The Stones of Blood is the third story in season sixteen of Doctor Who. It features the fourth Doctor alongside Romana and K9. It was written by David Fisher and is part of the season long Key to Time arc. This story was also the 100th televised story.
The first two episodes of the story are set on present day earth and revolve around stone circles and Druid rituals. At the end of episode two we get a drastic shift to space, with Vivan Fey being revealed as the Cailleach/Cessair.
To get it out of the way – I had a whole lot of squee about Mary Tamm’s initial outfit in this story -a Scottish tam, a peach jumpsuit, and hugely impractical shoes which she abandons. I love the realism of her acknowledging how horrible her shoes are and deciding to forego walking in them.
Beatrix Leahman is also does an fantastic job in portraying the eccentric Professor Amelia Rutherford. When Rutherford discusses her work and gets so excited about sharing her research notes with Romana, I was immediately reminded of so many actual Professors I know. This was a fantastic portrayal of a mature woman with experience, intellect, and charm.
We also get a female companion in this episode in the form of Vivien Fay/Cessair of Diplos/Cailleach. The Variety! podcast has a recent episode that is all about Cessair and her role as villain in this story. I highly recommend folks take a listen for a deeper dive into this female villain portrayal.
The bits that were not so well done:
- A giant – clearly fake – hunk of rock going around attacking people. The less focus on the Ogri as a failed prop the better.
- The transition between the historical feel of the first two episodes and the space drama narrative of the last two episodes was a bit jarring initially.
Overall, I loved all of the female characters in this story and how much authority the females had over moving the story forward. This was also a really great story of K9, with a lot of witty lines and seeing K9 actually maneuvering on grass.