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‘Doctor Who’ blogging: “Flesh and Stone”

(all spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode! and no comments from party poopers — this is a love fest only / previous: “The Time of Angels”)
Oh my god, Steven Moffat is a ’shipper.

The whole notion of ’shippers and ’shipping came from fandom, from the fans who watched a particular show — like, say The X-Files — because they were intrigued by the subtextual relationship between certain characters — like, say, Mulder and Scully — as they went about their contextual business — like, say, investigating a mysterious murder that might have alien involvement. ’Shipping was a way to interact with and deconstruct a show from a fannish perspective: it was like adding your own icing to an already delicious cake and making it even more yummy.

But as is increasingly obvious with Doctor Who under Moffat, what once would have been subtext is now the text, with the ostensible text almost an afterthought. Yeah yeah yeah, this episode is all about the Doctor and Amy and River escaping from the Weeping Angels, but who cares? We knew that was gonna happen. What this entire episode is really about is feeding the ’shipper desire to see everybody get it on with everybody else… or, actually, about teasing that desire without satisfying it (because then it’s over, and that’s no fun). If X-Files ’shippers were all, Hey, what if something superhot were secretly going on between Mulder and Scully? Moffat — and so by extension we viewers — is all, Okay, so something superhot is clearly going on between the Doctor and River Song, and clearly Amy Pond is trying to get something superhot going on with the Doctor, but what is it all really about?

Okay: the Doctor and River. In the space of three short episodes featuring River Song (and the awesome Alex Kingston), we’ve gone from “The Doctor’s what?” to “No, she can’t really be the Doctor’s wife — that’s too obvious. Something else extrainsidious and strange must be going on here.” And it almost doesn’t matter what that something extrainsidious is, or even if River does in fact turn out to “merely” be a lover of the Doctor’s (which would be extraordinary enough, for where this show came from), because it’s the hashing over the possibilities she represents that’s the real fun.

Maybe she’s not his wife. Maybe the woman we see in this episode isn’t the real River Song. Holy Christ, maybe she did kill the Doctor!

That’s what I see happening. (Or having happened. We need more verb tenses for the timey-whimey stuff.) “She killed a man, a good man, a hero to many,” Octavian tells the Doctor, about River. “Who?” the Doctor asks. “You don’t want to know, sir, you really don’t,” Octavian assures him. But I think already at this early stage, he suspects that he already knows whom River killed: I don’t think those tears in his eyes are just for Octavian’s sad end.

And so by the time he asks River about it, he’s had time to think, so he is more sure of the answer by the time she admits she killed “a very good man, the best man I’ve ever known.” Who could be better than the Doctor? Look at the look on his face

as he asks her, “Who?”

“It’s a long story, Doctor. Can’t be told, has to be lived. No sneak previews.” Basically: spoilers!

(I wonder, too, in that way that lets me get totally immersed in the story and at the same time wonder about the fakey production side of it: How much does Matt Smith know at this point in the shooting about what the deal with River is? Has Moffat told him, at a minimum, what the Doctor suspects is going on with River? Or has Moffat just said, “Look, dude, just look really sad and heartbroken when we shoot this bit, okay?” Because it makes a huge difference whether the actor knows what’s actually coming, or if he’s just guessing himself what the appropriate reaction to River is at this moment. And it also matters if Moffat hasn’t told Smith, and then when Moffat sees Smith’s reaction, it makes the writer reconsider where the story goes from there. Because that could happen too!)

And then all this stuff runs through my head pretty much simultaneously:

= My heart is breaking for him, because he knows, and he doesn’t know what to make of it, and because he’s already in love with her: he fell in love with her in the Library…

= But she can’t have really killed him, Grandpa: she just can’t, I know it. It’s all about some sort of secret plot to pretend that he’s dead and he actually regenerates and she has to nobly take the fall for his “murder” because it saves the universe somehow and I just– You’re reading it wrong, Moffat!

= Wait: “I might have done enough to earn a pardon this time” (emphasis mine)? So River has had past excursions from prison in attempts to earn a pardon? Has/will the Doctor been/be involved with some of those?

= Anyway at some point we’ll have to see River’s first meeting, from her perspective, with the Doctor, but they can’t wait too long or Alex Kingston will be too old. Unless River gets erased by the crack in the universe… oh fuck, that’s what Moffat’s gonna do, isn’t he? Bastard!

So basically, Doctor Who makes me a basketcase anew every week.

Oh oh oh, but I love Octavian. I love how Moffat creates Octavian for us. Octavian totally does not know the Doctor at all, but he thinks he does! “You’re the only one who can manage this guy,” Octavian says to River. “But that only works as long as he doesn’t know who you are.” But that assumes that the Doctor’s reaction to who River is would be the same as Octavian’s reaction to similar news, and Octavian is a very different man from the Doctor! The Doctor is clearly intrigued when he learns that River has been in prison:

which is clearly not the reaction Octavian expected!

And then there’s Amy.

I was already worried about Amy, because I figured that the problem of Amy — and of the crack in the universe — was gonna be resolved by Amy getting rewound to childhood, or Amy getting erased entirely. And it sure as hell sounds like that could be where the Amy story is going. We see the soldiers get erased, and then the Doctor tells her: “If the time energy catches up with you, you will never have been born. It will erase every moment of your existence. You will never have lived at all” (I knew it!)

But what if it’s worse? Amy says, about the crack: “It’s following me. How can it be following me?” What if she is the crack…?

What if Amy is not Amy? What is Amy is… I dunno. Something else.

I don’t know what that means, but it sounds creepy and ominous, and that’s what Moffat does best.

And knowing what it seems like we know about Moffat being a ’shipper, and adding new levels of ’shipperness to the ’shippering, this:

cannot possibly be as simple as it seems. It cannot be merely that Amy fancies the Doctor. Much as I fancy the Doctor myself, that would just be too boring. This is, hmm, the universe itself trying to distract the Doctor, get him out of the way so that he can’t stop, hmm, something happening that the universe wants very badly to happen.

And no, I don’t know what that means, either.

Random thoughts on “Flesh and Stone”:

• Okay, now we know that Amy is from our time: June 26, 2010 is (supposed to be) her wedding day. Of course, that can still change…

• Hey, I was mostly right about what was gonna happen after they jumped. Last week I said: “they’re all gonna jump waaay up into the wreckage of the ship, right?” Right!

Yeah yeah yeah, you’re very smart. Now shut up. <⁄ Princess Bride grandfather >

• I just noticed that the new sonic screwdriver is a lot more, ahem, phallic than the previous ones:

Oh my god, what is he doing to it?

I think Matt Smith is deliberately being very naughty here, to see who would notice. As if we mightn’t. *snort* Doctor Who and a dirty mind: they just seem to go together.

(Of course, the Anthony Ainley Master’s sonic screwdriver tissue compression eliminator, many years back, was a big black dildo, so this is not unprecedented in the show.)

• There’s something about Amy’s purple-painted fingernails

that is terribly sad and poignant…

• More vacuumpunk:

Or else it’s the washing machine.

• Oh, no! Not Octavian!

I liked Octavian. He was my kind of priest; there aren’t many men I could say that about. And he would have made a very intriguing companion. Damn.

• “The forest is full of angels, you’re gonna have to walk like you can see,” the Doctor tells eyes-closed Amy, and the angels “will assume you can see them.” But wait, that makes no sense! That’s sort of like saying that if you could look at Schroedinger’s cat out of the corner of your eye, it would remain indeterminately half dead and half alive. Shouldn’t the Angels need to be actually observed in order to be quantum locked? If an Angel runs through the forest and Amy doesn’t see it…

• Some seem to think that there’s something special about the Doctor’s jacket what gets stolen by the Angels, because it reappears. I don’t see that it does reappear, however. The jacket he’s wearing in the coming attractions for the next episode:

is clearly not at all the same jacket that was stolen by the Angels:

Or is there something I’m missing about the jacket?

The only thing I thought when he lost his jacket to the Angels was, I hope he’s got the TARDIS key in a trouser pocket…

• Oh, god, I so thought he was gonna kiss her!

*squee*

Doctor Who has never been more gorgeous to look at than it is now:

Wow.

• Great quotes (again I could just repeat every line of dialogue — Moffat is a genius):

“We’re being attacked by statues in a crashed ship: there isn’t a manual for this.” –the Doctor

“A forest in a bottle in a spaceship in a maze. Have I impressed you yet, Amy Pond?” –the Doctor (dude, you had her at hello…)

“We’ve got comfy chairs: did I mention?” –the Doctor
“We have no need of comfy chairs.” –Angel Bob
“I made him say ‘comfy chairs…’” –the Doctor

“I hate you.” –River
“You don’t.” –the Doctor

“Doctor, I’m scared.” –Amy
“Of course you’re scared, you’re dying. Shut up.” –the Doctor

“There’s a plan?” –River
“I don’t know yet, I haven’t finished talking.” –the Doctor

“I’ll do a thing.” –the Doctor
“What thing?” –River
“I dunno, it’s a thing in progress. Respect the thing.” –the Doctor

“Amy, you need to start trusting me, it’s never been more important.” –the Doctor
“But you don’t always tell me the truth.” –Amy
“If I always told you the truth, I wouldn’t need you to trust me.” –the Doctor (bastard: I’d kill him)

“A Cyberking, a giant Cyberman walks all over Victorian London and no one even remembers…” –the Doctor (and here we see retconning in progress actually as the actual text of the show that needs to be retconned: brilliant!)

“River Song, I could bloody kiss you.” –the Doctor
“Ah, well, maybe when you’re older.” –River (nice commentary on the he’s-too-young criticisms that were lobbed at Smith)

“You’re a time traveler now, Amy. It changes the way you see the universe, forever. Good, isn’t?” –the Doctor

“You, me, handcuffs. Must it always end this way?” –River, to the Doctor

“Can I trust you, River Song?” –the Doctor
“If you like. But where’s the fun in that?” –River

(next: Episode 6: “Vampires of Venice”)

MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
  • Chris

    This was a great episode; I do hope the angels are done, though. They were an awesome enemy, and the whole premise is terrifying (“Blink” still messes with my head), but I think we can shelve them now.

    Also, I think Matt Smith might have slipped Moffat a c-note to add the last bit in

  • Max

    Good food for thought; thanks.

    I know we will see River in the last 2 episodes…but I expect Amy to say goodbye at the end of the season because she is good and Rory is a good man…there will be ducks in the pond…the Doctor to rewrite history because he said he can…but, Amy’s parents and aunt will never return.

  • Mo

    Or is there something I’m missing about the jacket?

    Yes.

    Or at least in my theory, yes, since it hinges on that jacket. The Doctor has lost his jacket, he says goodbye to Amy in the forest, and suddenly he’s holding her hands and talking about stuff that doesn’t make a lot of sense and seems to be from a previous conversation we’ve never seen. And if you look carefully, he’s wearing that second jacket from the future with the sleeves rolled up.

    I think he’s doubled back on his own timeline trying to rewrite it for some reason. That scene of Amelia seeing the Doctor come back during the day may not have been a dream after all- which is maybe what he’s talking about with her being seven. I’ve said before I think she was hiding something else other than the wedding, and meeting him again at various points with strict orders not to tell his present self about it would fit. They seem to have a plan of some sort, possibly because telling her in the past would change things too much.

    He could do it- River just showed him how to land the Tardis silently if he needed stealth.

  • AlsoKT

    Or is there something I’m missing about the jacket?

    It would seem so. I noticed it at first, but I filed it as a continuity error. It only really registered on rewatch.

    The Doctor begins to wander off:
    http://tinypic.com/r/fz6gl5/5

    The Doctor returns for a moment to remind Amy of what he told her when she was seven:
    http://tinypic.com/r/2qchx84/5

    The Doctor continues wandering off:
    http://tinypic.com/r/2hhdshg/5

    Unlikely to be a continuity error, no?

    I know you have to mix up your stories or your audience gets bored, but I’m kind of bummed out that the angels no longer weep or zap their victims back in time. I liked those things about them. The whole “loneliest creatures in the universe” angle. Oh well. I really did like these episodes.

  • Vanessa

    Thanks MaryAnn for a great review!

    So much to say–where to start?

    The angels. I’m glad you’ve pointed out that they are actually fairly unimportant (and I think the crack in the Universe is way creepier). I agree that the looking/not -looking/pretending-you-are-looking thing doesn’t make sense, but also, I have always (since S4) wondered why you can’t get rid of the angels while they are frozen and you are looking at them. Are they invulnerable?

    The jacket: I am really sure now that when the Doctor leaves Amy in the forest with the word “later!” he then reappears from a different timeline. He departs in shirtsleeves, but he is suddenly wearing a jacket and his voice even sounds different (actually he sounds to me like he has a cold). I put this down to editing, but re-watching I am sure he came back in that moment when he knew his earlier self was gone to tell her she needs to remember something he said to her when she was 7.

    Best creepiest moment: When Amy and the soldier are watching the crack and he forgets each of the men he has sent to investigate “It’s always just been the two of us here, there’s never been anyone else.” It was like Doctor Who crossed with “Memento.”

    There’s just so much there there!

  • JSW

    Anyone else notice the “production error” with the clock at the end? Pay particular attention to the am/pm indicator.

    (I put “production error” in quotes because I suspect that, like with Rory’s nametag, it’s actually anything but.)

  • Laura

    I think he’s doubled back on his own timeline trying to rewrite it for some reason.

    I cannot express to you how much I’m dying for this to be true. I saw this theory yesterday right after the episode aired and was so excited. If it turns out to be not the case, I’ll be so disappointed.

    On the other hand, this is the blessing/curse of the internet: the speculation is so fun and wonderful and exciting, but I never, ever would have noticed the the jacket thing on my own. And it would have been a really awesome “OH MY GOD NO WAY” moment to have it revealed at the end of the series. Now the best I can hope for is an “Aha, we knew it all along!” moment. Of course, those are good, too. C’est le vie! :D

  • JSW

    Oh, and the Doctor is also wearing a different shirt in the “remember what I told you when you were seven” scene. It’s got a curvey line pattern rather than the straight hatching we see for the rest of the episode.

  • BBQ Platypus

    I don’t think the important things are going to be all THAT subtle. After all, you don’t want to confuse the Not-We. Not everyone watches all the episodes four times.

    That’s why he’s stressing the importance of the cracks so much – he wants to make sure nobody misses it. That being said, I have a feeling we’ve all missed something, at least.

  • JSW

    Actually, I think I screwed up about the shirt. It looks like its the same one.

    Still, the Doctor’s tone is very different in that bit compared to the bit immediately preceding it (which ended with the Doctor saying that he was leaving to find the primary flight deck) and the bit immediately following (which shows the Doctor having left to find the primary flight deck.) He’s also obviously wearing the jacket.

  • MaryAnn

    I can’t believe I missed the thing with the jacket! I totally missed it, even after I had read the comment in the previous thread — the teaser for this episode — about something to do with the jacket.

    So I went back and watched that scene again, and it looks like he’s wearing a different watch, too. The one he’s wearing through most of the episode has a goldtone band, but in this sneaky scene, the band look black.

    I think he’s doubled back on his own timeline trying to rewrite it for some reason.

    Except the Doctor’s not supposed to be able to do that.

    Of course, he shouldn’t be able to keep running into River out of order, either. :->

    That must be one helluva powerful crack in the universe…

    I’ve said before I think she was hiding something else other than the wedding, and meeting him again at various points with strict orders not to tell his present self about it would fit.

    That would be stretching the timey-whimey stuff beyond what the Doctor’s supposed to be able to do. But I wouldn’t put it past Moffat.

    He could do it- River just showed him how to land the Tardis silently if he needed stealth.

    Oh, damn, if this is all true, Moffat’s an even geniuser genius than I already thought.

  • http://www,geeksaremypeeps.com Ken

    Okay: the Doctor and River. In the space of three short episodes featuring River Song (and the awesome Alex Kingston)…

    Unless you’re not counting the current episode, isn’t it 4? (Wasn’t her intro a 2-parter?)

    • Okay, now we know that Amy is from our time: June 26, 2010 is (supposed to be) her wedding day. Of course, that can still change…

    So she’s getting married on the day that episode 13 will air?

  • Alli

    The discussion about the Jacket is interesting. I’m going to have to watch it again now.

    So my theory about the angels was wrong. Oh well. I still want to know why they were so different compared to Blink though.

    How do you all feel about the end of the episode? I’ve read comments from another blog where a lot of people hated it. I didn’t mind it at all. I’d probably jump on the man too. Still, part of me wanted Amy to keep her relationship with the doctor platonic, but compared to Rose and Martha, Amy’s desire makes the most sense. However, if I was going to have sex with the Doctor, would I really want to bring him back to my room? Come on Amy, of all the places in time and space, you bring him back home the night before your wedding? I think your right MAJ, there is something weird about that.

    I love the chemistry between the three leads in this episode. Even in the cute “Big Question” videos Karen and Matt act like they’ve been best buds since childhood. They’re adorable.

  • MaryAnn

    Anyone else notice the “production error” with the clock at the end? Pay particular attention to the am/pm indicator.

    I hadn’t noticed that either!

    But I agree that it cannot be a production error.

    If you don’t want to go back and look: What happens is that the digital clock changes from 11:59 am June 25 to 12:00 pm June 26. Which means it jumps an entire day, a full 24-hour period, from just before noon on the 25th to noon on the 26th.

    Anyway, wouldn’t a digital clock in England read 23:59 for the moment just before midnight? Maybe this “error” was even more obvious to viewers in the U.K. Or maybe it wasn’t seen as an error at all, but a mystery…

  • MaryAnn

    Unless you’re not counting the current episode, isn’t it 4? (Wasn’t her intro a 2-parter?)

    Oops, yes, you’re right, Ken. I miscounted.

    if I was going to have sex with the Doctor, would I really want to bring him back to my room? Come on Amy, of all the places in time and space

    Heh. I could think of lots of fun places. “Home” would not be one of them.

  • JSW

    Except the Doctor’s not supposed to be able to do that.

    Of course, he shouldn’t be able to keep running into River out of order, either. :->

    That must be one helluva powerful crack in the universe…

    I think the rule is that he can’t alter events in his own timeline. He just chooses to not travel within his own timeline at all to be on the safe side. His conversation with Amy in this episode may not have had a direct effect on the short-term events that followed, so he got a bit of leeway.

    After all, the Reapers didn’t show up in Father’s Day until Rose had both run out in front of her past self and saved her father, creating a double-paradox. Even the “restored” timeline in which Pete still died was altered, but apparently not enough to be a problem.

    The Doctor didn’t have a problem with going back in time to take his tie off at Martha, either.

  • JSW

    If you don’t want to go back and look: What happens is that the digital clock changes from 11:59 am June 25 to 12:00 pm June 26. Which means it jumps an entire day, a full 24-hour period, from just before noon on the 25th to noon on the 26th.

    And yet it was still dark in the outdoor establishing shot.

  • Keith

    I agree. The whole rules thing with the angels was a bit weird, and didn’t seem to make too much sense if you think about it too hard. Otherwise, there is lots of interesting stuff going on in this episode and implications for how things are going to play out later in the season.

    Hadn’t noticed the jacket stuff either. It did seem a bit odd at the time the way the Doctor came back to Amy while she had her eyes closed. If the Doctor did come back from another point in the timeline, we probably won’t find out until the last two episodes.

    Moffat is certainly giving us plenty of ideas and hints to chew on. It’s enough to make one a basket case just having to wait a while week for the next episode. This season is shaping up to be one wild ride.

  • NickT

    They’ve never said that he can’t go into established timelines, just that it’s strictly forbidden.
    Since this is the Doctor we’re talking about, it just becomes another rule; something he’s perfectly happy to obey unless there’s a reason not to.
    He lets Rose talk him into it in Fathers Day (and we see why it’s such a bad idea), but he does it himself in Smith and Jones just to show off, so we know it’s possible, so long as he’s careful about it.

    I remember a story somewhere (though I can’t remember where) of a time traveller who intentionally turns his back on some who’s about to die, so he can go back in time to save them and not be seen.
    I think that’s what we’re getting here; the Doctor is trying to change things so what he’s seen happen isn’t what it looked like.

  • Isobel

    Anyway, wouldn’t a digital clock in England read 23:59 for the moment just before midnight? Maybe this “error” was even more obvious to viewers in the U.K

    Not necessarily – and definitely not if the clock has an AM/PM indicator (you don’t need that for a clock set to display 24 hour time, obviously). I’m convinced that the jacket is a clue, and that there’s something behind Amy apparently knowing the Doctor better than she should do (as in crossed time-lines) but I am inclined to let the clock thing slide as a production error, particularly given that, as JSW said, it was dark outside in the establishing shot and they arrived back 5 mins after the Doctor collected her, meaning it can’t be 11.59 am.

    This was a great episode though – the mysteries are all in the personal relationships. I definitely agree that there is more to Amy jumping the Doctor than the fact that she fancies him (although she doesn’t seem very keen on getting married, or particularly bothered about R). It seems especially weird as whilst I completely believed the relationship between Rose and the DT Doctor, the Amy/Doctor relationship has seemed much more platonic (apart from Amy watching him naked. . . hmmm). I don’t really want another Doctor/companion romance, though, so I hope that’s not where it’s going.

  • Isobel

    Sorry – the first paragraph was supposed to be in block quotes – I haven’t got the hang of how to do them yet!

  • http://verizon.net innpchan

    “You, me, handcuffs. Must it always end this way?” –River, to the Doctor

    Umm, excuse me, but…

    How would River know it “always ends this way”?

    The only time The Doctor of this episode had seen her ended in just that way alright, but it also ended with her dead. And then raising lovely 2/3 non-existent children.

    So this would seem to imply either 1) The Doctor came back and somehow restored her Library hard-drive self and that’s who he meets here; 2) They have a very well-established kink; or 3)…

    Moffat is an even geniuser genius, like you said. And eviller, too.

  • Scott

    @innpchan: depending on (3) is, it could also simply mean that River Song has a habit of getting arrested after meeting up with the Doctor. We don’t know how long she’s been locked up after all…

  • Vanessa

    I am inclined to let the clock thing slide as a production error, particularly given that, as JSW said, it was dark outside in the establishing shot and they arrived back 5 mins after the Doctor collected her, meaning it can’t be 11.59 am.

    Hmmm…the clock thing is really interesting (thanks JSW) because although it could be a production error, it would have to be a CGI clock for that to happen. No real world clock would change the date when moving from AM to PM — unless it (or time itself) were broken.

  • Leslie Carr

    …unless time itself were broken! Oh I see, and so the morning of her wedding never actually happens….

  • Vanessa

    Oh, damn, if this is all true, Moffat’s an even geniuser genius than I already thought.

    In fact he may very well be! Of course, this is the kind of intricate plotting that made “coupling” rise above a typical sitcom, so I hoped he would bring that to DW.

    I’ve been thinking about what it means to have a big mystery playing out through the whole series, and I think it goes back to your point, MaryAnn, about Moffat being a “shipper.” I’ve heard he used to participate in message boards for long-time who fans, so he knows that they/we will look for minute clues throughout. It is his device to keep the older fans excited, while making it more “Scooby-Doo” for the kids, as he has been quoted as saying.

    The most genius thing is of course, not keeping it all till the end, but revealing pieces of it throughout the series. Of course, now I think that every odd thing in the series is probably intentional.

    But it leaves the question–Could he do it again in Series 6 ?!?!? It boggles the mind.

  • Vanessa

    OK one last thing.

    If Amy does indeed know more than we realize (Her over-familiarity with the doctor), perhaps her sudden seduction attempt is because she knows that what happens on June 26th will put him in danger and she is trying to find a way to divert/delay him from moving on to the big confrontation.

  • Mo

    I noticed the clock. Very prisoner 0. Anyone notice (if I’m remembering right) that for all of the clocks we’ve seen this season it’s the first properly digital clock we’ve seen? All of the others have been those retro flip clocks, even in the Tardis… Message again?

    As for doubling back, in Moffat stories the rule seems to be that if it already happened, it can happen. Plus he changed things in WOM and that was fixed. Amy’s timeline is being followed by a continuity munching crack. She’s the opposite of a fixed point. Surely Moffat wouldn’t have the Doctor repeat time can be rewritten over and over without reason.

  • VT

    See, that’s the thing I love about your Doctor Who blogging, MaryAnn, and the reason that I so eagerly await it. You get–and discuss–the stuff that other reviewers either don’t notice, don’t care about, or feel it would be too fannish to point out. You don’t write proper Dr Who reviews, but who needs proper reviews?–one can get those anywhere. Of course Moffat is a ‘shipper; it explains a lot about all of his episodes, right back to his being the first one to put it out there that the Doctor “dances”. Yes.

  • Jackie

    The scene with the Doctor reassuring Amy is oddly cut, it looks like they’ve framed it to hide as much of the rest of him that they can and they’ve blurred his jacket. So it looks like a continuity glitch which they tried to hide in post production. Or else there’s a really fancy timey-wimey thing happening.

  • MaryAnn

    They’ve never said that he can’t go into established timelines, just that it’s strictly forbidden.
    Since this is the Doctor we’re talking about, it just becomes another rule; something he’s perfectly happy to obey unless there’s a reason not to.

    Or it was a rule that the Time Lords *very* strictly enforced in the past. But now that the Time Lords are gone, the Doctor can do whatever he likes, whenever he likes. Which makes the Doctor more of a menace than he was before…

    The scene with the Doctor reassuring Amy is oddly cut, it looks like they’ve framed it to hide as much of the rest of him that they can and they’ve blurred his jacket.

    That’s sort of weird in a way, too, though: the future-Doctor could just have taken his jacket off if he was worried about being seen.

    He does look furtively around at one point in that strange scene, which suggests he’s on the lookout for anyone who might see him, like his past self.

  • http://www.newbspeak.com Newbs

    MaryAnn (Mon May 03 10, 8:26AM):

    Or it was a rule that the Time Lords *very* strictly enforced in the past. But now that the Time Lords are gone, the Doctor can do whatever he likes, whenever he likes. Which makes the Doctor more of a menace than he was before…

    This is definitely the case, MaryAnn. I was always a little uncomfortable with things like what they did in “Father’s Day” where the Doctor kept taking Rose back to do things over and over; that was more Back to the Future than Doctor Who, but it’s definitely been established that regardless of whether it’s forbidden, it’s definitely possible.

    Even the “fixed points” that he is not supposed to be able to change, can be changed (up to a point), which was illustrated so effectively in “Waters of Mars”.

  • http://www.newbspeak.com Newbs

    Isobel (Mon May 03 10, 5:21AM):

    Sorry – the first paragraph was supposed to be in block quotes – I haven’t got the hang of how to do them yet!

    it’s not the most advanced comment system available, that’s for sure. Just use the basic HTML syntax <blockquote> and </blockquote> around the particular quote.

    If you wanna be super thorough you can add the name and date of the original post like I do, but that involves even more cutting and pasting… It’s a whole involved thing! :D

    But rejoice: Now you’re a web programmer!!

  • Kathryn

    The only time The Doctor of this episode had seen her ended in just that way alright, but it also ended with her dead.

    There’s no reason to think that this is only the second time that The Doctor has encountered River – it’s the second we’ve seen him meet her, but ten could have had another adventure or two (or several) with her while he was hopping around without a companion.

    Plus, River has clearly had lots of adventures with him already, that he hasn’t experienced yet (timey-wimey) – and it is strongly hinted that one of them ends up with her going to prison, so…

  • http://grummelmaedchen.wordpress.com/ Andrea

    First things first: I love your reviews! I’ve been reading them for a while now, but never really got around to actually comment — I hereby pay my collected debts!! :-)

    Two: after writing my own review of Flesh and Stone, reading yours and the comments; I’ve taken the time to summarize, categorize and spin everything out a little at my own blog because the possible repercussions for Amy’s behaviour so far started to give me a headache and I just needed to get it out ;) — http://wp.me/pEhBY-8z
    (Of course, I linked to your previous piece on the Problem of Amy Pond, to this article and to comments that provided clues and assigned the full credit where it’s due (if it weren’t things I had actually noticed myself); so I hope it’s alright with you lot. I don’t advertise any ideas as mine that aren’t — if there are any concerns, though, just drop me a line and I’ll edit it if necessary!)

    Have a great day, everyone! :)

  • Dave

    Loved the episode. Just have one quick thought on River. I think she’s mainly a fraud. She may love the Doctor but I don’t think they ever marry or anything of the sort. She’s basically conning him into thinking that things happen at some point in the future even though they never do. She gets her information from another source (why she drives the Tardis differntly) and uses it to trick the Doctor into helping her.

    Missed the jacket thing entirely but that just gives me another reason to rewatch the episodes. This season is fast becoming my favorite. The whole Bad Wolf thing didn’t grab me the way the crack is.

  • Jim Mann

    Loved the episode. Just have one quick thought on River. I think she’s mainly a fraud. She may love the Doctor but I don’t think they ever marry or anything of the sort. She’s basically conning him into thinking that things happen at some point in the future even though they never do. She gets her information from another source (why she drives the Tardis differntly) and uses it to trick the Doctor into helping her.

    But she knows his name. The Doctor notes that there is only one reason he could have told someone his name, which he keeps a deep secret. The assumption has been that that reason is that they were married (though I suppose there could be another reason for it).

  • JohnnyInc

    But she knows his name. The Doctor notes that there is only one reason he could have told someone his name, which he keeps a deep secret. The assumption has been that that reason is that they were married (though I suppose there could be another reason for it).

    The blue book she carries around could have been written by anyone. She has it with her at all times so she can convince the Doctor to help her. It could contain details like his real name and how to spell words in the language of the timelords. We never see River writing in the book, just looking in it for reference.

  • NickT

    The whole Bad Wolf thing didn’t grab me the way the crack is.

    Up until this episode, I was ready to pass judgement on the crack as a poor attempt at Bad Wolf foreshadowing. (While Bad Wolf was kept in the background until a few episodes from the end, the crack got its own lingering shots at the end of two episodes in a row. LOOK AT THE CRACK YOU GUYS.) I thought we were going to get the same with every episode, but still no explanation until the end.

    Then we got this episode, which has already given us a ton more information on the crack then we ever really got about Bad Wolf, which highlights another thing I like about Moffat; groundwork.

    RTD had a habit of pulling plot resolutions out of thin air without much in the way of an hint or introduction beforehand; Moffat manage to place his Chekcovs Guns earlier and more well-hidden in the meat of the episode.
    Five episodes in, it feels like we’re already well into laying the grounds for the finale.

  • Timewraith

    Just one tiny and rather pedantic nit-pick:- when speculating on how much Mr Smith (Matt the actor not Adam the director) knows about the larger storyline, MaryAnn writes “Because it makes a huge difference whether the actor knows what’s actually coming, or if he’s just guessing himself what the appropriate reaction to River is at this moment” and she appears to be stating it categorically as a fact.

    I think we need evidence from the profession about this? It would be regrettable if “guessing” were necessary, because what the actor needs in order to do his scene should be there in his directions in the script (and I don’t see why that would necessarily have to be a complete plot synopsis of the whole series run?)

    Sorry if being over-analytical, and it would indeed be intriguing to know how much the cast “knows”; but I don’t feel competent to judge on whether it actually makes a big difference.

  • Newbia

    Moffat has a brilliant tactic of making the subtext text, which throws everyone off. Like, everyone would THINK that River was the Doctor’s wife, so Moffat actually comes out and says that she might be the Doctor’s wife, and then we all wonder what she actually is. Also, everyone of course thinks that Amy has the hots for the Dr., but then she actually goes and snogs him, and everyone wonders what it means. It’s like he gives us the obvious to throw us off, which is great.

  • MaryAnn

    But she knows his name. The Doctor notes that there is only one reason he could have told someone his name, which he keeps a deep secret. The assumption has been that that reason is that they were married

    But that’s only our assumption, which could be wildly wrong. Perhaps the reason she knows his name is that she named him: she’s his mother.

    Of course, that’s very likely wrong, what with all the sexual innuendo and their obvious physical chemistry. But my point is: There are many other potential reasons why the Doctor would keep his name secret and would only reveal it in extremely limited circumstances, and it’s not just that “they’re married.” (She could be a Gallifreyan prosecutor: the Doctor has had all sorts of run-ins with the law of his people. In which case she would know his name without him having had to tell her. This occurred to me during this episode, as a distant possibility: she could be another Time Lord without even knowing it herself, if she’s stored her Time Lord self in a pocketwatch and is hiding out for some reason as a human. In which case the Doctor would not recognize her as a Time Lord. She could be the Rani, as some have speculated.)

    It would be regrettable if “guessing” were necessary, because what the actor needs in order to do his scene should be there in his directions in the script (and I don’t see why that would necessarily have to be a complete plot synopsis of the whole series run?)

    But what an actor needs in order to do his scene is not necessarily “everything the writer knows”!

    I didn’t mean to impugn Moffat or Smith, Matt, with my comment about who’s guessing and who knows what. It’s not quite the correct analogy, but I was thinking, in part, about how obvious it was that the writers of *Enterprise* took cues from Connor Trinneer about what kind of man Trip Tucker was: the actor really dug into the limited material he had to work with and made the character something extraordinary, which ended up being reflected later on when the writers gave him meatier material (while not doing the same for the other actors and characters).

    That doesn’t quite work because one season of *Doctor Who* work on a much tighter schedule than the series-long *Enterprise,* which was the scale across which Tucker got really interesting. That said, depending on how the producers and the directors want to work, it’s not unreasonable to suspect that they *might* not tell the actors *everything* that’s to come in order to keep their reactions fresh. After all, the Doctor, at this point, doesn’t know, either, quite what to make of River, any more than Smith mightn’t.

    On the other hand, a great performance can come from an actor knowing more about a character than the character knows about himself.

    On the third hand, Smith could know how it all turns out, and Moffat could still have told him, “Play it THIS way, and then we’ll do another take and play it THAT way,” and then Moffat and the director chose which take worked better for however they wanted to fool us.

    There are a lot of ways to get to a great performance of a well-written story. I like thinking about all those different ways.

  • http://macgamer.com Corey Tamas

    But that’s only our assumption, which could be wildly wrong. Perhaps the reason she knows his name is that she named him: she’s his mother.

    Actually what he said is that there was only one time he would ever tell her his name… one time he ever could.

    He doesn’t say there’s only one condition under which you’d know his name. He says there’s only one condition under which he could tell her.

    Also, if River Song was a Time Lord, she might have regenerated at the end of Forest of the Dead.

    So, with all due respect for your staggeringly keen insight on Whoness… I think you may be barking up the wrong tree with that one.

  • Mo

    Of course River doesn’t have to be the Rani or some other time lord to know the Rani or some other time lord. *Someone* taught her to fly the Tardis, and I doubt flying would have been the only info that someone would have been feeding her.

    That said, I hope she isn’t connected to a baddie. She’s too awesome.

  • http://johat.wordpress.com Jo the Hat

    Two Doctors running around in tweeds? Quite possibly. This is the second time we’ve heard the taunt, “The Doctor in the TARDIS doesn’t know…” As opposed to a different Doctor?
    Perhaps River has to kill one of the two Doctors – if so, I’m betting it’s either with his permission or under his strict instructions. But as I’m not Stephen Moffat (and boy, I wish I has a 1000th of his talent), what do I know?

  • McBaar

    Best episode so far, painful review and horrible analysis. I think your going to be hugely entertained / disappointed when you see it all play out completely different than you expect. Good use of princess bride jokes, but really, all the shipper crap and fangirl blathering like this is what will eventually ruin the show. You’ve also got a horribly dirt mind to read the phalicness of the sonic screwdriver into that scene. I heavily doubt he was thinking what you were thinking when he shot that – you’ve just got ‘dong on the brain’ lady, go out and get layed and you won’t read all this gibberish into the show that really isn’t there at all.

  • http://macgamer.com Corey Tamas

    Best episode so far, painful review and horrible analysis. I think your going to be hugely entertained / disappointed when you see it all play out completely different than you expect. Good use of princess bride jokes, but really, all the shipper crap and fangirl blathering like this is what will eventually ruin the show. You’ve also got a horribly dirt mind to read the phalicness of the sonic screwdriver into that scene. I heavily doubt he was thinking what you were thinking when he shot that – you’ve just got ‘dong on the brain’ lady, go out and get layed and you won’t read all this gibberish into the show that really isn’t there at all.

    Psst. Your fly’s down.

  • Kenny

    McBaar, his screwdriver looks like a dildo. Also it’s spelled phallus.

  • MaryAnn

    So, with all due respect for your staggeringly keen insight on Whoness… I think you may be barking up the wrong tree with that one.

    I wasn’t barking up that tree. I just pointed out that there is a forest of trees, not just one standing off by itself.

    Best episode so far, painful review and horrible analysis. I think your going to be hugely entertained / disappointed when you see it all play out completely different than you expect.

    So, why don’t you share, McBaar, what you know for a fact about how it’s all going to turn out? You obviously have all sorts of secret insight: so tell us what you know.

    all the shipper crap and fangirl blathering like this is what will eventually ruin the show.

    The power! To be able to ruin the show merely by talking about it with my dirt mind! The mad sweet power!

    You all better watch out what you say around me. I might ruin you in retaliation by talking about you. Bwahahahahahaha!

  • http://macgamer.com Corey Tamas

    So, why don’t you share, McBaar, what you know for a fact about how it’s all going to turn out? You obviously have all sorts of secret insight: so tell us what you know.

    You may regret that.

  • LaSargenta

    You may regret that.

    Actually, you might be wrong about that. I suspect she gets an amazing amount of shear entertainment value out of these guys.

    Baiting them is part of the fun.

    ;->

  • Janet

    Love the review, and it’s nice to see someone out there not freaking out about that last scene. Moffat stated in the Confidential that she just fancied/wanted him, but I don’t take what that man says to heart until a series is done…And even then you have to wonder.

    As I stated to someone before, you can’t take anything as set in stone other than Matt returning in series 6 as the Doctor. Everything else is up in the air (well…except maybe Amy, seeing as Doctor Who Magazine stated Karen is back for series 6)

    Though I must admit, while I’d consider myself a 11/Amy ‘shipper’, part of me doesn’t care if Amy marries Rory or not as long as the story is well done.

  • Pat Mustard

    Leaving aside the great jacket mystery for a moment (which I must admit I didn’t notice at first viewing..), the one hugely jarring bit in this episode for me was in the treatment of the Angels.

    Not their richly-deserved oblivion, obviously, but in Amy’s ‘eyes wide shut’ moment in the forest. So we’re asked to believe these creatures, that can tell when someone’s eyes are closed for a split second (blink!) can’t tell if they have them open or closed for minutes at a time?!

    The implication has been that freezing into rock is an automatic reflex on the Angel’s part – not something it can control. I’ve always presumed it HAS to happen in response to the appropriate stimuli, i.e. someone’s gaze falling on it. If that stimuli is removed, then the automatic reaction to it is too – they HAVE to unfreeze.

    As a human’s reaction in flinching away from a hot surface isn’t controlled at a conscious level by the higher brain functions – it’s the body reacting to defend itself in respose to preprogrammed stimuli – so the freezing’s an automatic part of an Angel’s biology. Their bodies ‘sense’ someone’s gaze on them & the body reacts automatically – it freezes. If that automatic trigger isn’t there, the reaction doesn’t happen. Just as a human wouldn’t flinch if their flesh wasn’t near a hot surface.

    I didn’t articulate it in quite such depth at the time, but I’m afraid it just ruined both the whole episode and the raison d’etre of the best monsters NuWho has had for me.. Hasn’t the whole premise of them just been shortcircuited in a couple of minutes?

    The reaction – or rather the lack thereof – to Octavian’s death (and, technically his men’s) also left me cold. He wasn’t mentioned again by anyone; not even during the threesome on the beach. You don’t need a crack in the universe to wipe out all memory of you – just three rather large egos in close proximity..

    Apologies for the rant…and…breathe…!

  • Dave

    I’m writing the whole walk like you can see thing working down to the Angels still not being at full power from being woken up. I know it’s a cop out because it’s a huge change from how they were handled before but I want a reason so I made one up.

    Also does this mean that this is why the Angels are in such rough shape in Blink? Since the Doctor wiped out most of them into nothingness leaving the rest to scavenge around the universe. Or am I just reading way too much into it?

  • http://dwellonit.taterunino.net/ Tateru Nino

    So, maybe Amy’s clock is glitched at the end of Flesh and Stone. If so, then the TARDIS clock has exactly the same glitch.

    We see it in The Eleventh Hour at 61:27, as the clock rolls over from 11am to 12pm. The camera zooms in watching it do that for about 3 seconds.

    I’m not sure I’m willing to buy a production glitch quite at this moment.

  • Leslie Carr

    So we’re asked to believe these creatures, that can tell when someone’s eyes are closed for a split second (blink!) can’t tell if they have them open or closed for minutes at a time?!

    @Dave That got to me during the broadcast, but we are invited to believe that the angels are hugely distracted by (and afraid of) The Crack and that they are not very interested in Amy at the moment. So I felt OK about it in the end.

    The scene with the Doctor reassuring Amy is oddly cut, it looks like they’ve framed it to hide as much of the rest of him that they can and they’ve blurred his jacket.

    @Jackie That scene’s not oddly cut, it’s an extreme closeup. The jacket is genuinely out of focus.

    There just aren’t enough hours in the week to watch Dr Who any more. You have to watch it for the story, for the clues, and at least once to join in with all the good lines!

  • Dre in Spain

    ***long time reader, first time posting***

    My reasoning as to why the angels automatically freeze when they meet the “blind” Amy is that they are reacting to their own fight or flight mentality. We have already been told that the crack of light/crack in the universe is a power that is far stronger than theirs, and that they are running away from it. So they go into a subconsious mode of self protection (turning into stone), in that they detect a living thing and then freeze.
    It’s only when they realise that Amy has her eyes closed do they start to attack her.
    Personally I felt that one of the creepiest moments of Flesh and Stone was when the viewer actually saw the angels move their heads.
    As to the previous encounter with the angels in Blink, the 4 we saw originally were the scavengers, not an army, therefore it may be safe to assume that the scavengers may behave in a slightly modified manner.
    Most importantly, it was an absolutely cracking episode, even my housemate (who is spanish and has never grown up with Doctor Who) really enjoyed it. He usually finds Doctor Who too trashy for his taste, however he’s been enjoying this latest series. Although that may have something to do with the gorgeous redhead companion..

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    Although that may have something to do with the gorgeous redhead companion.

    Some of us of Hispanic descent like to think that Catherine Tate–who played one of the previous Doctor’s companions–also counts as a gorgeous redhead companion but I suppose there’s no accounting for taste. ;-)

  • Pat Mustard

    we are invited to believe that the angels are hugely distracted by (and afraid of) The Crack

    It didn’t seem to bother (or effect) them when they were chasing our boys and girls through the Byzantium – didn’t they notice the Crack first and mockingly point it out to the Doctor..?

    Probably why it bothers me so much is that it comes across as lazy writing – the sort of deus ex machina that had become all too prevalent during the previous regime – I just thought that Moffat could have written something much better than a quick line of Doctor Technobabble to account for it if he’d wanted to..

  • Pat Mustard

    PS: He, He – apparently Sir Terry Pratchett isn’t feeling the Who ‘luv at the moment either:

    “A decent detective story provides you with enough tantalising information to allow you to make a stab at a solution before the famous detective struts his stuff in the library. Doctor Who replaces this with speed, fast talking, and what appears to be that wonderful element ‘makeitupasyougoalongeum’…the Doctor himself has in recent years been built up into an amalgam of Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ… and Tinkerbell”(TP quoted in SFX magazine)

    However, like the rest of us, it won’t stop him watching..

    “After all, when you’ve had your moan you have to admit that it is very, very entertaining, with its heart in the right place, even if its head is often in orbit around Jupiter. I might shout at the screen again, but I will be watching on Saturday.”

    Sums it up perfectly. Sir Terry rules..

  • http://www,geeksaremypeeps.com Ken

    The jacket: I am really sure now that when the Doctor leaves Amy in the forest with the word “later!” he then reappears from a different timeline. He departs in shirtsleeves, but he is suddenly wearing a jacket and his voice even sounds different (actually he sounds to me like he has a cold). I put this down to editing, but re-watching I am sure he came back in that moment when he knew his earlier self was gone to tell her she needs to remember something he said to her when she was 7.

    Just rewatched that scene. I don’t think he has a cold. I think he’s been crying. My guess is that Amy just died, or was killed, and it’s his fault, and now he’s trying to rewrite time to save her.

  • Lee

    This is a great review and I agree it would seem he is going back on his own timeline, remember in VOTD when someone made a noise on the roof and the guard shone a torch and said “it’s you” I think that could be future Doc too.

  • Max

    Have to rewatch the previous Matt Smith episodes and specifially look for more ‘future Doctors’ or other anomalies.

  • Dave

    OK here’s one last River Song theory that came to me while looking for a few classic episodes to watch.

    She’s Susan Foreman. If she was his grand daughter she would definitely know his name and the last we saw of her was being left on earth. Heck the young actress who played her could even age fairly convincingly into Alex so they wouldn’t even need her to regenerate. I’m sure I’m not the first to think of this either but figured I’d throw yet another iron in the fire (I’m still banking on the con woman but that’s just me)

  • bronxbee

    any theory other than a close, intense, intimate relationship between River Song and the Doctor would completely contradict their meeting in “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead.” when River Song says that it shouldn’t “kill” her that the Doctor doesn’t know who she is, it isn’t because she’s his granddaughter for Rassillon’s sake! please. i might buy the theory that because of this crack in time, River and the Doctor are now constantly out of sync, or she might even be a completely different River Song, but let’s allow Moffat the benefit of the doubt that he’s going somewhere cool with this. also, let’s allow that the Doctor is 907 years old… and we can take it from him that he’s probably “danced,” intensely.

  • bronxbee

    also, with all respect to Terry Pratchett, whose books i enjoy very much, he’s probably wishing he’d had a chance to write some Who himself.

    …the Doctor himself has in recent years been built up into an amalgam of Mother Teresa, Jesus Christ… and Tinkerbell”(TP quoted in SFX magazine)

    in other words, he’s no longer a simple, cartoon character — he’s got a lot of mystery, complexity, and conflicts — both interior and with the outside world — not a TP character, in other words.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    In other words, he’s no longer a simple, cartoon character — he’s got a lot of mystery, complexity, and conflicts — both interior and with the outside world — not a TP character, in other words.

    You obviously haven’t read many TP novels, Bronxbee, if you genuinely believe that the only type of characters he writes about are simple, cartoon characters. That might have been true with his early novels but ever since he stopped writing about Rincewind the World’s Unluckiest Wizard–the protagonist of his first Discworld novel–there has been a growing complexity in his work.

    If his books are not your cup of tea, then they’re not your cup of tea. That’s your loss. If you wish to disagree with his opinion, go ahead. There’s no law that says you have to agree with someone just because he or she is a big-name published author.

    But we’re not talking about the literary equivalent of the Scary Movie guys making fun of horror movies because they have no idea of how to duplicate such works in a serious fashion. Pratchett, after all, is a successful storyteller in his own right. Ignoring his criticism is like pretending Harlan Ellison–a sci-fi writer who has won his share of writing awards–has no right to kvetch about Star Trek: the Motion Picture.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    Doctor Who replaces this with speed, fast talking, and what appears to be that wonderful element ‘makeitupasyougoalongeum’…

    I can already guess what mystery element is going to play a key role in the next James Cameron movie…

  • bronxbee

    i have, in fact, read several TP books, and though the plots and devices may have become more complicated, i never really have seen that his characters become very complicated… they aren’t flat and one dimensional, i will give you that, but they’re hardly full of angst, or guilt, or mystery — but i haven’t read all of them.

    i think you’re ascribing more venom to my comment that i actually intended.

  • http://toniokruger.blogspot.com Tonio Kruger

    Fair enough.

    But I’m not quite convinced that all the changes made in the Doctor Who character has made for the more complex character you seem to think he’s become.

    Nor am I convinced that every person who calls the writers on this are evil trolls out to take all the fun of good old-fashioned British storytelling.

    I will admit that in some cases, certain characters–such as Donna Noble and Jackie Tyler–who would have been played for cheap laughes in many American sci-fi programs have been allowed to grow more complex than I expected.

    But then we get another deus-ex-machina ending and twists that seem more appropriate for Eastenders and it seems obvious that the writers are taking two steps forward and one step back.

    However, YMMV.

    Anyway, the show is still a lot better than most of its American competition. I will grant you that.

  • Lady Tenar

    Re: Amy jumping the Doctor at the end

    I don’t know guys, this is Steven Moffat we’re talking about so I have to acnowledge that there isn’t anything that couldn’t potentially be significant but isn’t it also possible that Moffat, bless his heart, was engaging in a little bit of fan service? As in finally giving all of us randy, dirty-minded viewers a scene with the Doctor that is most definitely, unequivocally sexual? Not a coy conversation about “dancing”, not knowing looks passing between the Doctor and Rose but “OMG THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT DOING IT, IT’S RIGHT OUT THERE THIS SCENE IS ABOUT SEX! AND THE DOCTOR! POTENTIALLY HAVING SEX!” This is pretty much what was going through my mind when I watched it. Personally, I found the whole thing absolutely delightful. I almost hope it is just what it seems to be because I just found it so refreshing to a see a companion not pining away for him but just really wanting a good roll in the sack (which we know he can provide…)

    Of course I’m totally open to being completely wrong about that too. And, as previously stated, all bets are off when it comes to Moffat. This season is exhausting (in a good way. We’ve gotten used to the Steven Moffat style when it’s contained in a single episode or a two-parter, in which you’re constantly kept on your toes and in suspense. Except now it’s not 40-80 minutes it’s an entire season. It’s a Steven Moffat episode that lasts for hours, stretched over weeks. This will surely be a wild ride.

  • http://www.dubhsidhestudios.com bronxbee

    if you’ve seen “The Girl in the Fireplace” (also by Moffat) there’s pretty much no doubt about what Renette has in mind for the Doctor, or his willingness to go along with the idea….

  • http://macgamer.com Corey Tamas

    if you’ve seen “The Girl in the Fireplace” (also by Moffat) there’s pretty much no doubt about what Renette has in mind for the Doctor, or his willingness to go along with the idea….

    Interestingly, the woman who played Renette (Sophia Myles) has been seen canoodling with David Tennant, so apparently there was some real life romance going on there.

  • Lady Tenar

    That exchange with Renette was still all in euphemisms though. I file that under “coy conversations about dancing.”

  • MaryAnn

    “OMG THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT DOING IT, IT’S RIGHT OUT THERE THIS SCENE IS ABOUT SEX! AND THE DOCTOR! POTENTIALLY HAVING SEX!” This is pretty much what was going through my mind when I watched it. Personally, I found the whole thing absolutely delightful. I almost hope it is just what it seems to be because I just found it so refreshing to a see a companion not pining away for him but just really wanting a good roll in the sack (which we know he can provide…)

    But it can be both, though: it can be, on one level, Amy wanting to do naughty wonderful things with the Doctor (and him not necessarily being averse to the idea in principle), and on another level, other things going on at the same time.

    Moffat’s writing is always approachable on multiple levels. I doubt he’d give us anything that was *only* fan service: he makes what looks like fan service part of a more intricate story.

  • comics fan

    River = Shadow Lady
    Amy = Red Sorceress
    The Doctor = Quinton Zempfester

    Some writers come at problems from the same place. Oakley and Moffat look like they’re channeling from the same source. There are a ton of parallels. Except Moffat has a budget and a production staff and his stuff isn’t fifteen years old.

  • Keith

    Just watched the Doctor Who Confidential for this episode. Didn’t see anything that gave any clues about the issue with the jacket. They did show the clock scene at the end, but didn’t say anything about it.

    When the gravity cut out, the three of them were suspended from wires. Karen Gillan had some problems keeping her body straight. She said Smith had an easier time of it, but he said it took him some practicing to get it right too.

    It was interesting to find out that Moffat gets a lot of ideas from his two young sons. He says they categorize monsters as two types: cool and scary. A lot of the middle part of the episode covered aspects of all the previous Doctor Who episodes Moffat had written.

  • Keith

    Another Doctor Who fan friend of mine pointed out that 06/26/2010 (the date shown on the clock) is also the air date for the final episode of the season.

  • I_Sell_Books

    Some of the lines in here are just! so! killer! My favorite has to be:

    “A forest in a bottle in a spaceship in a maze

    Also, Matt Smith, in this ep and Vamps in Venice, really, really, really comes into his own. I have to confess, while I don’t love him like I do David? I’m definitely in lust…

    And Moffatt is such a shipper it’s insane. Just think what he could have done with the X Files! Swoon…

  • James L

    Just saw it here in America (do you know how hard it is NOT to go looking for info, knowing we’re several weeks behind BBC One?), and on top of all that everyone’s said, I’m surprised no one noticed something. This is the third episode in 4 that the Doctor, at one point or another, totally lost his temper. Ep 2 he yells at all the humans, Ep 3 he goes nuts on the Dalek, and this one he scares River when he explodes at her.

    My memory’s not perfect, but I have to say that other than a few outbursts from CE as the ninth doc, this is the first Doc in a while that hasn’t had control of his emotions. And I’m thinking that MAY be another clue from Moffatt.

  • JohnnyInc

    My memory’s not perfect, but I have to say that other than a few outbursts from CE as the ninth doc, this is the first Doc in a while that hasn’t had control of his emotions. And I’m thinking that MAY be another clue from Moffatt.

    That is the fun thing about a new show runner taking over at the same time as a new Doctor. It keeps us guessing at what might be a clue to the overall season arc and what might be a new personality quirk. It could just be they way Moffat writes the doctor. I noticed he (Moffat’s Doctor) likes to pay attention to everyone’s name. That might come into play at some point in the season (like the duck pond with no ducks in relation to Amy’s name) or it could just be me reaching at straws. Moffat likes to play around with people knowing/not knowing the Doctor’s true name.

  • Sarah

    I think it’s most definately a future Doctor.

    New jacket, new watch, rolled up sleeves and completely different tone of voice. If this was the Doctor (I’m going to call him Doctor 1, and the future Doctor Doctor 2) wouldn’t he have brought up the meeting later, once the angel was gone from inside Amy? He wouldn’t just drop it particularly when it was apparently so urgent .

    In The Time of Angels the Doctor learnt he had the brakes on, and could land silently if he worked it properly. We all presumed this was for a laugh, and to show River Song’s awesomeness. But now maybe not…

    On a few other sites there have been things about paradoxes being created because Doctor 2 and Amy interacted. But from what I understand, the paradox would only occur if Amy knew something was wrong, but she had her eyes closed, she didn’t have a clue. This also explains Doctor 2 being so edgy.

    Now it gets REALLY tricky. The Sound at the end of Eleventh Hour was the TARDIS returning and little Amelia looked up and smiled. Presumably, something is blocking her memory of a second meeting, and now the Doctor 2 needs her to remember. Maybe the Doctor did it himself?

    Genius is becoming geniuser….

    I think about these things waaaaay too much.

  • Christine

    I’m afraid the constant pining/lusting for the Doctor by his companions has made me lose interest in watching. I liked the story with Rose, as it was unexpected. It’s not something the original series had done, and I thought it was handled well.

    However, I now dread that every woman who walks onto the TARDIS wants to shag the Doctor, Donna excepted. Donna ended up my favorite next to Rose precisely because she wasn’t pining for the fjords.

    I like Smith as the Doctor very much, and hope the series doesn’t become a timey-wimey, multiple-incarnation version of Sam and Diane.

  • Brian

    Where does the crack come from, really, and why is it centered around Amy? Possibly because she died here, in one timeline, and the Doctor was compelled to try to fix it, since after all we’ve just established that time could be changed. That might well account for there being two Doctors.

    To fix time, you’d presumably have to get rid of one of the Doctors. So might River have done that, presumably after the Doctor had asked her to? For someone who seems to have killed the Doctor, she seems pretty unmoved by it — not grieving, not guilty. And how would Octavian know to connect the current Doctor with the man she killed? He seems to know little about the Doctor, so unless they actually looked the same, it’s not clear how he’d make the connection.

    I don’t know whether it’s making too much of things, but if River’s not from Gallifrey, why does she know Ancient Gallifreyan, and how does she know how to drive a TARDIS? Married or not, it’s hard to see the Doctor teaching her a dead language. It’s a bit as if an alien married a human and the human had to teach him Latin. Not to mention how she apparently hops around time a lot, for that matter. And the Doctor does make a big deal with Amy about how it would be weird for him to hook up with her because she’s a human.

    By the way, there was an old Tom Baker episode where he does speak his name. It was a bunch of gobblygook syllables that sounded as if they’d been improvised on the spot. Just a throwaway, best forgotten.

  • bronxbee

    By the way, there was an old Tom Baker episode where he does speak his name. It was a bunch of gobblygook syllables that sounded as if they’d been improvised on the spot. Just a throwaway, best forgotten.

    really? what episode? because i consider myself pretty familiar (okay obsessively familiar) with the TB era and i don’t ever remember that. he said Romana’s full name (well one of her names, anyway) several times, then wanted to shorten it to “Fred”. but i don’t ever remember him saying his own (the Doctor’s) name.

  • http://www,geeksaremypeeps.com Ken

    By the way, there was an old Tom Baker episode where he does speak his name. It was a bunch of gobblygook syllables that sounded as if they’d been improvised on the spot. Just a throwaway, best forgotten.

    really? what episode? because i consider myself pretty familiar (okay obsessively familiar) with the TB era and i don’t ever remember that. he said Romana’s full name (well one of her names, anyway) several times, then wanted to shorten it to “Fred”. but i don’t ever remember him saying his own (the Doctor’s) name.

    I don’t remember the Doctor speaking his name, but I do remember an episode, I think set on Gallifrey (Leela’s last episode?), where someone addresses the Doctor as something other than “Doctor.” I remember it sounding vaguely like “Theta Sigma,” which sounds more like the character recognized the Doctor as an old frat brother.

  • MaryAnn

    However, I now dread that every woman who walks onto the TARDIS wants to shag the Doctor, Donna excepted. Donna ended up my favorite next to Rose precisely because she wasn’t pining for the fjords.

    I suspect Moffat knows this, too, and this is part of why I believe that Amy’s story simply must be much more complicated than “she fancies him.”

    I remember it sounding vaguely like “Theta Sigma,” which sounds more like the character recognized the Doctor as an old frat brother.

    Yup, another renegade Time Lord, Drax, calls him “Theta Sigma” in the episode “The Armageddon Factor.” It’s a nickname from when Drax and the Doctor were at the Prydonian Academy together. It’s NOT the Doctor’s name.

  • Brian

    Sorry, I don’t remember which episode, and nothing will ever persuade me to suffer through the Nathan-Turner years again, so feel free to question my sanity. It was one of those serials late in Baker’s run where everything dragged on endlessly and lifelessly, and, apparently to kill time, the Doctor remarks that his real name is Rutabagakatsenjammerohfrabjousday or something, but that’s too long and unpronounceable for humans, so he just calls himself the Doctor. Admittedly Wikipedia doesn’t mention this, though they are onto Theta Sigma, so if you like, just assume that I was hallucinating out of sensory deprivation. It’s more relevant in any case that Moffat says he wasn’t aware of the Doctor’s ever saying his name, and thought it was an interesting point to play with.

    My first Doctor Who serial was “Pyramids of Mars.” I tuned in just as he was about to disarm the invisible force field. Talk about being spoiled.

  • maureen

    This review mad me happy :) So much River love lol. Damn it. Moffat has turned me into a River/11th Doctor shipper.

    I really hope River isn’t evil though. I don’t think I’d like that very much, though my brother did point out halfway through the episode that it would be pretty funny if The Master had taught her stuff just to annoy The Doctor and point and laugh when he finally works out how River knows everything. That’s the sort of insane thing The Master would do.

    And Amy Pond. I am seriously worried about her. If she leaves after one season I’ll be quite sad but I think everything is pointing to that :(

    The jumping the Doctor scene scared me at first. I really didn’t like it at first. But I feel better after reading comments here. You guys are right, Moffat is too smart to just put that in for fan service.