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Doctor Who
Flesh and Stone

"Flesh and Stone" leaves its heroes—and viewers—with very little time to catch their breath as they are relentlessly pursued by an army of fully restored Weeping Angels. Steven Moffat continues immediately after the previous episode’s gun shot cliffhanger, with the Doctor, Amy Pond, River Song, and the combat clerics hanging upside down on the hull of the crashed star ship Byzantium, thanks to the ship’s artificial gravity fields. But this move buys only moments of safety, for the Weeping Angels are quickly increasing in speed and power.

What results is a long and exhilarating chase through the Byzantium’s hallways, flight decks, and “tree-borg oxygen factories”. Faced with a newly evolved and deadlier set of Weeping Angels, the Doctor is in really serious peril, and it is a joy to finally be able to watch his genius madly work its way out of this dangerous situation.

Unfortunately River Song plays a less involved role in this episode, but we do get to find out few things surrounding her time in prison. According to the chief combat cleric Father Octavian, River Song had been sent to prison for killing “a good man, a hero to many”. Moffat not so subtly suggests that this good man is really the Doctor, but the hints seem too heavy-handed and obvious for this to be the truth.

We’ll no doubt get another chance to unveil the mysteries about River Song some time later in the series. Before River and the Doctor part ways once again, she hints at another future (or is it past?) adventure with the Doctor: “You’ll see me again quite soon. When the Pandorica opens.”

Matt Smith continues to shine in this performance, handling with ease the Doctor’s humorously manic delivery as he tries to work out an escape plan—“I don’t know what the plan is yet, I haven’t finished talking”—as well as the more subdued moments. The scene where the Doctor comforts Amy before leaving her alone in the forest and quietly pleads with her to trust him completely surprises us with a gentler side to Matt Smith’s Doctor.

As refreshing as it is to see his kinder side, it is still a thrill to see Matt Smith explode with impatience and frustration, and the Weeping Angels give him plenty of reason to do just that.

Amy Pond suffers a lot of grief in this episode as she learns the exact consequences of looking into the eyes of a Weeping Angel. Much to his horror, the Doctor finds that there is an Angel in her mind, and it is slowly killing Amy from the inside. The build-up to this reveal is cleverly simple and effectively shows just how menacing these new Angels can be.

But the Weeping Angels aren’t the only threat in this episode—the mysterious, glowing crack that appeared at the end of previous episodes now takes the forefront, playing a crucial role in the Doctor’s fight against the Angels. Clearly enjoying toying with our curiosity, Moffat tells us a few things that both explain and prompt more questions.

The Doctor discovers that the crack originated from Amy’s time, adding to the intrigue of her character but putting the Doctor in further confusion. “What if time could run out?” he wonders. Can time be rewritten and erased? Would that explain why she can’t remember the Daleks? And just what is so special about Amy Pond? We’ll just have to be patient for the answers.

Not once does Moffat let up in this frantically paced and plot-filled story, making it the most exciting episode of the new series to date. If you weren’t sure about Moffat and Matt Smith before, then you’ll surely be won over by the end of "Flesh and Stone".

At the very least the epilogue between Amy and the Doctor will definitely… shake things up among Who fans and capture enough of your attention to lure you into watching the next episode.

Steph Rodriguez


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