Doctor Who Season 5–the Facebook Marathon: Part 7

The adventure continues.

March 12, 2011, 10.56 am. Amy’s Choice was as enjoyable as the first time, but now it was time to face up to my bete noire of Who writers – Chris Chibnall. Thankfully, my Facebook friends were becoming more numerous in their comments to help me through it. And as before, I’m counting this two-parter as one story, so I’ll cover both episodes here…

NB – as before, if your name or image is on these screenshots and you’d rather it wasn’t, PM me on Facebook and I’ll edit the image. Thanks!

Oh, the dilemma – one of my favourite ‘aliens’ done by my least favourite writer. Can Malcolm Hulke’s legacy survive Chris Chibnall as we delve into:

Season 5, Episode 8: The Hungry Earth

Watching this episode involves slipping the next disc of the box set into the PS3 and waiting for the menu to pop up. This takes some time.

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We’re back on contemporary Earth, in a setting any Jon Pertwee fan will instantly recognise – the standard Big Scientific Project as visited in almost every story of his first season. However, the rather limited budget for sets immediately makes this look a bit more low-rent:

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Informed of her location, Amy tries out her keen observational skills:

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The casting of comedienne Meera Syal as the project’s director raises a few eyebrows, but the celebrity guest Who of the 80s had its odd moments too:

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By this point I’ve noticed that the village where the project is located seems curiously underpopulated. My Irish and Welsh friends hasten to inform me that this is entirely accurate:

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And since we’re in Wales, not even advanced technology can keep the weather out:

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A Silurian appears (well, whatever they’re called now, anyway). She has some pretty cool make up, but I miss the quivering rubber of the Pertwee years:

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The Doctor makes a stab at telling the Silurian when she’s from. And gets it wrong, like every other time they’ve appeared:

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With this two-parter, I was pleasantly surprised enough by rewatching part one to offer a verdict on ‘the story so far’:

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But like football, it’s a game of two halves, Brian. And the second half would make me wish that Malcolm Hulke was till around to substitute for Mr Chibnall:

 

Season 5, Episode 9: Cold Blood

The second part reveals another Silurian warrior. She looks identical to the first one apart from some red patches on her scales. This raises an interesting question:

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Channelling Jon Pertwee in the first Silurian story (as does most of the script), Chibnall gets the Doctor to moralise a bit:

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Meanwhile, the scary Silurian scientist has been revealed to be a nice bloke after all. So we’re supposed to just forget that he dissected that first guy while he was conscious:

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The Silurian warriors are now itching for a fight with the ‘apes’, and it’s all a bit one-sided:

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Peace having proved elusive, the Doctor places the burden of both species’ future co-existence onto one little boy (despite UNIT and therefore the UN being well aware of the Silurians). His advice, while well-meaning, doesn’t seem to have been thought through:

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The wise old Silurian leader decides to go to sleep for another thousand years, reckoning humanity will be mature enough to deal with the situation then. But there’s something rather significant the Doctor isn’t telling him:

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But Restac is vengeful, and shoots Rory, who promptly tumbles into Amy’s crack and dies. Again. This causes heartache and confusion:

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Having run out of story, Chibnall blows up the project:

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Leaving us free to cogitate on the quality (or lack thereof) of the story, and indeed of the season so far:

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So, no consensus as to how good/bad the season is (though everyone seems on board with this particular story being rubbish). But thankfully, a civilised level of debate rather than the insane vitriol and mud slinging of most online Doctor Who forums!