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. Also, 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.

Finally... 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 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 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.

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 she will die.

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.

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 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. 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. 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...across time already and space. 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 forgets 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." 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 because he's realized they have a bigger problem. Then he turns 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. 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 instinct. If they believe Amy can see them then their quantum locked state will activate (kind of like how humans can make themselves sick with nerves). 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?...A Time Lord?!

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

Just before they grab Amy River beams her to the flight deck. Guess there was a point in trying to fix that teleporter after all. However, 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.

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. 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 due to being a time traveler. 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. 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, and decides to end this by finding Rory and keeping him and Amy together.


Tropes:

  • Above the Influence: At the end, Amy really wants a shag from the Doctor. He refuses steadfastly.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Angel Bob is very sorry that the angels are going to Kill All Humans.
  • 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: The ship's gravity field 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 crosses into Papa Wolf or Big Brother Instinct territory.
  • Boxed Crook: River is on this mission because she wants The Pardon. 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?"
  • Cessation of Existence: If you're consumed by a crack in time, you no longer exist.
  • Character Death: All the Clerics die.
  • Chaste Hero: The Doctor doesn't realize that Amy's hitting on him until she kisses him.
  • 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's Angel infection drives a good deal of this plot's conflict. Protecting and saving her likewise.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: River Song is working on The Pardon because she killed a good man.
  • 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: Downplayed - 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: The Angels have a horrific laugh that sounds like screaming.
  • 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: Octavian dies calmly because his courage did not desert him at the end.
    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.
    • Amy's question about what will happen if the gravity fails foreshadows to Angels' fate.
  • For the Evulz: Why are the Weeping Angels making Amy count down to her death? To scare her. Why do they want to scare her? "For fun, sir."
  • Friends with Benefits: Amy wants this. The Doctor 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: As if running from an army of Weeping Angels was not bad enough, now there's a crack in time retgoning people.
  • 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 the Doctor, as Steven Moffat put it, "stumbles over his shoelaces" when a woman starts behaving like that.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We don't see Octavian's neck snap.
  • 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, the date is the same as the one that the End of the Universe explosion occured on.
    • Amy Hint Dropping about "who" she wants.
  • 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."
  • Neck Snap: The Angels kill the clerics in this fashion *bone crunch*.
  • Near Villain Victory: Before the end of the episode, Octavian and several clerics are dead, Amy still can't open her eyes, the other clerics with them have been erased from existence, River, Amy and The Doctor are in the flight deck which is surrounded by dozens of weeping angels, and to cap it all off, if something isn't "fed" to the crack, they're all going to be erased anyway.
  • Negative Space Wedgie: The Cracks are revealed to be this, as they are explosions from the end of time that will erase you from existence if you get too close to them.
  • No Gravity for You: The Angels die when the artificial gravity turns off and they fall into the crack in time. 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."
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
  • Redemption Quest: River is on one of, as it seems, many. She wonders if this one will get her The Pardon she wants.
  • Red Shirt: Alas, poor neck snapped and retgonned Clerics.
  • Ret Gone: The cracks not only erase someone's existence, they make it so the person never existed.
  • 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: Remembering things that have been retgonned is a side effect of being a time traveller.
  • Rule of Scary: Suddenly the Angels can move even if they can see each other? They don't seem to care that the lights are on, they're facing each other and well, they move. It's genuinely frightening.
  • 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 due to Angel infection.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: The crack begins erasing parts of history, absorbing things into it. This includes events as well as people. 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 fall into the crack in time because the gravity turned off, and the gravity turned off because they drained the power for it. The Doctor did nothing to stop them other then lead them into position over the crack, and he didn't do that on purpose. He just figured out what would happen right before it did.
  • 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: Amy attempts to shag the Doctor on the night before her wedding. You gotta feel bad for Rory.


Tropes in "Meanwhile in the TARDIS":

  • Almost Kiss: Amy slouches across the TARDIS console and giggles expectantly as the Doctor leans in towards her... and pointedly flicks a switch on the console.
    Amy: Typical bloke. The first thing he does is start fiddling with his motor.
  • Aren't You Going to Ravish Me?: The Doctor says the reason he has companions is so he can see the wonder of the universe through their eyes. A rather miffed Amy Pond asks if that's the only reason he brought her along. The Doctor quietly points out that there are worse reasons, whereupon Amy snorts and says, "I was certainly hoping so!"
  • Celibate Hero: Downplayed here. The Doctor might not be The Casanova and it's been a long time since his last shag but Amy points out that he just happens to enjoy showing off how awesome he is to young and attractive women.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Despite instructions to show all previous companions, the TARDIS only shows the female ones, leaving out all the men. The Doctor snarks at her for leaving out the metal dog too (K9).
  • Dirty Old Man: The Doctor fears he looks like one since many of his previous companions were attractive young women.
  • I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You: Amy tricks the Doctor into releasing the voice lock on the visual records by suggesting a phrase she could use. The Doctor responds that he would have to say, and in doing so, says it.
  • Jade-Colored Glasses: The Doctor explains why he has Companions.
    The Doctor: I'm 907. After a while, you just can't see it.
    Amy: See what?!
    The Doctor: Everything — I look at a star, and it's just a big ball of burning gas, and I know how it began and I know how it ends... and I was probably there both times. After a while, everything is just stuff. That's the problem; you make all of space and time your back yard, and what do you have? A back yard. But you; you can see it. And when you see it, I see it.
  • Master of the Mixed Message: Amy calls out the Doctor on this. He appears in the middle of the night, and whisks her away in his stylish machine and prevents her from changing out of her nightie for a long time. Then he refuses to get intimate.
  • Mood Whiplash: Between comedy Ship Tease shenanigans and the Doctor suddenly getting serious with his Jade-Colored Glasses speech.
  • Nubile Savage: One picture in particular catches Amy's eye. "Is that a leather bikini?"
  • The Obi-Wan: The Doctor views himself as this, comparing himself to Gandalf and Yoda.
  • Understatement: The Doctor's had a few young and attractive women in the TARDIS before.
  • Unwanted Harem: The Doctor is trying to evade a very flirty Amy, who eventually gets around to questioning him about any and all previous companions he's had. He admits that there have been a few, and a couple of them have been female. Amy tricks him into calling up a visual record of all the other TARDIS inhabitants over the years (mostly attractive women, as we know). He nearly dies of embarrassment.


Alternative Title(s):

Doctor Who S 31 E 05 Flesh And Stone