S5(31)E05 – Flesh and Stone – Broadcast Discussion

1st May 2010 • Blog Post by Seb Patrick •

It’s the second half of a Moffat story. The second half of a Moffat story of which part one was absolutely corking. There’s no way this won’t be brilliant. Share your thoughts either as, or after, it airs below. And I’m determined to get to the end of this paragraph without making a joke about Graham Norton. Oh, bugger.

Seb Patrick once met Paul McGann, who immediately pretended to be Mark McGann. He writes for Den of Geek, BBC America, Film4 and the official Red Dwarf website, among others. He owns over thirty toy Daleks and wishes the Dapol factory tour was still open.

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31 Responses

  1. Michael Warren

    It didn’t seem like the second part of a two-parter – it almost felt like a separate episode, as all of a sudden we took a left turn into full-on crucial season arc plot. The Angels were largely dispensed with, and didn’t feel like much of a threat anymore.

    But, time unravelling – reasons why people don’t remember the Daleks, the CyberKing, many others – everthing revolving around Amy. An actual answer to what year Amy is from – and, oh look, the 26th of June is a Saturday.

    Also, I wouldn’t have pushed her away…

  2. Rosti

    Bad news: Genocide of a ‘powerful’ threat, just like old times.

    Good news: It was used to foreshadow the Big Problem.

    Liked it a lot, though after the first five minutes it *really* wasn’t what I was expecting.

  3. Michael Warren

    Oh, one other thing: That was a ‘Sarah Jane in The Five Doctors’ level of tripping from Karen, there…

  4. Michael Warren

    Possibly critical thing: That was a different Doctor that spoke to Amy after she had closed her eyes and he was setting off for the flight deck! I just went back to check, because I thought that was the case, and he has his jacket on!

    There’s no way that was a continuity error – not on Who, and certainly not in the same scene. Is he rewriting time later on? Is this linked to the end of Eleventh Hour with the dream-that-might-not-be-a-dream? “Remember what I said when you were seven” – was that in that moment?

  5. ChrisM

    I wasn’t keen on the Big Crack turning up so conveniently to dispense with the Angel threat either. At least it utilised a running thread albeit turning the crack into a temporal vacuum cleaner rather than an interdimensional portal. (No doubt that would be explained by the increase ins size and power though.)

    I found the sexy bit at the end was rather pantomime and tacky. Yet another companion who fancies the Doctor. Sigh. Although to be fair Amy seemed more interested in a casual ‘quick fling before the wedding’ kind of way… lacking the idolisation of previous companions. (Not including Donna of course!) Saucy minx.

    Other than that it was pretty good.

    I wish they’d done something with the Angels established time displacement powers though.

  6. That was an amazing resolution, as the endings to Moffat’s two-parters always have been so far. At the very start I was momentarily disappointed that we simply cut to them on the underside of the spaceship rather than seeing the jump itself. But then, it led to that great reveal where the camera zoomed out and spun round upside-down – a much less ambitious special effect than showing them in mid-jump would have been, but an equally dramatic one, and one with less potential to go wrong and look silly. The scenes of gravity disorientation within a single shot were all fantastic – very Escher!

    Also: “fairy tale” being written into the dialogue. :D

    Pretty long preview for the next episode, didn’t you think?

    Michael – I just checked the episode again – well spotted! In retrospect I did think it was a bit odd how he goes off-screen for a long moment – you hear his voice fading slightly into the distance – before returning. The first shot of that scene, where he puts his hands on hers, seems very deliberately shot to show just his wrists without either a jacket or shirt, and the rest of it is mostly in close-ups of his face, so the jacket on his shoulder can only be seen at a few points. Again, well spotted!

    Then again, it could have just been a continuity error. You know, like the hospital ID badge. ;)

    (Speaking of which, I thought that the fact the countdown to the date of the crack-causing-devastating-Event stopped before it reached the final digit was another clue to all the fan speculation that all was not as it seemed with the date of The Eleventh Hour’s setting. But then we finally saw it clearly specify 2010. Oh well. Still, the duck pond and memories of the Daleks and the Next Doctor Victorian Cyberman still leave us plenty to speculate about…)

    Another intriguing theory I’ve seen, by Flub on Rllmukforum:

    I do wonder if Moffat has pulled a blinder on us. What if history has in fact been rewritten and this is a River from *after* Silence in the Library but in her timeline the Doctor died (And she got blamed for it). All the talk about time being rewritten got me suspicious and the handcuff comment while technially legit pushed me over the edge. Probably wrong but it would be a nice timey wimey twist.

    That would be interesting… although her excitement at learning that she will be a Professor in her future seemed genuine.

    In Confidential, Moffat seemed very determined that we WILL follow their story from start to finish (or should that be… finish to start? lol). But over how long will it play out? For how many series does he hope to be showrunner?

  7. Hendiadys

    That would be interesting… although her excitement at learning that she will be a Professor in her future seemed genuine.

    I would much prefer this to be a River Song from before the events in the library. But I found her comment strange about the handcuffs – she wouldn’t have known about the scene with Tennant’s Doctor, so what was she referring to? Presumably she was referring back to another time she’d done it with him? A bit odd, really.

    And I really hope that the flirting scene in the bedroom was an out-of-character thing that’ll lead somewhere.

  8. Hendiadys

    I don’t think I understood the part about Amy having to walk through the Angels in the forest as though she could see them. As she was doing that I knew the tension it was supposed to be creating (and it was very effective until she was teleported out), but I now have a problem appreciating what the Angels’ powers are. I thought they froze when they were seen, and moved with incredible speed when they were not. When this includes the fraction of a second that blinking creates, why were they so crap at sensing Amy couldn’t see them? Her eyes were closed, but she was walking? I’m going to have to put it down to them still not being back to full power by that point.

    Very intrigued by the crack in the wall though, and with the stuff it was doing with time and memory. I can see why it would have been difficult to fit the “displacing people in time” concept of the Blink Angels into this.

  9. muzzy

    I seem to remember the Doctor saying the Angels were scared and distracted by the crack at that point so they weren’t paying Amy proper attention and therefore just assumed she had her eyes open when she was walking. When she fell and couldn’t find what she had dropped it was clear she didn’t and they attacked.

  10. I found her comment strange about the handcuffs – she wouldn’t have known about the scene with Tennant’s Doctor, so what was she referring to? Presumably she was referring back to another time she’d done it with him? A bit odd, really.

    Presumably this sort of thing has happened before. It’s also a bit of an unknowing odd – it doesn’t just “always” end with handcuffs, that’s ultimately how their relationship will end from her perspective. It’s kind of the opposite of foreshadowing.

  11. Time can be rewritten? So what happens if one of these cracks appears at Pompeii or Bowie Base One?

  12. I seem to remember the Doctor saying the Angels were scared and distracted by the crack at that point so they weren’t paying Amy proper attention and therefore just assumed she had her eyes open when she was walking. When she fell and couldn’t find what she had dropped it was clear she didn’t and they attacked.

    That was it, aye. The Doctor said that the angels were running from the crack and weren’t interested in Amy and that their instinct would kick-in around her (ie that they’d try and avoid getting in her way so they didn’t get frozen). Once they knew she couldn’t see there was the possiblity they would attack her (although for what purpose who knows?).

    That scene was badly done, though. What was supposed to be happening was that Amy was wandering through the woods surrounded by fleeing angels but due to the editing being a bit lax (as it was in both episodes, to be fair) and the whole “angels are frozen when we see them” thing it managed not be anything like as tense as it should have been.

  13. si

    Once again, I’m guilty of not reading everyone else’s comments yet, so sorry if I’m repeating anyone else’s thoughts here.

    First off – brilliant episode, no matter what my mum, who was tutting, sighing and generally moaning about how “fucking pathetic” the series and Matt Smith are, and how they should bring David Tennant or William Hartnell back.

    Second – Dodgy trip by Amy, but we can forgive her that, because Karen Gillan’s lovely.

    Third – just want to share this little exchange from the DWM Facebook page.

    Simon Keith Bromley: Okay. It’s late at night, and you’re in Amy Pond’s bedroom. She is laid on the bed in a *very* short skirt. She then throws herself at you and snogs the face off you. And you PUSH HER AWAY??!!

    Proof, if proof were needed, that The Doctor is definitely *not* human (half or otherwise)!

    Jef Hughes: I reckon that all of the following would also push Amy away in that situation:
    Michael Barrymore
    Elton John
    Allan Carr
    Graham Norton
    John Barrowman
    Russell T. Davies

    Clearly, this proves that they’re ALL aliens…

    Simon Keith Bromley: Okay, you got me. What I meant to say, basically, is that I would bite Amy’s hand off (not literally) to be in that situation, hot, red blooded, heterosexual male that I am! ·

    Simon Keith Bromley: Or, to put it another way: I FANCY THE ARSE OFF KAREN GILLAN.

    Jef Hughes: Haha! And very well put too!

  14. si

    Also, on the DWM Facebook page, I noted that Eurovision would come slap bang in the middle of the two parter. Would the BBC even dare to incur our wrath once again? Especially when Norton’s involved…

    But! Eurovision’s normally on around 7pm. This series of Who has been on pretty early, and Over The Rainbow won’t be on, because Norton will be doing the ESC, so, here’s hoping…

  15. Hendiadys

    My friend sent me a text after Doctor Who to say she was throwing things at the TV screen during the bedroom sequence. Does nobody here have strong feelings about it? I was watching it thinking “this is awful, but hopefully this is the crack getting to her or something and it’ll pay off later.” If it turns out this is part of a new “fancying the Doctor” arc, I think it’ll piss me off a lot.

    All the evidence of interviews says that Moffat, Smith and Gillan think that romance between Doctor and companion isn’t something that needs to be done now. But what still pissed me off about the dynamic of Martha and Donna with Tennant’s Doctor was that it was still defined by romance even though it didn’t become that. Martha’s was unrequited love; Donna’s was a would-you-believe-it-she-doesn’t-fancy-him position. Still the same crap. Smith’s Doctor, as imaginary friend for Amy, is in a unique position to be ideal father/uncle rather than ideal boyfriend, and I really hope they don’t intend to muddy this with romance crap. Let it be something other than that pleeease!

    I think part of the problem/intrigue is that Amy is a relatively complex companion, so we feel we’ve only just met her, and it’s not really possible yet to know what’s in character and what isn’t. She could be possessed, or this could be her – can’t tell. Personally I’m hoping this is part of a set-up for what we already know about Amy’s Choice.

  16. Seb Patrick

    The ending perturbed me initially, because I really don’t want to see romance as the defining facet of this Doctor/companion dynamic. But on reflection, I don’t think it will be. I think that was a one-off, spur-of-the-moment action of someone who’s clearly a slightly damaged person. It wasn’t “I’m in love with the Doctor”. It was “I’m suddenly looking at him with new eyes, I wonder what it’d be like”. I doubt it’s going to become a major “thing” – at least, I hope it isn’t.

    I shudder to think what the Gallifrey Base reaction has been, though.

    As for this:

    Possibly critical thing: That was a different Doctor that spoke to Amy after she had closed her eyes and he was setting off for the flight deck! I just went back to check, because I thought that was the case, and he has his jacket on!

    I spotted this during the episode, but assumed it was going to be relevant to the resolution of the story. When it turned out not to be, I promptly forgot about it! But yeah, clearly something relevant to the long-form arc.

  17. My friend sent me a text after Doctor Who to say she was throwing things at the TV screen during the bedroom sequence. Does nobody here have strong feelings about it? I was watching it thinking “this is awful, but hopefully this is the crack getting to her or something and it’ll pay off later.” If it turns out this is part of a new “fancying the Doctor” arc, I think it’ll piss me off a lot.

    I liked the whole “bedroom” bit. Alright, it was clearly part of Moffat’s “make it appeal to teenagers” agenda but it fitted with Amy’s character perfectly. It’s always been implied she’s a bit, well, unreserved and it’s different from the Rose thing. I never got the slightest impression she loves the Doctor more that she fancies him. Also, the Doctor’s response was about spot-on – sheer awkwardness and horror.

  18. I can’t believe I just wrote “about spot-on”. Doh.

  19. Hendiadys

    I shudder to think what the Gallifrey Base reaction has been, though.

    I went there this morning and found on the whole a large number of people saying “Doctor Who has moved on – get used to the romance and stop going on about the old Cybermen” – you know, the usual anti-Classic series, obnoxious trolling. Basically “It’s Good that New Who Is Good”.

    It’s the Leisure Hive I’m not going to visit for a while, though. The majority of the people there will have perceived the scene in much the same way as the Gallifrey Base crowd, but taken the opposing position (ie “It’s Bad that Nu Who Is Bad”). In many ways, this scene was very brave move from Moffat. I’m fascinated about Amy’s view of a man who has been saying things like “you’re dying – shut up” before tenderly kissing her on the forehead and telling her she should trust him (an imaginary or future Doctor, I wonder*). I am certain that her behaviour in her bedroom is not straightforward, but there will always be that very slight fear of whether Moffat knows what he’s doing. It’s brave because he’s not explained what’s going on, and such indeterminacy for a lot of people will be a turn-off. Many people prefer to fill interesting openings with shit assumptions. Why? Leave them open until later, stupid shit people.

    *I reckon Amy’s Choice will be paying-off the “imaginary” aspect of her relationship to the Doctor. Hopefully not tying everything up – but it’s the episode most likely to take the opportunity to explore them.

  20. Hendiadys

    I liked the whole “bedroom” bit. Alright, it was clearly part of Moffat’s “make it appeal to teenagers” agenda but it fitted with Amy’s character perfectly. It’s always been implied she’s a bit, well, unreserved and it’s different from the Rose thing. I never got the slightest impression she loves the Doctor more that she fancies him. Also, the Doctor’s response was about spot-on – sheer awkwardness and horror.

    I never thought she fancies him, and this is what I find quite jarring about the “I wasn’t thinking about anything so long term” stuff she said. I think she’s obsessed with him, as a man she’s known all her life (turning Rory – and possibly other boyfriends – into him for a while, if only as a dressing-up game), and I always think of the word “fancying” as suggesting something altogether more superficial, when you haven’t known somebody for very long.

    She loves him in an odd way, I think – she doesn’t love him so much as she loves the adventures she always imagined she’d go on with him, and he seems to be that person to her, but at the same time he can’t be. Furthermore, as imaginary friend she needs to grow out of him to be cured! In many ways, the sex she seemed to be suggesting in the bedroom is a childish aspect she’s playing out now – maybe her way of trying to take control over him, and make him into the person he was in her mind during her teenage years.

    The fact that none of this clear yet (even that Moffat is exploring this stuff) makes this a really brave way to end a two-part episode that cast Amy as the “child” in the “family” of the Doctor and River Song. I can only applaud Moffat for taking the risk, but do hope the resolution stops this from having been just an attempt to “make it appeal to teenagers”, as you say.

  21. VS

    ‘I never got the slightest impression she loves the Doctor more that she fancies him’

    That’s bang on the money to my mind. It’s nothing romantic, just wham-bam-thank-you-Doctor. She says as much before jumping onto the bed.

  22. Nick Ridley

    Didn’t care for seeing the Angels move and Angel Bob’s little face to face chat. Surprised most people round here seem fine with them not attacking because she’s pretending she can see. Except she didn’t really seem to bother…

    ‘Opening eyes = death/keeping eyes shut = death’ was good but then that got taken away fairly quickly when it mattered (ie Amy alone). I don’t understand why one of Blink’s selling points would undermimed.

    The rest I’m fine with. From what I’ve seen so far Amy’s only in ‘love’ with the Doctor as much as a little girl is with a boy band.

  23. Hendiadys

    ‘Opening eyes = death/keeping eyes shut = death’ was good but then that got taken away fairly quickly when it mattered (ie Amy alone). I don’t understand why one of Blink’s selling points would undermimed.

    I think they could have done all of the following and still had the story be as tense and effective as it was where it mattered:

    1) Kept the original Angels’ “displacement of time” power. Instead of killing them, they could have sent those guys back to the past. Makes no difference – we didn’t see their bodies, and the Angels taking their voices could have been explained away in some way relevant to that.

    2) Had the Angels not close in on Amy, but maintain the threat of them doing so. Once they were that close Moffat had to concoct a reason for them not attacking her. Same problem as having the Doctor stand for ages nattering with the new and more deadly Daleks. Or having the T-1000 be so powerful that sometimes he has to walk rather than run, for no discernible reason beyond “he would kill them if he reached them that fast”. Amy needn’t have had the Angels all around her (but been terrified that they were), while they were starting to cluster around the ship and talk with the Doctor.

    3) Had Amy not be teleported out of the forest, but find the ship on foot. I didn’t feel cheated, as I felt the scene had done all it could in terms of scares, but maybe I have a problem that the entire sequence with her “trying to look like she could see” was derived entirely for the purposes of scares. Dead with eyes open – dead with them shut. That was the idea for the kids to go with, but as you say, Moffat didn’t then know what to do with it.

    So all those Angels were sucked into the crack, and with it all the stuff they’d ever done, such as plant one of their species in Amy’s eyes, never happened. Does this mean the events of Blink never happened, or does the “Inquisitor” effect only work upon each of those specific Angels sucked into the crack? If it’s the latter, it doesn’t mean the Weeping Angels are wiped out as a species for ever. But I don’t know if I really want to see them again, which might be a shame. After Blink I was fascinated about how the specific potential of the creatures shown in that episode might be taken further. But what we saw in this two-parter was actually a completely different creature in all but name.

  24. ChrisM

    I think it just affected the angels that were in the episode. The Blink angels could still well be out there.

    Mind you, the Victorian Cyberman was ‘unhappened’. Apparently the previous Dalek invasions of Earth (before this series I mean) too, although I’m not sure if that quite true or if it’s merely Amy’s experiencing of the event that was swallowed. (If you get what I mean.)

    As for the Angels being still around Amy because they thought she could see them, I don’t quite buy that either. The idea behind the Angels being stone if you observe them is based on quantum locking (if I understand correctly).

    I think the idea is something as follows: sub-atomic particles can actually be in several places at the same time but only become in a specific place when they are observed. (I don’t believe that’s truly the case. It makes little sense, but that’s how it goes.) With the weeping angels they’ve basically taken that idea to the macro level. They can’t move if you observe them. That vastly different from ‘choose not to if they think you’re looking’. It’s physically impossible for them.*

    No doubt I’m probably over-thinking it though. I guess the fear of crack/instinct explanation given in previous posts might explain that somewhat. Maybe their senses were actually off rather than it being a case of observation.

    It was a great creepy scene though, and didn’t really spoil the episode. Blink was better though.

    *Actually it’s a wonder many could move at all considering the locking thing works on each other too. They must have seen each other from their peripheral vision. That’s why they’re called ‘weeping angels’. They hide their eyes so they don’t lock each other!

  25. Mammalian Verisimilitude

    Re: Michael Warren (comment 1):-

    Moreover, 26/06/2010 is specifically the date when episode 13 should be broadcast, presuming no Eurovision break.

  26. Hendiadys

    That’s why they’re called ‘weeping angels’. They hide their eyes so they don’t lock each other!

    That’s what I thought. They don’t find out whether they are being seen by taking a sneaky look at whoever might be looking at them. They don’t see a closed/blinking eye and think “quickly! now!!” They spend most of their time as statues covering their eyes. Flesh and Stone seemed to suggest it was more like a game of “What’s the Time Mr. Wolf?” though. Is that the right game? – one of those, anyway. Which again is fine (I love the potential that Moffat’s Who leaves for playground games) – I just want to appreciate why these seem to be completely different creatures to the ones we saw in Blink.

    I think it would have been much better to have the statues displace people in time. That’s the main gripe I have. Something interesting could have been done with people having been sent into the past by the Angels, and other people being erased from all of time by the crack. Just the fact of this difference in threat would have been nice. The Time of Angels as a title even suggests further possibilities than were explored in this respect.

  27. Hivewatcher

    Actually, The Leisure Hive have been surprisingly positive about this two parter and the Amy Epilogue.

    Fuck, even RobFilth gave both episodes 9/10, outstripping eve the score I would give them. And I enjoyed Last of the Time Lords.

  28. People have a real problem with a woman being strong-minded, sexual and impetous don’t they?

  29. Hendiadys

    People have a real problem with a woman being strong-minded, sexual and impetous don’t they?

    When?

  30. Jonathan Capps

    I think it would have been much better to have the statues displace people in time

    I agree it’s a tiny bit of a cheat to re-write the Angels’ abilities as much as he did, but I think Moffat covered his back well. The scavengers seen in Blink needed energy and so their only resource was the sending people back in time trick. These Angels had much different aims, plus an absolute crap load of energy to feed off by design of the original Angel’s rescue plan.

  31. Andy M

    Moreover, 26/06/2010 is specifically the date when episode 13 should be broadcast, presuming no Eurovision break

    Given who now presents it, there’s no way it ain’t interfering with Who.

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