Aired 29 May 2010
The new era of Doctor Who has increasingly begun to introduce major curveballs at the end of its episodes to change the trajectory of series as a whole, sometimes with just key words or phrases and sometimes with extended and involved scenes. That is again the case here, and so while ‘Cold Blood’ serves as an exceedingly good conclusion to the understated yet tense events laid out in ‘The Hungry Earth,’ it is undoubtedly the final moments that will garner the most attention.
Right as the crack appears following the apparent conclusion to the events involving the Silurians, it is clear that something big is about to happen. That is certainly the case as the programme takes the monumentally brave choice of apparently killing off one of its main characters. Some will argue that Rory is not a true companion, but it’s undeniable that he has had an increasing role over the last few episodes and has been on a very interesting arc over that time. And while it’s quite likely that the crack will provide a means for his return, it’s still genuinely shocking to see him get shot and go down so quickly. There’s been an air of invincibility about the Doctor and his companions for quite some time, but that all vanishes in an instant.
More shocking, though, is the fact that Amy has already forgotten Rory, oblivious to the fact that he ever existed and tying in nicely with her lack of knowledge of the Daleks earlier in the series. Suddenly the future Amy and Rory waving in the previous episode carries much more weight and much more mystery. Surely this turn of events will be dealt with in the coming episodes, but ‘Cold Blood’ still manages to sneak in one final mystery before its end as well as the Doctor pulls out a piece of the TARDIS from the crack. To say that events are quickly escalating as the series final approaches would be a massive understatement.
Yet, as mentioned, the events leading up to this shocking conclusion are just as enthralling. The story of the Silurians maintains a sense of the classic Doctor Who in terms of its pacing and story, and the Silurians quickly prove to be one of the more well-rounded races as their culture and motivations are further explored. While undoubtedly a noble race, the Silurians here are presented as a race full of division and conflict, just like the humans who have taken their place as the dominant species.
And on the human side, despite everyone’s best intentions, Ambrose fulfills the prophecy and kills the Silurian prisoner, instantly damaging the peace negotiations that Amy, Nasreen, and the Silurian leader Sildane attempt to undertake. This is another episode – despite an increase in overall action- that allows the characters to actually speak their minds and voice their concerns, and these scenes are all the stronger for it. It all leads to a very interesting resolution, though, as the Doctor proclaims that neither side is ready for peaceful cohabitation yet, essentially freezing negotiations for another thousand years.
Despite the rather open-ended resolution that leaves questions about said future negotiations, the Silurians make a fantastic jump to world of modern Doctor Who. Writer Chris Chibnall does great work in providing a suitable backstory and explaining the division and derision within their ranks, and hopefully further encounters with this prehistoric race are on the horizon. While it’s still undoubtedly Rory and the crack that will be the most remembered plot point in ‘Cold Blood,’ the entire episode is a resounding success.