by Catriona Mills

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Five: "Cold Blood"

Posted 13 June 2010 in by Catriona

I’ve been forbidden to blog any of the comments that the peanut gallery have been making thus far, because apparently it’s all “pre-blogging.”

This seems unfair to me.

I’m also eating chocolate with “Happy B’Day Michelle” written on it in legible icing.

But previously, people were sucked into the earth, including Amy. Alaya also predicts that someone will kill her, while the Doctor also says that they need to keep her as a hostage, so that nobody dies today.

A narrator says that this is his planet—we miss the rest of the narration, because Heather’s telling me that I can’t put any of what she’s saying on the blog.

HEATHER: Okay, I just missed that whole thing.
MICHELLE: Yeah, just stop saying things.
NICK: If you listen to the voice-over, it ruins all the suspense of the episode.
HEATHER: Oh, good. Yay me!

The Doctor and Nasreen set off an alarm, as elsewhere Amy is about to be vivisected—and criticised for her tiny shorts, until the doctor hears the alarm. The doctor legs it

MICHELLE: Holy crap, that’s a short skirt.
ME: Shorts.
MICHELLE: Those are short shorts.
HEATHER: She dressed for Rio.
NICK: A bit over-dressed for Rio.
HEATHER: Her sexuality’s not ambiguous enough.

We’re not really compelled by the storyline here.

But Amy picks the lizard man’s pocket and unties Mo, and in legging it, they find Elliot, linked to some kind of equipment that monitors his vital signs.

And the Doctor is tied to an exam table, being ‘decontaminated,’ which doesn’t look pleasant.

Tony tries to get Alaya to help him overcome the poison in his system, but Alaya says that he’ll be the first ape casualty of the coming war.

The doctor who’s decontaminating the Doctor tells a militaristic woman (Restac) that they’re the same rank, so he’s not going to bow down to her desire to kill the Doctor.

Though the decontamination seems to be doing the same thing—the Doctor says that the human germs are half of what’s keeping him alive.

Restac wants the decontamination to continue, but the doctor stops her. Restac, though, says that she’s going to execute the Doctor and Nasreen, as a message to the rest of the coming invasion force.

Amy and Mo, wandering around the city, find two alien warriors in suspended animation.

HEATHER: ‘Their skirts are shorter than mine!’

Amy insists in checking out what’s happening with the sleeping warriors: she finds transport discs, and Mo finds guns. So they’re both happy. Then they find an army, and they’re not so happy.

In the church, Ambrose wants to know what’s wrong with Tony. He says he’s fine, and to leave him alone. But Ambrose insists on checking what’s wrong, and she sees the creepy green vein things.

HEATHER: I’ve got green!
NICK: They’re multiplying?

The Doctor, heading for his execution, tells Nasreen why the Silurians went into hibernation in the first place. (Moon fear, in short.) Rastec asks how he knows about that, and he explains his last meeting with the Silurians—and how badly that ended. Not the most diplomatic move, but typical Doctor.

Ambrose confronts Alaya, with a taser, which we determine—after a brief discussion—was one of the weapons she put in the truck, which the Doctor told her to get rid of.

Alaya taunts Ambrose about, firstly, being unable to take care of her own child and, secondly, about being the one who Alaya knew would kill her—and Ambrose tasers her.

Alaya screams, and Rory and Tony come running. Tony grabs the taser off Ambrose, and Rory tries to help Alaya, but she dies.

AMBROSE: I thought sooner or later she’d give in.
HEATHER: I was at Guantanamo!

Amy and Mo come in, fully armed, into the banquet hall where the Doctor’s going to be executed (where we have a brief spirited discussion about how many times Doctor Who has used this set), but Amy is swiftly disarmed and I get distracted by the question of what happened to Mo’s shiny reflective jacket.

AMY: What do you think they’re going to do to us?
HEATHER: They’re going to mini-skirt you to death.

Then Restac activates the computer, and asks to speak to the ‘ape leader.’ Rory steps forward, and they can all see the hostages.

RORY: Amy! I thought I’d lost you!
AMY: Why, because I was sucked into the ground? You’re so clingy.

Rory’s doing pretty well, but then Restac asks to speak to Alaya, and it goes a bit badly. Ambrose takes over, demands everyone be returned, and prompts Restac to try and execute Amy.

But then they’re interrupted by a valedictorian.

ELDANE: You want to start a war when the rest of us sleep, Restac?
HEATHER: I was in the middle of graduation ceremonies.
MICHELLE: Yeah, and that doctor was in the middle of being a butcher.

Eldane dismisses and belittles Restac, and sends her away. This is an opportunity for diplomacy—so the Doctor tells Rory to bring everyone, including Alaya, down to the factory, where they’ll find some transport pods.

Oh, dear. That’s not going to go well.

Elsewhere, Amy and Nasreen are acting as diplomats in discussions with Eldane about sharing the Earth. The Doctor’s terribly excited about this, saying this is not a fixed point in time. Here, they can change the future.

Rory and the others are preparing to travel down with Alaya’s corpse.

HEATHER: They’re going to start a war based on the [redacted] thing you’ve wrapped her in. That is a fashion atrocity.

Ambrose is begging Tony to do something,but she doesn’t say what—just that this is something she needs to do for her son. Or, what? Like the time you electrocuted that woman to death? ‘Cause that was some great role-modeling, right there.

HEATHER: Ambrose needs to die. Blog that.

Tony turns on the drill. Oooh-er.

The Doctor and the doctor (or butcher) bond, basically, as Nick says, sweeping under the table all the vivisecting that he’s been doing (though I’ve argued that the valley has so few people living in it that they can really only have been vivisecting the disappearing corpses). Elliot is released, and the Doctor apologises for letting him run off and be kidnapped by lizard people.

ELDANE: You give us space, we will give you technology beyond your dreams.
HEATHER: And host all of your graduation ceremonies.
MICHELLE: What colour are Amy’s eyes?
NICK: Let me find one of the many pervy sites on the Internet devoted to her.

So things are going terribly well, until Restac turns up with an army and Tony turns up with a corpse.

Ambrose quite openly admits to killing Alaya, and I’m really not the slightest bit sympathetic to Ambrose’s perspective.

DOCTOR: In future, when you talk about this, you tell people that there was a chance, but you are so much less than the best of humanity.
NICK: On the other hand, that is just rubbing it in at this point, Doctor.

The Doctor still thinks he can save this, even though Restac is keening over her sister’s body, but Ambrose tells them that she’s set the drill to start burrowing again, unless the lizard people let then all go.

RESTAC: Execute her!
HEATHER: Yes! Yes! No, Doctor! It’s okay to let some people die!

The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver apparently blows up Silurian weapons, which is handy. He tells Restac to go back into hibernation, and she refuses, so he blows up more guns and they retreat into the lab.

They have three things to do: hold off the Silurians, do something for Tony, and blow up Nasreen’s life work, to stop the drill destroying the city.

Eldane can help with the first thing: he says there’s a toxic gas that serves some function that I couldn’t type fast enough to catch. The Doctor amends this plan, telling Eldane to set his alarm clock for one thousand years, and telling Elliot to make sure that the humans are ready for the Silurians to return at that point.

The problem is Tony, who hasn’t actually run through the decontamination process yet.

Nick and Michelle are still looking up Amy Pond websites.

Tony decides to stay behind, though Ambrose objects. Tony tells Elliot not to blame his mother, which makes Heather apoplectic.

The Silurians start heading back to their hibernation chambers, despite the cries of Restac.

And Nasreen decides to stay with Tony—he can be decontaminated when they wake in one thousand years.

Everyone else legs it to the TARDIS.

And at the TARDIS, Ambrose, Elliot, and Mo dash inside, while Rory, Amy, and the Doctor see the crack return—wider this time. The Doctor’s fascinated, but Amy tells him they have to leave.

Not the Doctor—he’s sticking his hand in, to see if he can find some shrapnel. He grabs something, and then Restac drags herself out of the corridor.

She shoots the Doctor—but Rory shoves him out of the way and he hits Rory.

Oh, Rory. What were you saying in Venice about the Doctor being dangerous because he makes people want to impress him?

RORY: I don’t understand. We were on the hill. I can’t die here.
AMY: Don’t say that.
RORY: You’re so beautiful. I’m sorry.

Those are terrible, terrible last words. No one’s last words should be “I’m sorry.”

But there’s worse to come, because the light from the crack is covering Rory’s body, and once it absorbs him, he’ll never have existed.

The Doctor tells Amy to concentrate.

DOCTOR: Tell me about Rory. Fantastic Rory. Funny Rory. Gorgeous Rory.

Amy thinks. And she remembers Rory dying, and Rory in Venice, and Rory tripping over as they walk—and there’s an enormous explosion, Amy and the Doctor are thrown to the floor, and Amy pops up saying, “What were you saying?”

Oh, poor Rory.

But the engagement ring bounces across the floor, so that’s interesting.

They leap out of the TARDIS just in time to see the big mining thing explode.

Then the Doctor administers a stern speech to Ambrose, telling her to make Elliot the best of humanity, as she couldn’t be.

Heather still thinks Ambrose should die.

At the TARDIS, Amy sees herself on the hill, but Rory is not there.

The narration returns, this time from the future—saying that as his race prepares to waken, he thinks back to the Doctor, the losses he suffered then and the losses still to come.

And we see that the shrapnel he pulled from the explosion is a piece of the TARDIS.



Share your thoughts [8]


Matthew Smith wrote at Jun 13, 01:17 pm

I particularly liked the bit when the Doctor is running out of the chamber during the shootout and a Silurian tries to tongue zap him from above – there was something very vintage sci-fi book cover about it.

I’m completely gutted that Rory is dead. Don’t worry Rory, we won’t forget you. Pretty damn bleak when Amy was waving to herself on the hill later and no Rory.


Catriona wrote at Jun 13, 01:39 pm

I’m a bit gutted about it, as well. I should specify that when I say Rory’s last words are “terrible,” I don’t mean they’re badly written. I mean that no one should ever have “I’m sorry” as their last words—poor, poor, stumbling, uncertain Rory.


Drew wrote at Jun 14, 12:21 am

And I am gutted because the one thing in Doctor Who that you never, ever, ever mess with is the Tardis! Sure you can remodel it, you can ground it on Earth, you can even make faint hearted attempts to repair the Chameleon Circuit, or let stupid Tractators blow it apart and then get them to put it back together again, but you do not suggest that it is destroyed forever (which of course it wont be) but still…

I have just rewatched these two episodes and have to say that I still really enjoy them, I like the slower storytelling and I love the diplomatic attempts to reconcile the Silurians and the Humans and the suggestion that in 1000 years time we will share the planet with them. It’s as Jade said in 2nd episode, 1st season “So many species came from the planet.” It beautifully captures the same feeling that Pertwee’s Doctor’s intitial encounter with the Silurians had, that the Doctor for all his interest in Earth is not of this world and does not see it the way that we humans do.

I liked Rory and will miss him, though I agree, the ring suggests that the story isn’t over yet.


Catriona wrote at Jun 14, 01:18 am

That’s why I like that bit at the end—the TARDIS is indestructible. So what on Earth (or, more probably, not on Earth) could possibly destroy it? To me, that’s more threatening than promising that the Doctor or one of his companions will die. We know the TARDIS always comes back, but still . . .

I still have to disagree with you on these stories, though (desolated as I am to do so). I don’t think it was a matter of slower story-telling: I think they were out-and-out underplotted. They would have made a good three-parter in the old series, but there wasn’t ninety minutes of plot here.

And I didn’t care for the diplomatic stuff, because diplomacy doesn’t work like that. The diplomacy was taking place while the others were heading down to the big mining thing to be transported down, which only reinforced how little time the negotiations took. And what’s the point of negotiation between people who have absolutely no power to enforce any of their promises?

No, I was disappointed in these. I didn’t find them compelling, at all.

Michelle made an interesting point last night: she said she feels she doesn’t react the way the rest of us do (which is to say Heather, Nick, and I), because we’re interested in the show no matter what. But she does feel—and I agree—that she’s a good barometer for the show, and she was completely uninterested in this episode. Plus, she’d already forgotten what happened last week.

I’m not saying this is the worst episode of Doctor Who ever, and certainly not the worst thing ever recorded. But I didn’t find it compelling.


Tim wrote at Jun 14, 02:13 am

I have to admit I’m on the slightly non-gutted side. We’ve heard how dangerous the crack is, then the Doctor sticks his hand in it without getting swallowed, but the light consumes Rory’s body? Please. And I’d be more moved if they’d made him interesting or at least explained why Amy actually liked him. That said, having Amy forget about him seemed cheap.

Also, voice-over narration — dumb idea.

The plotting felt limp and by-the-numbers. The Silurians were too human and too stupid to care about. Matt Smith is still a great new Doctor, but this was not a good episode.


Catriona wrote at Jun 14, 05:56 am

Nick never stopped complaining about the voice-over narration. In fact, after this and “The End of Time,” Doctor Who just shouldn’t do any more voice-overs.


Melissa wrote at Jun 16, 12:47 am

I stopped myself from posting on the last one because I caved and watched both last week, instead of waiting for them to air. Even watching them back-to-back it felt…padded. Lots of fluff and not enough substance. Really, I don’t see why this couldn’t have been done in one episode.

I know Ambrose had a purpose, but it was rather badly done. She wasn’t really fully realised enough for me to feel anything for her, or attempt to understand her, or the like. Blah blah, they have my son, whinecakes.

Oh, Rory. :(


Catriona wrote at Jun 16, 01:06 am

I struggle with the idea that I don’t sympathise sufficiently with Ambrose. I don’t have children, but even if I did, I’m not sure I’d want them to know I was willing to electrocute someone to death. Then again, I can’t imagine how frantic I’d be if they’d gone missing.

I suppose they’re trying to present it as … not quite a Sophie’s Choice, but an unbearable, tormented decision.

But to my mind, it didn’t work that way. Ambrose made no attempt to try any other form of negotiation, but just leapt straight into tasering the hostage, despite the fact that the Doctor was actually attempting to get Elliot back at that instant. And the show’s timeline was ambiguous, but events seemed to pass so quickly that the Doctor can barely have been gone any time at all before Ambrose decided her best option was to electrocute someone.

It just didn’t, to my mind, justify the extremity of that behaviour. Not, say, compared to “Midnight,” which dealt with exactly the same kinds of ideas of what humans can do to non-humans when frightened, but did so much, much better.

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