Recap: Doctor Who S31 E5 "Flesh and Stone"

aka: Doctor Who S 31 E 05 Flesh And Stone
Throws you off a bit, doesn't it...

"If you open your eyes now, for even a second, you will die."
The Doctor

There's no way back, no way up and no way out. Trapped among an army of Weeping Angels, the Doctor and his friends must try to escape through the wreckage of a crashed space liner.

The episode begins with the humans standing on the ceiling — or rather the bottom of the crashed ship — while the Angels are stuck on the floor below. By shooting the gravity globe, the Doctor gave them an updraught powerful enough to pull them into range of the ship's artificial gravity. Mission accomplished: they're out of the trap! Now they just have to get inside the ship and through another airlock door, without getting caught by the Angels again. The first part they manage; the latter is a bit tricky since it means that they'll have to turn the lights out in the corridor for a few seconds in order to get a strong enough surge of power. And a few seconds are all the Angels need.

They make it by shooting at the Angels, causing bursts of light enough to see them and slow them down. Now ensconced in a control room (with comfy chairs), they try to stop the Angels breaking in (not too successfully). Amy has started to count backwards from ten for no apparent reason, without even noticing it. However, it turns out the ship has an on-board cybernetic forest to harvest air from (as you do on a long flight), thus providing a possible escape route.

Angel Bob, the dead cleric, is on the line again. He/it informs the Doctor that the Angels are growing in power and will soon be able to devour the whole universe. According to Bob, Amy has something rather nasty in her eye. And she's still counting down. And apparently there's a much bigger source of power here than the humans had anticipated. The Angels have started laughing, which frankly sounds more like screaming.

And... there's a crack in the wall. A rather big, glowing familiar-looking one.

The party make a run for it into the forest. All except the Doctor; he's a bit occupied, first with taking samples from the great big crack, and then getting nabbed by the jacket collar as the Angels swarm in. Fortunately they are a bit occupied with absorbing energy from the crack — which turns out to be the end of the universe — to think about killing him. So, he's able to slip his tweedy bonds, leave his jacket behind and make his own escape.

Amy, meanwhile, has reached four in her involuntary countdown and is not doing well. While River and Octavian have a little argument about waiting for the Doctor, the man himself shows up, just in time to see Amy begin to decline. Not just decline, in fact; she's dying, which everyone is quickly made aware of because the Doctor doesn't believe in beating about the bush. He also doesn't have a very good bedside manner as he tries to figure out what's wrong with her. It turns out that, having looked the Angel in the eyes, there's an Angel growing in her mind, or more specifically in the vision centres of her brain. When Bob is asked why the Angels are making her count, it turns out that it's not for anything important, it's simply to make her afraid and For the Evulz. The Doctor is not happy.

With only seconds until the growing Angel "switches off" Amy, River and the Doctor decide that in order to starve it of visual input Amy must do what you should never, never do when it comes to the Weeping Angels — close her eyes. And she does.

And it seems to work. She certainly isn't dying any more. But if she opens her eyes again, for more than a second...

They're just going to have to stop the Angels all the quicker, then! The Doctor prepares to set off, taking River and Octavian (who doesn't want to let River out of his sight, although not for romantic reasons, hell no). They leave the Clerics to guard Amy. The Doctor sort of reassures Amy and heads off, leaving Amy feeling rather jilted.

And then he comes back, wearing his jacket... which he lost back in the console room? This will be important much later. He tries a bit harder to comfort her, and also tells her to remember what he said when she was seven. Unable to recall, Amy asks him what it was, but he refuses to answer — that's not "the point". She has to remember. Then he heads off again, leaving poor Amy feeling slightly less jilted, but very confused.

As the Doctor, River and Octavian pick their way through the forest, he teases her about Octavian because of his "wherever she goes, I go" schtick. Hearing this, the bishop meanly decides to break his promise to River and reveals that she's a prisoner under his jurisdiction, and that he's responsible for her until she's earned her pardon. Well, that's slightly awkward. No time for it, though, as the Doctor's calculated the date that the explosion that caused the crack began, which is 26/06/2010. Amy's era. The air date of this series' finale.

Back with Amy and the Clerics, it appears that the Angels are using the old reliable method of turning off the lights, namely by ripping the tree borgs apart. And they're wearing their grumpy faces, which means they mean business. Back with the Doctor, River and Octavian, they've reached a service hatch to the primary flight deck, but the Doctor is more intrigued by something that River says... time is running out. What if, he muses, it actually could?

Back again with Amy and the clerics, just as it seems the Angels are about to attack, a sudden bright glow in the distance scares them off. Clerics Philip and Crispin are sent to investigate the bright light, and Amy's just too damn curious not to look. She opens her eyes for that crucial second to confirm that yes, that glowing curtain of energy is the crack, and it looks just the same as it did before on her bedroom wall. It's following her...not that we didn't already know that. Then Cleric Pedro decides to get a closer look at the light. Wait, why not just wait for the other two to get back?

What other two?

...Oh. Oh dear.

Marco's adamant that there never was a Philip or a Crispin on the mission. Amy is just as adamant that there were. And during the conversation, he manages to forget Pedro as well. Amy, now understandably freaked out, tries to persuade Marco to please not go and investigate the crack, as it doesn't seem to be good for the health at all. He doesn't listen. "Two minutes." But he does leave her a spare communicator to talk to him, so she can hear perfectly clearly when his voice suddenly fades away into crackles and silence. Amy's left all alone. Well, alone except for those Angels.

Octavian is trying to get a preoccupied Doctor to leave, as the Angels are coming. The Doctor waves this off, turning around just in time to stop one going just that little bit further with the headlock it's got Octavian in.

The Doctor attempts to tell the Angel to let Octavian go, which Octavian points out as hopeless since a) the Doctor must take his eyes off the Angel for that to happen and b) the moment that happens, the Angel will break Octavian's neck. Octavian tells the Doctor to leave him, which the Doctor really doesn't want to do. In the end, he has no choice, and tells Octavian that he wished he knew him better. Octavian replies that the Doctor knew him at his best, which is all that matters. The Doctor reluctantly leaves Octavian to his fate.

On the flight deck, River's trying to get the teleporter to work. But the Doctor says there's no point, since it's as dead as Octavian. He manages to contact Amy and tells her that she has to come to them, since it's dangerous to stay where she is for more than one reason. The Angels will kill her, but if the time energy catches up with her it will erase every moment of her existence. Oh, the essentially walking blind factor? Just follow the sound of the sonic screwdriver on the communicator. And just to help, the Doctor uploads a proximity detector to the device; it'll beep so that Amy can manoeuvre around things. Such as, for example, all those Angels in front of her. Not to worry (for the moment); the Angels are frightened and acting on their instincts, freezing because they assume she can see them (wait, weren't them quantum-locked by nature?). In order not to dispel that illusion, Amy has to walk as if she can see them.

River's wondering how they stop the time energy eating everything. The obvious answer is to feed it a big complicated space time event, which will satisfy it — for the moment. What big complicated space time event were you thinking of, Doctor?... You know, you really have something of a loud martyr complex, has anyone ever told you that?

The Doctor's plan actually seems to work, as with a bit of coaxing, Amy manages to thread her way through a big group of Angels apparently without giving the game away. Of course, Murphy's Law dictates that when she's nearly clear of the Angels she promptly trips over a root, falls flat on her face and drops the communicator. And as she fails to find it again, the jig is up as the Angels begin to move in for the kill... And we get to see them move on-screen for the first time.

But River beams Amy to the flight deck. Guess there was a point in trying to fix that teleporter after all. But the Angels are draining the last of the ship's power. The doors to the forest vault open, and there are the Angels on the other side. Along with Angel Bob, who is once again their spokesperson. They've had the same idea as the Doctor: if he throws himself into the rupture in time, the rupture will close and they will be saved. The Doctor isn't too impressed with the idea when presented this way. Why should he do such a thing? Oh, yeah, Amy and River will be saved too. Well, there is that.

Understandably, River pipes up, saying that she fits the criterion for sealing the rupture as well. But it turns out she's nowhere near the level of the Angels, and only all together are they on his level, so "get a grip". No, really, get a grip. River gets the message and prepares herself and Amy accordingly, while the Doctor points out to the Angels that they happen to have drained all the power out of a ship in which, without artificial means, they by all rights shouldn't be standing upright. By means of a Pun, he points out that the artificial gravity is failing, and the real gravity is about to kick in with a vengeance. And guess what's waiting down below?

"Night night."

And so to the dulcet strains of a certain theme tune that still hasn't gotten old, the three dangle off handrails as the Angels plummet into the crack and into the cessation of their existence.

Later, back on the surface, the Doctor reassures Amy that the Angel inside her head is gone, since with the deletion of the Angels the memory never existed at all. Of course, she still remembers it (and all those poor clerics) because she's got a very good Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory. This will be extremely important later. The crack, meanwhile, is gone for now, but there's still the explosion that caused it, out there, somewhere. River and the Doctor flirt a bit, and he tells her he could kiss her for how awesome she was. "Maybe when you're older," she replies, grinning. She also tells him that the next time he meets her, the Pandorica will open. He thinks that's just a fairy tale. With that, she's taken back to prison.

Back in her bedroom, Amy shows the Doctor her wedding dress and engagement ring and confesses that shes getting married to Rory in the morning. After the Doctor misses a few anvil-sized hints that shes interested in one last bachelorette fling, Amy simply tries to jump him. In panic, he scrambles off her bed as quickly as possible. Not to be deterred that easily, she pushes him up against the TARDIS door and manages to get in a few kisses while he tries to tell her that she's engaged, she's human, he's 907 years old, the kind of relationship she is suggesting would never work between them, and could she just stop it! She instead lies back on her bed, hoping for a good shag, and that's when the Doctor realises that something very wrong is going on. Whatever it is, its focused on Amy and he has to fix it right now....

The Doctor takes one last look at the clock, and realises that Amy's wedding is on the same day as the explosion that caused the cracks — 26/6/2010. And he quickly pushes her back into the TARDIS just before the clock strikes midnight...

Meanwhile In The TARDIS: Second Episode

A DVD-only scene. The Doctor has pushed Amy back into the TARDIS, and after a few failed attempts at kissing him again, it slowly dawns on her that he's really not going to shag her. She calls him out on being the absolute Master of the Mixed Message, and realizes that she's not the first pretty girl he ever took into space. She tricks the TARDIS into showing her pictures of all previous companions and smugly notes that yep, that's a whole lot of pretty young human girls. One of which is wearing a leather bikini. The Doctor is miffed at the TARDIS for not including the tin dog.


  • Above the Influence: At the end, Amy really wants a shag from the Doctor. He refuses steadfastly.
  • Anyone Can Die: The Clerics.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Angel Bob
  • Arbitrary Skepticism:
    River: You'll see me again, soon. When the Pandorica opens.
    The Doctor: (laughs) That's a fairy tale.
    River: Aren't we all?
  • Arc Symbol: The crack in the universe.
  • Arc Words:
    • The "Pandorica" is mentioned again.
    • Also the second instance of "The Doctor in the TARDIS doesn't know/get it."
  • Artificial Gravity: This causes plenty of wacky fun throughout the episode.
  • The Atoner: Father Octavian implies his death in the line of duty makes up for an unnamed failure of duty in his past.
  • Badass: Just as the Doctor claims that there are worse things than Angels on the ship, Father Octavian gets caught in a headlock by one that he knows is going to break his neck sooner or later. His response: "I beg to differ, sir."
  • Berserk Button: The Doctor threatens the soldiers that if anything happens to Amy while he's away he "will hold each of [them] personally responsible. Twice." Later behaviour as he realised leaving Amy behind was a mistake perhaps crosses into Papa Wolf or Big Brother Instinct territory.
  • Boxed Crook: River. She seems more comfortable with the idea than Octavian, her gaoler.
  • Call Back:
    • Angel Bob calls the Doctor "The Doctor in the TARDIS" and River mentions the Pandorica opening, both like Prisoner Zero.
    • The Atraxi Eye that appeared on monitors all over the world appeared on the computer monitor very briefly just before the final confrontation between The Doctor and the Angels.
  • Call Forward: To "Forest of the Dead": "You... me... handcuffs... Why does it always end this way?"
    • Another one is made to events yet to happen, indicated by an out of place Doctor showing up, made clear by the fact he has a jacket on, after the present Doctor had to slip out of his to escape the grip of a Weeping Angel. Then begins talking about something entirely unrelated to the current situation with Amy being consumed by an Angel, as though he has already lived through these events and knows it has been taken care of already. This other Doctor has something much more pressing on his mind, and seems upset by it.
  • Cessation of Existence: What happens to you if you're consumed by a crack in time. But worse than just not existing, the cracks make sure that you never existed to begin with.
  • Chekhov's Gun: At the beginning of the episode The Doctor spends some time talking about how they escaped using the gravity and that if it was switched off they'd fall to their deaths.. It seems unnecessarily explanatory at the time. At the climax of the episode, the Angels drain all the power from the Byzantium, switching off the gravity keeping them upright, causing them to fall into the Crack.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • This isn't the first time a companion has been rendered Temporarily Blind.
    • This also isn't the first time that an army of pure, unadulterated evil is sucked into a bright white space/time anomaly, never to return, while the Doctor and everyone else hold on.
  • Cosmic Retcon: Thanks to the crack in time, "The Next Doctor" (at the very least) never happened. The Daleks, as pointed out in "Victory of the Daleks" have also vanished from Amy's time.
    The Doctor: Time is running out.
  • Damsel in Distress: Amy, although she's got a good reason for it.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: River Song
  • Deus ex Machina: Interesting variation with the Crack showing up. Even though it made the situation worse, surviving the Angels would probably have been impossible without it.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: The Doctor makes a couple of snide remarks about the fact that the Angels killed Bob in order to speak through him while the Angels are right behind him.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: The way Amy kisses the Doctor, despite his clear refusal, would not have been taken as well if it had been a man kissing an unwilling woman.
  • Evil Laugh: Of the horrific variety. Considering that it's the same noise that the freaking ringwraiths make... yeah.
  • Exact Words: The Doctor tells River to "Get a grip" while he is chatting with the Angels. At first she thinks he is complaining about her not wanting him to sacrifice himself to save everyone. He gives a bit more information and repeats the line. River understands and, while helping Amy, grabs hold of part of the ship just as the gravity fails and they go vertical.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Amy for most of the episode; justified in that she actually has a reason for keeping them shut.
  • Face Death with Dignity / It Has Been an Honor: Father Octavian may have redefined the former trope.
    The Doctor: I wish I had known you better.
    Octavian: I think, sir, you know me at my best.
  • False Reassurance:
    • Regarding the section of the Byzantium everyone is stuck in, the Doctor has thought about what to do when the power and artificial gravity fail — well, they'll plunge to their deaths, of course. See, he did think about it.
    • Regarding the Doctor.
      Octavian: River Song, Ive lost good clerics today. You trust this man?
      River: I absolutely trust him.
      Octavian: Hes not some kind of madman then?
      River: ...I absolutely trust him.
    • Played with, in that Octavian is savvy enough to clock immediately what's she's doing and is not impressed.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • This little exchange:
      The Doctor: River Song, I could bloody kiss you.
      River: Ah, well, maybe when you're older.
    • The Doctor coming back for Amy briefly, with his jacket. The Doctor is also noticeably nicer to Amy compared to his departure earlier.
  • For the Evulz: Why are the Weeping Angels making Amy count down to her death? Just to scare her!
  • Friends with Benefits: Amy wants this. The Doctor, it appears, does not.
    The Doctor: I'm 907 years old!! Do you understand what that means?!
    Amy: It's been a while?
    The Doctor: Ye-No, no, no!
  • From Bad to Worse
  • Giving Them the Strip: The Doctor is being held by his coat. He talks through his plan and leaves the angels with his jacket and a last parting piece of wisdom.
    The Doctor: Never let me talk!
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Amy wants this, but as the Doctor, as Steven Moffat put it, "stumbles over his shoelaces" when a woman starts behaving like that, it doesn't work out...
  • Gory Discretion Shot: One for Octavian.
  • Hailfire Peaks: It's a forest in a ship in a maze in a cave!
  • Held Gaze: The Doctor shares one earlier on with River and then again at the end of the episode when he is trying to reassure Amy that she's safe.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Father Octavian is content.
  • Hint Dropping: When talking about how her near-death experience have put her view on her marriage into perspective, Amy tries repeatedly to hint to "who" she wants, but the Doctor hasn't a clue to what she is talking about. She then gives up and outright tries to jump him.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Angels tried to draw energy from the crack in time to build themselves up to be a universe-consuming army of death. It backfired on them.
  • Holodeck Malfunction: The Angels start to turn off the lights (yes, again) by way of the trees.
  • Implausible Deniability
    Octavian: Do you trust this man?
    River: I absolutely trust him.
    Octavian: He's not some kind of madman, then?
    River: ...I absolutely trust him.
  • Indy Ploy: Lampshaded:
    The Doctor: ...and anyway, that's not the plan.
    River: There's a plan?
    The Doctor: I don't know yet, I haven't finished talking.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Just in case you forget when the series finale will be on.
  • Let's Split Up, Gang: At first it seems the Clerics are doing this even though Amy (and the audience) begs them not to, but then it turns out that the two investigating Clerics have been wiped from existence, and the remaining pair don't remember them or think that anything is wrong with going towards the big glowing light. Creepy? Oh yes.
  • Light-Flicker Teleportation: In the muzzle-flash of the Clerics' guns in the dark tunnel.
  • Light Is Not Good:
    • That bright white light coming out of that crack? The light that makes you feel weird and sick when you look at it? Turns out it will erase you from existence.
    • The Angels themselves. "Physically" they are beautiful statues of angels, beings associated with light and purity. Mentally, they're evil on a level only rivalled by the Daleks and the 456.
  • Literal Metaphor: "Get a grip."
  • Muzzle Flashlight
  • Neck Snap
  • Near Villain Victory: Holy shit!
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The Cracks are revealed to be this, as they will erase you from existence if you get too close to them.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Doctor would have had no clue how to stop the light in the crack if the Angels hadn't suggested he sacrifice himself, which gave him the idea to sacrifice them instead.
  • No Gravity for You: Though in this case, this wasn't really a plan so much as the Angels accidentally hoisting themselves by their own petard.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "Nighty night."
  • Plot Hole: So, suddenly the Angels can move even if they can see each other? At least, they don't seem to care that the lights are on, they're facing each other and well, they move...
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
  • Redemption Quest: River is on one of, as it seems, many.
  • Red Shirt: Alas, poor Clerics.
  • Ret Gone/Un-Person: The cracks do this.
  • Right Behind Me: River, on the Doctor: "If he's dead back there, I'll never forgive myself. And if he's alive, I'll never forgive him... And Doctor, you're standing right behind me, aren't you?"
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Apparently this is a side effect of being a time traveller.
  • Rule of Scary: See Plot Hole above.
  • Save the Villain: The Angels ask the Doctor to do this for them. He doesn't.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Talking Your Way Out:
    The Doctor: And I tell you something else — (starts running) Never let me talk!
  • Temporary Blindness: Amy's inability to open her eyes.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Taken to a horrific extreme when the crack begins to start erasing parts of history, absorbing things into it. Altogether fitting considering the Trope Namer for Timey-Wimey Ball was the Weeping Angels' first appearance, "Blink".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Or even Too Dumb to Have Ever Existed — The Weeping Angels. It must be pointed out that the Doctor actually did nothing to stop them and actually gave them hints as to what they were doing wrong. They still managed to stupid themselves to death. Again.
  • What Cliffhanger: He just needed to shoot the gravity thing? That's it? It seems like the writers were just looking for a justification for making the Doctor act like Clint Eastwood in the trailer.
  • Where's the Fun in That?:
    The Doctor: Can I trust you, River Song?
    River: If you like. But where's the fun in that?
  • Your Cheating Heart: What the hell, Amy? Have to feel bad for Rory even though we don't know him well at this point.

Tropes in "Meanwhile in the TARDIS":

Alternative Title(s):

Doctor Who S 31 E 05 Flesh And Stone