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Recap / Doctor Who S31 E9 "Cold Blood"

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Cold Blood
Unintentional foreshadowing, this picture is.note 
Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Ashley Way
Production code: 1.9
Air date: 29 May 2010
Part 2 of 2

"Okay. Bringing things to order. The first meeting of representatives of the human race and homo reptilia is now in session. Ha! Never said that before, that's fab. Carry on."
The Doctor

The one where Ro... wait, who are we talking about again??

The second part of a two-parter, following on from "The Hungry Earth".

It is the most important day in the history of Earth: the dawn of a new age of harmony or the start of its final war. For the Doctor, it's a battle in which he cannot take sides and a day when nobody must die...

The Doctor and Nasreen try to sneak into the apparently empty Silurian city, but are captured and taken to be examined by the Silurian head scientist, Malohkeh. The Doctor is close to once again fall victim to yet another bit of medical malpractice, but this time he manages to explain to the practitioner that he isn't human, so he survives. However, this knowledge doesn't do too much to placate the leader of the Silurian warrior caste, Restac, an outspoken advocate for the "kill all the primate vermin" policy, who then insists both the Doctor and Nasreen be executed and has them escorted them to a Silurian court. Malohkeh, quite the gentle scholar (once one gets past that whole "vivisecting people to poke a bit at their insides" business), objects to this, preferring to find a peaceful solution, but unfortunately, he has no authority.

Amy and Mo, meanwhile, manage to escape. They find Elliot inside a pod, and many, many sleeping Silurian warriors. They sneak a couple of weapons from them and set out to rescue the Doctor.

They get captured as well, and are about to be executed — unless the humans give them back their hostage. Problem is, Alaya really wanted her war, so she did her darnedest to get a human to kill her — and succeeded. Ambrose electrocuted her after one taunt too many about how her father is going to die and Alaya would be happy to watch.

The humans can't very well tell the Silurians this, so Restac orders the execution of Amy — to be stopped by Eldane, the gentle Silurian leader, who was woken by Malohkeh to stop Restac.

The Doctor brokers discussions between Eldane, and Amy and Nasreen. Humanity is on the brink of a new era of peace and love and justice. Things go relatively well, the Doctor rescues Elliot, and there seems to be a peace offer in the works between the two species. But Malohkeh discovers some suspicious activity around the hibernation champers and decides to investigate. To his horror, he discovers that Restac is awaking a large platoon of warriors to stage a coup against Eldane, and has already made plans to move on the surface despite the outcome of the negotiations, before she kills him, as she can see no use for a good scientist in a war. And it all happens just in time for the "hostage exchange".

Then it's revealed to everybody that Ambrose killed her Silurian captive, and that she's set the drill to destroy the colony if she doesn't get her family back. Restac does not react as Ambrose expected, first demanding Ambrose be executed, then all the humans and anyone standing near them.

The Doctor leads the others back to the laboratory, where he and Eldane devise a plan to destroy the drill and force the warriors back into their hibernation units, to wake in a thousand years when humanity might be ready. Eldane initiates a "toxic fumigation" of the city, causing the warriors to stand down and return to hibernation. Tony stays behind because he needs the Silurians to cure his poisoning, and Nasreen stays behind to be with Tony. The Doctor leads all the other humans into the TARDIS.

So. All is well, right? Of course, it's all oka– oh no. The crack in the universe is here. And it's big enough for the Doctor to stick his hand in. He grabs something using a handkerchief, giving Restac just enough time to reach them and shoot at the Doctor before she dies from the exposure to the toxic gas.

Rory jumps in front of the Doctor. He dies in Amy's arms. And then, just to Woobie up the Doctor some more, the crack in the universe erases him from existence. Despite the Doctor's best efforts, Amy forgets him.

The TARDIS crew run back to the surface, say their goodbyes and encourage Elliott's parents to make him the best human being to live, and to prepare future generations for the Silurians with myths, stories, religion, anything. Amy spots Future Amy across a field alone, and the Doctor rushes her into the TARDIS.

Hey, now's a pretty good time to look at the thing from the crack... it appears to be a burned shard of a police box sign. The worried Doctor compares it to the TARDIS' own sign, and aside from the damage, they appear to be identical.


  • All for Nothing: Ambrose's decision to murder Alaya did nothing to help her father or her son. Tony must remain with the Silurians if he's to cure his poisoning, while her son is disappointed with her and notably doesn't even look at her at the end. To top it off, she ruined a chance at peace between two races. The Doctor doesn't hide it how she failed to be the best of humanity when it was needed most.
  • Arc Symbol: The cracks in the wall make another appearance.
  • Artistic Licence – Biology: The Silurian doctor Malohkeh refers to the procedure (completed on Mo, interrupted for Amy) as "dissection". Dissection is when you open up and explore a dead creature; for living creatures it's vivisection. It could be forgiven in the previous episode with Mo, but Malohkeh should know better. However, the audience probably wouldn't.
    • Also, with The Doctor calling them "Homo reptilia", which would classify the Silurians as the same genus, different species as humans, ie the difference between lions and tigers. A better classification might be for example "Reptilia sapiens" (meaning 'Wise Reptiles').
  • Big Bad: Commander Restac.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: While Malohkeh is decontaminating the Doctor, claiming it's only to remove bacteria, the Doctor begs him not to. What are considered common germs to humans are apparently a vital part of a Gallifreyan's microbiome.
    The Doctor: I'm not an ape. Look at the scans. Two hearts. Totally different. Totally not ape! Remove all human germs, you remove half the things keeping me alive.
  • Blasting It Out of Their Hands: The Doctor effectively does this to the mooks' weapons using the sonic screwdriver. It makes more sense than most applications of this trope, as the device in question is using focused sonic waves to damage the internal workings of the weapons directly, rather than shooting a projectile at them and hoping it hits.
  • Character Development: Malohkeh vivisects Mo without anaesthetic, and is ready and willing to do the same thing to Amy at the beginning of this episode. By the end of the story, however (or rather his end, which comes a lot sooner), he's gushing about how wonderful humans are.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • One from the beginning of "The Hungry Earth" goes off, with Amy seeing only Future!Amy and nobody else on the hill at the end.
    • You can clearly see the taser with which Ambrose kills Alaya among the pile of weapons she puts in her van in the first episode.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Ambrose tasers Alaya to death for information on a cure for her dad.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "You've been down here, working by yourself, all alone."
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Everyone's going into the TARDIS, the Silurians are going back to sleep and then, suddenly, time crack!
  • Distressed Dude:
  • Downer Ending: The Doctor makes a big point on how no one can die this time in order for things to work out. The alliance falls apart, several people die, and a possible glorious future for both the humans and the Silurians together is (at best) put on hold. Admittedly, the narration implies that humanity and the Silurians may be able to make peace a thousand years after the events of the episode, which might raise the ending to Bittersweet.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Restac is obsessed with "protecting" the Silurians from the humans even if it means exterminating everyone on the Earth's surface... but when she sees Alaya's corpse, her grief is very real.
  • Everybody Lives: The Doctor attempts to do this, but it doesn't work.
  • Evil Gloating: Alaya goads Ambrose into acting by talking about the gruesome things planned for her son.
  • Faceless Goons: The army that Restac wakes up consists solely of these. They even have masks.
  • Fantastic Racism: It's heated up from the previous. Ambrose tortures and kills Alaya and thinks little of it, while Restac is planning genocide.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Rory dying and being pulled into the crack in time — rather than being "remembered and celebrated", he is simply erased. The Doctor remembers, however, so he feels doubly responsible for his death and the utter obliteration of a large part of Amy's life. Yet despite there allegedly being nothing to remember, the engagement ring survives inside the TARDIS...
  • Foreshadowing: Despite having forgotten Rory because he's part of her personal history, Amy makes a comment about "You boys", in plural, as she gets inside the TARDIS at the end.
  • General Ripper: Restac's mind is overrun by thoughts of violence and hatred. She nearly starts a coup on her government, and murders one of her people in order to supposedly protect her people.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Rory Taking the Bullet for the Doctor.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Played with; considering how previous interactions between humans and Silurians have gone, the humans — with one notable exception — come off quite well, all things considering. The Doctor still gives Ambrose an earful for being a monster in this scenario.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Yes, Ambrose, do use a taser on your only hostage. No way that can backfire.
    • The Doctor grabs hold of it when he tells Malohkeh and Restac that humans attacked other groups of Silurians. He could've said that the Silurians aren't around any more, or even that the Silurians attacked first and the humans were forced to kill them in self-defence, but his statement that the humans attacked them just makes the situation worse.
  • I Choose to Stay: Nasreen chooses to go into hibernation with Tony (whom she had fallen in love with) for 1000 years; at which point the Silurians will re-awaken and Tony would be decontaminated, and both of them plan to serve as the Silurians' ambassadors to Humanity in peaceful coexistence on Earth. The Doctor is proud of her dedication towards this goal.
    Nasreen: "I've got what I was digging for, I can't leave when I've only just found it."
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: How many shots are fired by the mooks here and how many people die? The answers are inversely proportional.
  • In Spite of a Nail: The Doctor makes a point to explain that their meeting with the Silurians is not a Fixed Point, and is quite happy with the idea of seeing what the effects of it will be.
  • Intrigued by Humanity: Malohkeh, the chief scientist of the Silurians who has spent his time studying Humanity and how they managed to evolve over millions of years, developing a fascination with them that he was willing to awaken Eldane from hibernation in order to prevent Restac from starting a war with the surface.
    Restac: "What is it about Apes you love so much?"
    Malohkeh: "While you slept, they've evolved. I've seen it for myself."
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Ambrose threatens Alaya at taser-point to get information on how to cure her father. It doesn't work.
  • Karma Houdini: It's a downplayed trope. Ambrose isn't punished for torturing and killing Alaya, but the Doctor suggests that The Punishment Is the Crime. However, given that the Doctor is positively affable towards her in her last scene and somehow trusts her to make Elliot "the best of humanity", she comes across as Easily Forgiven.
  • Last Breath Bullet: Restac, dying of poison, shoots at the Doctor.
  • Mad Scientist: Subverted. The Silurian scientist that we first see Playing with Syringes was actually (supposedly) quite a Nice Guy, and reasonably sympathetic to the humans.
  • Mama Bear: Ambrose is willing to go to extreme lengths to protect her family.
  • Mirror Character: Restac and Ambrose are both doing what they think is best for their families, even if it means war between the two species.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Alaya goads Ambrose into killing her in an attempt to provoke a war between their species.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ambrose killing Alaya gives Restac just the excuse she needed to declare war on humanity.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Doctor's facial expression when he discovers that the "shrapnel" he pulled out of the crack is a piece of the TARDIS speaks volumes.
  • The Punishment Is the Crime: The Doctor suggests that this is the case for Ambrose. She has to live with the fact that she tortured and killed someone for nothing and put the whole human race at risk because of her hatred. There's also the guilt of genocide; just ask the Doctor how that feels. Finally, there's the fact that her son, whom she did all this for, is disgusted by how low she sunk. That's a life sentence right there. However, given that Tony's last words to Elliot are to not blame her because she only did what she thought was right, it's hard not to suspect she will be Easily Forgiven by him.
  • Putting on the Reich: Restac's epaulettes are red, white, and black like the old German flags, and she has a scar down one side of her face like Nazi commando leader Otto Skorzeny. Plus, Fantastic Racism and Mad Scientists.
  • Really Dead Montage: Rory gets one when Amy flashbacks to their time together. This is actually her memories erasing themselves one by one.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Eldane is some sort of authority figure among the Silurians, and he is nothing if not accommodating during the negotiations. He acknowledges that his people will put a greater strain on Earth's resources, and to offset this, he offers the abundance of Silurian science and technology.
  • Reset Button: At least the reset button has a "snooze" function, although it is usually ten minutes — not a thousand years, which is when the Silurians will wake up again.
  • Ret-Gone: Rory is devoured by a crack in time and removed from Amy's memories, but their engagement ring is still around.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: As in "Flesh and Stone", being a time traveller allows a person to remember the history that has been swallowed by the cracks. Unless it's too much a part of the time traveller's own personal history. So when Rory is vanished, the Doctor still remembers him, but Amy forgets.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Eldane plans to pump the city full of poison gas, killing anyone not in a hibernation pod. As soon as the announcement of this goes out over the city's PA system, Restac's soldiers immediately about-face and march off to their pods, abandoning her.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Restac's army is woken up for her coup and then re-canned at the end.
  • Sealed Good in a Can: The Silurian elder Eldane, woken up to prevent the war, then re-sealed to do the same again in 1000 years' time.
  • Shiny New Australia:
    • The Doctor suggests that humanity give Australia to the Silurians as a new homeland.
    • Amy suggests giving them places the humans can't inhabit, like the Australian outback, Sahara Desert and Nevada plains.
  • Shown Their Work: All of the Silurian warriors are female, with the males being more peaceful and willing to debate options. In many reptile species the females are larger, more aggressive (although often to protect young) and more territorial than the males. The reason would appear to be the same here too, as Alaya taunts Ambrose about being too weak to protect her family. A later episode has a Silurian placing emphasis on "a mother's instincts."
  • Static Stun Gun: Ambrose hits Alaya with a taser repeatedly, trying to force her to get her son back. Alaya dies from the repeated attacks.
  • Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred!: Alaya goads Ambrose into killing her, believing that her death will start the war she wants so badly.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: The Doctor has absolutely no problem with Malohkeh, despite the fact that the guy was prepared to vivisect his companion. In fairness, the Doctor himself doesn't know that.
  • They Killed Kenny Again: Death number three for Rory, with a dose of Retgone thrown in for good measure.
  • Villain Ball: Alaya and Restac. They're just aching to exterminate humanity, seeking to gain just cause for a genocidal war. Together with Ambrose, they provide the edge of evilness to start a war despite everyone else's best efforts.
  • Wham Episode: Rory's death, followed swiftly by being erased from time and then forgotten by Amy, and the Doctor discovers a piece of the TARDIS in the time crack.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Ambrose murders an unarmed Silurian prisoner and attempts genocide by programming the drill to destroy their city. The Doctor protects her from Restac's Roaring Rampage of Revenge, despite it seeming quite justified. Eldane decides to flood the city with toxic gas. The Doctor makes no objection, even though it could result in the death of several Silurians and does result in the death of Restac (albeit because she chooses Revenge Before Reason and ignores the warning to return to cryosleep).