"This is the story of our planet, Earth. Of the day a thousand years passed when we came to share it with the race known as humanity. This is the story of the Doctor who helped our races find common ground and the terrible losses he suffered. This is the story of our past and must not be forgotten."
Written by Chris Chibnall, Cold Blood is one of those Doctor Who episodes that will definitely leave you both speechless for a moment and talking about it right after. It is a much superior episode to the first part of the Silurian invasion story begun with The Hungry Earth. And as I came out from watching the episode, the first thing that came to my mind was ''Holy Crap on a cracker!'' Cold Blood basically just pulled all the stops and it completely blew me away for quite a few reasons. This is, I believe, Doctor Who at it's very best.
The Doctor and Nasreen enjoying a nice walk in the Silurian city before all Hell breaks loose.
The last 10 minutes were perhaps the most shocking and awe-inducing moments I've ever seen on new Doctor Who, and Chris Chibnall, along with Steven Moffat, were not afraid to "bring it on" as they say.
Put that away! Don't you know you could poke someone's eye out with that?
So today, instead of keeping the juicy stuff for last, I'm gonna start with them right off the bat because this is so big I can't just chit chat about the rest of the episode and keep this for last.
Restac is a mean green vengeful machine.
The First Big Thing that happened is they killed Rory. Though I saw it coming towards the end of the episode, Rory's death was nonetheless shocking because rarely do we have companions die on Doctor Who (there was of course Adric, in the Fifth Doctor story Earthshock and a few others but never has a companion died on New Who). He dies heroically by saving the Doctor from a vengeful Restac, Alaya's sister, who came crawling (in an improbable scene) around a tunnel corner to exert vengeance by trying to kill the Doctor before she dies.
The Doctor and Restac have the first in a series of confrontations.
If that wasn't enough, the famous Crack comes back in a big way, after being MIA for the last 2 episodes, mere moments before Rory's death. This time, it's getting bigger, and the Doctor actually decides to see what's on the other side and manages to pull out something by shoving his arm in the midst of the Crack itself. That something is kept hidden from the viewers and the Doctor because it's kept in his handkerchief and Restac appears.
Amy and Mo stumble upon thousands of sleeping Silurian warriors. Can we say: Houston, we have a problem here?
Right after Rory's death, the Doctor shoves and locks a distraught Amy inside the Tardis and lets the Crack touch Rory's body. You see, by doing this, Rory is erased from existence as if he'd never been born (as was mentioned before in The Time of Angels. We get a nice flashback of that in case we've forgotten ourselves). And this, I believe, will serve to bring back the character by the end of series 5. It was rather fascinating to see the special effects at work here as the light emanating from the Crack resembled tendrils that slowly caressed Rory's body before he disappears. And despite all of the Doctor's effort to keep Amy from forgetting him (as I said, Rory disappears from existence) in a very emotional and powerful scene, it doesn't work and Amy forgets.
I had been wondering about the purpose of that scene in The Hungry Earth, where Rory and Amy see their future selves waving at them in the distance. Now, I understand that it served to lull Rory and Amy into a sense of security. If they've seen themselves alive and well in the future, they wouldn't think twice that they could possibly die. And thus, while Rory saved the Doctor, he couldn't imagine he would be in fact be killed. Nicely done Chris Chibnall.
Ambrose confronts Alaya and she is quite angry.
Alaya is not one to be scared by an ape. She tells her she knew she'd be the one to kill her because Ambrose has the most to loose.
The deed is done, Alaya's prophecy accomplished. Rory is horrified.
The Second Big Thing happens right at the end, when the Doctor pulls out what's in his handkerchief. He reveals part of the Tardis Plate that's on the Tardis door. The plate is burned and has obviously suffered through a massive explosion. An explosion that the Doctor had just previously hypothesized about : "some sort of space-time cataclysmic explosion, maybe big enough to put cracks in the Universe, but what?" It literally sends shivers down our spine knowing that the Tardis is at the origin of the Crack in theUniverse, but this idea had already crossed my mind quite a few times even before that shocking reveal. And now, the Doctor has to figure out what will go wrong and how to fix it. So the next four episodes will be incredibly important to him and the storyline. Keep in mind that we have in all probability a Future Doctor running around our episodes trying to fix things.
The Doctor and the others are being ushered into a very nice and gleaming room.
Now that I've gotten those two important things out of the way, let's talk about the rest of Cold Blood.
Amy to the rescue.
The episode opens up nicely with a voice-over from Eldane (Stephen Moore) and it felt eerily similar to the voice-over done by the Time Lord Rassilon (Timothy Dalton) at the opening of The End of Time part 2. However, comparisons between Rassilon and Eldane end there because the wisest of the two is without a doubt Eldane. The narration was effectively interspersed through the episode, because it's a tale told to others in the future by Eldane himself. It added quite a fairy tale like quality to the story.
Seems the rescue didn't go the way it was supposed to.
It wouldn't be Doctor Who if the Doctor were not trying to broker a peace between the Silurians and the humans and he tries just that. He wouldn't be the Doctor if he didn't try to sell the human race as the best there is and he does that. It's interesting to see that the Doctor's meddling only goes as far as putting Amy and Nasreen in charge of the peace talk with Eldane (we have to face it, Cold Blood is an episode that is more talk than action - which only happens 30 minutes in - but it works beautifully here), only for his efforts to be utterly destroyed by Ambrose's killing of Alaya.
Restac communicates with the apes locked up in the church above ground: ''who is the ape leader?''
Restac wants her sister Alaya back or she will kill the Doctor and his friends. Someone obviously didn't give her the memo that her sister is dead.
I think that Ambrose, played by Nia Roberts, is ultimately the villain of the story: First by killing Alaya and then by adding blunder upon blunder. True, she's a mother who's had her son and husband taken from her and who's father is being poisoned by Silurians (as it turns out he's metamorphosing and not dying). True, she is openly taunted by Alaya to kill her, so perhaps her actions can be mitigated and explained by these circumstances. However, I found as I watched the episode that I disliked her immensely because I didn't feel any real sense of remorse coming from her, even when she did. I did not empathize at all. So much for the best of the human race, as the Doctor says to Ambrose: "We had a chance here. In future, when you talk about this, you tell people there was a chance but you are so. Much. Less. Than the best of humanity."
Oooohhh! Look at the nice green globe! Can I have one as a wedding present?
The Silurians on the other hand are proving to be an incredibly interesting and effective alien race. Though they are not new by any means, these Silurians are presented as such because, and here the Doctor says it again, they are a different branch of the Silurian species. I'm just a bit sad that in the end the Silurians have to go back to sleep for the next 1000 years. However, since the Doctor is a time traveler, I guess it would be easy to revisit the race in the future, pun intended.
Restac has taken out more of the Silurians warriors from their sleep. Trouble is coming.
Notice that the main antagonistic characters in Cold Blood were all females: Ambrose, Alaya and Restac. All members of the Silurian military branch happened to be females, whereas the only males I saw were Eldane, the Silurian leader, and Malohkeh (Richard Hope) the scientist. These ones seemed to be much more inclined to pursue the idea of a peaceful co-habitation with the humans than the female Silurians we met.
About the performances, I said it before and I'm saying it again, though I know it gets tiring, BUT Matt Smith was again superb. Ever since Christopher Eccleston took on the role of the Doctor and later with David Tennant and now Matt Smith, the Doctor Who people have always brought on board incredible, fascinating and charismatic actors to take on the role. Though Tennant's Tenth Doctor remains my favourite, I have to say Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor has definitely become my second favourite Doctor ever.
The Doctor brandishing his sonic screwdriver as a weapon.
Karen Gillan was fine as always, but this time she managed to pull off a little more emotions than she usually imparts to Amy and it was great to see. Arthur Darvill, what can I say. I absolutely ADORE him as Rory. I feel I'm connecting more with him as a companion than I am with Amy. And I'm looking forward to see how they will bring him back (because between you and me, I'm sure they will) and I truly, really hope he'll be back for series 6 as well to travel with the Doctor and Amy.
You've not been poisoned but you're mutating. Does it possibly make anyone feel better?
I have to mention Neve McIntosh, who pulls off the dual roles of Alaya and Restac nicely (the two were barely discernible but for the different color of makeup on their facial ridges, the scar on Restac's face, and the clothes they were wearing), but I would have liked to have seen more character differences. I also feel Meera Syal was a bit wasted as Nasreen Chaudhury but the place and situation where the character is left in towards the end of Cold Blood opens up the possibility that we may see her, and Tony, again in the future.
The Crack is back baby!
The Doctor decides to investigate.
The decors for the lab and the throne/execution room were outstanding, and it helped me feel how alien this civilization truly is. I liked how the design team took the time to dress up the tunnels with vegetation and how everything was lighted with lovely orange and green lights. Indeed, it's as if the Silurian world was a beautiful garden of Eden beneath the Earth. The special effects were also nicely done, though we only saw glimpses here and there of the fabulous city exteriors.
In an incredible turn of event, Rory has just been killed saving the Doctor and the Crack is inching closer and closer.
Amy showing genuine emotions at the death of Rory.
The Crack doing it's work and erasing Rory from existence and Amy's life.
One regret I have to talk about is that we didn't get to see the live dissection of Amy Pond. I have to say I was looking forward to seeing that scene. But, alas, it wasn't meant to be as our resourceful Amy picked the pockets of Malohkeh and was, figuratively speaking, saved by the bell.
Amy's ring left behind in the Tardis by Rory.
In conclusion, Cold Blood is definitely one of the best Doctor Who episodes this season and perhaps even since New Who. It was, thank God, superior to it's first part, The Hungry Earth, and Chris Chibnall did some very nice work here, both because of the death of Rory and the development in the Crack storyline. These two elements will probably make Cold Blood a very much talked about episode amongst Doctor Who fans.
This is VERY problematic for the Doctor.
Next up: The Doctor and Amy meet Vincent Van Gogh and as it always happens in the world of Doctor Who, there's a mysterious monster and trouble ensues.
My grade for this episode: 9.5/10
Some Favourite Quotes:
The Doctor: Front door approach, definitely, always the best way. Apart from the backdoor approach, that's also good. Sometimes better.
Amy: You never picked a lizard man's pocket?
The Doctor: That's so much better thanks. Not got any celery have you?
Nasreen: Ooohh! A green man.
Restac: I don't negotiate with apes.
Amy: The Doctor would know. The Doctor always knows.
The Doctor: Ooohhh! Lovely place, very gleeming!
Restac: This is our court. And our place of execution.
The Doctor: Listen, you need to get down here. Go to the drill store room, there's a large patch of earth in the middle of the floor, the Silurians are going to send up transport discs to bring you back down using geothermal energy and gravity bubble technology. It's how they travel, and frankly, it's pretty cool.
The Doctor: There are fixed points through time where things must always stay the way they are. This is not one of them, this is an opportunity; a temporal tipping point. Whatever happens today will change future events, creating it's own timeline, it's own reality. The future pivots around you, here, now. So do good, for humanity and for Earth. (This whole speech reminded me of what Spock said in the 2009 Star Trek movie, in order to explain why the timelines were now going to be different.)
The Doctor: (talking about the Sonic Screwdriver) this is a deadly weapon! Stay back!
The Doctor: Yes! Squeaky bum time!
The Doctor: Ha ha! Super squeaky bum time!
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.