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 to 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 are be executed and have 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 darndest to get a human to kill her — and succeeded. Ambrose electrocuted her after one taunt too many about how her father as 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 the next few 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.
- Arc Symbol: The cracks in the wall make another appearance.
- Artistic License Biology: The Silurian doctor 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 the Silurian should know better. However, the audience probably wouldn't.
- 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.
- 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.
- Continuity Nod:
- The Doctor offhandedly mentions how some celery would be really helpful right now.
- It's not the first time somebody's sacrificed their life to save the Doctor's.
- The Doctor talks of having met a tribe of Silurians under similar circumstances before. This time he hopes that come he can create a different outcome.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Ambrose Tasers Alaya to death for information on a cure for her dad.
- 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:
- The Doctor clamped into the scanner/decontamination booth table... thing.
- Later, the Doctor and others are handcuffed to a pillar. This happens a lot in this episode.
- 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...
- General Ripper: Restac's mind is overrun by thoughts of violence and hatred. She was about to start a coup on her government, and murdered 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.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: How many shots are fired by the mooks here and how many people die? The answers are inversely porportional.
- 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.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Ambrose threatens 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.
- Last Breath Bullet: Restac, dying of poison, shoots at the Doctor.
- Looks Like She Is Enjoying It: Alaya appears to enjoy the tasering, but it's more likely that she's glad her My Death Is Just the Beginning is working out.
- Mad Scientist: Subverted. The Silurian scientist that we first see Playing with Syringes was actually quite a Nice Guy, and reasonably sympathetic to the humans.
- Mama Bear: Ambrose is willing to go to extreme lengths to protect her family.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Ambrose killing Alaya gives Restac just the excuse she needed to declare war on humanity.
- Not So Different: Restac and Ambrose are both doing what they think is best for their families, even if it means war between the two species.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Really Dead Montage: Rory gets one when Amy flashbacks to their time together. This is actually her memories erasing themselves one by one.
- 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.
- 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 Out of 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 1,000 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 be 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".
- Strike Me Down with All of Your Hatred: Alaya goads Ambrose into killing her, believing that her death would start the war she so wanted.
- Stun Guns: Ambrose hits Alaya with a Taser repeatedly, trying to force her to get her son back. Alaya dies from the repeated attacks.
- 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. Rory's not in the next episode.