By C. Robert Dimitri | TV | May 18, 2010 |
By C. Robert Dimitri | TV | May 18, 2010 |
“We have no need of comfy chairs.”
Picking up where we left off last week for the first official cliffhanger of Doctor Who’s eleventh incarnation, Amy, River, the clerics, and the Doctor find themselves standing upside down on the underside of the Byzantium’s hull. The exploding gravity globe created enough of an updraft for their jump to reach the ship, which still had its artificial gravity in effect. Below - or above from their perspective - wait the Weeping Angels, whose features are becoming more defined as they ingest the power from the Byzantium’s leaking radiation.
The Doctor uses the trusty sonic screwdriver to gain access to the interior of the ship. The ship’s interior gravity orients them to the floor, but they are immediately trapped inside the corridor. Outside, the Weeping Angels are also able to jump up to the ship, break open the hatch, and enter the ship’s corridor due to the flickering lights. The Doctor and company keep an eye on them and stabilize the lighting, but in order to escape farther into the ship, the Doctor needs to reroute power to the door and temporarily switch off the lights, thus enabling the Angels to advance. Octavian once again holds private counsel with River over how much she trusts the Doctor and threatens to reveal her secret to him. With the lights off, the clerics open fire and delay the Angels so that they can proceed beyond the door.
Octavian uses a magnetic locking mechanism to secure themselves in another chamber of the ship, but the Angels demonstrate that they will bypass this line of defense soon enough. The Doctor and company seem to be trapped, but the Doctor finds access to the Byzantium’s “oxygen factory,” a complete forest within the ship.
Amy - still suffering from the effects of her earlier encounter with the Angel - begins to count down from ten, uttering each number as a seeming non sequitur. The Doctor examines her suspiciously and is interrupted by a call from Angel Bob. Bob lets the Doctor know that they are feasting on the ship’s power and will soon gain dominion over all time and space. The Doctor is skeptical that the Angels can acquire this much power, but Bob mocks the Doctor for not noticing yet the other source of power the Angels want. Bob also lets the Doctor know that they are inside Amy and will soon take her, thus allowing her to take all of them. Amy utters the number five in her countdown.
Inside this room of the ship the crack from Amy’s bedroom wall has reappeared. Amy, River, and the clerics flee into the forest as the Doctor attempts to examine the crack. The Doctor is alone in the room, and it is now filled with Angels. “Do not blink,” the Doctor mutters to himself, as the Angels advance. He avoids their grasp by leaping over a console and keeping his eye on them as well as he can. An Angel snags his coat. The Doctor distracts the Angels who seem to be beguiled by the growing crack, as he tells them they cannot feed on that power, which is the fire at the end of the universe. The Doctor runs off into the forest, his coat left behind.
Amy’s condition worsens as the Doctor catches up to them. The Doctor and River recognize that Amy is dying and ponder how to stop it. The cleric sentries note that the Angels are now following them through the forest and keep them at bay with visual contact. The Doctor realizes that Amy has an Angel inside the visual center of her brain, and the elegant solution is simply to shut her eyes. She does so, and her condition holds steady. The Doctor tells her, though, that she must keep her eyes shut and not open them for any extended period of time, as the Angel is still inside her and simply “paused.”
The Doctor orders the clerics to stay and guard Amy while he and River find the ship’s flight deck. Octavian, however, insists that he accompany the Doctor and River. The Doctor asks if Octavian is engaged to her, and he replies that they are “in a manner of speaking.” The Doctor bids farewell to Amy, still with eyes shut. He asks her to trust him and to remember what he told her when he first visited her as a child.
The Doctor, River, and Octavian continue through the forest toward the flight deck. The Doctor asks River how it is that she is engaged to Octavian, and she replies that she’s a sucker for a man in uniform. Octavian is finished with this deceit and tells the Doctor that River is a recently released prisoner of the “Storm Cage Containment Facility” and is in his custody until she has earned a pardon.
Amy sits with her eyes shut and asks for an update from the four clerics guarding her. The Angels work to kill the artificial lighting of the trees and advance closer to Amy and the clerics as the lights flicker. Just as the Angels are almost upon them, an intense light in the shape of the crack flickers beyond the trees. The Angels that were surrounding them retreat in response to it. Two of the clerics, Crispin and Phillip, head toward the crack’s light to investigate it. Amy briefly opens her eyes and recognizes the crack again. She is distraught that it seems to be following her.
The third cleric, Pedro, heads toward the light to investigate, and Amy asks about the first two clerics who left to examine the crack. In an unsettling turn, the remaining fourth cleric with Amy does not know to whom Amy refers. Moments later, he does not know Pedro either.
The Doctor, River, and Octavian reach the exit in the forest to the flight deck. Octavian creates an opening and ushers River through, as the Doctor reaches an epiphany over the nature of the crack and Amy’s failure to remember the invasion of the Earth by the Daleks and the Cybermen. Octavian insists that he and the Doctor follow River through the opening as an Angel wraps its arm around Octavian’s neck. The Doctor’s gaze keeps the Angel from killing Octavian, but there is no escape.
The last cleric tells Amy that he will investigate the light, but Amy warns him that he will disappear as well. He insists there never were three other clerics, leaves her a communicator, and promises to stay in touch.
Octavian tells the Doctor not to trust River, as the Doctor does not know who or what she is. The Doctor asks him why she was in Storm Cage, and he replies that she killed a “good man” and “hero to many.” Octavian says no more and insists the Doctor leaves. The Doctor tearfully tells Octavian he wishes that he had known him better, and Octavian tells him that he thinks the Doctor knew him at his best. The Doctor rushes into the opening that leads to the flight deck, and we hear a crunch as the Angel snaps Octavian’s neck.
On the flight deck, River is working to fix the ship’s teleport machine to beam Amy and the clerics safely to them. The Doctor contacts Amy on her communicator from the deck, learns of the clerics’ disappearances, and tells her to blindly walk to them. His sonic screwdriver will transmit through the communicator and indicate when she is walking the correct direction. She must hurry to escape the time energy of the crack. She is worried that the Angels are still in the forest, but - as the Doctor says - the Angels can “only kill you.” The time energy would erase every moment of her existence; she will never have lived at all.
The Doctor warns Amy that she needs to walk as if she can see in order not to attract the attention of the Angels, who are distracted by the effects of the crack. The Doctor’s frustration over the danger and River’s skepticism over the only plan they have peaks, as he yells at River that the only way that they can slow down the crack is to feed it a “complicated space-time event,” namely the Doctor himself.
Amy walks through a crowd of Angels who are acting under the instinctual assumption that she can see them. Amy trips and drops the communicator, and the Angels turn their heads toward her. One reaches for her, just as River fixes the teleport machine and beams her to the flight deck.
There the Angels break through the shield and confront the Doctor, Amy, and River. Angel Bob asks the Doctor to throw himself into the crack to save them, as they have performed the same calculations as the Doctor. The perk they offer is that his friends will be saved. River offers herself as a sacrificial alternative, as she has also traveled through time. The Doctor scoffs that she is not complicated enough to match him. It would take the energy of all the Angels combined to shut the crack as the Doctor alone could. The Doctor rejects the Angels’ offer, as they have drained the ship of all its power, and its gravity field is failing. The Doctor, Amy, and River grab hold of objects on the flight deck as the artificial gravity disappears. The Angels fall through the forest into the crack and close it by means of their destruction.
Back outside safely on the planet surface, Amy is able to open her eyes, as the Angel that had crept into the visual center of her brain had never existed as a result of its source Angel falling into the crack. The Doctor tells her that her recent status as a time traveler enables her to remember the events that took place. Also, the crack is temporarily subdued, but its source is still happening somewhere and sometime in the universe.
River, now in handcuffs and surrounded by clerics, waits to be beamed up by the prison ship. River hopes that she has earned her pardon “this time.” The Doctor confirms Octavian’s story that she killed a man, and River acknowledges that she killed the “best man [she had] ever known.” She refuses to elaborate and says that the story must be lived. She says that she will see the Doctor again soon when the Pandorica opens. The Doctor laughs at this “fairy tale.”
“Can I trust you, River Song?”
“If you like, but where’s the fun in that?” she replies.
Back on the TARDIS, Amy asks the Doctor to take her home so that she can show him what has her running. Back in her bedroom she lets him know that she is engaged to Rory and that the Doctor picked her up on the night before her wedding. Then Amy tells him that being so close to death made her reflect upon what she wants. She attempts to seduce the Doctor.
I imagine that bit made several of you gasp or groan. It’s another Doctor-companion romantic entanglement!
The Doctor resists her advances on the grounds that he is 907 years old, that she is human, and that she is marrying in the morning. Amy does not seem to be interested in anything long-term and realizes that the next morning is a long way off by way of the TARDIS. She persists and kisses him against the police box, even as the Doctor reaches another epiphany: the crack and its time decay is somehow related directly to Amy Pond and her wedding date.
“…quite possibly the single most important thing in the history of the universe is that I get you sorted out right now!”
Amy is reclined on the bed at this point and thinks that the Doctor is finally succumbing to her. “Sorted out” in her mind is a euphemism for sex and qualifies as one of the more risqué implications in the mostly chaste history of Doctor Who. Contrary to her desire, though, he grabs her hand and whisks her into the TARDIS once again.
Hence, “Flesh And Stone” covered four major elements: the return of the Doctor’s once and future seeming paramour, River Song, the return of Steven Moffat’s creepy Weeping Angels, the reveal of the nature of the crack in Amy’s bedroom that has been following her and the Doctor on their travels, and the development of Amy’s relationship with the Doctor in a non-platonic way.
Regarding River and her criminal background, the obvious guess as to this great man that she will kill is the Doctor himself. If that is the case, the remaining speculation is exactly how and why she kills him and which incarnation of the Doctor she will kill. It seems likely that there would be mitigating circumstances.
Are we happy with the return of the Angels and their presentation? Having watched “Blink” again this past week, I was led to question why it was that those original Angels shielded their eyes to avoid keeping other Angels from moving, while these Angels did not seem to exhibit that tendency.
Do you have any further speculation over the nature of the crack and why it is seemingly linked to Amy Pond herself? Does the crack’s ability to rewrite history mean that major parts of Doctor Who canon will be rewritten aside from simply erasing one or two Dalek and Cybermen adventures?
How do you feel about another companion with an overwhelming desire to kiss the Doctor? Although I remember being very bothered by this phenomenon when it was first used prominently in the eighth Doctor’s TV-movie, it bothers me less now. This does have a distinction from Rose and Martha in that Amy’s impulse is not a deeply romantic one. Does this facet of Amy’s personality make her endearing? Is it a believable turn?
Once again, I apologize for limiting discussion for those of you that are one or two episodes ahead, but I thank you in advance for avoiding the spoilers and discussing the state of Doctor Who through this episode. If you do feel compelled to discuss anything that occurs in the next two episodes, please provide warning. (I have not seen either of them myself yet.)
C. Robert Dimitri spent many of the prime Saturday nights of his youth staying home to watch syndicated episodes of Doctor Who on PBS, and his social skills might be beyond repair as a result. He’s not the most hardcore Whovian, but he’s a respectable representative. The first episode he remembers watching was Tom Baker’s “The Creature From The Pit.” At one point he obsessively watched all the Hartnell, Troughton, and Pertwee episodes that were available to him, and sometime around the age of 14 he dragged his mother to a Doctor Who convention. All he truly has ever wanted for Christmas is Perpugilliam Brown, but he would be almost as content with K-9.
If Benjamin Braddock had a TARDIS, it would have been much easier to stop Elaine Robinson’s wedding the night before. Now I have the tangential image of an army of Weeping Angels interrupting the wedding ceremony and killing all the guests. On another tangent, there is something eerily similar about the editing employed to depict the movement of Weeping Angels and the editing that depicted Mrs. Robinson’s first seduction attempt.