By C. Robert Dimitri | TV | June 22, 2010 |
By C. Robert Dimitri | TV | June 22, 2010 |
“Not got any celery, have you?”
Voiceover from a Silurian elder accompanies a global view of Earth from space. A thousand years ago, we are told, the Doctor united humans and Silurians to share the planet, but this did not happen without losses.
Continuing where we left off, the Doctor and Nasreen advance into the Silurian city. An alarm activates, and the Doctor and Nasreen are surrounded and rendered unconscious by gas-firing guns despite the Doctor’s assurance that they have come in peace.
Elsewhere in the city, Amy’s dissection is halted when the Silurian physician, Malokeh, hears news of the Doctor’s capture over a loudspeaker. Amy manages to pick Malokeh’s pocket of the remote control that restrains Mo and her before he leaves to investigate. Amy and Mo leave the dissection lab and find Mo’s son Elliot trapped in a chamber. Elliot is frozen in a sort of suspended animation, and they are unable to release him.
Back above ground, Ambrose questions Rory about his lie of being a police officer and why he and the Doctor are there. Rory can only ask her to trust the Doctor, help watch their prisoner Alaya, and wait. Rory stresses that he trusts the Doctor with his life.
The Doctor and Nasreen are now being restrained on Malokeh’s operating tables. Restac, a commander of the Silurian guard and Alaya’s sister, tells Malokeh that the escape of Amy and Mo proves that the military should be overseeing all operations. Malokeh initiates the decontamination process on the Doctor, which aims to remove the surface bacteria from his body and causes him great pain. The Doctor convinces Malokeh to stop when he points out that he is not human. The Doctor is stil restrained, but he gathers some information, most importantly that the drill had disrupted the Silurians’ underground oxygen pockets. The Doctor tells Restac that they only want to retrieve Amy, Mo, and Elliot in exchange for Alaya. Restac — much like her sister — refuses to negotiate and is intent on executing the Doctor.
Tony visits Alaya, who still refuses to cooperate and expresses her excitement for a war between humans and Silurians. Tony asks her to cure him of the venomous wound she inflicted on him earlier in return for helping her escape, but she would rather watch him become the first death in this new war.
Mo and Amy discover Silurians in suspended animation. These Silurians stand immobile but breathing on discs that would propel them up through the surface. Amy and Mo cautiously take their weapons just before they discover an entire cavern of suspended Silurians.
Still captive, the Doctor and Nasreen are led through Silurian caverns. The Doctor tells the story of another group of Silurians he encountered that had put themselves in suspended animation to avoid the destruction of their race by a great impact from space. They were mistaken in that this was simply the moon settling into orbit. (My admittedly limited knowledge of the primary theory that explains the creation of the moon causes me to doubt the potential reality of this fictional timeline.) Restac is disgusted when the Doctor reveals that humans later killed this group of Silurians.
Tony’s health is deteriorating, and a concerned Ambrose examines the wound. Ambrose visits Alaya alone and threatens her with a taser gun. Alaya refuses to comply with Ambrose’s pleas and taunts her. Ambrose pulls the trigger multiple times as Alaya continues to mock her weakness. Rory and Tony rush to help in response to Alaya’s cries. Rory puts his nurse skills to work and tries to save Alaya, but Alaya is happy to die in the name of war and does so.
Restac and Malokeh take the Doctor and Nasreen into a grand hall that also serves as an execution chamber. Amy and Mo arrive with weapons in hand and demand that the Doctor and Nasreen are released. Karen Gillan imbues Amy with an amusing amount of sass as she aims her gun at Restac, but Restac senses that Amy is not a killer and snatches the gun. Sans leverage, Mo gives up as well. Restac dismisses Malokeh, and the prisoners are tied to the pillars in the room in preparation for execution.
Restac contacts Rory, Tony, and Ambrose via a computer monitor in the room with Alaya’s body, shows the three of them her hostages, and demands to see Alaya. The Doctor, unaware that Alaya is dead, tries calm everyone in this discussion and asks Ambrose to let Rory handle the negotiation. Alaya’s body is just beyond the view of the monitor, and Ambrose refuses to cooperate. Restac orders the execution of Amy and halts the communication.
Eldane, the leader of the Silurians and newly awakened by Malokeh, halts the execution. Malokeh tells Restac that the apes have evolved since they last knew them and deserve their consideration. Eldane challenges Restac’s authority and sends her away. The Doctor reestablishes communication with Rory using the Silurian technology and asks them to use the geothermal transport discs and gravity bubbles to travel through the ground to the city. If they bring Alaya, peace should be reached. Rory again assumes a leadership role and says that they the owe Silurians the truth. Tony and Ambrose are distraught and secretly hatch their own plan.
With a little time to kill, the Doctor encourages Nasreen and Amy to begin negotiations with Eldane for the future of the planet. Amy is cautiously excited and nervous about this opportunity; Nasreen is understandably skeptical that the bulk of humanity above ground will respect any agreement they forge related to sharing Earth. (I am amused imagining how various current political leaders might respond to this situation.) The Doctor urges her to “be extraordinary” and giddily calls the meeting to order before leaving with Mo to fetch Elliot.
Malokeh helps the Doctor and Mo release Elliot, who was in suspended animation so that Malokeh could learn more about the surface. Malokeh had been practicing his studies for the previous three hundred years, and the Doctor - admiring Malokeh’s scientific spirit — tells Malokeh that he loves him. Malokeh assures Mo that his son is fine and wakes Elliot. I would like to see Malokeh also apologize to Mo for dissecting him earlier, but that goes without mention. The awakened Elliot takes the situation in youthful stride, and the Doctor apologizes to Elliot for taking his eye off of him.
Eldane (now revealed as the source of the original voiceover), Nasreen, and Amy struggle to find common ground, but form a tentative plan that would place the Silurians in areas mostly uninhabited by humans (the Sahara, the Australian Outback, etc.) in return for knowledge of the technological advances that the Silurians have achieved.
Malokeh discovers Restac awakening more Silurian soldiers, and she shoots him dead in the name of protecting their species from the apes.
The Doctor returns to the negotiation hall with Mo and Elliot. The progress therein and the Doctor’s resulting happiness are short-lived, as Rory, Tony, and Ambrose reach the hall with Alaya’s body in tow. Eldane is speechless, and the Doctor desperately tries to assure him that humans are better than this. The Doctor angrily chides Ambrose for being “so much less than the best of humanity.” Restac arrives with a battalion of soldiers and finds her sister’s body. The tenuous peace crumbles as Ambrose reveals that she and Tony have set the drill to resume its operation in fifteen minutes. Restac orders her soldiers to kill Ambrose, who the Doctor pushes to safety. The group of humans flees with Eldane through the caverns, as the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to disable some of the Silurian weapons and narrowly dodges a literal tongue-lashing from a Silurian soldier.
The Doctor and company barricade themselves in Malokeh’s control room and concoct one of the Doctor’s patented haphazard but brilliant plans. Tony’s ailment can be cured by the decontamination process. Nasreen will send an electronic pulse upward destroying the drill and her life’s work. Eldane reluctantly offers to release a failsafe toxic gas into the city’s halls that will force the Silurians wise enough not to fight to retreat to their hibernation chambers, where they will wait for another thousand years. He realizes that humans are not ready to share the planet, and the Doctor tells those gathered in the room to pass the tale of the Silurians and the necessary peace down through the generations.
Tony must stay behind, as the wound is causing him to mutate. Only the Silurian technology can save him. He says farewell to Ambrose and Elliot. Nasreen stays with Tony; the two of them will remain in suspended animation for a thousand years and serve as ambassadors in the future. Nasreen asks the Doctor to look for her there. The Doctor, Amy, Mo, Ambrose, and Elliot rush through the city to the TARDIS.
Mo, Ambrose, and Elliot enter, but Rory, Amy, and the Doctor pause when they see the recurring space-time crack on the wall of the cavern. We have not seen it since the destruction of the Weeping Angels. With only a few minutes to escape the Silurian city before the gas completely fills the halls and the drill above explodes, the Doctor’s irrepressible curiosity overwhelms him. He approaches the crack and inserts his hand in spite of Rory’s and Amy’s protests. He pulls a small item wrapped in cloth loose from inside the crack.
Restac, poisoned by the gas, crawls into the room and fires her gun at the Doctor. Rory pushes him aside and is hit by the laser blast. Rory lies dying and expresses confusion that he saw himself standing on the hill in the future. The light from the space-time crack stretches outward and touches Rory. Amy tearfully refuses to leave as it engulfs him, and the Doctor drags her into the TARDIS. As they transport away, the Doctor urges Amy to keep Rory in her mind, lest the effects of the crack erase him from history. She tries to remember, but the effects of the crack are too powerful. A jolt to the TARDIS knocks the engagement ring from the console to the floor of the TARDIS and banishes Rory from Amy’s mind.
The timer for the drill’s destruction ends, and Amy reacts with the same carefree adventuresome spirit that she had before Rory’s death. Outside, the Doctor urges Ambrose one last time to make Elliot the best of humanity, telling her that an “eye for an eye” is not the way.
As the Doctor and Amy return to the TARDIS, she spies only herself on the hill, saying farewell from the future. Rory is gone. For a moment she thinks she saw someone else. She tells the Doctor that she still wants to go to Rio.
Amy enters the TARDIS leaving the Doctor alone outside with his thoughts. He unwraps the item he pulled from the crack, which is very clearly a broken piece of the TARDIS itself. A final voiceover by Eldane lets us know that greater losses for the Doctor are still to come.
This adventure was somewhat stock in its execution, although I do appreciate the Silurian story as a whole. As parables go, it’s an effective one that encourages peace and stewardship for the planet.
Obviously “Cold Blood” had a memorable and important resolution that will affect the remaining course of the season. The death of a companion is a rarity in the Doctor Who mythos (R.I.P., Adric). After a shaky introduction I thought Rory was just beginning to find his rightful place in the story. This makes his loss all the more effective. Karen Gillan gives a strong performance in the scene where she loses Rory, expressing sadness and anger with the Doctor.
One wonders how the Doctor will react to all this. In “Amy’s Choice” we are shown that Matt Smith’s Doctor has a substantial amount of guilt related to his past, and throughout this adventure the Doctor assures all involved again and again that he will protect them. With Rory’s death, the theme of the Doctor’s fallibility is brought to fruition. Most troubling is the fact that he will never find forgiveness from Amy, as she will never remember the potential happiness that the Doctor has taken from her. Hence, the Doctor must deal with this internally, adding more guilt to his psyche.
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.
He thinks sharing the planet with Silurians might be fun.