Series 5.09 – Cold Blood

Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Ashley Way

Tensions mount on the surface as Ambrose grows more concerned for her family.  In the Silurian city, Nasreen and Amy must try to negotiate a peace.

“Nobody on the surface is going to go for this.  It is just too big a leap!”

Couldn’t have put it better myself, actually.  Back when Russell T. Davies was running the show, series two began with an alien ship appearing over London and an invasion seemed eminent.  The series ended with a large battle (also in London) between the Cybermen and The Daleks.  These are big deals.  Aliens had arrived and Earth really couldn’t deny their existence.  Yes, I realize that this played out every month back in the Pertwee era, but that was before the internet, before smart phones and instant communication by the masses to virtually everyone in the world.  It seemed somewhat plausible that The Doctor could defeat the aliens and UNIT could somehow cover it up.  The 21st century doesn’t seem that insular, however.  News breaks and spreads faster than anyone can track it (RTD seemed especially fond of showing shots of reporters and anchors reacting to the alien activities).  So, I couldn’t help but wonder if RTD was ushering in a new paradigm for Doctor Who, a paradigm where humans tentatively accepted that aliens existed.  I didn’t care for that possibility, but I knew I could learn to accept it if the stories were well-told.  Then we had The Master become Prime Minister and the coming of the Toclafane.  It seemed to me that the sky ripped open above the world’s largest shark, and the Toclafane flew over it on their way to massacre the human race.  In Doctor Who terms, this was a very big deal.  Earth, and the show, would NEVER be the same again.

Then, we had a giant reset button and PRESTO, it never happened.

Series four ended with the Earth being removed from its orbit and we were even given scenes of Richard Dawkins telling us that the Earth was in a new part of the galaxy.  This was not reset.  Sure, Earth was returned, but no one had their minds wiped.  Conversely, no one ever seemed to respond to it.  There was no significant exploration of humanity’s new place in the galaxy beyond a two minute conversation in Torchwood: Children of Earth.  And while I don’t necessarily want to see present day Earth arrive at the conclusion that it is small in the eyes of the universe, I don’t want to see stories just ignore what has happened and not deal with consequences that seem to have fertile philosophical or sociological ground.  It never seems to happen.

With this in mind, as much fun as the “fixed points” in time concept is, as inspiring as The Doctor’s speech to Nasreen is, the repercussions of a human-Silurian treaty are too big to ignore without completely changing the series.  Thus, the ending is a foregone conclusion.  No treaty will be made.  No real peace will be achieved.  This episode will go the way of every Silurian story before it:  no where.  We will be left with nothing more than the idea that the Silurians are just like us, most good, some bad, a few extremely xenophobic.  We are not ready for each other, not ready to share the planet.  Thus, humanity will remain and the Silurians will either be killed or return to hibernation.  So, this entire story can be seen one of two ways.  A) Its entire purpose is to introduce the Silurians to a new generation (not unlike re-imaginings in comic books) so further stories can be told.  This is an origin story, if you will allow the term.  Or B), this story is a rehash of old ideas and does not cover any new ground.

I am leaning toward B.

And the voiceover.  Why was the voiceover necessary?

Okay, let’s look at the positives.  I liked Nasreen and Tony.  They were fun and I’d love to catch up with them one thousand years later.  As infuriating as Ambrose was, I think she was believable.  And I liked Eldane.  So, basically, the acting was good.

The Silurian City look good.

I guess the only thing left to mention is the ending.  On the one hand, I was shocked on my original viewing, and on the other, I didn’t believe for a moment that Rory was gone for good.  I don’t know why, I just felt he would be back in some way.  My only real problem with his “death” is that he “died” just a few episodes ago.  Two deaths in three episodes.  Is it too much to hope that series six doesn’t have similar deaths?  Apart from feeling like it was too soon after the death in Amy’s Choice, I like that the cracks seem to appear at random, often when unexpected.  Karen Gillam does a great turn from grief-stricken Amy to memory-erased Amy, which is nice because I found her character quite irritating in this episode.  Why do “strong” women in modern television science fiction seem to flirty and mouthy?  Is this what the men who write them want?  Is it written to the male segment of fandom?  She’s had better characterization this season.  I’m starting to wonder how much longevity the character has.

See, here’s me getting negative again.  Final thoughts, Hungry Earth – good.  Cold Blood – not as good.

Up next, Vincent and The Doctor.

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3 thoughts on “Series 5.09 – Cold Blood

  1. The negotiation was rather pointless, as the members of the human party have no authority to conduct any such representation.

    It’s a story that I would just love to be able to like, but in the end it seems so badly thought out.

  2. This story (including both Hungry Earth & Cold Blood) has so many good things–wonderful atmosphere, interesting & believable new characters, great costumes, compelling death scenes–yet the ending really makes me feel like I took a journey to nowhere, which was disappointing.

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