"The prehistoric Earth is dying. Thunderclouds roll across the skies, cloaking the land in darkness. The seas crash and boil as the rain turns to acid. The remnants of the Silurian race place themselves in suspended animation, deep below the surface.
One day they will awaken and reclaim their world…
The TARDIS has landed on the Galapagos Islands, a desolate outcrop of rocks shrouded in mist and fear. In the settlement of Baquerizo Moreno, there are rumours that prisoners have been mysteriously disappearing from the gaolhouse. A fisherman has been driven insane by something he saw in the caves. And the Doctor and Evelyn are not the only new arrivals; there is also a young natural philosopher by the name of Charles Darwin…"
Bloodtide is an interesting story which looks at topics of evolution and nature vs nurture, but it doesn't shove it down our throats like some other shows do. It's presented here in the form of a mystery, investigated by Charles Darwin and the story helps flesh out Darwin by having him at the forefront of the discoveries of aliens and natural selection and whatnot. His reactions to the events in this story are almost reminiscent of a companion encountering the Doctor and alien life for the first time.
While at first I wasn't a big fan of Evelyn Smythe, over the years she's grown on me and going back to these old stories and hearing the same character with a different perspective feels like I'm listening to it foe the first time. That is a wonderful feeling...getting Goosebumps even though I know exactly where the story is heading...i love that feeling. There's nothing quite like it. Evelyn for the most part has an adventure separate from the Doctor, though their respective stories intersect beautifully. Its nice when a story can split into multiple parts, but weave them into a string thread.
Colin Baker continues to shine as the Sixth Doctor. His interactions with Darwin (though not as plentiful as I had hoped), are noteworthy. Bloodtide also gives Colin's Doctor the chance to flex those compassionate muscles, dispelling some of the unnecessary criticism that his Doctor is too alien and insensitive. His "pseudo" companion for this story, while not a very developed character, still manages to serve her purpose which is giving the Sixth Doctor someone to cast his kindness on and sow the audience the deeper layers of the Doctor, something that was rare to almost nonexistent in the TV series.
The Silurians in the Galapagos feels like a match made in heaven. It is indeed a location I'd like to see Doctor Who tackle on TV. The mix on Bloodtide is phenomenal and you really feel as though you're on an island watching those giant turtles scuttle across the beaches, the sound of waves breaking cresting your senses.
The handling of the Silurians deserve mention as well. This story is kind of like the middle point between the classic Silurian invasion story and the politics of the new series handling of them.