Doctor Who episode 777: Flesh and Stone (1/5/2010)

‘Time can be unwritten.’ I don’t think it’s quite as strong as the first episode, but it’s still great, full of vivid, scary moments, and beautiful bits of cleverness. These include treeborgs – cyborg trees that convert starlight to oxygen; Angels illuminated by gunfire as they pursue the survivors through the crashed Byzantium; Amy’s countdown, and the Doctor’s final, triumphant gambit which loops right back to the start of the episode to tie the story up in a neat bow.

This is also much more heavily linked to the ongoing story than I remembered. The crack from Amy’s wall reappears first to feed and then feed on the Angels, chasing them as they chase the Doctor’s friends. This provides an added complication missing from the otherwise similarly-structured pursuit in Forest of the Dead. Here, we learn that the crack is a result of a Big Bang at the end of the universe and spreading through all of time and space – eating up unhelpful bits of continuity like the CyberKing and the War Daleks as it goes. A Big Bang that, in a gorgeously hopeful bit of plotting, will happen on the airdate of the last episode this series (imagine all the things that might have delayed broadcast).

Flesh and Stone

But it’s not just the crack. This teases more about River Song’s relationship with the Doctor: after the first episode heavily hinted she was his wife, this suggests she’s his killer. Escorted away in handcuffs (‘Must it always end this way,’ says River, unaware what’s waiting for her in the Library), she promises they’ll meet again when the Pandorica opens in another nod towards the series finale.

And the last thread this pulls at is Amy’s relationship with Rory. I don’t really like it. It’s quite funny, if a bit Coupling. But I tend to think it diminishes her character in some vague way, as she becomes another woman who fancies the Doctor rather than fancying what he offers. I suppose at least she’s not looking for a long term relationship, just a “sorting out”, but it has a bit of a creepy angle to it (the Doctor already pointed out he met her when she was seven) that’s only become creepier since we’ve learned her daughter is his wife.

But ignoring those last couple of minutes, this is fantastic stuff, wearing most of its plot contrivances (the radar radio) lightly, and constantly looking for ways to twist Blink (like the sequence of Amy having to keep her eyes shut, rather than not blinking). The climax reminded me very much of Doomsday, as the Angels tumble past into a shining void while the Doctor and friends cling on for dear life.

Next Time: The Vampires of Venice

One comment

  1. Pingback: Doctor Who episode 776: The Time of Angels (24/4/2010) | Next Time...

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