‘Doctor Who’ – ‘Flesh and Stone’: Blame it on gravity

Senior Television Writer
05.15.10 46 Comments


A quick review of tonight’s “Doctor Who” coming up just as soon as I respect the thing…

“Flesh and Stone” was a splendid conclusion to the River Song/Weeping Angels two-parter. Simply as the second half of this self-contained Weeping Angels(*) story, it was gangbusters. Steven Moffat has a gift for giving his audience the creeps, and here he did it with the long stretch of the episode where Amy was stuck in the forest, unable to open her eyes (and therefore, in theory, defenseless against the Angels). As the series so often does, it made a minor character like Bishop Octavian into a human being whose death meant something. And I loved the symmetry of the characters being saved when the artificial gravity reset at the start of the episode, and then saved again when it failed at the end.

(*) One complaint: we never really got a satisfactory explanation (or perhaps I missed it in the technobabble) for why the Angels shifted away from the killing-with-kindness approach from “Blink” to the far more violent manner in which they dispatched people like Octavian and Bob.

But “Flesh and Stone” also worked well as a continuation of a number of ongoing stories, including The Doctor’s complicated relationship with River Song(**), the cracks in the universe and Amy’s importance to both The Doctor and the universe as a whole. I like the way Moffat is using the cracks to erase humanity’s memory of most of the big alien invasions from the Davies era, since by the end of the RTD/Tennant run, Earth had been invaded and/or moved so many times that the population would either be catatonic or so jaded to it that it would take the fun out of any story featuring The Doctor in contemporary England. And I got a kick out of the very playful tone of the scene at the end where Amy tries to have a quickie with the baffled, then horrified, Doctor. Unlike Martha Jones, Amy has no problem making her feelings plain (even if they’re lust rather than love), and I look forward to seeing how these two get along in the wake of that moment, and of The Doctor’s realization that the crack on little Amelia’s wall was no coincidence.

(**) And are we to assume that the much-admired, wonderful man River killed is supposed to be The Doctor himself? That would certainly add an even more tragic tinge to their relationship – and all but ensure that River would have to co-exist at least a little with whoever one day plays Twelve – and I can’t really think of another character in the modern Who-niverse whose death Octavian was so sure would rattle The Doctor if he knew.  

We know Moffat can write both the Angels and River very well, and he’s already made Amy into my favorite of the modern companions in very short order. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Keeping in mind, once again, that we are not going to discuss, or even hint at, anything that happens in episodes that have yet to air in the United States, what did everybody else think?

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