Flesh And Stone

Doctor WhoSurrounded by an army of statues – decayed Angels who are reawakening and gathering strength from the leaking radiation of the Byzantium’s main drive – the Doctor has to take drastic measures to keep River Song, Amy and the rest of the expedition alive, and the Angels are never far behind. A crack appears in the wall of the Byzantium’s flight deck – the same crack seen in Amy’s childhood bedroom – and the Doctor suspects that something is going horribly wrong with time itself. Amy begins unconsciously counting down from ten aloud, and the Doctor discovers that she has looked into the eyes of a Weeping Angel long enough for the Angels to use Amy’s eyes to monitor the expedition’s movements; this mental link is also killing Amy slowly, and the Doctor has to ask her to close her eyes and keep them closed, cutting the Angels off from the information they need and prolonging her own life. River Song’s part in the expedition is revealed as well: she’s not the expedition’s leader, but a convicted killer (whose victim was the “best man” she’s ever known) taking on a dangerous assignment to win a pardon from her sentence. The expedition soldiers begin vanishing one by one, consumed by the ever-expanding crack, from which Amy instinctively knows they won’t be coming back. The Doctor fights to come up with a solution that will keep his friends and allies alive, and all the while, the army of Angels closes in…

Order the DVDDownload this episodewritten by Steven Moffat
directed by Adam Smith
music by Murray Gold

Cast: Matt Smith (The Doctor), Karen Gillan (Amy Pond), Alex Kingston (River Song), Iain Glen (Octavian), David Atkins (Bob), Darren Morfitt (Marco), Mark Monero (Pedro), George Russo (Phillip)

Notes: River Song mentions that the Doctor will next see her “when the Pandorica opens” – an event that has already happened in her timeline.

LogBook entry & review by Earl Green

Review: Densely packed with information that doesn’t necessarily pay off by the end of this story, Flesh And Stone is as much setup as it is resolution. We’re rid of the Weeping Angels by the end – though I felt they were disposed of rather too easily – but the air of mystery surrounding River Song has increased considerably by the end of the story.

Flesh and StoneIt also becomes very obvious that Moffat is playing a a much more long-term game with this season’s timeline than what we’re used to. Fairly early in the story, the Doctor has to sacrifice his tweed jacket to escape the Angels, but at one point, when he’s forced to leave Amy under the protection of the expedition’s soldiers, he vanishes after being rather dismissive toward her and then reappears moments later, with his jacket on, behaving with much more obvious concern for Amy’s welfare. It’s obvious that this isn’t the Doctor we’re following through much of this episode: this is a very brief visit from the Doctor from some point in his future, who has looped back in time to try to change events. Given that, in The Beast Below, we saw a recorded message from a future Amy, it should be obvious by now that the time travelers are trying to rewrite their own history to avoid some terrible fate; what fate that is no doubt will be explained toward the end of the season. There’s also the in-your-face hint that all but screams to the audience that River’s murder victim may be the Doctor himself… as if their relationship wasn’t already complex enough.

The scene of the Angels closing in, illuminated only by strobes of light from the soldiers’ machine guns, is simply one of the best things that’s been shown this season – a brilliant way of speeding up the usual seemingly glacial speed of an Angel attack.

The little scene at the end of the episode, however, seems to have more viewers in an uproar: we’ve had companions flirt with the Doctor before, but none have tried to outright seduce him. But even the Discuss it in our forumDoctor realizes that this is another sign that something’s wrong, and it’s both refreshing and played for laughs when things don’t take the moon-eyed, unrequited-love turn that one might have expected them to if we were talking about, oh, say, Rose instead of Amy. It’s certainly not a situation that the Doctor has had to wriggle out of before…