DR. WHO? Who Knew?

They were aiming for Rio, but The Doctor and crew land in Wales where they meet some new friends, an old enemy, and...themselves?  All will be revealed right after the spoilers blow over and we read about the latest episode...


by Chris Chibnall

Directed by Ashley Way

In South Wales ten years in our future, a massive drilling operation has just reached the milestone of 21 kilometers into the Earth, deeper than anyone has drilled before.  But when something from beneath the ground starts responding, things get quite dangerous.  The drill seems to seize up on something and the drill rig starts to vibrate dangerously, so the engineer on shift goes looking for the cause. He comes across a mysterious hole in the floor, and he's quickly pulled into the hole and underground without a trace.

The TARDIS arrives the next morning, albeit by mistake, heading for Rio.  The Doctor feels something wrong with the ground, and chooses to stay and investigate. An odd couple are waving to the three from a distant hill; upon a closer look, they realize it's...the Amy and Rory of the year 2020, coming to give their past selves a bit of a cheer up and get a look at their past adventures.  The three head off to explore the big mining rig they've just noticed, but Rory, noticing that Amy's wearing the engagement ring he gave her, asks her to take it off and keep it in the TARDIS, lest it get lost or damaged.  He pops inside to put it someplace safe while Amy pops on after The Doctor. 

As Rory exits the ship, a young woman, Ambrose Northover and her son Elliot, are pleased that he's arrived.  They had called the police about the recent odd events in the town, and assume that he's with the CID, having just come out of a large box marked "Police".  They head off to show him what's going on, and thoroughly confused, Rory follows.  The grave of their aunt was opened to inter her husband, but upon opening, the coffin for her aunt was gone.  The ground above was untouched; it looked more like it had been taken from beneath.

At the drill site, scientist Nasreen Chaudhry and engineer Tony Mack are investigating the mysterious hole when The Doctor and Amy arrive.  Looking at the readings of the drill, he warns everyone to leave the area.  Almost on cue, the mysterious hole in the concrete floor is joined by several others; everyone carefully retreats to avoid capture. Tony slips and gets his leg caught; Amy jumps to help him, only to get caught herself.  They get the drill stopped, but not soon enough to keep Amy from being sucked into the earth, which seals up behind her.  The ground is now solid again once the drill had been stopped, and The Doctor makes a chilling discovery...if the drill is stopped, why can they still hear drilling?  Checking the readings from the drill sensors, he realizes there's a network of tunnels surrounding the drill hole, and they're transporting something up.  He asks that they grab the equipment and head for town.

As they head for town, they meet up with Rory, Ambrose and Elliot, as well as realize that the entire area has been locked inside a massive force field that has sealed them from help or escape. Rory realizes Amy's not there, and asks where she is.  The Doctor explains that she was taken, and that he will get her back, but needs Rory to help him.  The team set up shop in the Church, hastily setting up a perimeter of cameras into a sensor web to watch for whatever's coming.  Realizing that Mo, her husband, is not there, she is told that was the first person taken by Tony, who we learn is her father. 

With the unknown threat a minute away, Elliot runs home to get his headphones, leaving him unprotected as the monsters break ground and change the phase of the force field, plunging the entire area into darkness and taking out the power to the sensor web.  In a moment of fear and emotion Tony and Nasreen embrace, realizing it's something they should have done quite some time ago.  The moment passes quickly as they are all plunged into darkness and Elliot is nowhere to be seen.  He makes it back to the church, the mysterious invaders hot on his heels.  They can't get the warped church door open in time, and he's nowhere to be seen.  They fan out to look for him, finding his headphones by a new patch of fresh earth.  One of the monsters attacks Ambrose but is quickly tackled by Tony.  The monster responds by lashing out with a long tongue and stinging him with in the neck before retreating.   Wearing a pair of heat-sensitive glasses, The Doctor realizes that these creatures are cold-blooded, as they leave almost no heat trace.  Putting two and two together, The Doctor realizes who he's dealing with. Making his way to Ambrose's meals-on-wheels van, he grabs a CO2 fire extinguisher and when the monster attacks, unloads the can on it.  Stunned by the sudden cold, he forces the creature into the refrigerated compartment in the back, trapping it.  With both sides holding hostages, the creatures retreat.  The Doctor recognizes the monsters as Silurians, though a slightly different branch of the race than the ones he met all those years back.  He talks to the captured Silurian, asking why they chose to awaken and attack.  Her name is Aleya, and they awoke because the drill pierced their life support systems.  The warriors were awakened to deal with the attack.  The Doctor makes it clear that he wants Amy and the others back, and that he can help bring this event to a peaceful conclusion. Aleya seems uninterested in a peaceful conclusion, alas; she takes the same tack that the first tribe of Silurians took; Earth is theirs, and the apes are in the way.

The Doctor decides the best tactic is to travel down to the Silurian tribe to attempt to explain the situation and broker a peace.  He makes it clear that Aleya must remain safe while he is away, as she's the key to getting their friends and families back.  Nasreen makes it abundantly clear that she wants to come along - she's a geologist, and a chance to see the part of the Earth she's studied for all her life is something too much to pass up.  The Doctor, knowing how to pick his battles, agrees, and she boards the TARDIS, greeting what she sees with unbridled glee. The joy is short-lived; the Silurians seize the ship and pull it down to their underground lair.

Rory, Ambrose and Tony confront the Silurian, promising that she will remain safe.  Aleya knows better.  She knows not only that one of them will kill her, she claims to know who it will be. Her death will be the touchpoint that will start a war between human and Silurian that will, she maintains, leave her race triumphant.  Meanwhile, Tony is not doing well; the poison in his system is making him weak, but he tries to hide its effect from the others.

Amy awakens to discover she is a) alive and b) and in a spot of bother.  She wakes up next to Mo the engineer, who warns her that the Silurian doctors are about to perform some potential procedures on her. The surgeon advances towards her, scary-looking device in hand, and there's very little Amy can do...

At the end of their vertical journey, The Doctor and Nasreen exit the TARDIS, coming out in a network of tunnels miles below the earth.  They begin searching for the Silurian settlement, which The Doctor presumes will be a small group, perhaps a few dozen.  Nasreen calls that theory under question as she comes to a cliff and looks down on a massive Silurian city.  And it's "Reprise the theme song and roll the credits".

Matt Smith continues to shine as The Doctor,  He has the madcap glee of Tom Baker and Troughton, but when needed, he can turn ice cold and hard as steel.  When Ambrose assembles weapons, he glibly declares he doesn't work that way.  When she hesitates, he looks right at her and says calmly, "I'm asking nicely...put them away".  Awesome.  In a very telling moment, after telling him that Amy was taken, The Doctor says to Rory, "I need you beside me"...and then heads off, leaving Rory standing there.  The dynamic between The Doctor, Amy and Rory has been a fascinating one, a relationship that will continue to change and evolve in the coming weeks. Rory is not simply the goofy boyfriend getting in the way as Mickey Smith so often was; he's desperately trying to make sense of what he's seeing, while at the same time trying to protect Amy, ever fearing that as time passes, she doesn't need him protecting her.


Meera Syal (Nasreen Chaudhry) had a recurring role on Moffat's Jekyll series, and has been working steadily in British television as far back as The Secret Diary of Adiran Mole, but she's likely best known for her role as Sushil 'Ummi' Kumar on the mock chat show The Kumars at No 42.

MONSTER REPORT - The Silurians made their first appearance in the oddly titled adventure Doctor Who and the Silurians; odd in that it's the only adventure that actually uses the name of the series in the title. Apparently, that was the standard naming convention for the scripts at the time, but somehow the "Doctor Who and" format carried through to the final episode this time only.  Most fans leave it off and simply refer to the adventure as "The Silurians". 

The Silurians were the dominant sentient race on the earth when their astronomers saw what they presumed was a planet-killing asteroid heading for Earth.  They chose to descend into the earth and place their entire race under suspended animation and simply wait the disaster out, waiting for a time when the Earth would heal itself.  They retreated from the surface, leaving the other species behind, including a race of apelike creatures they used to hunt for sport.  The asteroid in question didn't strike the earth, it was grabbed by the planet's gravitational field and became the Moon.  As the Silurians slept, the earth changed, grew cooler, and the apes evolved into humans, and took the position of prominence on the Earth. It wasn't until millions of years later that they began to awaken in small numbers by Man's attempt to explore the crust of the Earth.

The Silurians that appeared before had a rather different look than the ones we see here. They had a third eye in a crownlike protuberance above their forehead, one that allowed them to communicate telepathically, as well as being able to incapacitate prisoners.  They originally walked more upright, while the warrior class of the Wales offshoot seemed to have a more lizard-like gait and posture.  This may suggest the warriors are more "lizard-like" as opposed to the scientist and ruling class.

The Silurians only appeared twice in the original series, as did another branch of the race, the Sea Devils, who first met the Third Doctor in their own eponymous episode.  They teamed years later to combat the Fifth  Doctor in Warriors of the Deep.  They've also had an amazing number of appearances in the assorted continuing adventures in novels and radio plays.  For a race that had so few appearances, they've long been a favorite of the fans.

BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS - Trivia and production details

Drill Baby, Drill! - This is not the first time The Doctor has had issue with drilling operations.  The expedition to release pockets of Stahlman's Gas resulted in the events chronicled in the Pertwee adventure Inferno.  The Daleks were excavating their own planet Skaro searching for the remains of Davros in the Tom Baker adventure Destiny of the Daleks. Searching for a massive store of molybdenum, explorers first came upon The Sensorites in the eponymous Hartnell adventure.  The Doctor, Jamie and Victoria Waterfield deal with an alien race unearthed by a offshore gas drilling operation in Fury from the Deep.  The Rills are drilling for ammonia in Galaxy Four.  More recently, he wasn't in time to stop the drilling on Krop Tor from releasing what might well have been Satan himself in The Impossible Planet / The Satan Pit. The Torchwood Institute also attempted to drill to the Earth's core, this time causing the Empress of the Racnoss to return to Earth in The Runaway Bride.  

Terrible Teeth and Terrible Jaws - Mo is trying to teach his son to read from The Gruffalo, a tremendously popular children's book in the UK by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.  An audiobook adaptation was read by Imelda Staunton, and an animated version starred Robbie Coltrane and upcoming DW guest James Corden.

"Ah, no, best not, best not really, these things tend to get complicated really quickly" - Indeed, look at how things went pear-shaped when Rose Tyler decided to save her father's life in Father's Day.  The Blinovitch limitation effect usually prevents such interactions with one's own timeline, but considering the general up-in-the-air and crackiness of time and space this season, it would appear a distant wave is permissible.

"I was the same where I grew up" - Once again we see The Doctor getting wistful for Gallifrey as he bonds with Elliot for a moment.  Wanting to leave one's home and then missing it is such a universal experience, it's easy to toss it into almost any moment and make it work.

"What will you sacrifice for your cause?" - The look on Matt Smith's face as The Doctor thinks of exactly what he has sacrificed in the name of his causes is just classic.  Considering that he doomed his entire race to non-existence in a time loop, it's quite obvious that he will go to great lengths for what he believes in.

BIG BAD UPDATE - As soon as I saw Rory set that ring on the TARDIS console, I KNEW it was going to be important.  Well, it...will be. Soon. But not now. 

NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO - A city beneath the Earth, some intense negotiations and quite a jarring ending brings the return of the Silurians to an exciting climax.

The season is in its waning hours- what will the end hold?

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