Previously: Something was living in the Earth’s core.
Marines: A voice over tells us the Doctor is going to save the day, but he’s going to suffer a lot.
K: So like this but backwards?
The Doctor and Nasreen walk through the Silurian civilization. It’s big, but empty and the Doctor guesses that most of the species are probably still sleeping. Nasreen asks if this is truly the best way to enter. The Doctor is confident in his front door approach, so of course, just then, alarms start blaring. (A: You are a thousand-ish years old, Doctor, you know better than this.) A bunch of Silurians surround them. The Doctor says they come in peace, but they get doused with sleeping gas just the same.
Mari: In the alien lab, Amy is shouting at the Silurian Scientist to not come near her with his giant syringe. The Silurian Scientist [SS] makes an audio note about how she seems to be more resistant to the cold than the male, judging by her clothing. Amy shouts that she dressed for Rio. Her wrist restraints clamp tighter. SS says he’s about to begin dissection, but just before he does, an alarm blares. SS runs out. Amy managed to pick SS’s pocket and steal the control for her restraints. She frees herself and Mo, and they run off.
Anna: I knew there was a reason I liked Amy. Well, sometimes. I yo-yo. Currently yo-ing towards a favourable opinion.
Mari: Mo has a lot of questions about what’s going on. Amy admits that she doesn’t know the answers, but she knows someone who can help them. All they gotta do is get back to the surface. In their search for a way out, Amy presses a button on a wall. It lights up a stasis chamber, and inside we see Elliot. Mo freaks out, on account of his son being all frozen in an alien chamber and stuff. (D: Legit parent trauma.) Amy calms him down, says it’s clear Elliot is still alive, but they can’t get into the chamber. Mo agrees to go for now, grab weapons, and find some other way to free Elliot.
Anna: Mo is such a Good and Pure character, we need more dads like him on telly. Also, I kinda like that he doesn’t go all Liam-Neeson-in-Taken when he sees his son’s been stashed in an alien freezer unit– his first reaction is to freak out, like literally any realistic person would.
Mari: Ambrose is in the graveyard, also real bummed about her son being kidnapped. (D: Maybe you should have been keeping an eye on him, Ambrose! #Justice4Elliot) Rory joins her. Ambrose calls him out for lying about being the police, but he explains that it was just a misunderstanding. For now, they sit and wait like the Doctor said. They follow his plan and keep the Silurian safe. Ambrose is less than confident about the plan, but Rory assures her that he trusts the Doctor with his life.
K: That seems like a not great life choice, Rory.
Mari: He’ll learn.
Back in the laboratory, it’s Nasreen and the Doctor strapped to the examination tables. They are scanning the Doctor and it hurts because he’s making really awkward ARGH! sounds. A Military Silurian (Restac) is pissy because their other prisoners escaped. Silurian Scientist is like whatevs, and tells her it’s okay if she’s concerned about Alaya because they are from the same gene chain.
Anna: I legit JUST noticed that “from the same gene chain” is code for “also played by Neve McIntosh”. How did it take me 10 years to notice that she plays literally every female Silurian in Doctor Who???
Mari: Yeah, man I totally noticed that. (I didn’t.)
Silurian Scientist says it’s time for decontamination, The Doctor yells, “no!” and then generally continues yelling even louder than before.
Anna: Act louder, Matt Smith. ACT LOUDER. LOUD NOISES.
Dani: Fun fact – 60% of Matt Smith’s run as the Doctor involves shouting, yelling, and/or screaming.
K: The remaining 40% involves him falling over and popping up again looking surprised.
Anna: I feel like it’s maybe 60-30, with the remaining ten percent covering his i’m-dangerous-and-isn’t-that-exciting pouty face that he uses for threatening scenes and flirting scenes alike.
Mari: I’m really concerned about his murder face and flirting face being the same.
In the church basement or crypt or whatever, Alaya is sitting in meditation away from the door. She can smell when Mack walks in and turns to face him. She wonders at his not being dead, since she got him with her venom. Mack pulls his shirt back to reveal where the poison is spreading. He asks her to help him, and he would free her in return. Alaya is like, “nah,” and rubs the fact that he would betray so quickly back in his face.
The Doctor is still yelling. (D: See???) (A: AAARGH NOISES.) Silurian Scientist tells him it’s just decontamination of “ape germs.” The Doctor yells that he’s not an ape, and this is killing him. SS looks at the screen, which I suppose shows him something about the Doctor’s two hearts. He turns off the decontamination machine. The Doctor asks Restac who she is, and she introduces herself as a military commander. Turns out the drills were disturbing their oxygen pockets, so now they are ready for waaaarrr. Restac asks where the rest of the Doctor’s invasion force is, and he babbles all over his explanation that he’s just here for the other human hostages in exchange for Alaya. Restac says taking a hostage doesn’t seem very peaceful, so she’s going to send a clear message to Earth: she’s going to execute Nasreen and the Doctor.
Dani: Seems fair.
Anna: Yeaaaah given his apparent experience with war and all, the Doctor really should have known better how this would go down.
Mari: Amy and Mo are still trying to find a way out and come across two more stasis chambers, this time with two Silurian soldiers in it. Mo spends most of the scene going, “Amy! No!” and Amy spends most of it investigating anyway. The Silurian never stir, but Amy does guess they are in chambers that double as transport to the surface. Amy and Mo steal the Silurian guns and leave. Amy picks a direction to keep walking, but they find a giant cavern full of sleeping Silurian. (K: It’s oddly reminiscent of the Terracotta Warriors.) (A: I went to see the Terracotta warriors in Xi’an a few years ago– literally the first thought I had was “woah, this’d make for a HELLA Doctor Who episode.”) They back away slowly, Amy saying that they need to find the Doctor.
Above ground, Mack raids the first aid cabinet for pain killers. He’s looking rough. Ambrose finds him and insists until he lets her look at his neck. She puts on a brave face and says it’s totally fiiiiine. They have to bring down his fever and he has to rest.
The Doctor and Nasreen are being escorted to somewhere by SS, Restac and more Silurians. The Doctor figures all the others must be in hibernation. Nasreen asks why they would be. The Doctor explains that the Silurian scientist predicted an apocalypse when another planet crashed into Earth, so they came underground and slept. Except, it was just the Moon coming into alignment with Earth. Restac stops and turns, asking the Doctor how he knows this. He can’t figure out that this would be a good time for A LIE, so he tells her that he once met some other homo-reptilia, but they are all dead now because the humans killed them all. Sweet. That should help your cause exactly not at all. (D: -_-)
K: The internet informs me that the Silurians showed up several times in Classic Who, plus a ton in novelisations. For your viewing pleasure, here’s Classic Who’s versions versus New Who:
Anna: This is what I meant last time about this being one of the better updates of Classic Who makeup. These ones look a lot better– probably some of the better-looking practical effects in New!Who overall, too– given they’re not being created on the same budget as a ham sandwich.
Mari: Ambrose goes into the crypt to threaten Alaya with a taser, trying to figure out a cure for her dad. Alaya calls her too afraid and too weak to protect her own child, getting closer to Ambrose as she does so. Ambrose is scared enough that she uses the taser on Alaya, who falls to her knees. Ambrose immediately apologizes because she didn’t want to use it. She just wants to know how to help her dad. Alaya calls Mack vermin deserving of dying. Alaya taunts her again as the weakest, and Ambrose tazes her some more.
Dani: Alaya is horrible, and I would’ve tazed her, too. But I guess that’s the point – it’s easy to say, “No! Bad Ambrose!” when the alien isn’t doing anything wrong. It’s much harder to keep your emotions in check – even knowing how important it is – when this thing has taken your son and is killing your father and saying horrible, evil things. I hope the Doctor takes this into account and isn’t a total dick when Ambrose inevitably kills Alaya.
Anna: Ohhh, my sweet summer Dani. I admire your optimism.
Mari: Rory looks at Mack’s shoulder and gently scolds him for not saying something sooner, as he’s a nurse. They hear screams from the crypt and both run that way. They find Ambrose still holding the taser and Alaya, struggling for breath on the floor. Mack yells at Ambrose for not being better than this, while Rory tries to figure out what he can do for Alaya. Not fast enough, though, because she dies.
Restac leads the hostages to their court. Silurian Scientist is very against this, but Restac won’t listen. Amy runs in, holding her gun, and demanding the release of her friends. It’s very impressive for a few whole seconds, but then Restac just disarms her and now she and Mo are captured too. (D: Echhhhhhh.) (K: Less talking, more shooting, Amy…) Silurian Scientist protests again, and Restac tells him to GTFO and go back to his lab.
Anna: Amy and Mo’s rescue job had so much promise and then turned into a total wet-blanket scene. Like Restac just slaps the gun out of Amy’s hand, she doesn’t even try.
Mari: It’s very disappointing.
In the crypt, everyone is still having a lot of feelings. A TV nearby (?) comes to life and Restac broadcasts. Everyone is excited to see their loved ones alive. Restac asks who will speak for the apes. Rory steps forward.
K: Definitely season 5’s MVP.
Mari: Restac demands to see Alaya, which is awkward, ’cause she’s super dead. Ambrose refuses to give into Restac’s terms, so Restac says she’s going to kill Amy first. The broadcast blinks out.
K: It’s interesting to note that Silurians ALSO have Zoomy Cameramen.
Anna: I was literally just about to point that out. I’m just imagining some Silurian crash-zooming for dramatic effect and it’s hilarious.
Mari: Restac gets ready to execute Amy but for the second time in the episode, a long inexplicable pause leads to Amy’s sudden rescue. This time, SS has woken up someone who ranks above Restac, and he (Eldane) orders her to stop. Restac tries to keep up her broody soldier rebel thing, but ultimately, Eldane wins out. He shoos her away until she is needed. She says she will be needed and then they’ll see.
Rory is shaking the screen to see if they can get the alien signal back. He decides they have to find a way into the Earth, when the screen turns back on and they see the Doctor. He quickly assures them that Amy is alive and all is well. All the above-ground gang have to do is get to the drill room and use the air bubble transport the Silurian are sending to bring Alaya home. He tells them to be quick about it and the transmission ends. They all look at each other somberly and Rory decides they need to at least return Alaya’s body.
Anna: Again, points to Rory for being far and away the best person in this series.
Mari: Back underground, the Doctor is presiding over a meeting between the Silurians and the humans. Eldane asks the Doctor if he’s authorized to negotiate on behalf of humans. The Doctor half-laughs that he’s not, but Amy and Nasreen totally are! They think not, but the Doctor says sure they are. They’ll be great ambassadors for Earth. Amy asks what the future holds, revealing to Nasreen that hey, by the way, they are also time travelers. The Doctor explains how there are fixed points throughout time, but this isn’t one. This is a tipping point and one that can shape all of their futures.
In the drill room, the Silurians have sent four pods, one meant for Alaya. Ambrose says that before they go down, she needs to do something and she needs Mack’s help. We cut to them arguing in the hall. Mack says he won’t do a thing, but Ambrose says he has to. If not for her, than for Elliot.
Silurian Scientist leads Mo and the Doctor to Elliot’s chamber. He explains that he didn’t hurt the kid, just stored him so he could study him. For some reason, this makes the Doctor really fond of SS. SS opens the stasis chamber and unhooks Elliot. Mo goes in the chamber and gives his son a big hug, along with a Cliff Notes version of being in the center of the Earth with lizard men.
K: It’s at this point that I notice that SS is wearing a chain mail apron, which seems…all kinds of impractical.
Mari: The Doctor apologizes for not paying attention to him, and Elliot graciously forgives him. They all start walking out, but SS says he’ll catch up with them later, then gives the camera a shifty look as the computer announces that storage facility 19 is operational.
Mack sits broodily at a computer and then angrily stabs a button.
The meeting between Eldane, Amy and Nasreen goes on and on. Nasreen says they don’t have space or resources for the Silurian. Amy suggests giving them the areas that are uninhabitable to humans. (K: Uh. The Outback isn’t uninhabited, girl. Sure, it has low population density. But there are still people there…) Nasreen asks what benefits humans get from that. Eldane jumps in to offer knowledge and technology beyond human advancements. Nasreen smiles ’cause now this sounds good to her.
The Doctor comes back into the chamber, applauding their efforts during this first meeting. Just in time for the transport to arrive.
Back in the lab, Silurian Scientist finds that Restac has been waking up her soldier friends. SS is all, “no! You can’t!” so Restac kills him.
And back in the chamber, Rory and Ambrose walk in. After a moment, Mack walks in carrying Alaya’s body. The Doctor cannot believe they did this. Ambrose says it was her. Elliot pushes away from his mom, because ew, murder. The Doctor apologizes to Eldane, saying he didn’t know. Eldane has to believe that humanity is better than this. Ambrose yells that this is their planet. The Doctor yells back that they had a chance here, but she was “so much less than the best of humanity.”
Like, I know she murdered that alien, but that is way harsh Tai.
Dani: So true. And given the number of people who have died because of mistakes the Doctor’s made, this is the height of hypocrisy. Also … would it have been so freaking hard to just lie and say Alaya broke free and tried to murder them all, and they tazed her to death in self-defence?!
Anna: It literally wouldn’t be that hard to believe. And agreed re: the Doctor’s hypocrisy– for all he likes to criticise humans for getting murdery, he sure does have a high kill count (even if a lot of it is indirect).
Mari: Just then, Restac and all her soldiers fill the chamber. Restac cries a bit over her sister’s body. She asks the Doctor if these humans are who he wants them to trust. The Doctor says it was one woman, scared for her family. She isn’t typical. (A: Oh, NOW you’re sympathetic?) Restac doesn’t buy that. Ambrose isn’t here for peace talks either and says that they’ve got their drill set to turn on in 15 minutes. Nasreen gives Mack a disbelieving, “what?” He asks what choice he had when they had Elliot. Restac yells for her soldiers to execute Ambrose. The Doctor grabs her out of the way of their guns and then uses the Sonic Screwdriver to make them spark in the Silurian’s hands. He orders everyone back to the lab, darts out of the way of a poison tongue, and off they go running.
In a tunnel, the Doctor orders everyone to run on without him, while he holds off the Silurians. Restac catches up, and the Doctor tells her to just go back into hibernation. Restac refuses, so the Doctor makes a couple more weapons spark, and uses the distraction to run. Once he reaches the lab, he uses the Sonic to seal the doors.
The Doctor asks Mo and Elliot to watch the cameras and yell if they see anyone approaching. He tosses the stop watch Ambrose was carrying to Amy and asks her to remind him how much time they haven’t got. 12 minutes, she dutifully says. Next, the Doctor notices that Mack looks rough. Mack pulls back his shirt to reveal how much the poison has spread. He thinks he’s dying, but the Doctor tells him he’s mutating. The decontamination machine might work and he asks Eldane to run it on Mack. Mo reports that there are now loads of Silurians in the hall just outside the lab doors.
Now the Doctor has to find a way to stop the drill. He asks Nasreen about sending up an energy pulse and she’s kind of bummed about it destroying her life’s work, but gets it. The pulse will crumble all the tunnels, though, which means they have to be up on the surface before it does.
K: The Doctor says that it’s “squeaky bum time” and… I’m honestly not sure I want to know what that means.
Anna: It means stuff is getting edge-of-your-seat dicey. It comes from football– the plastic seats in the stadiums make a squeaky noise if you shift around on them too much, as you might if the stakes were getting super high and you were excited.
Idioms are fun. Granted, it still sounds weird when Matt Smith says it– even with context.
Dani: I think we need a tag for “weird shit we learned via recapping.”
Next they have to figure out a way to get past Restac’s troops. Eldane offers to help with that. There is an emergency failsafe system in place– an alarm to warn everyone to get to a cryo-chamber, after which city wide fumigation takes place. Amy points out that this may kill some of his people. Eldane shrugs that it’s just the people stupid enough to follow Restac. The Earth isn’t ready for their return. The Doctor says it should be though. He tells Eldane to set the clock for a thousand more years and he tells the humans to start spreading the word. “Pass it on. As legend, or prophesy, or religion, but somehow make it known. This planet is to be shared.” Elliot says he gets it and the Doctor smiles.
Dani: Um… could you possibly give the U.S. government this message, too?
Anna: Or at least the British government, for a start, if there are a ton of aliens underneath Wales. Though given our government’s response to foreign diplomacy is currently to throw Boris Johnson or Nigel Farage at the problem, that could ONLY end badly.
Mari: Eldane and the Doctor get behind the computers and both do their corresponding computer thangs. The energy pulse is engaged. The fumigation process is initiated. They have 8 minutes to run for the transport to the surface. Eldane points out that decontamination hasn’t started on Mack. He tells them to go on with out them. Ambrose and Elliot have feelings about leaving Mack behind, but he hugs them and tells them to go.
Once the fumigation warning starts up, all of Restac’s soldiers run for their chambers. The Doctor apologizes to Eldane. They both thought peace could work between the species, but alas. Amy yells that they are running out of time, but he tells them to go on without him. He’ll catch up.
Nasreen says she’s not going up. She’s staying here with Mack to hibernate for 1,000 years, which I’m battling a head cold right now and I could sleep for 1,000 years. I get you, Nasreen. It’s 2017 and Trump is president. We could all sleep for 1,000 years.
Dani: Yes. This. A thousand times this.
Anna: Now might be a good time to mention I genuinely haven’t slept in 40-ish hours. A thousand-year slumber sounds freakin perfect.
Mari: Amy runs back for the Doctor and is like srsly, let’s GO. He thanks Nasreen and she tells him to look for them. He and Amy run while Eldane’s VO tells us that in this way, the Doctor sent them back to rest with the promise of future harmony.
More shots of them running. There’s a bit where Rory is running the wrong way, and I don’t know why, but probably only because we haven’t shit on Rory recently.
Mari: They all reach the TARDIS. The Doctor heads off the usual by telling Ambrose, Elliot and Mo that yes it is big, but they are to run inside and head for the sickbay to the left and left again.
The Doctor shuts the door behind them and then turns, seeing a big crack in the wall. It’s the crack from Amy’s wall, which she recognizes as well. It’s getting bigger. Amy wants him to leave it, but the Doctor can’t stand not knowing what it is. He decides to stick his hand in the crack and see if he can grab some shrapnel from the explosion.
Anna: DID YOU NOT LEARN FROM THE GRABBY STEAMY GROUND HOLES, DOCTOR???
He yells some, but manages to grab something and pull it out. Before we can see what, Rastec heaves herself into the room, dying from poison inhalation, but determined to kills someone before she dies. She aims for the Doctor, but Rory pushes him out of the way and gets shot instead.
Dani: Noooooo!!!! Not my precious!
Mari: Amy runs to him and cries over his body as he confusedly notes that he saw future him up on the hill at the start of the episode. He tells Amy she’s so beautiful, apologizes, and then dies.
Anna: I don’t know why but the little “I’m sorry” cracked me up. Maybe it’s because I’m super tired, maybe it’s a sign I’m joining Kirsti over on Team Heartless Cow– who knows. He’s just all ohhhh emotional death, pain-face and then the little “I’m sorry” like he just bumped into Amy in the queue at Tesco’s.
Mari: Amy cries and asks the Doctor to fix him. It all would’ve been very emotional had it not happened two episodes ago in Amy’s Choice.
K: And once again, he was given a reeeeeeeeeeeeally long time to die.
Mari: This time, though, the light from the crack comes for Rory. A flashback reminds us that this means he’s going to be erased from time. Amy doesn’t want to leave Rory’s body, but the Doctor grabs her, drags her inside the TARDIS and seals the doors. Amy begs him to go back for Rory, to not let him be erased from her memories, but the Doctor starts the TARDIS. (D: I mean … would it kill them to grab Rory’s body?) He tries to get Amy to hold onto Rory’s memory, so she won’t lose him, but by the time they land, she’s forgotten all about him.
K: To be fair, he kept saying “DON’T LET ANYTHING DISTRACT YOU” over and over again, which would be pretty fucking distracting…
Anna: I’d struggle to concentrate with Matt Smith’s gurning face inches from mine, too.
Mari: Amy asks the Doctor what they were just talking about? And then realizes that it’s five seconds until the drill explodes. They run outside to watch it happen.
In front of the church, Ambrose and the Doctor say goodbye. He tells her to raise her son to be the best of humanity, in the way she couldn’t be. (D: WHAT. A. PATRONIZING. DICK.) (A: SRSLY.)
We cut back to where the TARDIS is parked. Amy waves to her future self, but this time she’s alone. (D: Okay, now I get why they bothered with this scene in the last episode.) (A: *distant this-still-makes-no-sense-later noises*) She goes quiet for a second and the Doctor asks if she’s okay. She thinks she saw someone else for a second, but snaps out of it and happily heads to the TARDIS. (D: Ooof.) The Doctor lies that he has to fix the lock, buying him some extra seconds alone outside. Eldane’s voice over finishes, “now, as my people awaken from their thousand year sleep ready to rise to the surface, my thoughts turn back to the Doctor. The losses he suffered then and the greater loses that were still to come.”
The Doctor pulls out the shrapnel he pulled from the explosion and we see that it’s a piece of the TARDIS’s police sign.
I was pretty underwhelmed by this two-parter. The ending held the most emotional weight for me because I love Rory, but even that was a little cheapened by the repeat of a Rory-dying plot and an almost identical scene of Amy crying over his body. There is a little more kick here, when you watch her go from despair to pure ignorant happiness when he’s erased.
Dani: I am loving Rory so much more on this rewatch than I ever did before, so yeah… this was rough. I can’t help thinking about all the time the Doctor wasted, while Amy was yelling at him to hurry up and GO, and how Rory would still be alive if he hadn’t been screwing around saying goodbye. It’s extra irritating in an episode where we see a woman chastised again and again for making a mistake while no one is blaming the Doctor for doing the same. (Except me.)
Mari: I think the idea of the Silurians and having them wake up and want to reclaim the Earth was a good one, but I think Restac as a main antagonist was a little too mustache-twirling. There was a lot of running around and close escapes in this one, and those are the repetitive kinds of things that don’t make a happy recapping experience, though I can’t imagine that any of my fellow Snark Ladies enjoyed this much more. (Yes, K, we know you hate it.)
K: Look, HATE is a strong word. Mostly, I was meh about it.
Dani: I think both Restac and Alaya were over-the-top, but luckily there were other Silurian to balance them out. The plot had the usual contrivance-y holes, but otherwise was pretty good. I appreciated the fact that they gave us an extremely unlikable character (Alaya) whose survival we had to root for in order to avoid war. Overall, though, I think they could have accomplished all of this in one episode. Two was just greedy.
Anna: Agreed, Dani. Two-episode plots that could easily have been edited down to one seem to be a recurring thing with Moffat. There’s a lot of that to look forward to. This wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination my favourite season 5 story when it aired, and that hasn’t changed– but I do appreciate the side characters a bit more, particularly Elliot, Nasreen and Mo. I feel like Ambrose had potential but got majorly shafted by both the Doctor and the writers– and Malokeh could have played a bigger role and occupied a more obvious moral grey area, but in the end they just kind of shoved him aside.
K: I…actually didn’t hate this one. There were definitely elements of it that I hated – Restac was definitely a mustache twirler, Alaya was so pushy with her antagonism that she was basically all “PLEASE, MURDER ME AND START A WAR MWAHAHAHAHA”, and Ambrose was the Poor Sad Woman Who Lost Her Whole Family And Just Wanted Them Back, which could have worked if she hadn’t been such a wet blanket.
But minus all of that, I liked Nasreen and Elliot, and I had actual human feelings about Rory, so…yeah. WHO EVEN AM I???
Mari: Probably someone looking forward to the next episode…
Next time on Doctor Who: Vincent Van Gogh and aliens in S05 E10 – Vincent and the Doctor.