Episode 7 – AMY’S CHOICE

This is a super little episode that stands out from most of the others in series five. The Dream Lord was an intriguing character, who I think might’ve played a bigger part in series five than meets the eye. It’s clear he was a version of the Doctor, I’ve discussed who he could be at great length in a previous post. (https://talkingtardis.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/who-is-the-dream-lord/) The episode itself is brilliant. Toby Jones is fantastic as the Dream Lord and adds so much mystery to the episode. You really didn’t know what world was real and the resolution that both worlds were dreams manufactured by the Dream Lord was very clever. The Eknodine appearing as old people were very creepy and actually looked threatening. Both dream states were very dangerous and the story never paused for breath, there was danger all the way through. I did love this episode, it kept me captivated throughout and was a truly unique concept. 9/10

Episode 8 – THE HUNGRY EARTH

Although this story was basically a rehash of the 70s serial Doctor Who and the Silurians, it’s still a good two parter, written by Chris Chibnall. The Silurians can only really be seen when something is invading their space beneath the Earth’s surface, so the drill 21km down was a valid reason to wake the previous inhabitants of Earth. The new design of the Silurians was absolutely beautiful. This actually added to how friendly some of them were, and also how dark and creepy others were. The Doctor had another brilliant episode in a series that was Matt Smith’s best in the role. Ambrose had collected a huge array of weapons to fight and the Doctor said; “I’m asking nicely – put them away”. This highlighted exactly what the Doctor’s mission is as he travels through time and space. He doesn’t do it to fight or cause trouble, he does it to discover and help all species try to find peace. We also saw another super brief glimpse of this incarnation’s dark side. When Alaya tried to bluff that she was the last of her series, the Doctor sat perfectly calmly in his chair but chillingly said; “No, you’re really not. Because I’m the last of my species and I know how it sits in a heart. So don’t insult me! Let’s start again. Tell me your name.” The way he delivered the line in such a composed way yet with such hurt and anger in his voice reflected how the eleventh Doctor was an incarnation whose goofing around was an attempt to forget the demons of his past and the Time War. I liked the holes in the ground stealing people from the surface, it was spooky and the scene where Amy was taken was particularly tense. It was the first time that Amy had been forcibly separated from the Doctor and I enjoyed seeing his reaction when she was taken. The cliffhanger of this episode is different as instead of posing an immediate danger, the reveal of an entire Silurian colony added a whole new dimension to the story. The concept is nothing new, but it’s an enjoyable well written first part. 7/10

Episode 9 – COLD BLOOD

This episode was really thought provoking, and although the concept lacked originality, the script was fantastic. Throughout, it was great to see the Doctor having an immense amount of fun trying to perusade the Silurians and the Human race to negotiate to share the planet. It made you think what would happen if a similar scenario did occur in real life? The set of the Silurian’s city was designed in exquisite detail and the final result was stunning. Seeing Eldane stop Restac from murdering the Doctor and co. showed there were Silurians that just wanted peace and Restac wasn’t a fair reflection on their whole race. The script was clever as the best and worst was shown of both races. One of Chris Chibnall’s strengths as a writer is developing characters and he brilliantly made Ambrose an easy to hate character. She should be a woman who is quite normal and easy to like but she performs desperate actions to protect her family, quite understandably, but Chibnall still makes her an unlikable character and you almost feel like siding with the Silurians at points throughout this story. The Doctor disarming every single Silurian gun with his sonic screwdriver was a bit dubious. It’s just a screwdriver, it shouldn’t have such immense power. When Rory died, we were told Amy forgot about him because he was part of her life, that’s why she remembered the soldiers back in Flesh and Stone. This is fair enough but when Ambrose and her family emerged in the TARDIS console room, why didn’t they ask where Rory was? They should’ve still remembered him based on that logic. Apart from those two little points, this was a satisfying conclusion to a thought provoking, well written two parter. 7/10

Episode 10 – VINCENT AND THE DOCTOR

This was Richard Curtis’ first attempt at a Doctor Who story and he immediately understood what the show was all about. But for one little tiny detail, this story would’ve been rated 10/10, but I’ll get to that. Vincent Van Gogh was portrayed beautifully by Tony Curran. Some of his dialogue was penned so perfectly and delicately by Curtis, and Curran delivered every line exactly as you’d imagine such a troubled genius would. The Krafayis was a pretty normal enemy, but its end was emotional and fitted the episode well. When the Doctor enters the church and Vincent asks him what he armed with, his reply of “Overconfidence, this (suitcase) and a small screwdriver” was absolutely hilarious. Afterwards, seeing the sky turn into “Starry Night” through Van Gogh’s eyes was one of many lovely touches at the end of the episode. The scene in the Musee d’Orsay where Doctor Black (played wonderfully by Bill Nigh) explains that Van Gogh, to him, is the greatest artist of them all, is my favourite scene in the modern era. Some fans think it’s over the top but in my opinion, it’s a show about time travel, and this was time travel utilised perfectly. Seeing the emotion on Van Gogh’s face as he hugged Doctor Black was so touching and it splendidly rounded off such a perfectly written and acted scene. When the Doctor and Amy return after dropping Van Gogh back home, seeing “For Amy” painted on Van Gogh’s wonderful sunflowers painting was yet another nice touch. The only niggle I had was the Krafayis disappeared from the painting of the church. Wouldn’t that have created a paradox as the Doctor and Amy would never have seen the monster and therefore wouldn’t have went back in time to meet Van Gogh? Apart from that though, this was such a masterfully written and performed story that is my favourite of series five. The idea that even the Doctor couldn’t tackle Vincent’s mental health issues sent a very strong message that such problems are incredibly serious in today’s society. Like Blink, it’s not perfect, but it’s superior to episodes I’ve rated one from perfect. 9.5/10

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