A political fairy tale of epic, apocalyptical proportions as homo reptilia and sapiens negotiate a peace treaty seeped in idealism and tolerance like never before. One wonders if indeed the surface dwelling young urban professionals, school teachers, scientists even theologians would have acquiesced to such a partnership without proving us to be men of war. It is notable that Amy, consummate companion to the 900 year old Gallifreyan suggested habitation in Africa’s deserts or Australia’s outback where indigenous species and people have notoriously been misrepresented as aliens of our own creation due to ignorance.
Chris Chibnall, script writer for ‘Cold Blood’ is almost Brechtian in his story telling; opening the episode with a wishful prophecy that hangs in humanities hands for fulfilment and foretells the fate of these earthy companions and the Doctor, thus cheating the audience of true suspense on the event of his execution sentence and in the final horrific moments he removes the emotional backlash by the necessity incurred in the obligatory final countdown and the fast pace required to steam through to the conclusion.
The belief that man is measured by his memory is a represented beautifully in the dichotomy on the character of human nature – Rory shielding the Doctor and the Doctor rescuing Ambrose. Bravery in Rory and the cowardice of Ambrose who gets a chance at redemption, to teach her son Eliot to be “the best of humanity”. What yet will we be?
Shock after shock hits us denying us grief or time, that elusive structure, to process the impact of fatal events and the solitude of the ‘lonely angel’ is once again crystallised in the episodic climatic personal tragedy then the Doctor alone must bear.
Some intense, hysterical acting on the part of Karen Gillan, Amy Pond as the one connection to family and domesticity is torn peaceful and yet brutally from her cerebellum and her own isolation parodies that of the Doctor. From Katrinana (Adrienne Hill) the first companion to willingly sacrifice her very life for the continued survival of the Timelord, then played by William Hartnell, the heavy tomb of culpability of the impulsive and loving human ‘apes’ is echoed throughout Whovian lore and this example was no less heart wrenching and tear jerking in its abrupt surprising unravelling.
With the somewhat lighter and carefree, cool ‘bow tied’, incarnation of Matt Smith’s Doctor and the focus on a younger generation of viewers, the lose of an established character and companion was unexpected and well hidden in secretly guarded BBC plot spoilers. The simple and loveable, Rory Williams, plucking on every heart string due to his innate compassionate and mirror of the average human man caught up in extraordinary adventures that are beyond his understanding and driven by his companionship with a passionate, flighty female.
Though the last minute interventions, reminiscent of the Greek, Deus ex Machina, were a little contrived and convenient at times this episode was a typical example of the ‘classic Who’ experience with a few noteworthy side characters, mainly that of Meera Syal’s, Nasreen and the gentile, reptilian scientist.
The phenomenal CGI of the subterranean city was breathtaking if a little gothic and macabre at times. Moffat seems to be pushing our imaginations and width of what is believable more than in previous series though with the ‘fairy tale’ theme cantering along throughout, these more fantastical, more science fiction settings are apt in their inclusion even if a little harder to relate to for this humble viewer.
A few points of contention: The character of Amy is still too 2Dimesional for me and seemed to oscillate between gung-ho, feisty, feminist to hysterical, domestic goddess without much exploration in between. Again the flashbacks at the appearance of ‘the crack’ were too obvious and spoon-feed for the intelligence of your typical Whovian and I found myself screaming at the T.V. “Yeah we get it already!”.
Matt Smith has eased nicely into the eccentric shoes of the Doctor and is demonstrating more enthusiasm and perhaps a little more naivety in these latest episodes. Though I, personally, am still looking for more as the Doctor in the TARDIS seems to be in avoidance of some of the harrowing hints that have been dangled and haunt his future destiny. Having said this, the emphasis is placed much more on the fairy tale, the adventure and discovery and devices such as Amy’s forgetfulness (which, by the way, automatically played back Donna’s fateful scene in my mind) help to prevent the Doctor from dwelling or brooding as previous incarnations were want to do.
In praise for the overall series arch, Stephen Moffat has produced a deeply intriguing and enigmatic mystery and one hopes that the answers will live up to our speculations. The fire charred, famous façade of the TARDIS ‘Police’ sign adding another thrilling and evocative bread-crumb into the mix. Speculations of how ‘Time’ will be ‘rewritten’ to save our heroes and their magical machine are rife and I do wonder if a story book ending is in store that possibly not only resurrects a doomed Doctor and TARDIS but a Rory Williams?
Who is River Song?
Why and who does she kill?
Can only a time anomaly such as the soul of a Timelord heal the opening Pandorica?
What as Amy and ‘sorting her out’ got to do with it?
What caused the gawping maws both spatially and temporally throughout the universe (I have an inkling that our dear Doctor, in some weird timey wimey, self-fulfilling prophecy may be at the source)
And finally will Pandora’s small voice of hope reign supreme in the oncoming devastation?