by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Doctor Who”

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Five: "Amy's Choice"

Posted 30 May 2010 in by Catriona

We open on a lovely, idyllic English scene—green pastures, waving trees, clouds (obviously), and a little English cottage with ivy growing up the walls and incredibly small windows.

When we pan inside this cottage, we find Amy, with her hair pulled back off her face, incredibly pregnant, humming and mixing something in a bowl.

She’s still wearing quite a short skirt, though.

She puts the bowl down, starts panting, and screams “Rory!” loudly enough to startle nearby birds. It doesn’t seem to startle Rory, though—although his new fluffy hairstyle and ponytail certainly startle me—who comes cycling up to the door, past a flock of geese. He hears Amy calling his name in a tone that suggests she’d called it several times already, and throws his bike aside.

He gets smacked in the face by a rose as he hares in through the door—and, again, tiny little moment that it is, there’s something in the action that suggests this is more or less a daily occurrence. Turns out, though, the screaming is a false alarm: Amy says she’s never had a baby before, so how would she know how it feels?

Then the TARDIS materialises in their garden: Rory thinks it’s a leaf-blower (“Use a rake!” he shouts), but Amy know immediately what it is.

DOCTOR: Rory!
RORY: Doctor!
DOCTOR: I’ve . . . crushed your flowers.
RORY: Amy will kill you.
DOCTOR: Where is she?
RORY: She’ll need a bit longer.
DOCTOR (shouting): Whenever you’re ready, Amy!

Amy comes waddling out of the door, to much delighted shouting from both her and the Doctor. (And “waddling” is not meant to be offensive; it seems the best description for that late-pregnancy gait, where the baby’s shifting into all sorts of interesting positions.)

DOCTOR: You’ve swallowed a planet!
AMY: I’m pregnant.
DOCTOR: Look at you! You’re huge.
AMY: Yeah, I’m pregnant.

It speaks volumes for Amy’s delight in seeing the Doctor again, I think, that she doesn’t just smack him when he keeps going on about this, especially as he immediately lays both hands on her belly. She must cope with that on a daily basis, especially in a tiny village.

And, Doctor? You had at least one child yourself. Well, not yourself, unless there’s something I don’t know about Time Lords. You’ve seen this before. Unless Time Lords incubate in tubes. Do they?

The Doctor tells us it’s been five years (five years since they left the TARDIS, presumably, not necessarily five years since “Vampires in Venice”), and then they all put their coats on to take a walk around the village, as you do when an old friend drops in unexpectedly.

The Doctor makes a few mocking comments about the village, and Amy says it’s quiet but it’s healthy: “Loads of people round here live well into their nineties.”

DOCTOR: Well, I wanted to see how you were. You know me: I don’t just abandon people when they leave the TARDIS. That’s not what Time Lords are like. You don’t get rid of your old pal the Doctor so easily.
AMY: You came here by mistake, didn’t you?
DOCTOR: Yeah, bit of a mistake.

He asks what they do for fun and while Amy indicates (to Rory’s horror) that she is a bit bored, Rory says that they relax, they live, and they listen to birdsong. Not much birdsong in the good old TARDIS days, he says.

True, says the Doctor, clutching his head—and then they all fall asleep, still sitting on the park bench.

They wake in the TARDIS, the Doctor completing the sentence he’d begun on the bench.

The Doctor leaps up from the floor and, as Amy and Rory wander in from other parts of the TARDIS, says happily that they’re safe, because he had a terrible nightmare about them. Amy’s rubbing her stomach and glancing at the back of Rory’s head, so it’s quite obvious she’s had the same dream. But the Doctor just hugs her and rambles on obliviously.

RORY: Doctor, I also had a, um, sort of dream thing.
AMY: Yeah, so did I.
RORY: Not a nightmare, though! Just that . . . we were married.
AMY: Yeah. In a little village.

Clearly, this is more nightmarish for some than for others.

AMY: And you had a nightmare. About us. What happened to us in the nightmare?
DOCTOR: Well, it was a bit similar. In some aspects.
AMY: Which aspects?
DOCTOR: All of them.
AMY: You had the same dream.
RORY: You said it was a nightmare.
DOCTOR: Did I say nightmare? No, it was more of a really good . . . mare.

He deflects the situation, pointing out, quite rightly, that the fact that they all had the same dream is more important than whether or not he’s secretly judging Rory’s desire for domestic bliss and Amy’s uncertainty about her future.

He tells them not to worry about, that they just had some kind of psychic episode—“Probably jumped a time track, or something”—but they’re back to reality now.

Then why, asks Amy, can she still hear bird song. Yes, says Rory, “the same bird song were heard in the . . .”

“Dream,” he finishes, waking up on the park bench, forehead to forehead with the Doctor. (From the way they both spring apart, I think this Doctor needs to spend more time with Captain Jack.)

Amy and Rory think this is reality and they’re dreaming about being back in the TARDIS, but the Doctor tells them to trust nothing they see or hear. This is a lovely shot, with the three of them in sharp focus in the street, and the camera spinning around them, with the village faintly blurred, as though it’s not quite real.

“This is going to be a tricky one,” says the Doctor.

Credits.

Credits? Seriously? I’d better stop typing so much, or this is going to take me all day.

They wake up back in the TARDIS, and the Doctor is freaking out. He kicks the console, hurts himself, and declares, “Never use force. You only embarrass yourself. Unless you’re cross, in which case—always use force.”

AMY: Shall I get the manual?
DOCTOR: I threw it in a supernova.
AMY: You threw the manual in a supernova. Why?
DOCTOR: Because I disagreed with it. Stop talking to me when I’m cross.

At least in this shot, as the Doctor runs down to look at the underside of the console, we see the value of that see-through floor: he’s wagging his finger at Amy through it right now. This episode makes excellent use of the full range of the console-room set. It reminds me of that ship-in-a-bottle episode with William Hartnell, “The Edge of Destruction.”

Amy and Rory, again, are convinced this is reality and the village the dream, but the Doctor reminds them that they thought that before, and reiterates that they’re to trust nothing, to look for what doesn’t ring true.

RORY: Well, we’re in a spaceship that’s bigger on the inside than the outside . . .
AMY: With a bowtie-wearing alien.
RORY: So maybe what “rings true” isn’t as simple as it sounds.

Then the console dies.

DOCTOR: It’s dead. We’re in a dead time machine.

There’s a glorious echo on that line, as though the voice is echoing back through all the TARDIS’s corridors.

Then the bird song returns and they wake up once more in the village.

Rory’s particularly keen on this being reality: we find out from a passing greeting in the street that he’s a doctor now (no longer a nurse), and the Doctor points out how dreamlike all this is: Rory’s dream job, his dream wife, probably his dream baby. Rory insists it’s Amy’s dream, too, and she agrees a little too readily.

Then the Doctor notices the old-people’s home, with windows packed with peeping old people.

DOCTOR: You said everyone here lives to their nineties. There’s something here that doesn’t make sense. Let’s go and poke it with a stick.
AMY: Oh. Can we not do the running thing?

The Doctor’s shanghaied into helping one of the old women with her knitting, but before he can do more than lean far too close to her and say, “You’re incredibly old, aren’t you?”, they’re back in the TARDIS.

(Honestly, the Doctor has no sense of personal space. Was it back in last year’s Easter special when he complained, “Humans on buses: always blaming me”? but you really wouldn’t want to sit next to him on public transport.)

In the TARDIS, it’s still dark and increasingly cold (since the heating’s off), and the Doctor’s expressing dark forebodings about the people in the old-people’s home, to Rory’s astonishment. But just as he complains about someone over-riding his control of the TARDIS, a little man in a bowtie pops up on the stairs and tells the Doctor it’s about time he realised.

The man introduces himself as the Dream Lord, and the Doctor asks Amy if she’d care to guess what he does.

DREAM LORD: And how about the gooseberry here? Does he get a guess?
RORY: Listen, mate. If anyone’s the gooseberry here, it’s the Doctor.
DREAM LORD: Oh, now there’s a delusion I’m not responsible for.

He tells Amy she needs to choose, and Amy says she has chosen. Rory looks terrified, but Amy—who can’t even see his facial expression from where she is—reaches back to slap him on the stomach and say, “It’s you, stupid.”

Lovely moment—it shows a synchronicity and a sympathy in their relationship, that she knows how he’s reacting without even looking.

DOCTOR: Where did you pick up this cheap cabaret act?
DREAM LORD: Me? Oh, you’re on shaky ground.
DOCTOR: Am I?
DREAM LORD: If you had any more tawdry quirks, you could open up a tawdry quirk shop. The madcap vehicle, the cockamamie hair, the clothes designed by a first-year fashion student—I’m surprised you haven’t got a little purple space dog, just to ram home what an intergalactic wag you are.

The Dream Lord tells them that one of the worlds is real and one is fake. In both, they’ll face a deadly danger, but only one of those dangers is real. And then the bird song swells again, and they all fall asleep.

They wake in the now-deserted nursing home, and the Dream Lord wanders in with scans of the Doctor’s brain, saying it’s bad news: “Your brain is completely see-through. But then I’ve always been able to see right through you.”

He tells them that if they die in the dream, they’ll wake in reality.

DREAM LORD: Ask me what happens if you die in reality.
RORY: What happens?
DREAM LORD: You die, stupid. That’s why it’s called reality.

Amy demands to know where the Doctor has met the Dream Lord before, but the Doctor distracts her by pointing out that all the old people have gone. Outside in the village, some screaming children are being herded up to a historic castle by their teacher.

The Doctor rants about how the boredom of the village is slowing his brain down, and then Amy goes into labour.

DOCTOR: Help her: you’re a doctor!
RORY: You’re a doctor!
DOCTOR: It’s okay, we’re doctors. What do we do?

He squats down to catch the baby (which isn’t going to be a problem, since Amy’s wearing tights), but Amy says the baby’s not coming.

AMY: This my my life now, and it just turned you white as a sheet. So don’t you call it dull again. Ever.
DOCTOR: Sorry.
AMY: Yeah.

Amy’s genuinely furious—she stalks off, sits on a swing, and crosses her arms across her chest—until the Doctor teases her gently about Rory’s ponytail. As soon as she’s laughing, the Doctor points out the old woman following the children up to the castle.

Then they wake up in the TARDIS again. Amy’s freezing, Rory’s cranky, and the Doctor’s snapping at everyone, trying to spot the “tell” in the dream world.

RORY: I want the other life. Where we’re happy, and settled, and about to have a baby.
AMY: You have to wonder—if that other life is real, why would we give up all this? Why would anyone?
RORY: Because we’re going to freeze to death?

See, Rory, there’s your problem: you react flippantly to these questions, because you don’t want to hurt Amy’s feelings or push her any further away. But you have a genuine dissonance here in what you both want, and you can’t address it with flippant comments.

But he doesn’t: he just keeps reiterating his vision of what they’re going to do (not taking into account this massive change of circumstances that is travelling in the TARDIS), until they’re both angry.

AMY: You are always so insecure.
RORY: You ran off with another man!
AMY: Not in that way.

Nothing is resolved—nothing is ever resolved with these two, as Amy points out that she doesn’t see why they have to grow up. But, more importantly, the Doctor cobbles together a generator from an egg-whisk and a bottle opener, and they see on the monitor that they’re drifting towards a cold star—that’s their deadly danger for this reality.

The Doctor seems quite excited about the cold star, even though they have fourteen minutes to live, and Rory’s furious that this is how it’ll end, when he just wanted a nice life in a village. Then the Dream Lord turns up again, and his rude limerick is only just stopped in time by birdsong.

“Don’t spend too much time there,” the Dream Lord says, “or you’ll catch your death here.” This is the danger with both realities running on the same time track.

They run up the steps to the castle, where the children are nowhere in sight. Rory says this is definitely the real one: it’s so tranquil. But Amy question whether she would settle down in a place with a pub, two shops, and a really band amateur dramatic society.

AMY: That’s why I got pregnant, so I wouldn’t have to see them doing Oklahoma! Doctor, what are you doing and what are those piles of dust?
DOCTOR: Playtime’s definitely over.

What happened to them? Well, the old people happened. But as the Doctor’s striding towards a confrontation, the Dream Lord pops up again.

DOCTOR: I know who you are.
DREAM LORD: You don’t.
DOCTOR: Of course I do. No idea how you can be here, but there’s only one person in the universe who hates me as much as you do.

Oh, Doctor: I can think of at least three.

Rory’s still convinced these are real old people, until the man who used to run the sweet shop picks him up by his collar and throws him six feet into the mud. then we see that they’ve all got eyeballs in their mouths.

Okay, ew.

The Doctor tells Amy and Rory to run, while he asks the old people—or the creatures living inside them—what they’re doing.

The creatures say they were driven from their planet by upstart neighbours, and now they will humbled others as they themselves were humbled.

Then they kill a postman.

Amy and Rory, running through the village, see old people steadily approaching across the fields. This leads to Rory calling Amy “Chubs” and whacking an old woman with a fence post.

They make it home, where Amy collapses on the stairs.

Amy frets about abandoning the Doctor—“We don’t see him for years, and somehow, we don’t really connect any more, and then he takes the bullet for us”—but Rory says the Doctor will be fine, as he shoves a coffee table against a door.

The Doctor’s not fine: he’s staggering down the street, because the birdsong is ringing in his head, and he takes refuge in a butcher’s shop—but the Dream Lord is behind the counter. The Doctor frantically forces himself to stay awake long enough to lock himself in the fridge room, just before the old people get him.

The three of them wake in the TARDIS, where it’s colder.

The Doctor tells them that they must all decide, now, which is the dream.

Rory, of course, picks the TARDIS as the dream, and Amy agrees because the cold star is scientifically impossible. The Doctor, of course, thinks the TARDIS is reality.

DOCTOR: No, no: ice can burn, sofa’s can read—it’s a big universe.

He wonders if he and Rory are disagreeing or competing. “Competing over what?” Amy asks, a bit disingenuously, and snorts disgustedly when they both look at her.

She thinks it’s more important to find out how cold it is.

DOCTOR: Outside? Don’t know. But I can’t feel my feet and . . . other parts.
RORY: I think all my parts are basically fine.
DOCTOR: Stop competing!

The Doctor wishes they could split up, to have a presence in both worlds, and, since the Dream Lord thinks this is a marvellous idea, the Doctor and Rory fall asleep while Amy stays awake in the TARDIS.

In the village, the old people are breaking into the house, so Rory drags Amy upstairs, apologising at every bump, into the nursery. He watches from the window as the old people rock the TARDIS and prepare to batter down his front door.

The Doctor wakes in the fridge room. He finds the frequency that will cause the aliens to temporarily retract, dashes past the old people, and throws himself into a passing Combi van with a cheerful “It’s okay—it’s only me!” They hare through the village, picking up various people being menaced by old people.

The TARDIS drifts closer to the cold star. Everything and everyone is covered in frost, and the Dream Lord seems to be trying to seduce Amy. I don’t know which is more disturbing.

AMY: The Doctor knows who you are, but he’s not telling me. And he always does. Takes him a while sometimes, but he always tells me.
DREAM LORD: Oh, is that who you think you are? The one he trusts.
AMY: Yes, actually.
DREAM LORD: The one girl in the universe to whom the Doctor tells everything.
AMY: Yes.
DREAM LORD: So what’s his name?

Does that make River the one woman in the universe to whom the Doctor tells everything, then?

He tells Amy she needs to choose.

DREAM LORD: You ran away with a handsome hero. Would you really give him up for a bumbling country doctor who thinks the only thing he needs to be really interesting is a pony tail?

In the village, the Doctor tells his passengers to barricade themselves in the church, and hares off in the van to find Amy and Rory. The Dream Lord appears on his back set, telling him to choose.

DREAM LORD: Friends? Is that the right word for the people you acquire?

The Doctor parks outside Rory and Amy’s house as, inside, Amy wakes up. Rory demonstrates his devotion by cutting off his ponytail, though he looks stricken as Amy, tearful, says she was starting to like it. Luckily, they’re distracted by the Doctor climbing in the window saying, “Sorry: had to stop off at the butcher’s.”

Then Amy goes genuinely into labour, someone throws something through the window, and Rory, investigating, is struck by the glowing green gas . . . stuff.

Rory starts disintegrating as Amy watches, telling her to look after their baby. The Doctor covers his eyes. And Amy says, “Come back” in a completely uninflected voice, which just kills me.

She looks up at the Doctor as the last of the dust falls onto the ground. She’s rocking and her eyes are bright, but she’s not crying.

AMY: Save us. That’s what you do. You save everyone.
DOCTOR: Not always. I’m sorry.
AMY: Then what is the point of you?

She puts her hands into the dust, though the Doctor takes an involuntarily step forward. When she turns her back on him, he moves up to her and his hands hover over her back, but he doesn’t quite touch her.

Then Amy declares that this is the dream. The Doctor asks how she knows, and she says because if this is real life, she doesn’t want it.

She heads to the Combi, and the Doctor tells her to be very sure, because this could be real life. She doesn’t care: she’s crying now. She says she just wants Rory, and she honestly didn’t know until this minute.

The Doctor drops the keys into her hand, and they clasp hands briefly.

She says that she loved Rory and she never told him. What, even though you’ve been married for five years and are having a baby? I mean, you don’t need to be in love to fall pregnant, but somehow this makes me sadder for Rory than his death did.

Then she drives into a house.

They wake up in the TARDIS, all of them. Everything’s thick with ice, but somehow they’re not dead yet.

The Dream Lord congratulates them on choosing the right world with only seconds to spare, as the TARDIS pulls back from the cold star and the console room comes back to life.

The Doctor leaps to the console as Rory asks what happened to him. But Amy just leans forward and hugs him, and he’s so delighted it might as well be the only time she’s ever just spontaneously hugged him.

AMY: What are we doing now?
DOCTOR: Me? I’m going to blow up the TARDIS.

Rory’s stunned, but the Doctor insists.

DOCTOR: Notice how helpful the Dream Lord was. Oh, there was misinformation, red herrings, malice, and I could have done without the limerick. But he was always quite keen for us to choose between dream and reality.

Instead, the Doctor says, they were choosing between two dreams.

AMY: How do you know that?
DOCTOR: Because I know who he is.

He blows up the TARDIS. The screen goes white, then black—and we’re back in the console room, with the Doctor examining the palm of his hand, and Amy and Rory coming down the stairs.

The problem, says the Doctor, was caused by a speck of psychic pollen, which must have been hanging around the console room for ages. When it heated up, it caused a dream state for all of them. He blows it out the open door of the TARDIS.

So that was the Dream Lord? asks Rory.

No, says the Doctor: “Wasn’t it obvious? The Dream Lord was me.”

“Duh duh duh,” says Nick, who wanders in at that point.

He says the pollen feeds on the darkness within you, gives it a voice, turns it against you: “907. Had a lot to go on.”

Amy asks why it didn’t turn them against themselves, and the Doctor says, “The darkness in you two? It would have starved to death. I choose my friends with great care.”

Amy asks the Doctor if he really believes what the Dream Lord said about him, but he deflects her: “Amy, right now a question is about to occur to Rory. And, seeing as the answer is going to change his life, I think you should give him your full attention.”

He spins her and pushes her towards Rory, who asks, of course, what happened in the village dream and, when Amy tells him, how she knew it was a dream and she wouldn’t just die. She says she didn’t, and he snogs her. Then she snogs him. Then the Doctor, at his most manic, pops up behind them, applauds, and asks where next—“Or should I just pop down to the swimming pool for a few lengths?”

Rory says it’s Amy’s choice, and as the Doctor starts the TARDIS, we see the Dream Lord smiling up at him from the reflective surface.

What? No cracks? Or did I miss it?

Next time: mysterious holes in Wales.

A Note on Tonight's Doctor Who Live-blogging

Posted 30 May 2010 in by Catriona

In an almost unprecedented event, I actually have a social commitment tonight. (Sunday night social events are never terribly common, but this one’s a must.)

So I’ve set up the live-blogging of Doctor Who in advance, and it’ll be published at 8:30, at the end of the ABC airing of the episode.

This means that tonight’s episode has been live-blogged in a slightly different fashion than usual.

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about the process of live-blogging for this site, and particularly for Doctor Who.

The Eurovision live-blogging is traditional live-blogging: I type what we think about the song entries but I don’t attempt to make the post particularly comprehensible for people who aren’t watching the broadcast. It’s the sort of live-blogging you find with, say, the Oscars or The Guardian‘s lovely live-blogging of World Cup games.

But Doctor Who is a little different. It’s still what I think of as true live-blogging, in that I put the episode on, start typing, and don’t pause the episode at any point during the process.

(Well, except that one time. And I was quite tipsy. Even then, I explicitly mentioned in the post that I was pausing the episode.)

I also try very hard in these posts to make the live-blogging comprehensible to someone who isn’t watching the episode right then—or even someone who hasn’t watched it in a while—while still keeping up with the plot.

It’s remarkably difficult sometimes.

That’s why I occasionally miss talking about key points, or don’t transcribe key bits of dialogue, or, just sometimes, think that the Doctor’s stabbed Amy when he’s actually bitten her.

But this one will be a bit different. Since I’m watching the episode on my computer, I’ll have to pause it at times, in order to type. And I’m thinking this is a good, one-off opportunity to use a different structure and, perhaps, deepen the live-blogging a little.

We’ll see, shall we?

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Five: "Vampires in Venice"

Posted 23 May 2010 in by Catriona

I wonder what this episode can possibly be about?

And I wonder if I’ll finally remember to use Time and Relative Dimension in Sexiness in this live-blog? Unlikely: I’ve not remembered to use it yet, despite promising to use it in every live-blog this season.

We open in Venice—“Ah, Venizia!” says Nick, who has never been to Europe and can’t spell—in 1580, where a man in his best clothes, who says he’s a boat builder, is offering his daughter to a signora in terribly fancy clothes.

The signora says that she’s touched by his care for his daughter: she believes that caring for the future is a sacred duty.

He tells the signora that his daughter is his world.

“Then we’ll take your world,” she says.

She tells him to take his leave of his daughter, which he does. The signora and her son circle the girl, and she asks Francesco if he likes her. He says he does—and bares his fangs.

Then we’re in Rory’s bachelor party, where he’s leaving a drunk message for Amy, until the Doctor jumps out of a giant cake, and we get this:

DOCTOR: Rory! I thought I’d jumped out of the wrong cake. Again. That reminds me, there’s a girl standing outside in a bikini. Can someone let her in, give her a jumper? Lucy. Lovely girl. Diabetic. Now then, Rory. We need to talk about your fiancee. She tried to kiss me. Tell you what, though: you’re a lucky man. She’s a great kisser. Funny how you can say something in your head, and it sounds fine.

Credits.

The Doctor explains to Amy and Rory that the problem with time travel is that it will create inequality in their relationship. So he wants Rory to travel too, to make sure that their experiences are equal.

DOCTOR: Think of it as a wedding present, because, frankly, it’s this or tokens.

He starts to explain to Rory why the TARDIS is bigger on the inside, but Rory’s been reading up on it.

DOCTOR: I like the bit when someone says “It’s bigger on the inside.” I look forward to that bit.

He tells them to pick something marvellous to see and do, but they just gasp a bit, so he picks for them. Venice.

DOCTOR: Casanova doesn’t get born for another 140 years. Don’t want to run into him. I owe him a chicken.
RORY: You owe Casanova a chicken?
DOCTOR: We had a bet.

A man checking their passports explains that the Contessa keeps the city sealed, because outside the city, the plague keeps the streets piled high with corpses.

Rory is more worried that the psychic paper has described him as Amy’s eunuch.

As they look out over the city, they see beautiful, pale women with veils over the faces come out of a large building. The boat builder from earlier comes up to them shouting for “Isabella!”, but his daughter doesn’t recognise him, and the girl who pushes him away shows her fangs.

The Doctor, naturally, pursues the boat builder, and Amy and Rory head off in another direction.

Inside the imposing building, Francesco comes up to Signora Calvierri, who says, “Mummy’s hydrating.” She’s certainly sucking something down, out of an elaborate goblet. Francesco is worried about the slowness of their progress: he says they have enough girls for his brothers. But Signora Calvierri says they follow the plan.

Amy and Rory, wandering the streets, have an awkward conversation about what she’s been doing, which Rory cuts off to ask if she missed him, and then find Francesco feeding off a flower seller. Amy chases him and though he seemingly disappears, we see someone looking up at her from the canal.

At the Calvierri residence, the boat builder distracts the guards, while the Doctor sneaks in through a back gate. He’s caught by five creepy girls with no reflection, and tries to distract them with William Hartnell’s library card.

No, seriously.

He legs it after they refuse to tell him their whole plan (“Some day, that’s going to work,” he says), and bumps into Amy. They reveal they’ve both met vampires, and jump up and down in excitement.

“Come and meet my new friend,” the Doctor says.

In the boat builder’s home, they quickly realise that they need someone inside if they’re going to get in the back route that the boat builder discovered, because there’s a trapdoor you can’t open from the outside.

Amy volunteers to try and attend the school.

DOCTOR: We’ll say you’re my daughter.
RORY: What? No!
AMY: Daughter? You look about nine.
DOCTOR: Brother, then.

Amy says that he can pose as her fiance, which annoys Rory and, as the Doctor points out, it doesn’t help when the boat builder says that he thought Amy was the Doctor’s fiancee.

That’s all right, Amy says: Rory can pretend to be her brother.

In Casa Calvierri, after some awkward banter about how Rory is a gondalier driver, Amy is accepted into the school and makes the acquaintance of Isabella, who is clearly herself but undergoing some kind of odd change.

Outside, Rory, the Doctor, and the boat builder move into location, the boat builder wearing Rory’s cute bachelor party T-shirt, with his and Amy’s portraits on it.

RORY: You said she kissed you!
DOCTOR: Now? You want to do this now?
RORY: I have a right to know! I’m getting married in 430 years.

Amy explores, unlocking the trapdoor.

The Doctor explains. Badly.

DOCTOR: She was frightened. I was frightened. But we survived. And the relief of it. And she kissed me.
RORY: And you kissed her back?
DOCTOR: No, I kissed her mouth.

Inside, Amy is caught by the Contessa, who recognised the psychic paper, and demands to know where she got such a thing in a world of savages. Amy refuses to answer seriously, so the Contessa bites her on the neck.

And yet they’re not vampires, apparently? Look pretty vampirey to me. Reminds me of a book I read where a teenage girl insisted that her boyfriend wasn’t a vampire even though he was mysterious, immortal, super strong, and she once caught him drinking her best friend’s blood.

Some serious denial going on there.

Rory tells the Doctor that he’s dangerous because he makes people want to impress him, which makes them take risks. Luckily, they’re caught by some vampire girls before the argument can really get going.

The Contessa explains to Amy that they’re going to drain her dry and then replace her blood and fluids with their own, which will destroy her humanity.

AMY: And if I survive?
CONTESSA: Then there are ten thousand husbands waiting for you in the water.

Amy kicks her, disrupting some kind of device that she has under her skirts—which flickers and reveals her as some kind of, I don’t know, piranha. That’s the best term I can think of. A bipedal piranha.

Amy is rescued by Isabella, comes up to the Doctor and Rory, and they all four leg it—but Isabella can’t get out into the sunshine, and she’s dragged back into Casa Calvierri, with the Doctor electrocuted trying to pull her free.

Elsewhere, the Contessa and Francesco preside over Bianca’s execution, throwing her into the canal. She says, scornfully, that she’s Venetian and they can all swim—until she’s dragged under water by something.

The Contessa kneels down the canal.

FRANCESCO: Mother, change your form. Or my brothers will think they’re being fed twice today.

When the Contessa heads back inside, she finds the Doctor waiting for her, revealing that he knows what species she is and where she’s from. She and her sons fled the silence, the cracks in the world (some of them tiny, some of them as big as the sky) by passing through one of the cracks, which closed behind them. Now she plans to make the Earth into her own version of her world.

And she wants the Doctor to help her.

(There’s a bit about how the perception filters work in here, but I didn’t have time to cover it.)

DOCTOR: Where’s Isabella?
CONTESSA: Isabella?
DOCTOR: The girl who rescued my friend.
CONTESSA: Oh, well, deserters must be executed. Any general will tell you that.

She tells the Doctor that he can help her in any way he likes, but he demurs.

DOCTOR: I’m a Time Lord. You’re a big fish. Think of the children.

Then he tells her that he’s going to tear the House of Calvierri down stone by stone, because she didn’t even know Isabella’s name.

The Contessa heads outside, to tell Francesco that the storm is coming. Then her perception filter flicks on and off, frightening the staff. She says Amy must have damaged the filter.

In the boat builders’ house, the Doctor fits together the Contessa’s plan to sink Venice, but Rory says she can’t repopulate the city just with women.

DOCTOR: She’s got ten thousand children swimming around the canals, waiting for them to make them some compatible girlfriends. Ew. I mean, I’ve been around a bit, but that’s . . . ew.

The vampires crowd around the house—and I know they’re “fish from space,” not vampires. But “fish from space” takes too long to type. (Though I do like the Doctor’s line, “Fish from space have never been so buxom.”)

Either way, the girls have completely changed, and the Doctor pushes everyone out of the house—except the boat builder, who lures the girls back in, shouts, “We are Venetian!” (which Nick doesn’t even flinch at, when he’d normally be shrieking, “This is Sparta!” at that point), and ignites the barrels of gunpowder that I didn’t have a chance to mention before.

(But though I didn’t mention them earlier, I note that they were presented on stage in the first act and used in the third act, so that’s all right by Chekov.)

The Doctor sends Amy and Rory back to the TARDIS, but they’re intercepted by Francesco.

The Contessa begins her plan to burn the skies. The Doctor points out that the girls are all gone, so she might as well spare the citizens of Venice, but she refuses.

Francesco corners Amy in an alleyway, until Rory distracts him by saying, “The only thing I’ve seen uglier than you is your mum.”

Francesco is stunned: “Did you say something about Mummy?”

(I secretly kind of love his spoiled, public-school boy persona.)

Rory tries to hold him off with a broom, with some success, I must add. But Francesco pins him down, flicks off his own perception filter, and is about to eat Rory, when Amy burns him to death with the mirror in her compact.

[For the sake of my pronouns, action scenes should only happen between people of opposite genders.]

She snogs Rory, then says, “Now we go help the Doctor.”

NICK: Ah, the dilemma of the companion’s boyfriend.

The Doctor’s a bit annoyed about Rory and Amy following him, but what with the storms, earthquakes, and tidal waves, there’s not much he can do about it. He tells them to tear all the controls out of the Contessa’s throne, which will re-route power to the secondary control hub, which should also be the generator.

This leads to the Doctor climbing up the side of a clock tower, where he finds a lovely steam-punky control, and turns it off.

Well, that was a bit easy, eh?

Blue skies come back, and there’s much indiscriminate cheering.

Outside, the Contessa walks—well, staggers, really—towards the canal. Her perception filter whirs and squeaks—and then dies, locking her in human form. She strips off her skirts and corset, and walks towards the edge of the canal.

The Doctor runs towards her, but she just says that one city wasn’t much a price to pay for a whole race.

The Doctor tells her that she can’t change time.

CONTESSA: Can your conscience carry the weight of another dead race? Remember us. Dream of us.

And she leaps into the canal, where her children devour her.

Outside the TARDIS, the Doctor offers to pop them back at the registry office, but Amy doesn’t want to. Fine, says Rory: drop him back, and he’ll say she changed her mind.

Amy says she could come with them, and the Doctor says it’s fine with him. So Rory gleefully agrees.

AMY: I’ll pop the kettle on. Look at this! Got my spaceship. Got my boys. My work here is done.
RORY: We are not her boys.
DOCTOR: Yes, we are.

As he and Rory follow Amy into the TARDIS, the Doctor says, “Do you hear that?”

Rory says all her hears is silence, and we fade out on the Contessa’s voice describing the cracks that destroyed her world.

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Five: "Flesh and Stone"

Posted 16 May 2010 in by Catriona

You may be surprised to hear this, but this is actually the first time I’ve ever live-blogged with a head injury. Considering how often I fall over, I consider this a win.

You might also think that I’m really milking the “minor head injury” angle by this point, and you’d be right. But then again, it’s not often I fall down half a flight of stairs and smack my head against a wall. Twice. So, yeah, I’m going to keep milking it until this dent in my forehead goes away.

Too much information? I admit, the wine’s been hitting me harder since I hit my head. Probably should stop drinking it, eh?

Kidding aside, I do have a headache (which I’ve had since Thursday), so there might be some lagging and a number of typos in this live-blogging.

We were to have a guest for this live-blogging, but she’s been called on to cook a roast instead. I can’t argue with that logic.

ME: Honey, I could do with some Diet Coke. I realise you’re unlikely to want to get it for me . . .
NICK: Then let me surprise you . . . Oh, god! Why did I move? The pain, the pain!

Previously, River falls on top of the Doctor, demands he follow a ship, introduces him to some Clerics, and this all somehow leads to him shooting a gravity globe.

Credits.

What, no teaser? Oh, wait: the whole previous episode was a teaser. Fair enough, then.

Still hate the new music.

When we return, the Doctor is telling everyone to look up. Amy’s asking where they were, and River says they’re exactly where they were. But the Doctor tells them the ship crashed with the power still on, so what else, he asks, is still on?

The artificial gravity, of course. The camera pans around, and they’re suddenly standing upside down on the ship’s hull. The Doctor opens a hatch, and leaps inside, to Amy’s distress. But in a gorgeous shot, the Doctor, standing sideways in a corridor, explains that the gravity orientates to the floor.

But then the hatch at the end of the corridor closes. The security protocols are still in place, so they can’t open the hatch.

DOCTOR: There’s no way to over-ride them. It’s impossible.
RIVER: How impossible?
DOCTOR: Few minutes.

The angels make their way into the corridor. Everyone stares at them, but to open the hatch, the Doctor has to over-ride the power. Including the lights—while the angels are still in the corridor.

BISHOP OCTAVIAN: Do you trust this man?
RIVER: I absolutely trust him.
OCTAVIAN: He’s not some kind of madman?
RIVER: I absolutely trust him.

The Bishop tells the Clerics to open fire continuously while the lights are off, and tells Amy to give the wheel four turns.

“Ten,” says Amy.

No, four, says the Doctor, and Amy says, yes, she heard him.

They make it through in a burst of gunfire, but though Octavian magnetises the doors, the wheels keep turning slowly. They’re surrounded, and stuck in the flight deck.

The Doctor says they have five minutes, max. “Nine,” says Amy. No, five, says the Doctor, and Amy says that she heard him.

Nevertheless, the Doctor has a way out. He says it’s a sealed unit, but they must have installed it. And sure enough, the whole wall is on clamps.

Amy wonders what’s through there. And so do we.

It’s a forest. And an oxygen factory. And a forest.

“Eight!” says Amy.

River asks what she said, and Amy says, “Nothing.”

The trees are actually borgs (but, thank goodness, not Borg) but I don’t have time to cover that dialogue about how they work. I suspect it was technobabble, anyway.

DOCTOR: A forest in a bottle in a spaceship in a maze. Have I impressed you yet, Amy Pond?
AMY: Seven.

Then Angel Bob communicates with the Doctor, telling him that the angels are feasting. He tricks Angel Bob into saying “We have no need of comfy chairs,” but his gloating is cut short by Amy saying, “Six.”

He demands to know what’s wrong with Amy, and Angel Bob says she has something in her eye. What’s in her eye? the Doctor wants to know, and Angel Bob says, “We are.”

AMY: What’s he talking about? Doctor, I’m five. I mean, five. I mean, fine. I’m fine.

But there’s something more important the the Doctor’s missed, says Angel Bob—and turning, the Doctor sees the same crack as we saw on Amy’s wall. Everyone else flees, but the Doctor stays to investigate the crack.

Turning, he finds himself surrounded by angels. For a brief moment, he can sneak past them as the catch each others’ eyes, but then one snatches him by the back of his jacket.

In the forest, Amy falls ill.

Among the angels, the Doctor tells them they can’t feed on that energy, but while he’s talking, he manages to slip out of his own jacket.

RIVER: Now, if he’s dead back there, I’ll never forgive myself. And if he’s alive, I’ll never forgive myself. And, Doctor, you’re standing right behind me, aren’t you?

He is, but he’s distracted by Amy’s illness.

AMY: What’s wrong with me?
RIVER: Nothing. You’re fine.
DOCTOR: Everything. You’re dying.
RIVER: Doctor!
DOCTOR: Oh, yes, if we lie to her, she’ll get all better.

What’s wrong with Amy is that she stared into the angel’s eyes, and now there’s an angel in the vision centres of her brain—and we can see it, in the pupil of her eye.

The Doctor tells her to close her eyes. She says she doesn’t want to, but the Doctor says that’s the angel inside her. So she closes her eyes, and her vital signs stabilise.

The angels are closing in on them.

Amy is too weak to move. She wants to open her eyes, but the Doctor says that she’s used her countdown up: she can’t open her eyes. But the Doctor has a plan.

RIVER: There’s a plan?
DOCTOR: I don’t know yet. I haven’t finished talking.

The Doctor wants to leave Octavian and the Clerics with Amy, while he and River go and find the primary flight deck. But Octavian insists on going with them—he says that he and River are engaged “in a manner of speaking.”

The Doctor tells Amy he always comes back, and leaves.

But he comes back to tell Amy that she needs to start trusting him. Oh, but this is interesting—this Doctor is wearing a jacket.

Int-eresting.

Amy can’t see this, because she still has her eyes closed.

He tells Amy that she has to remember what he told her when she was seven, kisses her on the forehead, and leaves.

Near the primary flight deck, the Doctor taunts River about being engaged in “a manner of speaking,” and River says that she’s a sucker for a man in uniform. But Octavian says that River is in his personal care: she was released from Storm Cage Containment Facility four days ago, and will remain in his care until she’s earned her pardon.

Back with Amy, the angels are grouping, and shutting down the tree-borgs.

At the primary flight deck, the Doctor and River are trying desperately to get in.

DOCTOR: What did you say? Time? Time’s running out?
RIVER: I just meant . . .
DOCTOR: I know what you meant. Shush.

Back with Amy, the angels suddenly disappear in response to a blinding light. Marco sends Crispin and Philip off to check out what’s happening.

At the primary flight deck, the Doctor is fretting about the possibility of time running out.

DOCTOR: How can there be a duckpond when there aren’t any ducks? And she didn’t recognise the Daleks.

Amy is freaking out about the curtain of light. She convinces Marco to let her open her eyes and see the light—and it’s the same shape as the crack on her bedroom wall. The remaining soldier asks Marco if he should get a closer look at the light, and Marco tells him not to get too close.

Amy asks him why they don’t wait for Crispin and Philip to come back, but Marco says that there never was a Crispin and Philip on this mission.

Amy says no: before he sent Pedro, he sent Crispin and Philip.

And Marco asks who Pedro is.

At the primary flight deck, the Doctor is raving about a CyberKing walking across Victorian London and no one remembering it. Octavian asks if they can worry about the angels, but the Doctor says the angels are the least of their worries.

Octavian begs to differ, but then an angel has him around the neck.

OCTAVIAN: I will die in the knowledge that my courage did not desert me in the end. For that I thank God, and bless the path that takes you to safety.
DOCTOR: I wish I’d known you better.
OCTAVIAN: I think, sir, you know me at my best.
DOCTOR: Ready?
OCTAVIAN: Content.

Hokey? A little. But I do love Iain Glen. And I think he pulled it off. (And, yes, there’s probably a bad angel pun I could have made there.)

Amy makes contact with Marco, but he disappears off the comms almost straight away. Then the Doctor pops up on the communicator, while River (in the background) is faffing with a broken teleport, which the Doctor tells her will never work, and tells Amy that she has to walk.

Amy can’t open her eyes. But the Doctor tells her to turn until the communicator makes the sound of his sonic screwdriver and to keep walking. If the light reaches her, she will never have existed—at least the angels will only kill her.

But the angels are fleeing from the light, and so the forest is full of angels. Amy needs to walk as though she can see, to fool the angels. She doesn’t really understand what this means, but the Doctor tells her to just walk.

He tells River that the light needs to be fed a big, complicated, space-time event—like him.

In the forest, Amy is surrounded by angels. She needs to keep walking as though she can see them—the Doctor says they won’t be paying much attention to her, because they’re scared and they’re running. But she must walk as though she can see.

She tries, guided by the beeps on the communicator, which give her the proximity to the angels.

Then she trips over a root, and drops the communicator.

As she calls for the Doctor, the angels realise that she can’t see. For the first time, we actually see the angels moving—because our sight doesn’t count, apparently, and the only character on-screen has her eyes closed.

Just as an angel reaches for Amy, River gets the teleport to work, and snatches Amy off to the flight deck.

DOCTOR: River Song, I could kiss you.
RIVER: Well, maybe when you’re older.

But the power is failing, and the shields are failing. The doors slide open, to show every angel on the ship standing outside. Angel Bob is in the forefront, with the communicator.

The angels want the Doctor to throw himself into the time rift, and he seems vaguely swayed by the idea that he can save his friends.

River says she could substitute for him, but the Doctor says the angels are more complicated than her and it would take everyone of them to close the rift, so she should get a grip.

She protests, but he says, no, seriously: get a grip.

Because with the power gone, the gravity goes. As the camera inverts and the Doctor, River, and Amy all cling to handles, the angels are all pulled into the rift.

On a beach outside, the Doctor explains that the angel in Amy’s eye never existed, so she’s fine. And River, hand-cuffed, prepares to be beamed back up to her ship, hoping she’s done enough to earn a pardon.

DOCTOR: Octavian says you killed a man.
RIVER: Yes, I did.
DOCTOR: A good man.
RIVER: A very good man. The best man I’ve ever known.
DOCTOR: Who?
RIVER: It’s a long story, Doctor. Can’t be told. Has to be lived. No sneak previews. Except this one. I’ll see you again quite soon, when the Pandorica opens.
DOCTOR: The Pandorica? That’s a fairy tale.
RIVER: Aren’t we all?
DOCTOR: I’ll see you there.
RIVER: I remember it well.

River disappears, and Amy says that she wants to head home. She says that the Doctor’s running from River, and she wants to show the Doctor what she’s running from.

Her wedding, basically.

Oh, wow: this is the most awkward and embarrassing seduction scene in the entire world.

Amy tries to explain this to the Doctor verbally, but he’s a bit thick on this subject, so she just snogs him.

DOCTOR: I’m 907. Do you know what that means?
AMY: It’s been a while?
DOCTOR: Ye . . . No.

The Doctor does just kiss her back a little (wait for that joke to come around again), but then he realises that Amy is the centre of all the odd things that have been happening.

DOCTOR: The single most important thing in the whole universe is that I get you sorted out right now.
AMY: That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you.

But that’s not what the Doctor means. He throws Amy back into the TARDIS, and stares at her clock radio—which shows the same numerals that we saw ticking down before, when he was explaining to River that time is running out.

Oooh—story arc! I love those things!

Next week: vampires! In Venice!

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Five: "The Time of Angels"

Posted 9 May 2010 in by Catriona

I’m prepared for this one at least fifteen minutes in advance, and I’m also relatively sober. I’m therefore going to be terribly disappointed when I mess up this live-blogging the way I messed up the last one.

[Note to self: “jets” is not a neutral term for “aeroplanes.”]

In other words, this conversation basically sums up today:

ME: My dad killed one of my sister-in-law’s chickens.
NICK: On purpose?
ME: Of course!
NICK: Oh, well, that’s all right.
ME: Is it better that he killed it on purpose than if he’d killed it accidentally?

Basically, it’s been an odd day.

We’re now watching a Mother’s Day news report on the telly (I blame my mother for my belief that Mother’s Day is not, broadly speaking, actually a news topic). But, then, the actual news stops about thirteen minutes past the hour these days, so I don’t know why I bother complaining any more.

I am sending up my annual prayer of thanksgiving that I’m not working as a waitress this Mother’s Day—worst nightmare of every waitress, is Mother’s Day.

Oh no! Oh no! the TiVo’s going wabby, just like it did last week! Why do you hate me so, TiVo? Why? At least the episode hasn’t actually started yet.

We open in a sunny paddock, with a man in the centre: he circles and the camera circles around him, focusing on the lipstick mark on his lip. A man in a tuxedo and two heavily armed men come up to him and, as he says, “Beautiful day, isn’t it?”, note that it’s hallucinogenic lipstick.

“She’s here,” says Tuxedo Man.

And so she is, striding down a corridor in crippling heels and a stunning ’30s-style dress, and cutting through thick metal with her tiny blowtorch.

Meanwhile, twelve-thousand years later, Amy and the Doctor are in a museum, with the Doctor saying, “Wrong, wrong, one of mine” and Amy begging to go to a planet. (“Oh, I see,” says Amy, “it’s how you keep score.”)

Cut to the woman with the blowtorch.

Then the Doctor finds a home box (like a black box, only it homes), marked in Old Gallifreyan.

DOCTOR: There were days, many days, when these words could burns stars, and raise up empires, and topple gods.
AMY: What does this say?
DOCTOR: “Hello, sweetie.”

We cut back to the woman with the blowtorch, who we now see is River Song. She tells the Tuxedo Man that, given what’s in their vault, this ship won’t reach its destination.

Then she repeats some coordinates and, as the Doctor programmes them into the console, blows the airlock.

RIVER: As I said on the dance floor: you might want to find something to hang onto.

She hurtles through an air corridor into the TARDIS, knocking the Doctor flat.

Credits.

The TARDIS follows the ship, with River and the Doctor both piloting the TARDIS. She tells the Doctor to use the stabilisers. He says they don’t have any stabilisers, but she points out the blue buttons. Sure enough, they settle the TARDIS down, but the Doctor calls them “blue boringers.” I guess we know why he never fixes the fuses.

DOCTOR: Parked us? We haven’t landed!
RIVER: Of course we’ve landed! I just landed her.
DOCTOR: But it didn’t make the noise!
RIVER: What noise?
DOCTOR: Imitates the landing noise
RIVER: It’s not supposed to make that noise. You leave the brakes on.

Outside, the spaceship has crashed into an enormous temple outside. River steps out of the TARDIS, but the Doctor plans to flee. Amy won’t have it, though, not since there’s an alien planet out there, which is what she wanted to see.

The Doctor says okay: five minutes.

The building is an Atplan (don’t correct my spelling!) temple, abandoned for centuries.

Amy asks if they can be introduced—the Doctor introduces her as “Professor River Song,” and she says, “Oh, I’m going to be a professor one day? Spoilers!”

The Doctor rants about not being River’s taxi service, but River says he’ll always catch her—and that there’s one survivor.

She signals her back-up.

RIVER: Doctor? Can you sonic me? I need to boost the signal so we can use it as a beacon.
AMY: Ooh, Doctor. You soniced her.

Rover’s back-up is Father Octavian, Bishop second-class, with twenty Clerics at his command. As Nick has always argued, Clerics are the best character class. I hope these ones do Turn Undead.

River asks the Doctor what he knows about “the weeping angels.”

The Doctor’s not thrilled about this, and I don’t blame him.

Amy’s wondering why the Doctor’s letting everyone call him “sir,” assuming that these weeping angels are bad news.

DOCTOR: You’re still here. What part of “Wait in the TARDIS don’t you understand?”
AMY: Oh, are you old Mr Grumpyface today?

Amy wants to know if River’s the Doctor’s wife, and the Doctor says, “Yes. I am definitely Mr Grumpyface today.”

Well, now they’re just messing with the fans.

River calls from inside a transport, and Amy says, “Oops. Her indoors.”

On the way to the transport, the Doctor explains that the Bishop/Cleric issue is because in the 51st century, the church has “moved on.”

In the transport, we see video of the weeping angel, its back turned to the camera, and Amy listens to how they’re “quantum locked.” I won’t repeat that, since we covered it in “Blink.”

Outside the transport, everyone is bustling, but inside, Amy notices that the angel’s image on the video has turned its head slightly.

She asks River if she had more than one clip of the angel, and River says no: just the four seconds.

But when Amy turns back, the angel is facing her. She checks the time stamp, and when she looks up, it’s even closer.

Outside, the Doctor is reading a book about the angels, and wondering why there aren’t any pictures.

Amy tries to pause or turn off the recording, but she can’t. She tries to pull the plug, and she can’t. But when she looks up again, the angel’s face fills the screen. She calls for the Doctor, but the door is locked.

Outside, the Doctor still worries about the lack of pictures in the book, until he remembers the bit where it says that “The image of the angel becomes itself an angel.”

Of course, this might be a little late, because the angel has already manifested outside the telly, but in a transparent, pixellated form.

The Doctor can’t get the door open and Amy can’t turn off the screen. Amy points out how hard it is not to blink, and tries to settle for winking alternate eyes. She still can’t turn the telly off, and the Doctor is now freaking out fairly thoroughly.

Just now, he decides to tell Amy to look at the angel but not at the eyes. Apparently, “the eyes are not the windows to the soul but the doors.”

Amy’s not too worried about that: she’s worried about the images. It gives her the idea to pause the tape on the section where the tape loops back, where the tape’s blank.

DOCTOR: River. Hug Amy.
AMY: Why?
DOCTOR: Because I’m busy.

Then the Clerics blow through the temple wall. The Doctor dashes out, and River follows. She asks if Amy’s coming, and Amy says yes: she just has something in her eye.

Nick tweets that this episode would go easier if Father Octavian could cast Lance of Faith—it does radiant damage.

They’re in a maze of the dead, which we see, when the Doctor—using his mad soccer skillz—kicks a gravity globe up to the roof, is basically a big space full of stone statues.

RIVER: Like looking for a needle in a haystack.
DOCTOR: A needle that looks like hay. A haylike needle of death. A haylike needle of death in a haystack of . . . statues. No. Yours was fine.

The party splits up. Never split the party! Never! And Amy, falling behind, rubs her eye—and fine sand falls between her fingers.

Oh, that’s creepy.

River gives Amy an injection to protect her from radiant damage and dry burn, while Amy probes for information about River’s future relationship with the Doctor.

AMY: You are so his wife.
RIVER: Oh, Amy, Amy, Amy: this is the Doctor we’re talking about. Do you really think it could be that simple?
AMY: Yep.
RIVER: Oh, you’re good. I’m not saying you’re right. But you’re good.

Yep, just messing with the fans’ heads. Especially the Rose ‘shippers and the misogynists.

Elsewhere, the two Clerics who were split from the party—Christian and Angelo—are menaced by strange noises—and the last thing they see is the stone angel’s face.

With the main party, a young Cleric called Bob fires on one of the statues, believing it looked at him. Father Octavian tells him that it would be good if “we could all remain calm in the presence of decor.” They should tell that to our wizard, who once tried to set fire to a temple’s soft furnishings, on the grounds that they were “evil” soft furnishings.

Bob is sent back to stand guard with Christian and Angelo, while the rest head into the maze. The Doctor rabbits on about the Atplan—the former inhabitants of this planet, now colonised by six-billion humans—and how they had two heads. He says they’re lovely people, and he and Amy should visit them.

AMY: I thought they were all dead.
DOCTOR: So is Virginia Woolf. I’m on her bowling team.

River knows there’s something wrong and so does the Doctor, but he can’t put his finger on it—until he casts his torch over the statues again.

RIVER: How could we not notice that?
DOCTOR: Low-level perception filter—or maybe we’re just thick.

What they mean is that the Atplans had two heads—and the statues don’t.

Ooh-er.

The Doctor herds everyone together, has them turn off their torches, and then turns his off for an instant—when he turns it back on, the statues have moved.

They’re angels. Every single statue in the maze is a weeping angel, and they’re coming after the party.

But what about Bob? What’s going on with Cleric Bob?

He’s hearing Angelo’s voice, just as Angelo heard Christian’s voice after Christian’s death. And just as before, Angelo tells Bob to move forward and come and see what they found. Bob does, because he’s only about twelve, and he’s confronted by the angel.

Up in the maze of the dead, River says there’s only one angel on the ship. But the Doctor says that they’ve been here for centuries, losing their forms. The crash wasn’t an accident: the angel crashed it, to bring radiation to the other angels.

The Cleric Bob rings on the communicator, telling the Doctor that Christian and Angelo are dead.

DOCTOR: Bob, keep running. But tell me: how did you escape?
BOB: I didn’t escape, sir. The angel killed me too.

Poor Bob. The angels have no voice, so they stripped his cerebral cortex as a means of communicating with the others.

Cleric Bob is the spiritual successor to Lovely Ross from the Sontaran two-parter.

The Doctor determines that Angel Bob is the angel from the ship’s wreckage, so the ship itself is clear, and he legs it after the rest of the party.

Except Amy—who says her hand has turned to stone, and she can’t let go of the balustrade. The Doctor says that her hand isn’t stone, but she sees it as stone, and she can’t move it.

She tells the Doctor to run, but he won’t.

AMY: I don’t need you to die for me, Doctor. Do I look that clingy?

Definitely messing with the fans’ heads.

The Doctor stabs Amy’s hand while she’s distracted, and the pain brings her to her senses.

At the top of the maze, the ship’s wreckage is at least 30 feet above them, and there are angels advancing on all sides. There’s no way up, no way back, no way out, River says.

The Doctor says there’s always a way out.

Angel Bob pops up on the communicator

ANGEL BOB: There’s something the angels are very keen for you to know before the end.
DOCTOR: What’s that?
ANGEL BOB: I died in fear.
DOCTOR: I’m sorry?
ANGEL BOB: You told me my fear would keep my alive. But I died afraid, in the dark, and alone.
AMY: What are they doing?
RIVER: They’re trying to make him angry.

And they do.

The Doctor, deciding he has a plan, grabs a Cleric’s gun, and asks everyone to trust him. Amy and River do, but Father Octavian is less certain: the Doctor tells him to make a leap of faith.

DOCTOR: There’s one thing you never, ever put in a trap.
ANGEL BOB: And what would that be, sir?
DOCTOR: Me.

He fires at the gravity globe, and we fade to credits.

[In retrospect, I’m annoyed I didn’t make a joke about the director Adam Smith really extending his interests past eighteenth-century economies.]

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Five: "Victory of the Daleks"

Posted 2 May 2010 in by Catriona

Full live-blogging disclosure: I’ve been working all through this long weekend, and am crazy tired (and a bit tipsy). Also, when I’m finished here, I have to raise a dark menace from the depths of the ocean and frighten some children with it.

So though this live-blogging has been described as a love-fest, and I like to make that true, this one might be a bit cranky.

We open in a bunker that is shaking. People babble incomprehensible war jargon to one another—I catch the word “Messerschmitts,” though I can’t spell it.

Winston Churchill—yes, really—asks if the German planes are out of range.

“Normally, sir, yes,” says one of the women operatives.

“Well, then,” says Churchill. “Time to roll out the secret weapon.”

Credits.

The TARDIS materialises, and the Doctor pops out to be confronted by armed soldiers and Winston Churchill, who asks the Doctor for a TARDIS key.

Churchill recognises the Doctor, even though he’s regenerated. And he tells the Doctor that he rang (at the end of “The Beast Below”) a month ago. A month is much less than twelve years. Imagine if Churchill had to wait twelve years!

An operative tells Churchill that there’s another formation coming in, and he invites the Doctor to come up to the roof and see something.

On the roof is Professor Bracewell, head of the Ironside Project. He’s watching the sky through binoculars as Amy is stunned by the barrage balloons. But the Doctor is distracted by the destruction of the entire squadron by something that is not human technology.

Indeed, it’s not human technology.

It’s a Dalek. A Dalek in camoflague paint.

The Doctor demands to know what the Dalek is doing here, but it only says, “I am one of your soldiers.”

Bracewell says that this is one of his Ironsides. But the Doctor, in the Cabinet war bunker, tells Churchill that despite the plans, the photographs, and the field tests, these are not Bracewell’s inventions. They’re alien and totally hostile, he says.

Exactly, says Churchill, and they’ll win him the war. He slaps a rather gorgeous propaganda poster on the table—and I’ll provide a link to that later, if you fancy.

Churchill tells the Doctor that he might have been a bit freaked out a month ago, but now he thinks the Ironsides can win him the war.

The Doctor demands that Amy tells Churchill about the Daleks.

What do I know about the Daleks, she says?

They invaded your world, he says.

No, they didn’t, Amy says.

The Doctor looks at her in astonishment, but she insists that she has no memory of the Dalek invasion of Earth. Or the more recent Dalek invasion of Earth.

Then the TiVo goes wabby, and Nick takes five minutes to fix it. But it’s five minutes that, I’m pretty sure, was only the Doctor insisting that the Daleks are aliens and Churchill insisting they’re not.

The all-clear sounds.

In Bracewell’s lab, a Dalek offers him a cup of tea, and he says that would be lovely.

The Doctor swans in with Amy, and challenges Bracewell to provide him with some details about the Dalek construction. Bracewell shows the Doctor some other plans he’s come up with, for gravity bubbles and the like, as the Dalek slides up with a cup of tea on a tray balanced on his sucker.

The Doctor tells Bracewell that whatever the Daleks have offered him, they won’t keep their promise.

The Dalek offers the Doctor a cup of tea, but the Doctor knocks the tray off his sucker, and demands the Dalek tell him what they’re here for. Which war are they trying to win, World War II or the war against everything that’s not Dalek?

He starts whaling on the Dalek with a crowbar (or perhaps a tyre iron, or some other sort of metal bar), while the Dalek bleats, “Do you not want a cup of tea?”

DOCTOR: I am the Doctor. And you are the Daleks.
(Pause)
DALEK: Correct. Review testimony.

They transmit the testimony to the Dalek ship, where it activates something called a “progenitor cube,” which looks like a Dalek-shaped pepperpot. I’d like a Dalek-shaped pepperpot.

Bracewell insists that the Daleks stop, because they’re his Ironsides. He created them, he says.

No, say the Daleks: they created him. And they shoot off his lower arm, showing us that he’s a robot.

The Doctor heads straight back to the TARDIS but leaves Amy behind to stay safe. “In the middle of the London Blitz?” she asks. “Safe as it gets around me,” he says.

AMY: What does he expect us to do now?
CHURCHILL: KBO, of course.
AMY: What?
CHURCHILL: Keep buggering on.

On the Dalek ship, the Doctor pops up. The Daleks aim their weapons at him, but he’s says no, he has a self-destruct button for the TARDIS, and he’ll detonate the ship if he has to.

I’m pretty sure that’s a biscuit.

The Doctor asks what the Daleks are doing, and they say, as usual, that one ship survived. They fell through time, tracing one of the progenitor cubes, which contains pure Dalek DNA.

But, as the Doctor points out, the cube wouldn’t recognise them as Dalek—their DNA is too corrupted. They needed the Doctor’s testimony to prove that they were Daleks, though they don’t make it clear how the progenitor cube can recognise testimony.

The Daleks tells the Doctor to withdraw before they destroy the city, but he says the ship is a wreck. They don’t have the power.

They don’t need the power, they say. They just need to turn on London’s lights and let the Germans do the exterminating.

The Daleks say they’ll return to their own time and begin again, but the Doctor says he won’t let them get away this time.

But the Daleks are distracted by the appearance of the new Daleks from the progenitor cube.

DALEK: Behold, Doctor. A new Dalek paradigm.
NICK (in Dalek voice): More comfortable chairs inside!

They are much bigger. I don’t care for them, though. That bright yellow one is particularly festive.

Back in the Cabinet war bunker, Bracewell is preparing to kill himself, but Amy and Churchill talk him back from the edge. Amy tells him that he’s alien tech, so he should be as clever as the Daleks themselves.

And he is: because with his gravity bubble, it is technically possible to send something up into space. Churchill tells him it’s time to think big.

Back on the Dalek ship, the old Daleks praise the new Daleks and the new Daleks disintegrate the old Daleks, on the grounds that they’re inferior.

DOCTOR: Blimey, what do you do with the ones that mess up?
DALEK: You are the Doctor. You must be exterminated.
DOCTOR: Don’t mess with me, sweetheart.

In the Cabinet war bunker, they watch video of the Doctor facing off against the new, shiny, white Dalek Supreme.

Oh.My.God. The new Dalek Supreme is an Apple product! That explains everything!

The Doctor threatens to blow up the TARDIS again, but the Daleks say there is no detonation device.

DOCTOR: All right, it’s a Jammy Dodger. But I was promised tea!

At this point, three fighter jets show up.

No, honestly.

Fighter jets in gravity bubbles. In space.

At least a nice RAF-on-Dalek dog fight in space gives me a chance to catch up on my typing.

[Author’s belated note: I need to acknowledge my wonderfully clever readers here, who have pointed out en masse that these were Spitfires, and therefore don’t qualify as “fighter jets.” But I’m too lazy to change all my references at this stage.]

The jets have calls signs like “Danny Boy” and “Jubilee.” And keep saying, “Good show!” This is like a boys’ own adventure story from the future via the past.

The jets aren’t having much luck until the Doctor, in the TARDIS, manages to block the shield on the dish. Then Danny Boy is able to blow up the dish, and London sinks back into darkness.

Danny Boy wheels round to make another run at the ship, and the Doctor tells him to blow the ship out of the sky.

But the Daleks threaten that if they don’t call off the attack, they’ll blow up the planet. He thinks they’re bluffing, but they say that Bracewell’s design is based on an oblivion continuum, and they’ll detonate him if Danny Boy doesn’t withdraw.

The Doctor has to make the decision, and it’s a hard one for him. He knows this is the best chance he’s has since, ooh, season four to destroy the Daleks, but he can’t see the planet blow up, either.

He doesn’t hesitate for long, but calls off Danny Boy, dashes back to Earth while the Daleks gloat, and punches Bracewell in the face.

While Bracewell is stuttering—and no small blame to him, frankly—the Daleks detonate the bomb anyway.

Bracewell starts ticking down, as Churchill says that he can’t work it out, since Bracewell has all these memories of his past life, including the Great War. Why Churchill is freaking out about this now, and not when he first found out that Bracewell as an alien android, I don’t know.

The Doctor talks Bracewell through past memories, especially his painful ones about his parents’ death. He says Bracewell needs to feel that pain, concentrate on it, because that pain is what makes him human. And, he adds, the Daleks can’t detonate that bomb, because he’s a human being.

That doesn’t seem like very sound science to me. Does the bomb know what Bracewell is thinking? Isn’t he going to blow up anyway, and just be really, really sad in his last moments?

Apparently not. It looks as though he’ll explode, but then Amy coaxes him to talk about his lost love, Dorabella, and the bomb ticks back down.

So that’s good news. But, in the interim, the festive Daleks have initiated a time jump, and they’ve got away from the Doctor again.

Oh, well, that’s that, then. This seems an unusually short episode.

The Doctor is staggered by this news, and not immediately consoled by Amy pointing out that at least he saved the Earth.

Then we have a flag-raising scene ripped from a thousand war memorials. As Nick points out, there’s something particularly Iwo Jima about the scene.

Back in the Cabinet war bunker, the Doctor is removing alien tech from Churchill’s Spitfires, as one of the operative weeps at the news that her young man was shot down over the English Channel.

The Doctor and Churchill embrace, and Amy tells Winston that it’s been amazing meeting him, but that he needs to give the Doctor back the TARDIS key he just lifted from the Doctor’s pocket.

The Doctor chokes on the tea he finally managed to get.

Churchill wanders off, repeating “KBO,” while the Doctor insists that Amy hand back his key. Why doesn’t Amy get a key? Is it just too early in the season for that particular moment?

The Doctor and Amy wander back to Bracewell’s lab. Bracewell is prepared to be deactivated, and the Doctor says that he’s going to be so deactivated—in about twenty minutes or so, when he and Amy have finished doing what they need to do.

BRACEWELL: Very well, Doctor. I shall wait here and prepare myself.
AMY: Blimey, alien tech but a bit slow on the uptake.

Eventually, he catches on, and as Amy and the Doctor leave, he starts packing.

AMY: You’ve got enemies.
DOCTOR: Everyone’s got enemies.
AMY: Yeah, but mine’s the woman outside Budgens with the mental Jack Russell. You’ve got, like, arch enemies.

The Doctor, though, is more worried about the fact that Amy didn’t know who the Daleks were.

And, as the TARDIS dematerialises, we see the same crack on the wall behind them.

Next week: River Song and the weeping angels.

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