Doctor Who #490: The Stones of Blood Part 1

"Never mind. Forget it." "Forget. Erase memory banks concerning tennis. Memory erased." (Part of that line was another .wav file we had on an old computer for trashcan deletion or somesuch.)
TECHNICAL SPECS: This story is available on DVD and in a Special Edition boxed set. First aired Oct.28 1978.

IN THIS ONE... The next segment appears to be on present-day Earth, near a druidic stone circle.

REVIEW: Ah, no epilogue last time, so a massive prologue this time. Watched in close sequence, going through the whole premise of the Key to Time again is redundant, but I have to acknowledge that it makes sense in the context of how it was originally broadcast. At least they find a good reason for it in the story - letting Romana in on the Guardians' involvement, as trust is built between her and the Doctor - and ultimately, it's a help to modern audiences who might slide a random story into their player. Not too surprisingly, there at least one segment of the Key on Earth, but since the object will turn out to be alien, it may just be the TARDIS finding it more easily during its stay on that mudball the Doctor calls his favorite. Tried and true coordinates and all that.

After the serious exposition, some humorous banter, Romana choosing the worst possible shoes for the English countryside, K9 being literal, and in a reversal from past practices, Romana is a companion who needs Earth explained to her, but not the rest. It's a nice twist on the usual formula, and it means she's not really used as a cabbage head. The things she wonders about, we don't. The things we do, she's right there explaining them along with the Doctor. Sometimes even before he does. She's not so much bossy as she is super-competent, and he's the insecure one who feels the need to make decisions already made. Strong women becomes something of a theme in The Stones of Blood, with the archaeologist duo of Emelia Rumford and Vivien Fay showing up, the latter derisive of "males" (you may or may not consider these two Who's first gay couple as a result), while De Vries' house was formerly inhabited by a series of (potentially black) widows. Viewers who know their Arthurian legends should immediately sit up when hearing one of them was called Morgana, especially since we've already been introduced to a Fay.

I'm frankly surprised the show has never done druids before, which would have been a good fit under either Dicks or Holmes. Of course, they aren't really historical druids, but rather modern-day cultists using stone circles to conduct their rites. As is common in this type of story, we can expect their goddess, the Cailleach, to be some alien being. But for now, it all seems very supernatural. Ravens and crows everywhere (I'm pretty sure someone as reasoned as Romana shouldn't be thinking they look "evil" though), the mystery of stones that might be moving, a surreal tour of a house that includes missing portraits, a cool feathered creature/ritual costume, and the Doctor playing a role foretold (and that's the third Key of Time story in a row to include mental powers such as prescience - coincidence?). Spookiest of all, Romana being drawn to the cliff's edge by the siren call of the Doctor's voice. Ooh, that fall looks pretty real!

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A strong mystery, a well-used location, some memorable characters, good banter... More than enough to forgive a lengthy and repetitive exposition scene.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine