Sunday, June 20, 2010

Doctor Who (US) - "Cold Blood"

The fifth season of 'Doctor Who' airing in the US on BBC America is a few episodes behind those in the UK. If you are only following 'Doctor Who' in the US on BBC America and do not wish to be spoiled, read these reviews only and not those labeled "Doctor Who (UK)".

Review by Antony Ellis

Doctor Who
Season 5 - Episode 9
"The Hungry Earth"

The trailer for 'Cold Blood' led me to believe that it would move away from the suspenseful horror and political allegory of 'The Hungry Earth' and go for all out action as Amy and Mo break out of the Silurian city, and for the most part I right – and whilst I figured this would be a misstep for the two-part episode as it would destroy the carefully crafted subtlety of the first episode of the pair, I was wrong as 'Doctor Who' suddenly morphed into an episode of '24' with the humans having to think on their feet as catastrophe and rogue emotions threaten to throw two races into war.

The episode showcased the excellent set design, and except for a dodgy green screen effect on the Doctor and Nasreen’s entry to the Silurian city, the creepy cave dwellings, along with the superb Silurian make up design, really helped in making the events of 'Cold Blood' so much more spectacular.

'The Hungry Earth’s' best scene (as David pointed out in last week’s review) involved the Doctor’s interrogation of a Silurian agent, and 'Cold Blood' interestingly continues to play with the nations on the brink of war theme, and one of the stand out scene (mainly done in montage) is where Nasreen and Amy try to broker a peace deal with the Silurians, offering pieces of Earth that are uninhabitable for mankind. The fragile peace conference conjured up images of the tense peace deal that Kennedy helped craft during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I love that a sci-fi family show is able to create this feeling in its viewers. The idea of a great moment in the history of Earth being chronicalled is enhanced by the intelligent use of narration by the leader of the Silurians which structures the majority of the episode.

The villain of the piece is the military commander of the Silurians and whilst she’s a tad pantomime in her Iago-esque backstabbing, she is a good villain for the episode, and is the catalyst for the moment of the episode. American Poet John Ciardi once mused that “boys are the cash of war” and by the episode’s end payment for mankind’s victory exchanges hands. Some endings are worse than death – and yet again Doctor Who uses a tried and tested method to break my heart!

To discuss the episode anymore would do the episode a disservice and ruin some brilliant moments, so I’ll end with confirming my ongoing affection for the new show and it’s Doctor and Companions. I want to travel with the new Doctor for ever and don’t want to go into the final month of season five!

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