Sunday, August 24, 2014

Doctor Who--"Flesh and Stone"

“Flesh and Stone“ is so far my favorite episode of the admittedly young Steven Moffat era. It is presented as a nightmare. The Weeping Angels are always just on the verge of snatching a victim, bishop one blink away from having his neck snapped, and Amy unable to open her eyes because an Angel will escape her mind, but having to walk through a forest among an army of other Angels anyway--it is creepy as all get out.

I also liked how the episode tied in with the overall story arc of the crack in the universe altering time. The crack’s existence is why Amy cannot remember the Daleks from ’The stolen earth/Journey’s End” and, presumably, why the history books never recorded a giant robot attacking 19th century London from “The Next Doctor.” the crack has something to do with the uncreative named Pandorica’s Box. River Song promises to return for its opening later this season.

I have to admit I am not terribly enthusiastic about heart this point. It was revealed she is a prisoner in special custody right now because she killed a great man. Strong hits, of course, that she killed a future incarnation of the Doctor. I cannot say the idea thrills me much because I imagine, assuming she did kill the Doctor, it is a story that will remain left up to the imagination like the Time War. Regardless of that, she came across very catty in this one. Her banter with the Doctor is not as amusing as it once was. Hopefully she will be a bit more interesting when she show up again for the last few episodes.

One relationship change with a companion I do like is the doctor’s aversion to carrying on romantically with Amy. She finally revealed she is getting married, but expressed the desire for the Doctor more than her fiance, Rory. Te Doctor resisted her every pass. It is about time. I was bracing myself for the Doctor to start talking about past mistakes with Rose, but thankfully, he did not. He just noted--adamantly--that she ages, but he does not and it ain’t gonna work. From the trailer, I can see they go visit Rory and bring him along on a trip in the TARDIS next time. Perhaps to keep Amy honest?

The only drawback to ’Flesh and Stone” was the resolution of the Weeping angels story was the same as “Doomsday.” They got sucked into the crack just as the Daleks and Cybermen fell into the Void at Canary Wharf. The move was an unnecessary throwback to Russell T. Davies. The season has already had enough of that. I would like to see Moffat do some more original material? Wat gives? Does he or the Bbc think we miss RTD already? I assure them I do not.

As I noted above, this is still my favorite so far of the young season in spite of its flaws. I really enjoyed the frightening tone of the bulk of the story. That eerie feeling more than made up for River Song’s annoying ways and the unoriginal ending.

Rating: **** (out of 5)

UPDATE: Eagle-eyed viewer alert! When the doctor leaves Amy with her eyes closed to go off with river, he is not wearing his jacket. A second later, the doctor appears again. he is wearing his jacket this time. He kisses Any o the forehead and tells her to remember what he said to her as a child in "The Eleventh Hour."

Fans speculate this is a different, future Doctor investigating the crack in the universe. He could not have left and returned to river that quickly and he was dressed differently. It is a subtle clue on how big the overall story is. it is running through episodes in less than obvious ways.

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