The problem with Cold Blood lies not with the story but with ourselves. When a story, inadvertently or otherwise, steps all over cherished remembrances of stories and monsters past, it wrong-foots itself into a hole which is hard to climb out of. Last week in this space we lamented this occasion, at least for the THT Brain Trust, with regard to the Silurians. Perhaps the worst part of all for those of us plagued with long-term memory, it that this has all happened before. Back in 1984 when JN-T was hip-deep in needless continuity with the past, Peter Davison’s final season led of with Warriors of the Deep, one of the few stories in classic Who which often elicit visceral negative reactions amongst long-term fans.
It’s certainly unfair to visit the sins of Warriors of the Deep upon The Hungry Earth / Cold Blood. For a start the latter is simply a much better story in concept and execution than it’s distant cousin, but as we started with in this post, the memory simply does not cheat in this case. This story was probably tasked with the charge of being “the one to evoke Classic Who,” but for anyone familiar with The Silurians the societal breakdown in Cold Blood seemed all-too-familiar, and needless. Matt Smith channelled his inner-Pertwee as best he could, but he seemed a little too-distant in this story.
And then there’s Rory, who’s happily did not turn out to be Adric in any sense of the word. The little bit with the engagement ring in The Hungry Earth should have been a dead-giveaway (pardon the pun) about what was to come, and while it seemed rushed in terms of it’s abruptness it also book-ended the crack-o-doom appearances quite nicely. Thank you Arthur Darvill. Perhaps we’ll be seeing you again when the Pandorica opens.