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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Doctor Who Review - Episode 6x11: The God Complex

Dialogue Triumphs

The Doctor: “They’re not doors, they’re walls – walls that look like doors. Door walls, if you like, or ‘dwalls’ – walls even, though you probably got it right when you said they’re not doors. I mean the windows are… (Pulls curtains to reveal brick wall) …right! Big day for a fan of walls!”


Rita: “It’s not just that. The rooms have… things in them.”

The Doctor: “Things? Hello! What kind of things? Interesting things? I love things, ask anyone!”

Rita: “Bad dreams.”

The Doctor: “Well, that killed the mood.”


Rita: “It’s no more ridiculous than Howie’s CIA theory, or mine.”

The Doctor: “Which is?”

Rita: “This is Jahannum.”

The Doctor: “You’re a Muslim!”

Rita: “Don’t be frightened.”

The Doctor: “Ha! You think this is Hell?”


Amy: “Don’t talk to the clown!”


Rory: “Not all victories are about saving the universe.”


Rita: “Why is it up to you to save us? It’s quite a God complex you have there.”

The Doctor: “I brought them here. They’d say it was their choice, but offer a child a suitcase full of sweets, and they’d take it. Offer someone all of time and space, and they’d take that too. Which is why you shouldn’t… which is why grown ups were invented.”


The Doctor: “I can’t save you from this. There’s nothing I can do to stop this.”

Amy: “What?”

The Doctor: “I stole your childhood, now I’ve lead you by the hand to your death. The worst thing is, I knew – I knew this would happen. This is what always happens. Forget your faith in me. I took you with me because I was vain, because I wanted to be adored. Look at you… glorious Pond, the girl who waited for me. I’m not a hero. I really am just a mad man in a box, and it’s time we saw each other as we really are. Amy Williams, it’s time to stop waiting.”


Amy: “Even so, it can’t happen like this, after everything we’ve been through Doctor... everything. You can’t just drop me off at my house, and say good-bye, like we shared a cab.”

The Doctor: “And what’s the alternative? Me standing over your grave, over your broken body, over Rory’s body?”

Dialogue Disasters


Double Entendres/Sexy Talk


The Review

The TARDIS lands in what appears to be a replica of a hotel from the 80s. The Doctor, Amy, and Rory meet with a disparate group of people who have been transported to the hotel from different timezones and planets. The hotel is quickly revealed to be more than meets the eye after it swallows up the TARDIS within its constantly changing, mazelike hallways, leaving the Doctor and his companions trapped along with everyone else, and at the mercy of a mysterious creature who seems to pray on people’s fears, before possessing them, and then killing them one-by-one. It’s up to the Doctor to find a way out of the maze before he, Amy, and Rory are next on the menu.

It’s episodes like this where Doctor Who is truly at its best – when the Doctor is thrown into a mystery that even baffles him for a time, before he finally figures it out… but not after a considerable death toll. I’ve never liked how previous showrunner Russell T. Davis, and now Steven Moffat, would get into the habit of portraying the Doctor as some kind of omnipotent being who never loses a confrontation, nomatter how poor the odds. That was the most interesting feature of the episode “Water of Mars” – for once, the Doctor was in a situation where he was powerless to help, and his attempt to help only made it worse. I like episodes like this because we get a chance to see beneath the happy-go-lucky veneer the Doctor so often uses to hide his true nature, nomatter the incarnation.

So it goes with the cleverly titled “The God Complex”, which aptly describes the setting, the plot, and an unfortunate personality trait that has always been the Doctor’s worst failing. The episode deals with the latter aspect really well, as the Doctor ends up having ot humble himself before Amy in order to save her life, which is a sobering moment for them both. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan have always had a great chemistry in scenes like this, and the scene in last year’s season finale with the Doctor’s monologue to a sleeping Amy Pond to never forget him as he fades from existence.

I liked the setting of the episode, as the hotel was very reminiscent of the creepy hotel from The Shining. The characters that are trapped with the Doctor are all interesting in their own ways, especially Rita, with whom the Doctor flirts with the idea of picking up as a new companion. The Doctor and Rita’s interactions are great, especially the scene in which he laments on how guilty he feels about constantly exposing Amy and Rory to danger, then offers to take Rita traveling with him in the nearly the same breath. It really shows the reckless, impulsive nature of this particular incarnation of the Doctor, which I imagine will ultimately be his undoing whenever his number is up.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable episode, though it must be said, that the monster was kind of lame. There is a cool, throwaway classic Who reference regarding the monster at the end of the episode (that his species is related to the Nimons, a race of aliens that the 4th Doctor confronted in the episode “The Horns of the Nimon”), but other than that, it’s your average Doctor Who “Monster-of-the-week”. However, I do appreciate the effort to come up with new monsters besides the traditional stand-alongs, such as the Daleks or the Cybermen…

…speaking of which, the next episode I’ll be reviewing… Closing Time.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Doctor Who Review - Episode 6x10: The Girl Who Waited

Dialogue Triumphs

The Doctor: “Appalapachia, voted number two planet in the top ten greatest destinations for the discerning intergalactic traveler!”

Rory: “Why couldn’t we go to number one?”

The Doctor: “Tedious! Everyone goes to number one – planet of the coffee shops!”


Amy: “Have you seen my phone?”

The Doctor: “Your phone?”

Amy: “Yeah.”

The Doctor: “Your mobile telephone? I bring you to a paradise planet two billion light years from Earth, and you want to update… Twitter?”


Robot: “Will you be visiting long?”

Rory: “Good question, a bit sinister – what’s the answer that won’t get us killed?”


Old Amy: “In fact, now I think I can definitely say – I hate him. I hate the Doctor. I hate him more than I hated anyone in my life, and you can hear every word of this through those ridiculous glasses, can’t you Raggedy Man?”

The Doctor: “Ah… yes…”


Rory: “This is your fault.”

The Doctor: “I’m so sorry, but Rory…”

Rory: “No, this is your fault! You should look in a history book once in awhile, see if there’s an outbreak of plague or not!”

The Doctor: “That is not how I travel!”

Rory: “Then I do not want to travel with you!”


Old Amy: “Right, okay, so this is big news, temporal earthquake time, I’m officially changing my own future. Hold on to your spectacles. In my past, I saw my future self refuse to help you. I am now changing that future, and every law of time says that shouldn’t be possible.”

The Doctor: “Yes, except sometimes knowing your own future is what enables you to change it, especially if you’re bloody minded, contradictory, and completely unpredictable.”

Rory: “So basically if you’re Amy then.”

The Doctor: “Yes, if anyone can beat pre-destiny, it’s your wife.”

Dialogue Disasters

Old Amy: “Macarena.”

Young Amy: “Macarena.”

Rory: “She’s doing the Macarena.”

Double Entendres/Sexy Talk

Rory: “Can you stop flirting with me? You’re old enough to be my mo--!”

Old Amy: “I’ve known you my whole life. How many games of ‘Doctors and Nurses’?”

Rory: “Shush!”

Old Amy: “Don’t get coy now.”


The Doctor takes Amy and Rory on a much needed vacation to a paradise planet called Appalappachia (I have NO idea if the spelling is correct). As is tradition whenever the Doctor tries to take a vacation, things go horribly awry. It turns out that, in the particular era that they happened to travel to, Appalappachia is in a state of massive quarantine due to a disease that only affects beings with two hearts (aka, The Doctor). The TARDIS lands in the quarantine center, which uses time pockets that allow loved ones to visit the infected and watch them live out their lives without risk of catching disease. Amy gets caught up in one such time pocket, forcing Rory and the Doctor to use the TARDIS to hone in on her time stream. However, by the time they arrive, roughly 36 years have gone by for Amy, who has grown into a bitter old woman, battle weary from all her years battling the medical robots who benignly try to inject her with medication, despite the fact that it would kill her. The Doctor and Rory want to save their Amy, still stuck in the past, but Old Amy won’t help them unless the Doctor agrees to take her along as well. With a risk of causing a paradox even the TARDIS can’t handle, it ultimately comes down to Rory to choose between his beautiful young wife or the older, battle scarred one.

Seems like an easy choice to me, but what do I know, I’m shallow.

This episode serves as a nice counterpoint to last season’s “Amy’s Choice”, which was about Amy having to decide between not only what man she truly loved, but between realities as well. After so many episodes of Amy and Rory pulling “run and scream” duty, it’s nice to see them featured in an episode, while the Doctor, who is forced to stay in the TARDIS to avoid disease that would kill him instantly, takes the backseat for a change. Don’t worry, though, the Doctor still has plenty of screen time to keep things interesting.

I had some issues with Karen Gillan’s performance in season five, but she has improved by leaps and bounds this season, especially in this episode. She was convincing as a bitter, older version of the Amy Pond we know and love. She also kicked ass with a samurai sword. I also enjoyed some of Rory and the Doctor’s back-and-forth, especially the more tense moments, such as the end, when the Doctor forces Rory to choose between both versions of his wife. There has always been a certain tension between the two characters, due to Rory’s mild jealousy of Amy’s open admiration for the Doctor (something that is dealt with nicely in the next episode…). It’s great to get to see Rory finally vent his frustrations a bit, and do it without wearing a Centurion uniform.

The setting of the episode was interesting, though somewhat reminiscent of the video game Portal. I liked that the “bad guys”, the med robots, were just simple automatons doing what they were programmed to do – apply medication to the sick. They were just too stupid to realize their meds would be fatal. It’s an original way to keep the episode moving along, and provide a baddy without really having one. Overall, the episode was good, with plenty of tender Rory/Amy moments to satisfy the fans.

Next week…oops, oh wait, I guess I mean, last week… The God Complex

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Doctor Who Review 6x09 - "Night Terrors"

Dialogue Triumphs

Alex: “Now it’s got completely out of hand! I mean, he’s scared to death of everything.”

The Doctor: “Pantaphobia.”

Alex: “What?”

The Doctor: “That’s what it’s called, pantaphobia. Not the fear of pants, though, if that’s what you’re thinking, it’s the fear of everything… including pants, I suppose, in that case. Sorry, go on.”

Alex: “He hates clowns.”

The Doctor: “Understandable.”


Rory: “Argh.”

Amy: “What?”

Rory: “We’re dead aren’t we?”

Amy: “Eh?”

Rory: “The lift fell, and we’re dead.”

Amy: “Shut up.”

Rory: “We’re dead – again!”


The Doctor: “I’m not just a professional, I’m the Doctor.”

Alex: “What’s that supposed to mean?”

The Doctor: “It means I’ve come a long way to get here, Alex, a very long way. George sent a message, a distress call if you like. Whatever’s inside that cupboard is so terrible, so powerful, that it amplified the fears of an ordinary little boy across the barriers of time and space.”

Alex: “Eh?”

The Doctor: “Through crimson stars, and silent stars, and tumbling nebulas, like oceans set on fire; through empires of glass and civilizations of pure thought, and a whole terrible, wonderful universe of impossibilities. You see these eyes? They’re old eyes, and one thing I can tell you, Alex: monsters are real.”

Dialogue Disasters


Double Entendres/Sexy Talk


The Review

The Doctor responds to a message for help, sent by a seemingly normal little boy named George, who is convinced that monsters live in his cupboard. After splitting up to look for the boy, Amy and Rory get transported to a dark, foreboding house, where they are terrorized by life-size wooden dolls who have the ability to transform anyone they touch into giant dolls just like them. Meanwhile, the Doctor and George’s father, Alex, attempt to figure out the connection between a frightened little boy and the very real monsters in this closet.

This episode, written by actor/novelist Mark Gatiss (who also penned and starred in season three’s “The Lazarus Experiment”), is pretty standard Doctor Who, which, in a season full of episodes that have been set pieces to serve the seasonal arc, is actually quite refreshing. I often complain that Doctor Who doesn’t always have to be about saving the world, or even the universe, as the show is strong enough that it constantly grandstanding isn’t necessary. Neil Gaiman’s episode, “The Doctor’s Wife”, is a great example of what I’m talking about.

I will say that, apart from being mildly engaging, the episode wasn’t particularly memorable. Once again, Amy and Rory are on “run and scream” duty, meaning the writer didn’t know what else to do with them. For their credit, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill do their duties well, like good sports. Matt Smith is excellent, carrying the story forward and keeping it compelling, as one expects of the lead in Doctor Who. Other than that, there isn’t much to be said. It’s an episode that explores childhood fears and pumps the brake a little from the breakneck pace of the current season. Nuff said.

Next week... "The Girl Who Waited"