15 May 2011

Doctor Who - The Doctor's Wife

The episode starts with a scared woman being held in place by relatives in order to have her soul sucked out and replaced. It seems slightly comical but is actually kinda dark, and so kicks off Neil Gaiman's much anticipated Doctor Who episode.

The Doctor gets mail, an unexpected distress call from an old friend, a good Time Lord.
The lightness of tone used in relation to Time Lords shows that this Doctor isn't shell-shocked or suffering from guilt as much as his 9th and 10th incarnations. We discover that Amy has already had some of the time war back story, meaning that we don't have to go through the explanation again. All good. Now the Doctor can refer to himself as the last Time Lord without looking all sadface.
"Basically, run" is used again by the Doctor, but this time his anger is on behalf of his own people rather than humanity.

The TARDIS leaves the universe and arrives on a soap bubble (another simple analogy that doesn't actually explain the timey-wimey, spacey-wacey stuff, but gives you an image to work with). There are 4 inhabitants, patchwork people Auntie and Uncle, an Ood called Nephew, and a crazy, bitey lady called Idris (not Niece). She looks like a typical Helena Bonham Carter character, quirky and slightly gothic. The soap bubble itself is a creepy entity called House who traps Time Lords and eats their TARDISes. (Is that the plural for TARDIS? I just don't know?)

Suranne Jones is excellent as the TARDIS shoved into human form. Finally a character who's even madder and more chronologically mixed up than the Doctor. She regularly says things that will be relevant later, meaning that the writing, and editing, are necessarily very internally consistent.
The title was clearly meant to tease us, because the Doctor Who team are dreadful teases. Although it makes sense because if there's any entity that is like the Doctor's wife, it's the TARDIS. Yes what we have here is the strange, but very deep and touching relationship between a man and his box. It turns out the TARDIS stole the Doctor as much as the other way round, and she's his equal even more than River is.

Amy and Rory are trapped in the empty shell of the TARDIS and tortured by House who has decided that, rather than eating this one, he'll use it to go back into the universe in search of more food. Again Amy and Rory work well together and continue to feel like a proper couple. That the memory of her wedding day is Amy's definition of Delight is just lovely.
The rare view of the TARDIS's corridors is disappointingly uniform, though I can understand it from a set building point of view. I really liked that we got to see the previous TARDIS control room, which is of course unfamiliar to Amy and Rory. It's a little visual joke that all new Who fans will appreciate.

This was a fun and smart episode that I really enjoyed, the hype was worth it.

Things to watch out for:

  •  The TARDIS vanishes
This actually happened last week as well, but I forgot to write about it here. The TARDIS shouldn't just disappear on it's own, because last time that happened it was a pretty major and also very mysterious event. Last week there was no explanation for it, which may have been clumsy writing, at least this time its the main plot point. The fact that a TARDIS can effectively be possessed could be very relevant.

  • Did it for the crack
Did anyone notice that the universe looked kinda like a long, crooked, evil smile? Hmm, where can we have seen that before? We also discover that the destruction of a TARDIS creates a hole in the universe (hence the soap bubble), something familiar there too I'm sure.

  • "The only water in the forest is the river."
Should I be spelling that last word with a capital letter? The first episodes we meet River in are "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" and I seem to remember a forest in "Flesh and Stone" too. Is this a theme, or am I just overthinking things?

  • They keep killing Rory
OK so it's only an illusion of his long-dead skeleton, but seriously something lethal seems to happen to Rory every week. I just feel bad for the poor guy, it's like he's Mr. Expendable.

1 comment:

  1. That the memory of her wedding day is Amy's definition of Delight is just lovely.

    That was sweet :)

    Poor Rory should get a red shirt and a broken phaser, he dies more often than the expendable ensigns in Classic Trek!