Monday, May 3, 2010

Doctor Who Review - Flesh and Stone

Warning - The following contains spoilers for Doctor Who S5 Ep5, "Flesh and Stone". It will air in America on May 15th. If you have not seen it, and do not wish to be spoiled, do not read the following.

THAT WAS AN AMAZING EPISODE! Seriously, I had the highest expectations possible for this two parter, and I was still blown away. Flesh and Stone was the perfect mix of fun, scary, and awesome that I've come to expect from Steven Moffat after "The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit", "Blink", and "Midnight". Those four episodes are probably the best episodes of the new series. Moffat certainly has a knack for knowing what's scary. It's the unseen.

People are terrified of what they don't understand. They're terrified of what they don't see. The unknown is frightening. In The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit, the beast isn't what's scary. What's scary in that two parter is the fact that for the most part you don't understand it. Heck, I'm still not sure if The Beast was actually the devil, or just claiming to be.

Midnight is a scary episode because you never actually see the monster. The monster of Midnight is mysterious. You hear it banging on the bus. And once it possesses Sky, it's freaky because you don't understand it. Unlike a lot of the monsters on Doctor Who, it doesn't seem human at all, even though you only see it INSIDE a human.

Blink was scary because you had to see them. The second they became unseen, they become a threat. And that's scary, because once again, the unseen is terrifying.

I'd now add "The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone" to the same list of terrifyingly awesome episodes. Possibly the scariest yet. This time, the angels are even scarier, more powerful, and much stronger in numbers. I did find it odd that they seemed to write off the "Only psychopath to kill you kindly" aspect of them from Blink, but I'm willing to excuse it.

But the scariest thing in this episode is the fact that one character can't see the Angels (or anything for that matter) for a good portion of the episode. It feels chaotic, confusing, and scary. I was worried they were going to downplay the scariness of The Angels this time, but quite to the contrary, they were the scariest they've been. I want nothing more than to see The Angels become reoccuring monsters Ala the Daleks or Cybermen, only more awesome.

The thing is, the Daleks aren't really that cool anymore. That was one of the big problems with Victory of the Daleks. When the Daleks were created in 1963, they were relevant. The Daleks, for those who don't know, were created to be a direct analogy to the Nazis. And back then when WWII was still fresh in peoples minds (Relatively fresh, at least. It had been 17 years.) they were scary! But now... They're kind of campy. Fun fact, the first four seasons of the revived Doctor Who series have had more episodes feature The Daleks than Tom Bakers entire run as The Doctor.

My point is, the Daleks are not scary any more. I'm not saying they shouldn't be in the show any more, it wouldn't be Doctor Who without Daleks, but they're being used way too much. Every season has one or more episodes featuring the Daleks. Let them be! Take a season or two without them! The Weeping Angels! The Master! Even the Cybermen are more interesting than the Daleks at this point!

But this is about Flesh and Stone, not the Daleks. I will admit it seemed like an odd tangent they got off on for a good portion of the episode with the crack. I won't say exactly how it's used, but those cracks we've been seeing? Well, it plays a major part in this episode. I'm glad. Every season has had a reoccurring theme that's been mentioned repeatedly, and played into the season finale for those who don't know. In season one the words Bad Wolf were found in every episode. In season two, Torchwood was mentioned in almost every episode. In season three you saw a lot of mention of a Mr. Saxon. In season four you kept hearing about the bees disappearing. Those never came into play until the season finale. This time, the cracks seem to be coming into play in more than just the season finale. I'm interested to see where they take it.

Matt Smith seems to be settling into his role as The Doctor. He's similar to Tennant's Doctor, but there is most certainly a difference there. I really liked him in this episode. David Tennant will always be my Doctor, but Matt Smith seems to be doing the role justice. I did find myself thinking a couple times during the episode though, "This episode would be so much better with Tennant!". Ah well. I'll go back and watch him regenerate, and mourn him some more.

In short, this episode is by far the best of the new season, and one of the best two parters of the new SERIES. I don't know how they can top themselves with this one, but here's hoping Vampires in Venice is as good next week.

Just kidding, I don't expect Vampires in Venice to be anything more than a fun romp like Victory of the Daleks was. Let's just hope it's better than The Beast Below.

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