Doctor Who S5, Eps 8 & 9: “The Hungry Earth”/”Cold Blood”

Allow me to reenact my reaction to the last 10-ish minutes of the Doctor Who episode, “Cold Blood”:

Shut up.

Shut UP.

Shut the F#@K UP!

You’re SH#!@ING ME, RIGHT?!  YOU’RE F#@!ING SH#!@ING ME!

YOU BETTER BE F#@!ING SH#!@ING ME RIGHT NOW!

Oh, F#@K YOU!  F#@K YOU, AND F#@K THIS F#@!ING SHOW!

*sits back into couch and folds arms angrily*

F#@k this show.  *sniff*  F#@k this f#@!ing show…

*tears stream down face*  *pouts*

F#@k all’a y’all!

ROOOOOOOOOOOORYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! I know, I know. There was a whole heap of story BEFORE that. But seriously? 

ROOOOOOORYYYYYYY!

Ahem.

So the story begins in “The Hungry Earth” when The Doctor, Amy, and *sniff* Rory end up in a small Welsh town in the year 2020 instead of Rio de Janeiro (which Amy “dressed for” in a leather jacket, a sweater layered over a shirt, a denim skirt, stockings, and boots. Was this Rio in an alternate reality that’s freezing?!). She and Rory notice their future selves out across a field and wave at them. A scientist named Nasreen and her partner (in more ways than one!), Tony, are working on a drilling project and studying minerals that haven’t been seen on earth for 20 million years. Meanwhile, Tony’s daughter, Ambrose, and her young son, Elliot, are investigating the recent disappearances of corpses from the nearby graveyard after Ambrose’s husband, Mo, also goes missing. When the Earth opens up in Nasreen’s lab and swallows Amy whole, The Doctor is pulled into the investigation. Where are these bodies going? Why are these disappearances happening now? And can these people be saved?

The Silurians are back! A reptilian race that used to inhabit the Earth before humans, the Silurians now want the planet back, and they’re not planning to share. They have human hostages. The humans, in turn, take a Silurian hostage, a female soldier named Alaya, whose goal is to get one of the humans angry enough to kill her in order to begin a war.

“The Hungry Earth” had me rolling my eyes at first. You see, I’ve recently watched the classic Who episodes “Doctor Who and the Silurians” and “The Sea Devils” within weeks of each other (and I looked up “Warriors of the Deep,” because I haven’t gotten to the Fifth Doctor yet, save for “Time Flight”). All I could think during this episode was, Hasn’t The Doctor learned anything since the last THREE times the Silurians either dissolved or went ‘splodey?! Is he really going to try to negotiate peace…again? And will it blow up in his face…again? And will there be ONE Silurian who’s all about peace…again? And will that Silurian be killed by a crazy one who wants nothing but war with the humans…again? It infuriated me that this intriguing race of aliens from the Whoverse continued being served to us the same way over and over again. I thought, This is the only way they can think to tell this story?

And while I liked the redesigned Silurians themselves—with the faces we knew actually being armor they wear over more familiar, reptillian faces—that alone isn’t reason to bring a species back! If their primary concern is to give us better-looking aliens, then they should at least pay us the courtesy of giving us NEW better-looking aliens.

“Cold Blood,” however, saves the story from being a mere modern retelling of Who stories past by making it less about what The Doctor does or doesn’t do and more about what the humans do or don’t do.  Progress, at long last, is made! The Doctor, rather than attempt to speak on behalf of the humans himself, encourages Nasreen and Amy to begin negotiating the peace, which they do admirably. If only The Doctor’s faith in everyone was so well-placed. After Alaya taunts Ambrose about her son having been taken and her father being infected by her bite, Ambrose kills Alaya, ruining any chance of a hostage exchange, or peace.

However, there is hope. While The Doctor, because of Ambrose’s hasty action, must once again force the Silurians back into hibernation, Tony ends up staying down there with them, as it is the only way his now-mutating body can stay alive. Nasreen stays with him, because she loves him. So now, with the clock set for another 1,000 years until the Silurians can awake again (Mark your calendars, kids! That’s 3020! Oh wait, never mind. We’ll be riding on the back of a Space Whale by then. Hell, the Silurians can have the planet then!), there are humans with whom they will awake. Not only that, but the human survivors of this—Amy, Ambrose, Elliot, and Mo—are charged with spreading the word, be it as a religion or an urban legend, that “the planet must be shared” and getting humanity used to the idea by any means necessary. And it is this hope, this glimpse into a possible future, that redeems what could have been a simple fanboy wank of an episode.

Notice that Rory’s name wasn’t among the survivors at the end?  That’s because he died a hero by taking a fatal shot that would’ve killed The Doctor. As you can probably guess by my intro to this post, I WAS REALLY SAD ABOUT THAT. SAD AND ANGRY. SAD AND ANGRY AND WANTING TO PUNCH EVERYONE AT THE BBC IN THE FACE. I’ve loved Rory from the very start. He was a brilliant character, and exactly what both Amy and The Doctor needed in their lives. He was the Best of Humanity. 

Interesting, then, that he had to die at the end of one of the Silurian episodes, which historically show how the Best of Humanity always loses to the Worst of Humanity, and how our species will not be ready to be its best self for a long, long time.

However, Rory didn’t just die. There’s that crack in time again! Rory was absorbed by the crack, which erased him from existence. The Doctor does his best to help Amy hold on to his memory, but a jolt from the TARDIS makes her lose her concentration, and Rory pops out of her memory, and existence, forever.

Or does he?

For there’s hope here, too. We know that Amy, being a time traveler now, sees things differently. At the end of “Cold Blood,” when she and The Doctor are getting back into the TARDIS and she looks out at her future self again, she “thought she saw something else there.” Rory is quite possibly still knocking around in her subconscious mind. And then there’s the engagement ring. When the TARDIS jostles and Amy and The Doctor fall, he notices the engagement ring that Rory left behind. If Rory was wiped from existence, shouldn’t the ring have been, too?

Here’s hoping that we haven’t seen the last of Rory Williams. Also, here’s hoping that just because The Doctor pulled a destroyed piece of his TARDIS out of the crack (Heh. He pulled something out of Amy’s crack. Shut up. I’m apparently a TWELVE YEAR OLD BOY, OKAY?!) that his demise and that of the TARDIS is not written in stone. Wibbledy…wobbledy…timey…wimey?


Teresa Jusino was born on the same day that Skylab fell. Coincidence? She doesn’t think so. She is a contributor to PinkRaygun.com, a webzine examining geekery from a feminine perspective. Her work has also been seen on PopMatters.com, on the sadly-defunct literary site CentralBooking.com, edited by Kevin Smokler, and in the Elmont Life community newspaper. She is currently writing a web series for Pareidolia Films called The Pack, which is set to debut Fall 2010! Get Twitterpated with Teresa, Follow The Pack or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.

31 Comments

Subscribe to this thread