‘THE HUNGRY EARTH’/’COLD BLOOD’
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Silurians with the Doctor, Amy and Rory
‘THE HUNGRY EARTH’ (Part 1)
I was looking forward to this two-part story! I was so intrigued, since this story featured the return of one of the Doctor’s foes from the classic series called the Silurians! I wondered what they’d be like.
The Silurians were monsters originally conceived by Malcolm Hulke. They appeared in the classic series featured in the ‘Beneath the Surface’ DVD box set. I saw those stories before this two-parter!
The Silurians are a reptilian species that were on the Earth before mankind. In the classic stories, they were reawakened from hibernation and they were unwilling to share the planet with humanity.
For the new series, they’ve come back again with the same intentions of rising from the Earth and taking over the planet by wiping out the humans. This two-parter is so well-written by Chris Chibnall.
The story begins with the Doctor, Amy and Rory visiting Cwmtaff, Wales in 2020. They discover a mining operations project is taking there, as there’s a massive drill is burrowing deep into the earth.
The Doctor discovers something’s wrong, as people are being sucked down into the earth. He soon loses Amy in the process and knows while the drilling has stopped, something is drilling up beneath.
The scene is set, as the Doctor faces a species of a bygone age on Earth. The Silurians are back and they aren’t willing to share their planet with the ‘apes’. I found this tale’s writing to be of top quality!
Chris Chibnall was once the head-writer of ‘Torchwood’ before he wrote this story. Chris has done a fine job capturing the feel of the previous Silurian stories and reintroducing them for this new series.
Not only did Chris watch the original TV Silurian stories, he also read the Target novelisation of the first Silurians story, ‘Doctor Who and the Cave Monsters’ by Malcolm Hulke. He did this to gain his inspiration for writing the story.
Chris gives names to the Silurians, which weren’t given to them in their first TV story. He also delves into the Silurians’ characters and does address the moral themes echoed from those original stories.
When I saw the first episode, I was on a drama camp planning weekend at the time. I saw the episode with my friends. Some say they found it slow, but it gradually builds up on the Silurian story.
I enjoyed Matt Smith as the Doctor in this adventure. By this point, Matt manages to find his feet, knowing what he wants and how to develop Doctor as he’s displaying lots of emotions in this story.
I got a thrill when Matt’s Doctor knew who these mysterious aliens were. Matt’s Doctor gets to pull everyone together and I did like that scene where he meets Alaya, the first Silurian to appear in this.
Karen Gillan as Amy Pond does get captured in this episode, I’m afraid. She’s mostly absent when sucked into the ground by the Silurians and this gives a focus for the Doctor to get her back for Rory.
I liked that first scene when Amy and Rory see themselves in the future waving at them. Like Amy, I was terrified and feeling claustrophobic when she was trapped inside that caged cell by the Silurians.
I liked Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams in this story. Rory takes Amy’s engagement ring and leaves it in the TARDIS for sake-keeping. He gets easily mistaken for a policeman by Ambrose and her son Elliot.
Rory gets to see the empty graves with coffins being sucked down into the Earth which is a mystery. He becomes angry with the Doctor for losing Amy, but quickly helps the Doctor when he needs him.
The guest cast are as follows. There’s Meere Syal as Nasreen Chaudbhry; Robert Pugh as Tony Mack; Nia Roberts as Ambrose, Tony’s daughter; Alun Raglan as Mo, Ambrose’s husband and young Samuel Davies as Elliot, Mo and Ambrose’s son.
The Silurians have been redesigned for the new series of ‘Doctor Who’. I liked the battle armour they wear and the masks hiding their faces. I’m not really sure about their actual prosthetics though.
The design of the Silurians’ make-up is green, scaly skin. They look more human which didn’t seem right to me somehow, since they don’t relate to the original look of the Silurians in the first TV story.
The Silurians don’t have the third red eye anymore which is sad. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind this new look of the Silurians for the 21st century. It’s just not my favourite for these new Silurians.
Neve McIntosh guest stars as Alaya in the first episode. She’s very impressive as the first Silurian for the new series of ‘Doctor Who’ and is also a female Silurian which is the first time ever in the series.
The first episode ends with the Doctor joined by Nasreen Chaudbhry, as they go off in the TARDIS down to the Earth to meet the Silurians. Rory, Ambrose and Tony remain behind to look after Alaya.
Alaya prophesises that one of the humans will kill her and Tony has been affected by a Silurian bite. Meanwhile the Doctor and Nasreen find a huge Silurian city before them beneath the planet Earth…
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 6 of ‘The Complete Series 5’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘After Effects’.
‘COLD BLOOD’ (Part 2)
In the second episode, we see more of the Silurians. Soon the Doctor and Nasreen are captured and are taken to be brutally scanned and processed. They meet Restac, who is another female Silurian.
Restac looks like Alaya, as she’s also played by Neve McIntosh. The Silurians discover the Doctor’s not human and they release him. I like the Doctor making reference to the first Silurian story in this.
Soon the Doctor and Nasreen are reunited with Amy and Mo as they try to save them from the Silurians. Restac orders the execution of the Doctor and his friends, but the execution is soon halted.
We meet for the first time another Silurian called Eldane, played by Stephen Moore. He’s a Nelson Mandela-type character, as he’s the officiating leader of Silurians and stops the execution by Restac.
There’s also Richard Hope as Malohkeh, a Silurian scientist who revives Eldane from hibernation to stop Restac’s execution of the Doctor and his friends. He’s a very sympathetic character in this story.
I’m pleased with how writer Chris Chibnall delves into the Silurians and makes them more rounded characters. The Silurians have varying personalities as well as these inner conflicts with each other.
The Silurians aren’t monsters as in previous stories, but treated as people or creatures with traits similar to humans. I liked the military and scientific groups of Silurians having differences of opinion.
The female Silurians are more aggressive than the males, especially as Restac and Alaya. There are lots of echoes to previous Silurian stories, especially the first one with its moral issues and dilemmas.
In this episode, we have the first diplomatic meeting between humans and Silurians. Eldane sits with Nasreen and Amy as Earth ambassadors, as they discuss how the humans and Silurians can co-exist.
This is a refreshing change in a Silurian story, as in previous stories the humans and Silurians fought each other. I really thought that this is where we get to have Silurians and humans living in harmony.
But as ever, it’s not as idyllic as it seems. Back on the surface, Ambrose does something really terrible. Desperate to have her family back and her father Tony cured, she inadvertently kills Alaya.
I found Ambrose’s character really interesting. What Ambrose does against the Silurians is out of love to save her family. Ambrose’s killing of Alaya costs everything when they go to the Silurian city.
The Doctor is very angry with the death of Alaya and desperately tries to be the peacemaker between the Silurians and humans. Things are made worse when Restac sees her sister Alaya dead.
Ambrose becomes difficult when she reveals that the drill has gone back into operation and tells the Silurians to leave them alone. This provokes an attack by Restac and her Silurians on everyone else.
Getting into Malohkek’s lab (who gets killed by Restac), the Doctor and friends with Eldane debate what to do. The Doctor discovers Tony’s infected and Eldane offers to remove his infection from him.
The price of returning will mean Tony will have to stay behind and never return home. Tony is willing to stay and says a tearful farewell to his family. Nasreen then stays with Tony and not return home.
They then send the Silurians back to their hibernation chambers, as the Doctor and friends. But as they make their way back to the TARDIS, the Doctor discovers the ‘crack in time’ from ‘The Eleventh Hour’ now underground.
The Doctor is anxiously curious about the crack popping up everywhere. Despite warnings from Amy and Rory, the Doctor fetches something from the crack. He gets hold of something and takes it out.
This story ends on a sad note, as Rory gets killed trying to save the Doctor’s life by Restac. I really like Rory as a companion and Arthur Darvill’s performance has been great as he develops the character.
I did not expect Rory to get killed; nor did I expect him to get erased from history. It seemed Rory wasn’t coming back. Amy is so upset with losing Rory and the Doctor takes her back into the TARDIS.
Amy begs the Doctor to go back for Rory, but she starts to forget him as he’s erased from history. The Doctor tries to make Amy remember Rory and keep that memory alive, but she finds it difficult.
After a sudden jolt to the TARRDIS, Amy instantly forgets Rory. It was a pretty gut-wrenching scene and I was really impressed with the emotional intensity displayed by the two actors Matt and Karen.
The Doctor and Amy soon leave, as the drill project gets blown up and the Silurians are left in hibernation. Amy waves at her future self in the distance and it now seems Rory isn’t there with her.
But Amy could have sworn she saw somebody else, before soon forgets. Meanwhile the Doctor, checks what he got from the crack in time and this turns out to be a burned out piece of the TARDIS.
I enjoyed this Silurian two-parter as it’s a well-written story with an emotional intensity. I worried about what happened to Rory, but it’s been a great story and one of the best of the Matt Smith era!
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On the ‘Series 5, Volume 3’ DVD, there’s ‘Monster File: The Silurians’, which looks into the creation and development of these new Silurians.
On Disc 4 of ‘The Complete Series 5’ of ‘Doctor Who’, the ‘Monster File: The Silurians’ can also be found on there. There’s also an in-vision commentary with Alun Raglan, director Ashley Way and second assistant director James Dehaviland.
On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘What Goes on Tour…’
I was sad about Rory’s exit by the end of the two-part Silurian story, as I didn’t want him to go. I wondered what was going to happen now with the Doctor and Amy travelling together and whether Rory would come back. Little did I know on what would happen in the series finale later on the year.
‘The Hungry Earth’/’Cold Blood’ rating – 9/10
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