So – we’re back. We have human hostages and a Silurian hostage held below and above ground respectively, Amy was about to be sliced open by a nasty-looking laser-scalpel, and the Doctor and Nasreen (I do love Meera Syal – there is probably no programme on TV that couldn’t be improved by adding her) are wandering through the beautifully lit, subterranean Silurian city.
I rather like that the writers deal with the inevitable dip in tension that comes with a two-parter by setting Amy and Mo free as quickly as possible and treating us to an introduction that channels Babylon 5 and Doomsday (the finale to DW (2.13)).
Chris Chibnall then works rather hard to get everybody in one – rather claustrophobic – place. I have to say the Silurians gassing the Doctor reminded me of Mr Hat rendering the upstairs of our house uninhabitable every morning with his deodorant. It was a bit distracting as a result.
Actually, this episode really wasn’t about the Doctor – he was there interfering and facilitating at the crucial moments – but it was about the humans and Silurians – the best and worst of both. And who would have predicted a few weeks ago that Rory would so clearly be among the best? If the episode belonged to anyone it was to Rory – really stepping up to the responsibilities of time travel with the Doctor and ultimately sacrificing himself to save our favourite Time Lord.
Sacrifice was, of course, another massive theme running through Cold Blood. Alaya’s sacrifice of her own life (for the worst reasons), Tony’s decision to remain underground, Nasreen opting to stay with him, Eldane choosing to put his people back into hibernation… I wonder what exactly the Doctor will have to sacrifice before the series ends?
Anyway, back at plot central, the Doctor’s plans to get humans and Silurians negotiating to share the planet are undone by Ambrose – being so much less than the best of humanity – and killing Alaya. Luckily, the Silurian elder (Eldane) is not as bloodthirsty as Restac the military commander (The Doctor: “Oh dear, really, there’s always a military isn’t there?”) and hatches a plan to get (almost) all the humans back to the surface without loss of Silurian life. I’m curious to know if the Doctor will be back in a millennium to oversee the planetary sharing agreement that’s going to be needed. It’ll make Stormont look a weekly shopping list I bet.