Doctor Who 5.08: The Hungry Earth

I feel that it is worth pointing out there are going to be some non-Doctor Who posts as well today. Not necessarily anything that non-DW fans will find interesting, but I am actually posting non-DW stuff.

Er, it’s possible that I’ve been writing things this week and not posting them. Bad me.

Also, it’s possible that I was so enjoying the Victoria Day weekend and thus forgot to post about Doctor Who entirely, which is just wrong. And thus…

There is a reason that I love two-parters, and largely it’s because we get more space for build-up and tension-building that can’t really be done in 45 minutes. Not that I don’t think Amy’s Choice is gunning to be one of the high-points of a really very good season, but two-parters enable a different kind of story-telling.

It’s possible that I cringed slightly when I realised that Chris Chibnall had a writing gig this year. Sorry. It’s just that his eps of Torchwood tended to be some of the worst and I’m a little scarred. Thankfully, he’s much better at the Doctor and this episode was rather shiny and brilliant.

This was The One With Silurians. They were one of those great ideas from classic Doctor Who that was somewhat hindered by bad effects and terrible costumes, so that it’s hard to really take them seriously when their scaly heads sort of wobble worryingly. Possibly the smartest choice in this episode was to wait so long before the big reveal, because it gave lots of time to get really tense and worried about what was going on.

The idea of the Earth sucking people down might possibly be one of my big fears. I still can’t put a hand or foot over the edge of the bed at night just in case Bad Things emerge to take me down to work in deep dark hellpits for the rest of my life. We can probably thank youthful watching of an episode of Dungeons and Dragons for that one. It’s also responsible for my utter inability to watch rapid-aging story-lines. Ew, squick.

That might be why I was a bit disturbed by the clockwork men in The Girl in the Fireplace, thank you very much Moffat. That seen with the clockworkman under the bed…*shudder*

Anyway, the gradual worsening of the situation as people disappear and then ‘something’ starts rising to the surface was perfectly timed. Even when the ‘somethings’ reached the surface, we saw them as quick flashes behind us and it was only towards the end that we finally saw the Silurian.

Oh, I really did like the Doctor’s “I know what you are”. Perfect delivery there.

When we finally saw the Silurians, they were amazing. Seriously, the make-up job may be one of the best they’ve done. Incredibly life-like, the scales move with the actor’s face and suspension of disbelief is barely needed. OK, yes, the shape is reminiscent of the originals rather than a real adaptation, but the effect is more intimidating (rather than silly) because the prosthesis is so beautifully done. Big rubber heads just don’t cut it anymore.

There were other things to love about the episode. “They’re scared of me” was a beautiful moment. Rory’s disbelief and the Doctor’s pain at losing Amy were both perfectly done. The Doctor’s assertion that she must be alive sounded very much like a person trying to find something to believe in rather than someone who ‘knows’ that she’s fine.

I loved the relationship between Tony and Nasreen. It’s rare to see older couples in that tentative stage of a relationship, they’re usually the long-married people, and it’s even rarer to see an older brown woman doing anything wonderful on TV, never mind having a rather sweet story-line with a lovely man. Obviously I then wondered when they would die, because that appears to be The Rule. The answer was divulged when Tony got licked (??) and now has green veiny stuff on his shoulder.

I predict a noble yet tragic sacrifice for him. Bother.

Nasreen’s excitement over what’s happening and her determination to go with the Doctor (To the Centre of the Earth!ish) was lovely and just perfect for her. The wonder on her face when she saw the Silurian city was beautiful.

The Doctor’s ‘ah’ was made of win. Doctor, your dry humour and understatement is just as charming as your goofiness and night-vision sunshades.

In short, I really enjoyed this episode and I’m really looking forward to the next one. The only bad thing was seeing one of the scenes they cut for time in Confidential and really wishing that they’d been able to keep it. Damn those telly people dictating how long good telly must be. Grrr.

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