Flesh and Stone
|Season 5, Episode 5|
|Airdate: 31 April 2010|
|Writer: Steven Moffat|
|Director: Adam Smith|
|Notable for: The much-discussed ‘romantic’ ending.|
Flesh and Stone
Last week’s fantastic opener to this two-parter brought us an even scarier interpretation of the Weeping Angels (if that’s possible!) and more layers of mystery to the story of River Song’s relationship with the Doctor. Who or WHAT is River Song? Can The Doctor trust her? How the heck will they escape from certain death trapped in the Maze of The Dead surrounded by Angels on all sides?
…Flesh and Stone has all the hallmarks of becoming one of tomorrow’s all time classic stories – memorable quotes and monsters, outstanding performances from regulars and supporting cast, introducing as many mysteries as it solves and adding substantially to the overall Whoniverse. – Kasterborous
Steven Moffat, you bastard. How dare you break the first rule of Doctor Who? The one that explicitly states the second half of a two-parter must, invariably, be inferior to the first. And, how dare you break it when the first half, in this case last week’s ‘The Time of Angels’, was one of the finest episodes of Doctor Who since the series made a comeback in 2005? Well, anyway, we kind of wish we hadn’t been so generous with the score last time around. Unless we could actually get away with turning things up to 11…
Oh and Amy’s hilarious, amorous advances to a horrified Doctor at the end of the episode? That’s how you piss off an entire legion of smug Russell T Davies-haters convinced Moffat would never stoop so low and set this current Doctor’s stance on inter-species sex firmly in stone. Now, we’ve got six-weeks of non-Moffat Who to come. Do we think this two-parter will be topped? We’ve absolutely no idea but, tell you what, we can’t wait to find out. – IGN
So how about that then for a blockbuster episode of Doctor Who? Never mind the talk of tighter budgets on this year’s Who, Flesh And Stone looked and played out for the vast bulk of its running time as a thrilling and really entertaining Saturday night adventure.
And quite a scary one too.
Lesser writers could have easily recycled their monsters from yesteryear and just dished up more of the seem. Here, Steven Moffat subtlely evolves his weeping angels. The moment near the back of the episode where they start to move was utterly, utterly creepy, and throughout the episode, he still manages to generate jumps from creatures who had seemingly gone through their playbook last time we met them. How about suddenly taking a cleric in a headlock, for instance? A brilliant moment, terrifically executed. – Den of Geek
Matt Smith’s first two-parter as the Doctor got off to a flying start in The Time of Angels. After a run of stories that felt crammed into their one-episode running time, Steven Moffat’s vision of Doctor Who finally felt like it had room to breathe, and room to think about the dizzying array of concepts that Moffat can’t help but throw into every episode.
Flesh and Stone also gets off to a flying start – quite literally – and rarely lets up its – quite literally – breakneck pace. It feels a bit like a Moffat greatest hits package, with Weeping Angels, River Song, a forest that isn’t a forest, some significant timey-wimey trouble and aliens speaking creepily through humans. – Total Sci-Fi Online
Tense, action-packed, and stuffed with memorable one-liners and touching character moments, “Flesh And Stone” nevertheless doesn’t quite live up to the promise of the brilliant first part. Until the Angels are defeated, it all feels a bit one-note, and lacks a really good jawdropping revelation. Maybe the Crack is supposed to be that revelation, but somehow its arrival feels less of a shock and more of an inevitability. Though perhaps it is surprising to see it turn up as a handy plot device again so early in the season.
There are, however, plenty of touches of the Moffat genius. Amy’s countdown is a brilliant tension-heightening gimmick, and the scenes with the cleric having no memory of his vanishing comrades is very spooky (almost like something from Sapphire And Steel). The Doctor’s final dialogue with the doomed Bishop (“I wish I’d known you better.” “I think, sir, you’ve known me at my best.”) must rate as one of the best-written and most affecting self-sacrifices scenes in the show’s history…
Overall, then, a solid, exciting, pulse-pounding 45 minutes, but with enough minor irritations to stop it being the – ahem – stone cold classic we were hoping for from “The Time Of Angels”. – SFX