by Catriona Mills

Articles in “Doctor Who”

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Five: "The Lodger"

Posted 27 June 2010 in by Catriona

You’ll all be pleased to hear that the peanut gallery is back for this week’s episode—but currently Heather is playing with my camera and Michelle is playing with Nick’s iPad. So we won’t know yet whether they’re going to stop in order to comment.

The third last episode of the season! Let’s see how well this one goes. I worry sometimes that my live-blogging has run away with me. I fear it controls me, instead of vice versa.

Of course, I also fear that I’m completely mad, so you probably shouldn’t listen to me.

Except when it comes to Doctor Who. You should definitely listen to me on Doctor Who.

The TARDIS materialises in a park, and the Doctor steps out the door—just before he’s thrown away from the TARDIS by an explosion, leaving Amy alone in the TARDIS.

Amy freaks out in the TARDIS and the Doctor freaks out in the park.

One day later, a young boy walks past a house, as a voice, coming from the intercom, asks if he can help.

HEATHER: Are you my mummy?

The boy walks in, and a shadowy man at the top of the stairs says something terrible has happened, and asks if the boy can help.

The door closes behind the boy.

In the downstairs flat, a woman asks what’s wrong with the ceiling, just before the spreading stain spreads even further. The man with her says that the man upstairs is “just some bloke.”

The man has put an ad in the paper for a new flat mate.

MAN: Otherwise you’ll have to settle for me.
WOMAN: You’d have to settle for me first.

They settle in for pizza-booze-telly night, before the woman gets a phone call and has to leave. She leans back against the door for a minute, and we all say, “Aww.”

Craig looks at the fridge—which shows he’s visited the Van Gogh exhibition—before realising the woman has left her keys behind. When the doorbell rings, he wanders down the hallways with her keys, rehearsing, “I love you. I love you.”

When he opens the door with “I love you!”, the Doctor says, “That’s good. Because I’m your new lodger.”


Craig isn’t thrilled about the Doctor as a lodger—he’s more pleased when the Doctor hands him a paper bag full of money but less thrilled when the Doctor kisses him on both cheeks, saying, “That’s how you greet each other these days, isn’t it?”

Second intra-textual moment of the episode.

The Doctor uses the psychic paper to flash his credentials. (No euphemisms.)

CRAIG: Is that a reference from the Archbishop of Canterbury?
DOCTOR: I’m his special favourite.

Amy materialises in the TARDIS, but only briefly.

The Doctor asks about the photo of Sophie on the fridge, asking if she’s Craig’s girlfriend.

CRAIG: Friend who’s a girl. There’s nothing going on.
DOCTOR: That’s perfectly normal. Works for me.

Then the Doctor cooks an omelette, and when Craig asks where he learned to cook, says, “Paris. Eighteenth century. No, that’s not recent, is it? Seventeenth century. No. I’m not used to doing things in the right order.”

But the Doctor’s weird and he cooks, so Craig lets him stay. The Doctor settles in his new room, and contacts “Pond” on his fancy, vaguely Cyborg earpiece.

On the phone to Craig, Sophie wonders whether “the Doctor” is a dealer, since he has three grand in a paper bag.

The mysterious voice drags another person into the house, this time a woman who looks as though she’s already had a pretty bad night.

The Doctor’s already aware of the mysterious man upstairs, and keeping an eye on the damp stain. He needs to stay anonymous.

DOCTOR: So, no sonicing.
MICHELLE: No what?!

The clock in the Doctor’s bedroom starts going tonto, and the Doctor says it’s a “localised time distortion”. The TARDIS is responding badly, but the Doctor can talk her down. Lucky, since he needs to leave to “pick up a few items”—including a bicycle wheel.

The next morning, the Doctor’s in the shower, singing away, while Craig shouts through the door that he’s just going upstairs.

This finally gets through to the Doctor, who throws himself out of the shower and hares upstairs in a towel, wielding an electronic toothbrush.

There were all sorts of rumours online about whether he was thoroughly covered in these scenes.

As he’s halfway up the stairs in the towel, Sophie comes in. The Doctor kisses her on both cheeks, and it’s delightfully awkward. Then Craig invites the Doctor to come and play football with the pub team. Apparently, Matt Smith was national-level when he was a schoolboy, then hurt his back. So here’s a chance for him to show his skills.

Sophie and Craig flirt awkwardly but sweetly.

The Doctor wanders down to the park in his football kit and tweed jacket, and kisses all his teammates on the cheek.

Are you any good, though? asks Sean.

The Doctor says they’ll find out.

He’s definitely good, but taking Craig’s free kick (or is that a penalty? Hard to see in a pub match) is not the nicest thing to do.

The game ends with Craig standing alone while, off-screen, everyone chants “Doc-tor! Doc-tor! Doc-tor!”

The house attracts another victim, this time a middle-aged woman.

At the park, the Doctor pontificates a bit about being the Oncoming Storm, before his team-mates get caught in a time loop, ad we cut to the middle-aged woman screaming.

Amy, in the TARDIS, is caught in the disturbance, but the Doctor manages to stabilise things.

DOCTOR: I thought for a moment the TARDIS had been flung off into the vortex with you inside it, lost forever.

This, it seems, is the first time the Doctor has mentioned this.

Back at the flat, Craig knocks on the Doctor’s door to ask if he could give them some “space” tonight, because Sophie’s coming round for “pizza-beer-telly.” The Doctor says that Craig won’t even know he’s here, before disappearing back into his room and smacking some things around.

That night, Craig is halfway through a confession of his love—which prompts Michelle to shout, “Just say it!”—when the Doctor pops up behind the sofa, claiming to be rewiring the flat. Sophie asks him to stay and have a drink, and the Doctor agrees.

The Doctor’s fiddling with things in his armchair and failing to drink red wine (okay, ew!), while Sophie talks about wanting to go and live with orangutans. The Doctor taunts her for a bit, until he tells her to work out what’s really keeping her here.

This leads to an awkward Craig-and-Sophie hug in the hallway, and we all give up hope that they’ll ever snog.

The Doctor, back in his room, has some weird device built of rakes and paddles and bicycle wheels, which he’s built on his bed.

In the living room, Craig, annoyed by both the Doctor and the growing stain on his ceiling, touches the stain, despite the Doctor telling him twenty minutes ago not to do that.

Nick points out that those are totally our sofas, and Michelle suggests that they’re also our ceilings.

We all look nervously for mould on the ceiling, but there’s just the same old plaster that’s been falling off in strips for nine years.

Craig is dying in bed the next morning, until the Doctor restores him by thumping his chest and then serving him tea from a Charles and Diana wedding teapot.

He wakes up late in the afternoon, hares into work, and finds that the Doctor has taken over his job and is alienating all his best customers and being served tea and custard creams by Sophie, who is about the start work as a volunteer at a orangutan sanctuary.

DOCTOR: Hello, Mr Jorgensen? Can you hold? I have to eat a biscuit.

Craig, at home, enters the Doctor’s bedroom and isn’t too pleased to see the whirling machine on the bed.

He’s less pleased to find the Doctor sitting on the steps communicating with the cat.

He kicks the Doctor out, saying that these have been the three weirdest days of his life. He thought it was good weird, but it’s bad weird, and he can’t cope.

So the Doctor says he’s going to do something, even though he’ll regret it—and he headbutts Craig, giving him first general information and then specific details about the weird stuff going on in the house.

Of course, this all coincides with Sophie letting herself into the house and being sidetracked on the stairs by a little girl.

Sophie heads up the stairs, though Michelle tells her “No.”

Amy still hasn’t found the plans to the house that the Doctor asked her to find, but the time distortions begin again, showing us that someone is dying upstairs.

The Doctor and Craig hare upstairs, but Amy says that she’s found the plans, and they can’t be upstairs.

They are, says the Doctor.

No, says Amy: there’s no upstairs. It’s a one-storey house.

There’s a lovely shot here where the camera zooms back down the stairs.

Of course, it’s our old friend the perception filter.

What’s happening—they find, as they save Sophie—that the crew has died in a crash, and the holographic emergency protocol has been trying one pilot after another, even though their brains just fry.

Should have gone with a holographic doctor. Those are totes safe.

But now they’ve found the Doctor. And the Doctor can’t fly without the entire Solar System exploding.

The Doctor tells Craig that he needs to touch the panel instead. He says that Craig is the man who doesn’t want to leave, so he needs to think about why he wants to stay.

The answer’s Sophie, of course. And Sophie loves him, too. As we knew she did.

They waffle about it for a bit, until the Doctor gets impatient.

DOCTOR: Not now, Craig. The planet’s about to burn. For God’s sake, kiss the girl!

Craig does, and it comes perilously close to “saving an android through the power of love.”

Then the spaceship implodes, and we’re left with a one-storey house.

CRAIG: I could see the point of Paris, if you were there with me.
SOPHIE: First, let’s destroy our friendship completely.
HEATHER: Okay, ew.

Craig insists that the Doctor takes the house keys, and then we see this week’s crack.

In the TARDIS, the Doctor insists that Amy leave a note for him, the note that directed him to the house in the first place. But in looking for a pen, she finds her engagement ring.

And the crack opens a little further.

Next week: the first of the two-part finale.

Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Five: "Vincent and the Doctor"

Posted 20 June 2010 in by Catriona

Let’s see if I can do justice to this episode, shall we? I admit, I was highly uncertain about a Richard Curtis episode, despite being ambivalent about Notting Hill, fond of the funeral scene in Four Weddings and a Funeral, and devoted to Blackadder (from season two onwards). But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt here.

Of course, for now I’m just shouting at the weather bulletin, which makes me inexplicably angry.

We open on cornfields, waving in the breeze. No, not waving: thrashing.

They’re being painted by Vincent Van Gogh—and that’s not a spoiler, because we cut to Bill Nighy, commenting on the astonishing output of Van Gogh in the last year of his life. Amy and the Doctor are looking at the exhibition. Amy says he’s being so nice to her, and she finds it suspicious.

DOCTOR: It’s not suspicious. There’s nothing to be suspicious about.
AMY: Okay, I was joking. Why aren’t you?

I can’t explain how intensely charming Bill Nighy is in this scene. Amy’s thrilled to see Vincent’s painting of the church, but the Doctor is distracted by an evil face in the window.

DOCTOR: I know evil when I see it, and I see it in that window.

He interrupts Bill, claiming to be from the Ministry of Art and Artiness, and wants to know when the church was painted—preferably without a long explanation.

Bill says less than a year before Vincent killed himself. They compliment each other on their bowties, and then the Doctor literally shoves Amy out of the room, telling her this is a matter of life and death.


They materialise in a small alley, and head off to look for Vincent in the local cafe, which looks exactly like one of Vincent’s paintings, with a little less impasto.

Oh, this is a beautiful episode.

The barmaids laugh uproariously at the idea that Vincent is a good painter, while Vincent himself comes out offering the owner a painting for one last drink. The Doctor offers to buy either a drink or the painting.

VINCENT: One, I pay for my own drinks, thank you. Two, no one ever buys any of my paintings or they’d be laughed out of town. So I suggest if you want to stay in town, you keep your cash to yourself. Three, your friend’s cute, but you should keep your big nose out of other people’s business.

Amy jumps in, and says she’ll buy a bottle of wine, which she’ll share with whomever she wants to.

Vincent’s happy with that.

They sit and chat, with Vincent asking if Amy’s from Holland, like him. (Hee!) The Doctor introduces himself, and Vincent bristles, thinking that his brother Theo has sent yet another doctor after him. He flirts a bit with Amy, in a rather rusty fashion, until the Doctor manages to introduce the idea of the church.

But then they’re interrupted by screams, as a young girl is found torn to strips in the street. The townspeople turn on Vincent, pelting him with rubbish. He and the Doctor and Amy flee.

VINCENT: Where are you staying tonight?
DOCTOR: Oh! You’re very kind.

Amy’s in fangirl heaven, staying over-night with Vincent Van Gogh, and him telling her to keep clear of “Bedroom in Arles” because it’s “still wet.” She boggles at it, but his kitchen/sitting room is cluttered with his paintings.

He pops a coffee pot down on one of his paintings as the Doctor tells him to be careful with them, because they’re “precious.”

Only precious to him, says Vincent, but Amy says they’re precious to her, too.

Some time later, Vincent is ranting about colour, until the Doctor, looking uncomfortable, suggests he’s had enough coffee, and should perhaps have a nice cup of camomile tea. He calls for Amy to make it, but Amy’s outside, screaming, because she’s been attacked by something she didn’t see while she was outside looking at the paintings.

Vincent grabs a forked stick, and the Doctor tries to calm him down on the grounds that there’s nothing there, until he’s twice thrown through the air by some invisible adversary.

It’s clear only Vincent can see the creature, because the Doctor’s thrashing around in an entirely other direction while Vincent drives it off.

He asks Vincent what the creature looks like, and Vincent says he’ll shown them, painting over a rather lovely painting to scratch a charcoal picture of something that looks like a cockatoo.

The Doctor legs it with the picture, telling Amy to keep an eye on Vincent.

DOCTOR: I’ll be back before you can say, “Where’s he got to?”
DOCTOR: Not that fast!
DOCTOR: But pretty fast. See you round.

Back at the TARDIS, the Doctor’s mucking around with an embarrassing present from a two-headed godmother, which scans images and spits out an identification. It works on the Doctor, spitting out a picture of William Hartnell, but not on Vincent’s painting.

DOCTOR: Not accurate enough! This would never happen with Gainsborough, or one of those proper painters.

He steps out of the TARDIS into broad daylight, and the invisible creature pops up behind him. The Doctor mistakes its reflected image for a delayed response from the machine, but it’s not—he gallops through the town, throwing things behind him. But the creature leaves, and Amy pops up, terrifying the Doctor.

At Vincent’s house, the Doctor throws the doors open onto Vincent asleep in the bedroom at Arles—and that is a magnificent set. Just glorious. The Doctor calls Vincent out to breakfast, telling him that Amy has a surprise for him: she’s surrounded by sunflowers, which Vincent says aren’t his favourite—but, he admits, they might be a challenge.

He tells Vincent he needs to paint the church, to attract the Krafayis, the cockatoo-creature.

DOCTOR: Take my word for it. If you paint it, he will come.

He tells Vincent they’ll be out of his hair as soon as this is done, and Vincent leaves to get ready. The Doctor’s uncertain about putting Vincent in danger, but he feels he has no choice.

He heads up to alert Vincent, but Vincent has spiralled down into one of his blackest periods of despair at the idea that Amy and the Doctor, like everyone else, will leave. The Doctor tries ineptly to jolly him out of it, but Vincent screams at the Doctor to get out.

The Doctor tells Amy that they’re leaving, that Vincent is a fragile man. But Vincent comes striding in to the kitchen in his straw hat and a long duster, like a cowboy, and says he’s ready.

As they walk along the dusty road, Vincent tells Amy that he’s shaken off this depressive episode.

AMY: I’m not sad.
VINCENT: Then why are you crying?

And she is: she wipes the tears away and looks at them with astonishment.

VINCENT: It’s all right—I understand.
AMY: I’m not sure I do.

They pass the funeral of the girl from the village, her coffin crowned with sunflowers. At the church, the Doctor tries to talk to Vincent gently about depression, but Vincent tells him to be quiet while he’s painting, and the Doctor rapidly becomes bored with the linear progression of time.

DOCTOR: I remember watching Michaelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. Wow! What a whinger. I said to him, “If you were scared of heights, you shouldn’t have taken the job.”

The Krafayis does appear, in the window, as expected, and the Doctor heads in. Vincent wants to accompany the Doctor, and when the Doctor says no to that, at least suggests that the Doctor should be armed.

VINCENT: What with?
DOCTOR: This, over-confidence, and a small screwdriver. I’m absolutely sorted.

He makes Amy promise she won’t follow him, but when Vincent asks if she’ll follow, Amy says, “Of course.”

“I love you,” says Vincent.

The Doctor wanders slowly through the church, using his mirror to check where the creature should be. But outside, Vincent says that it’s moved, the Doctor screams, and Amy goes running into the church after him.

They end up in the confessional, while Vincent holds the creature off with a wicker-bound chair. The Doctor wonders if the sonic screwdriver is having any effect.

DOCTOR: Anything?
VINCENT: Nothing. In fact, he seems to rather enjoy it.

They manage to lock themselves in a side room, while Vincent legs it to grab something and the Doctor says he doesn’t have a plan.

DOCTOR: My only definite plan is that in the future, I’m only definitely using this screwdriver for screwing in screws.

In the absence of a plan, he tries to talk to the Krafayis, who does seem to grow quiet—until it leaps in through a window. But once in the room, as Vincent reappears with his easel, he tells them that it’s feeling its way slowly around the walls of the room.

The Doctor realises that it’s blind: that’s why it doesn’t eat its victims, why its pack left it behind, and why it has such excellent hearing.

Unfortunately, he shouts the last bit, and the Krafayis leaps towards them—only to be stabbed to death by Vincent with his easel. Vincent’s horrified at what he’s done and the Krafayis is terrified of dying—but it dies, nonetheless.

Vincent realises that the Krafayis was only lashing out from fear, like the villagers who stone him, and the Doctor says, “You know, sometimes winning—winning is no fun at all.”

But later, they lie on the ground in a star shape, all holding hands, as Vincent tries to explain how he sees things, and the night sky blossoms into a version of “Starry Night.”

VINCENT: I will miss you terribly.

The next morning, Vincent says he only wishes he had something of real value to give them, as he tries to convince the Doctor to accept a painting, but the Doctor says he couldn’t accept a gift of such value.

Vincent embraces Amy.

VINCENT: And if you tire of this Doctor of yours, return! And we shall have children by the dozen. Doctor, my friend, we have fought monsters together, and we have won. On my own, I fear I shall not do so well.

But before they leave, the Doctor has an idea. He heads back to grab Vincent, and then takes him to the TARDIS, which has been bill-posted in his absence. Vincent does the traditional “walking around the outside of the TARDIS,” which we know the Doctor loves.

Vincent asks what the various controls do, and the Doctor dematerialises the TARDIS under the guise of “making everything go absolutely tonto.”

They materialise outside the Musee D’Orsay—“home to many of the greatest paintings in history.”

They drag Vincent indoors and upstairs, and straight into the Vincent Van Gogh exhibition—he has his head turned towards Rodin’s “The Kiss,” so he doesn’t see the signs.

It bursts on him at once—all these people staring at his paintings, including ones he’s only thought of painting. His mouth drops open.

And the Doctor heads over to Bill Nighy, reminding him that they’ve met. He drags Bill over to Vincent, and asks Bill where Vincent stands in relation to other paintings.

Bill says that in his opinion, Vincent is the greatest painter of them all. As he goes on, Vincent scans the room, looking more at the people than the paintings, and he weeps, and I cry onto my keyboard.

Tony Curran kills this scene. Just kills it.

The Doctor sees Vincent weeping, and apologises, but Vincent says they’re tears of joy. He embraces Bill, apologising for the beard, and the Doctor hustles him out. Bill watches them leave, thinking about the similarity between Vincent and the self-portraits and then shaking his head in rejection of the impossibility.

They deposit Vincent back in France, but Amy’s impatient to get back to the gallery to see the “hundreds of new paintings” that resulted from the “long life of Vincent Van Gogh.”

But, of course, there aren’t any new ones. We come in where we first came in, with Bill showing Vincent’s last painting before his suicide.

Amy’s devastated, but the Doctor has seen Vincent in one of his dark moods, where Amy hadn’t—he’s not surprised, and he says they added to Vincent’s pile of good things.

And then Amy sees something new. She walks towards it slowly—it’s “Sunflowers,” with the vase now inscribed “To Amy.”

She says, “If we had got married, our kids would have had very very red hair.”

She’s crying as much as laughing, but the Doctor embraces her, and we fade out on “Sunflowers.”

Now that is what I mean when I say an episode should be compelling in its own right as well as advancing the main story arc.

Next week: “The Lodger.”

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.



Live-blogging Doctor Who Season Five: "The Hungry Earth"

Posted 6 June 2010 in by Catriona

I think I’m running a little late for this live-blogging, but to make up for it I’m wearing a large and unnecessary flower in my hair, and my peanut gallery is back for this episode.

By which I mean Michelle and Heather.

REPORTER: An explosive Foreign Correspondent.
MICHELLE: Is this going to be the quality of jokes tonight, sweetie?

We open in South Wales in 2020 AD, in an idyllic valley. A man in a reflective jacket is reading to his son, who apparently has trouble reading, and prefers to listen to books on tape.

Or some kind of futuristic tape, anyway.

Mo, the father, heads off to work on his bicycle.

HEATHER: Goodbye, my illiterate son!

Mo works at some kind of fancy drilling plant, where they’re just, apparently, drilling into the Earth as far as they can just for the sake of it, They’ve hit twenty-one kilometres.

Mo takes over night shift, and pulls out his copy of The Gruffalo before everything goes nuts: the plant shakes and all the security cameras goes out. Of course, Mo goes out to look, instead of legging it in the opposite direction as any sensible man would. Or sensible woman.

HEATHER: Michelle, stop giggling unless it’s related to Doctor Who.

He finds a steaming hole in the floor, and he shoves his hand in it.

You moron.

Of course, something grabs him, and he’s sucked into the ground.

HEATHER: Did we just get some exposition?
ME: What?
HEATHER: Did he just say ‘It’s freezing’?
ME: No, he said, ‘No, please.’ He’s begging the ground.
HEATHER: Oh, ‘cause that always works.


The Doctor and his companions leap out of the TARDIS, with Amy wearing even shorter clothes than normal (though these are shorts), because he promised them Rio. Oh, honestly: how many times have we heard this? How many times did Sarah Jane leap out of the TARDIS in a bikini?

MICHELLE: Funny grass.
HEATHER: No, it’s blue grass.
ME: Where are the fiddles, then?

As well as the blue grass, the Doctor says that the ground feels funny. Then he spots a ‘big mining thing’ and insists on going to see it, because he loves big mining things.

The Doctor legs it, but Rory’s worried Amy will lose her engagement ring in Wales in 2020 AD, so he hurries back to the TARDIS to put it away while Amy follows the Doctor.

In the big mining thing, the day staff have found that Mo is missing. At the TARDIS, Rory is mistaken for a policeman by the kid from the beginning and his mother, Ambrose.

We have a brief but spirited discussion about whether or not Ambrose is a girls’ name.

The Doctor and Amy “sonic and enter” at the big mining thing.

Ambrose and her son tell Rory that bodies are disappearing from the graves in the local cemetery. Oh, I hope they come back to this sub-plot.

Of course, the Doctor, being the Doctor, just wanders straight into the control room in the big mining thing, where they’ve just got the drill up and running again. He wants to know why there’s a big patch of dirt in the middle of their floor, and then tells them they need to leave the room immediately.

They don’t leave quite quickly enough, because the ground starts steaming. The Doctor says that the ground’s attacking then, and they run—but Tony is pulled into a hole in the earth, and though the Doctor tells her to stay away, Amy dashes across to grab him. Nasreen pulls Tony free, but Amy is well and truly trapped, held up to her armpits.

The Doctor tells Nasreen and Tony to shut down the drilling, but Amy is slipping deeper and deeper into the ground. Tony’s not shutting the drill down fast enough. Amy’s worried that she’ll suffocate under the earth, and the Doctor tells her to hang on, but she slips further and further under the soil.

And then she’s gone.

Elsewhere, Rory is jumping in a grave. Ambrose’s son says that the only plausible explanation is that the graves devoured people whole—he quotes Sherlock Holmes’s “Once you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth” in support of this theory.

In the big mining thing, the Doctor suggests that the drill is what’s causing the problem. When the drill is stopped (as it was after Mo was taken), then the earth calms down.

He decides that it’s a matter of bio-programming. The earth has been bio-programmed to attack them.

TONY: You’re not making sense, man.
DOCTOR: Excuse me, I’m making perfect sense. You’re just not keeping up.

Even though they’ve shut the drill down, the Doctor can still hear drilling from beneath the earth.

He hacks into the company’s computers. Apparently, they chose to drill here because they found trace minerals unseen on the Earth for twenty million years. The Doctor mocks Nasreen, saying that those weren’t Xs marking the spot, saying “Drill here”—they were saying “Stay away.”

The whole time they’ve been drilling down, something else has been drilling up—and now it’s sending up transports.

As they grab the computers and leg it, an energy signal originating from under the ground sends up an energy barricade, locking the village off from the rest of the world.

Rory points out that the graves are eating people, but the Doctor says this is not the time.

Rory then notices that Amy’s missing, and the Doctor’s idea of an appropriate response to this is “I’ll get her back.” Not very comforting, Doctor. He tells Rory that he needs him by his side, and Heather says, “Oh, just snog him.”

Amy’s being scanned by something with mysterious green technology.

Everyone else barricades themselves in the church, even though the door sticks. Everyone but Ambrose trusts the Doctor, because everything else is so inexplicable.

Ooh, Doctor’s theme! I love this theme: so dynamic and action-hero.

The Doctor’s sending everyone out with cameras and so forth, and asks the boy, Elliot, to draw a map.

ELLIOT: I can’t do the letters. I’m dyslexic.
DOCTOR: That’s all right: I can’t make a decent meringue.
HEATHER: So he’s not illiterate? Just dyslexic. Well, that makes me feel a bit better about the earlier statement.

The Doctor’s asking for every bit of help he can get, until Ambrose turns up with an armload of weaponry, which staggers him.

DOCTOR: Oh, Ambrose. I’m asking you nicely. Put them away.

The Doctor’s intending to send out a pulse through the cameras, to disable the attackers. Or something.

ELLIOT: I want to live in a city some day.
DOCTOR: I was the same when I was your age.
ELLIOT: Did you get away?
ELLIOT: Do you miss it?
DOCTOR: So much.

The attackers send darkness to hide their attack. Tony snogs Nasreen, while he has the chance—and the general reaction in my living room is “Ew.” I’m not part of the “ew,” but the majority has spoken.

They barricade themselves in the church—minus Elliot, who went off to find his headphones and made the mistake of only telling the Doctor where he was going. The Doctor, obviously, wasn’t listening.

It takes Ambrose about fifteen minutes, but she finally realises that her son is missing. She’s furious with the Doctor, but I really think it’s her responsibility.

Michelle vetoes a joke that Heather really wanted on the blog.

Elliot makes it to the church, but the door is stuck, and something comes up behind him before they can get the door open. Ambrose goes running off after him, Tony (her father) goes running off after her, and then something grabs Ambrose.

Tony comes up and grabs Ambrose, but the lizard person (to Heather’s delighted cries of “Lizard people!”) snaps its tongue out at Tony, catching him in the neck, and legs it.

The Doctor points out that Amy, Mo, and Elliot are probably still alive, but he can’t worry about that until after he’s stopped the attack. He realises who the attackers are once he realises that they’re cold-blooded, and then he disables one with the help of a fire extinguisher and a Meals-on-Wheels van.

The other attackers leave. Rory thinks they’ve been scared off, but the Doctor points out that both sides have hostages.

Amy wakes up in a perspex box.

AMY: My name’s Amy Pond, and you better get me the hell out of here, or so help me, I’m going to kick your butt. Please?
AMY: Did you just shush me? Did you just shush me?

Then the anonymous captor gases her, much to her indignation.

The Doctor plans to interrogate the captive, but first he has to remove its mask. Underneath, it’s still alien, but less alien than the mask. The Doctor tells her she’s beautiful and that her mode of transport is gorgeous.

He wants Amy back, but the captive is highly resistant to questioning.

CAPTIVE: I’m the last of my species.
DOCTOR: No, you’re really not. Because I’m the last of my species, and I know how it sits in a heart. So don’t insult me.

The captive, whose name I can’t spell, says that they were attacked, and that they’ll wipe out the vermin who have taken over the Earth while they slept below it. But she is resistant to the idea that they can negotiate a peace treaty—she’s perfectly happy to die for her cause.

The Doctor wanders out without answering her question about what he’s willing to do for his cause, and tells everyone that he’s going down into the heart of the planet to negotiate.

The one thing he asks them to do is keep Alaya alive while he’s gone. That makes me suspicious about future events, especially given how often he says it.

He leaves, and Nasreen pursues him, because she’s spent all her life drilling down into the earth, and she’s not turning down this opportunity. The Doctor reluctantly agrees.

HEATHER: She’s dead. Put a red shirt on her.

Note: the above does not constitute an official spoiler.

The TARDIS is hijacked and pulled down into the earth, outside the Doctor’s control.

Nick insists on telling us over and over again that Alaya is clearly not a reptile, because only mammals have, um, mammary glands.

NICK: Maybe it’s where she keeps her hankies.
HEATHER: Or her poison sacs.

The others left behind confront Alaya, and Rory tells her that they’ll keep her safe. But Alaya says no: one of them will kill her and start a war.

Tony is showing symptoms from the poison he was hit with earlier.

The Doctor and Nasreen head into the tunnels. And Amy wakes tied to an upright surgical table, next to Mo (on his own table), who warns her that he’s already been vivisected.

She struggles as a reptile in a surgical mask heads towards her with a scalpel.

And the Doctor and Nasreen discover that what they’re dealing with here is an entire civilisation, with an enormous city, buried under the Earth.




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