Doctor Who Series 5 Episode 5 review: Flesh and Stone

Posted: 2 June 2010 in television
Tags: , , , , ,

I think, sir, you have known me at my best

Doctor Who - Flesh and Stone

How cool must it be to have your father as the showrunner of Doctor Who? That’s the enviable position of Moffat Jrs and it’s thanks one of them that the conclusion of the River Song/Weeping Angels epic has the title Flesh and Stone. Apt, with the threat of human flesh, mainly Amy’s, being rendered unto stone…

With typical Doctor-panache the Time Lord extricates the besieged clerics and companions from the threat of the Angels in the maze in a single bound only to find themselves being chased through the claustrophobic corridors and artificial forests of the Byzantium. And as if being pursued by the stone beasties wasn’t problematic enough the crack in the universe seen in the previous stories chooses to manifest itself right here right now.

After setting up the genius of a monster that scares without seemingly without moving the shit-yourself factor steps up a notch when the Weeping Angels turn to face Amy upon realising she can’t in fact see them.

The concept of the Angels having a sense of humour and using Amy’s countdown to her fate of becoming one of them as a means to freak out the Doctor is scarier than anything encountered in the series for years. And a big mistake as it really, really pisses the last of the Time Lords off big time.

So with the threat of legions of Weeping Angels and a massive crack in existence itself how in the hell does the Grand Moff deal with the dual threat? Simple, cancel them out using each other. This is what makes this series different to much of what has come in the years before. The Doctor is thinking his way out of a situation and three steps ahead of the game. These Angels may have been erased from history but it’d be foolish to believe there aren’t more out there…

River Song doesn’t have as much to do this episode but Iain Glen’s Father Octavia (possibly underused in the first part) comes to the fore with one of the most moving death scenes ever seen in Doctor Who. He has come to trust the Doctor and knows that although nothing can be done to stave off his fate he is at peace with the universe.

With Octavia’s warning about not being able to trust River Song and her admission that she is in prison for killing the “finest man she ever knew” (how can anyone not pick up on the hint that said person is the Doctor?) the pieces for the season finale have already begin their move into place.

River Song promises to see the Doctor again when the Pandorica opens but the Doctor views the Pandorica as merely a fairy tale…

…a fairy tale within the darker fairy tale that Doctor Who has become in the space of only a few episodes…

Gone is the fluffy pop culture-aware David Tennant version of the Doctor to be replaced with the the most complex incarnation since the late and lamented Patrick Troughton inhabited the role over 40 years ago. One moment comedic and eccentric Matt Smith can spin in an instant to the dark fury of an ancient creature that even gods fear. For a time it looked as though the 10th Doctor would carry on into Steven Moffat’s first year and that would have been a mistake. That Doctor belonged to a lighter pulp sci-fi era of the series…it would have been akin to planting Jon Pertwee’s galactic crusader into The Deadly Assassin. The closest they got to this kind of dark tale was The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit but that fell thanks to the soppiness of Rose and the Doctor towards each other.

After starting this two parter with one of the funniest scenes in the history of the series the story concludes with the funniest scene. Ever. Amy doesn’t mope around after the Doctor like Rose and Martha did. But that doesn’t stop her trying to jump him for a quick shag in the spur of the moment of being grateful to be alive. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan can play humour, emotion, darkness, and everything else. Long may this pairing continue.

And rude hand gestures to those accusing the series of trying to “sex up” with these scenes. Get a humour transplant.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s