S31 (5) 09 – Cold Blood

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    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    S31 (5) 09 – Cold Blood (repeat, BBC3 7.45pm Sat 5 January 2013)

    What the Dan Martin Guardian Blogs thought at the time can be accessed here.

    In figures: Overnight figures were 5.7m, timeshift figures were 7.5m. Audience Appreciation Index (AI) was 85 (Excellent).

    Of interest: This episode (2 of 2) introduced the new Silurian Race and features Neve McIntosh who currently delights us as “Madame Vastra” in a performance as aggressive ape-hater General Restac and clone sister Alaya, and a guest star appearance by Meera Syal. It saw (at the time) the shock death of a character.

    Thoughts on this welcome.

    ScaryB @scaryb

    Funny looking back at the old blogs, bloggers and bonkers theories 🙂

    And a good idea to revisit – Cold Blood (BBC3 repeats) as good a place to start as any… unless there’s anyone in this forum who is geeky enough to provide access to any other downloads/DVD availability (libraries useful for those short of funds), for the colonial enthusiasts.  Same goes for discussion on past epis/serial. Happy to revisit just not sure how!

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    I was very positive about this when I first saw it. After a frenetic first half of the season, I found the change of pace to something slower welcome, and looked forward to the introduction of the Silurians.

    When I came to rewatch it in a DVD marathon, it seemed an oddity and I got (gasp) bored. I think that is the danger with box-set marathons of things you’ve already watched. You tend to look at the change of pace episodes and think “Yeah – let’s get this over with – we have the final four episodes to get to!”.

    Watching them at a more leisurely pace, with no expectation for the future, I can see why I liked it. It had a bit of room, but not possibly enough. It tried to recreate that initial Pertwee encounter, but didn’t have the room to manoeuvre. The conversion of Malohkeh  from “dissecting scientist par excellence” to “on the side of hominids” is really jarring in retrospect. I do think it could have been handled more elegantly, even with the time available.

    I love the re-design of the Silurians, and the fact that they were presented as another associated species of the Silurians (in our history, we shared the planet at one point with five or six of our hominid cousins). Without that redesign we would not have Vastra, and I was surprised at the negative reaction to it. I genuinely wanted to bang my head on the screen at the previous blogs argument about “Homo Reptilia” vs “Reptilia Sapiens”. The former was used in the Pertwee years, and deviation would have bought even more cries of betrayal by ancient fanboys, I’m sure.

    I think this did what it needed to do. Bring a species back, in a familiar story and familiar pace.

    The ancient blog also revealed a surprising amount of Rory-Rage, which I didn’t get at the time. It’s humorous to consider though that those early posts arguing “what does she see in ‘im” later became “what does he see in ‘er” as we went into series 6. Truly, Arthur Darvill should be congratulated on how he really did grow on the audience.

    chickenelly @chickenelly

    This was one of my least favourite episodes of the series, but I gave the second half another go you know to show a bit of willing (plus there is bugger all on telly).

    It was nice seeing Rory and Amy again, even though they’ve technically only been out of Who for one episode.  My initial reaction, however, was ‘Oooh doesn’t Matt look young’.

    The stand out bit of the episode is the rather poignant/creepy Amy sans Rory waving scene.

    To continue on from @phaseshift‘s observations about how Rory as a character develops, he says something along the lines of ‘I’d trust the Doctor with my life’ in this episode.  Yet after quite a few scrapes (usually involving his own death) plus living longer than the Doctor when he was a plastic Centurion, he’s rather more cynical in series 6.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    My initial reaction, however, was ‘Oooh doesn’t Matt look young’.

    He’s reported to have had a stomach complaint between first and second series which made him drop a lot of weight. It really is an astonishing difference between Matt in this series and the next couple though. He looks gaunt in the later series.


    I thought it was worth putting up a link to the old blog to recognise our source, but it is astonishing to see how we have changed. I think on the later blogs I made less comments, but we had more voices.

    Looking at it, Juniperfish and HTPBDET are the most recognisable these days (and it is surprising if you consider their relative activity – HTPBDET made far more comments). I do love how the blog seemed to grow based upon an early inclination of people wanting to post more than “this is shit” or “this was great”.

    I actually do miss comments by JaneBasingstoke, Danalottah @ Grendle, amongst others, even if I disagreed with them at the time 🙁

    Craig @craig

    @phaseshift That reminds me, I was looking at the list of users today and we have 17 people who have signed up but not confirmed, one of whom is Juniperfish.

    I had to help @stevethewhistle confirm his status on Friday as he hadn’t received an email to do so. Was wondering what people thought about me emailing people just to ask if they had problems in creating an account. I’d hate to lose members just because of early teething troubles with the site (which I hope are now over as I emailed the hosting company and asked them to increase our email limit – which they put in place to stop spamming sites).

    So, should I send them all an email or wait until they contact me?

    Haven’t watched the Cold Blood repeat, just got in, but will do so tomorrow.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    I’d send them an e-mail. I was wondering about Juniperfish in particular because of her support on the last blog for a site like this. I understand some users have strange operating hours, so it would be useful.

    I think people will readily understand any teething troubles. Craig, I think I would have operated at half your speed to get this site up and running to this extent. You really do have my congratulations.

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip

     My initial reaction, however, was ‘Oooh doesn’t Matt look young’.

    Both David Tennant and Matt Smith have remarked what a physically demanding role The Doctor is. It’s pretty noticeable that David Tennant looked nearly a decade older by the end of his run – watch The Christmas Invasion; the difference is amazing.

    So I’m not too surprised that Matt Smith is also looking a lot older as his run continues.

    I loved the new make up for the Silurians; it allows them to use top-class actors rather than top-class physical theatre experts. I don’t think a modern audience would have tolerated  Pertwee-style Silurians; currently I’m rewatching The Daemons, and while it’s well acted, Bok’s costume is a bit … bad.

    I also enjoyed the way Chris Chibnall clearly did a wee bit of research into lizards and found that – in certain lizard species – the females are the aggressive ones. And then ran with it.


    Craig @craig

    Thanks @phaseshift, I’ll email them tomorrow. And really, I’m only standing on the shoulders of giants. I use WordPress a lot so am very familiar with it, so that maybe helps, but I’ve never used the BuddyPress plugin before (except as a test install) as have never had to create a community. But it really is a plug-and-play community website. You just have to change a few settings to suit your preferences, edit the odd file, like adding the disclaimer in the footer, and Robert is, as they say, your Uncle.

    This man, another Matt, along with the huge team that helps out, is the one who deserves all the kudos. Not really interested in profit, just producing the best software he can: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jjcolao/2012/09/05/the-internets-mother-tongue/. He’s still worth about $20 million – but that’s nowhere near Zuckerberg, and I would argue he’s done much, much more for a free and accessible web for all, without sucking the soul out of everyone who uses his product.

    I think I may have had a couple too many wines :-/

    Anonymous @

    @craig – the site is looking great. Really going from strength to strength….

    @chickenelly and @bluepipsqueak — I too was rather shocked at just how Matt has seemingly aged since this story. It does certainly seem to take it out of you, this being the Doctor business…

    I’ve watched this episode a couple of times on DVD since it was aired but strangely I enjoyed it far less this time than any those previous times, maybe because I was looking at it with a more critical eye this time.

    There’s lots to love here though — Matt was great, so was Karen (love the ‘you’re so clingy’ line) and Neve McIntosh was fantastic. I’ve loved her ever since her turn as Fuschia in Gormenghast but both in her double role here and later as Lady Vastra, I think she’s been brillilant.  In fact, all of the Silurians were great and like @phaseshift, I do really like the new design. I think it’s one of the best ‘monster’ costumes of nu-Who….

    My main problem with this episode is simple — Chris bloody Chibnall and his tendency to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I realise that in the past couple of seasons he’s redeemed himself by writing some better stories, but this is a prime example of Chibbers at his worst. Rather than the Pertwee era, this story seemed to me to evoke the worst excesses of both the RTD era and of Torchwood — riding roughshod over logic in favour of sentimentality and speed.

    Here’s what irked me:

    1. The speedy transformation of Malokeh from Silurian Dr Mengele to kind-hearted philanthropic scientist. It made no sense and jarred far too much.

    2. That the Silurians thought that four ‘apes’ cowering in a church were who they had to negotiate with. Bearing in mind that they’re in no way thick, wouldn’t they monitor airwaves and such and go straight to what were the obvious sources of human political power? The reason why this wasn’t an issue in the Pertwee days was because by virtue of his being allied with UNIT, he was essentially aligned with the Establishment and did have a kind of mandate for negotiation.

    3. Just what the hell was the point of the drilling operation? It seemed bizarrely understaffed and lacking in security for any kind of official operation and they seemed more like an amateur, maybe university-based project. But surely a drill of that size and destructive potential would have more security and failsafes around it so that it couldn’t be misused by one (ailing) operator and his untrained daughter? Again, it seemed like an idea that hadn’t been thought through but we were just supposed to be warmly and vaguely reminded of The Green Death and not worry about it too much.

    Having moaned about it though, I think I would like to see a sequel to this story — set in the future and showing an Earth in which Silurians and Humans are struggling to co-exist, with shades of immigration tension and undercurrents of terrorism/potential war. Just don’t give it to Chibbers, that’s all…

    Good to see so many familiar faces continuing to voice their bonkers theories. And also great that there is a strong chance of hearing from some new voices too. Agree with @phaseshift at looking back at the old Guardian blog that we’ve missed some old voices of late. I do hope that JuniperFish and Geoffrey find their way here eventually….

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord


    Neve McIntosh was fantastic. I’ve loved her ever since her turn as Fuschia in Gormenghast

    Oh you clever Fish. I was wondering what I’d seen her in before. I really need to rewatch that. I was drawn to it because of Christopher Lee, but the entire production was great.

    Chris bloody Chibnall and his tendency to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Sorry – I’m going to have to get a cloth to wipe away the tea I just sprayed my monitor with. Both funny and very accurate.

    Rewvian @rewvian

    So I’m going to talk about The Hungry Earth, which is part one of this episode.  Go figure this second part has 2 threads…

    So the Doctor & Co were going to a beach but wound up at a graveyard.  The people in the Graves have been going missing, as does the crew member for a drilling team.

    The Doctor and Amy examine the drill team’s building and several sections of the floor open up.  Amy is taken in the process, dragged into the Earth.  The Doctor deduces that there is a new sound underground, underground people rising up to the surface.

    The sky becomes red and a dome traps the group at the drill site and graveyard.  The kid with dyslexia gets kidnapped as well by the underground people.  The Doctor puts on thermal glasses and figures out which species it is because it is cold-blooded, then captures it.

    The Silurians are reptile people.  The Doctor makes a valid statement by correcting that they aren’t aliens because they were the previous dominant species on Earth.  The guy leading the drilling mission gets poisoned by the Silurian’s poison tongue.

    @dentarthurdent The Doctor takes this position of power like you mentioned in Vampires of Venice again, unfolding a chair and sitting in front of his Silurian captive to speak to it.  The Silurian threatens war against the humans.

    The episode ends with the TARDIS being forcefully dragged underground, and the Doctor and the drilling lady finding a large civilization of Silurians underground and not a small tribe.

    Rewvian @rewvian

    So I should start by saying that the makeup for the Silurians is pretty good.  The costuming and whatnot as well.  The guns they carry might be where they cut some corners (how do they fire them, exactly?) but all in all they did pretty dang good.

    This episode sees the family failing to “be the best examples of humanity”, as the grandfather asks for help getting an antidote for his wound in exchange for helping the captive Silurian escape, and the mother shoots and kills the captured Silurian with a stun gun of some kind.  Amy and the father face surgery from a Silurian doctor, but Amy escapes by pickpocketing the chair lock device.  The Doctor gets captured immediately.  Everyone barely survives a confrontation with the Silurian warrior and her soldiers when a high-ranking Silurian shows up with the Silurian doctor.  The dyslexic boy is returned to the parents.

    A chance is given for Amy and the driller woman to represent humanity and talk with the high-ranking Silurian to share the planet.  It is cut short when Rory and the people from above reach the room, and reveal the captive Silurian is dead.  When the warrior Silurian shows up all bets are pretty much off, and she awakens a whole army of Silurians to execute errybody.  She kills the doctor Silurian.  I said Silurians a lot.  Silurians.

    The ensuing moments see a convoluted plot where the mother and grandfather set the drill to fire back up in 15 more minutes, so if everyone is to survive then they need to be allowed to leave.  The high-ranker executes a program that unleashes some toxic substance (or sleeping substance?), causing all of the Silurian soldiers to return to where they were and go back to sleep.  Warrior disobeys and, despite being floored, takes Rory out with a laser shot.

    The Doctor reaches into the crack he finds outside of the TARDIS, but then comments that anything that touches the light emitted from it will cease to exist.  Mhm.  The cool twist is that he finds a piece of the TARDIS, burnt at the edges.  Rory vanishes and the Doctor tries to get Amy to remember him so he can somehow be saved.

    I thought the episodes were alright, definitely made more interesting by the Silurians.  I wonder why they didn’t see Rory on the hill the second time, but did the first time.  There’s so much I forget.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @rewvian You’re getting way ahead of me now and disappearing in the distance! However, what I remember from this episode (that, so far as I know, was never expanded on later) was a future ‘Amy and Rory’ waving from a hill in the distance.
    Other than that, I found the double episode a bit disappointing. Big build-up of apparently supernatural beings in Episode 1, which turned out to be just super moles. Also, I was not happy about the way the humans behaved. It didn’t really excite me at all. It was about here that I lost touch with Doctor Who on its original screening. It wasn’t till many years later, when (on some completely unrelated Internet talk site) there was a link to Vincent and the Doctor, specifically the scene with Vincent van Gogh and the excellent Bill Nighy in the Louvre, that my interest in Who was rekindled and I bought the S5 DVD’s.

    Anyway, re this double episode, I think Anonymous’s post of 6th Jan 2013 about summarises my reactions to it.

    Rewvian @rewvian

    @dentarthurdent I’m surprised these episodes made you lose interest in the series back during original run.  I remember when I watched the Pandorica episodes at the end of the season I felt like it had a cop out ending sort of, but Idk how I would feel about it now.  I kept on watching through season 6 I know, but then kind of stopped for a while and had to play catch up with season 7 and the Day of the Doctor.

    I watched season 8 with the 12th Doctor and most of that season disappointed me enough that I stopped watching the show since then.  Though, I wanted to get back into it a couple of times, the mood to rekindle my Who obsession hasn’t materialized until now.  And here I am catching back up to where I left off, gradually.  But the rewatch has changed my views on some of the series.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    @rewvian It wasn’t so much that it ‘made’ me lose interest. But about that time I was gradually stopping watching series on TV anyway, since the Internet (and DVDs) had arrived and I could never remember to catch the TV at the right time anyway. Since then I don’t follow anything on TV (except the news), I get the DVD’s. And some things I do see on TV, but only because Mrs D watches TV incessantly.

    So it wasn’t like the days of Blakes 7 when it was a case of ‘see it now or maybe never again’ – (that was pre-VCR’s. VCR’s were the real revolution, DVD’s just a technical improvement – they meant you could watch things at home, any time you liked, for a modest cost. Previously that was impossible.)

    But anyway, when my interest was prodded (by a link to a Youtube clip of Vincent and the Louvre curator Bill Nighy) I just got the S5 DVD set. And went on from there, I liked Season 6 (episode arc and all, I love that stuff) and I liked/loved almost all of Twelve’s episodes (unlike you but that’s allowed 🙂 13 is kinda ‘umm’ for me, I probably wouldn’t have got them but for this site keeping my interest going. (Incidentally, I’ve just noticed Hungry Earth / Cold Blood were written by Chibnall – what a coincidence. Start off well but sorta fizzle in the second half.)

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