mis-hearing with a comment on my original blog entry.

Anonymous said...

Well done!........................................

Placey said...

I am loving the irrepressible Amy Pond and cracked up when she made her not-so-subtle pass at the Doctor. As for where is her love for dear Rory, I'm putting her behaviour down to a combination of wedding eve jitters and the fact that the Doctor has been her fantasy for the past 14 years!
Yes, I wonder if it's the Doctor that River was imprisoned for murdering - how did she describe the man that she killed - he was 'the best'? Or is it a Moffatt red herring?
Sorry to hear about the romance scene spoiler - for once it sounds like it's paid off to be at the other end of the world and a couple of weeks behind! (I have been extremely good and trying not to read your posts until we get the Eps Down under :o)

shawnlunn2002 said...

What episode are you on this week?

It's my own fault re the kiss spoiler because I do look for them as well but it was a very funny scene.

Moffat's great with red herrings so it's possible that River killed another good man but for now, it's looking likely that it's the Doctor.

Thanks for the comments.

Placey said...

Hi Shaun
This Sunday night's Ep in Oz will be "The Vampires of Venice", which I understand has been written by none other than our good friend Toby Whithouse. Looking forward to it.