It seems like only a year and a half ago I was complaining that Russel T Davies’ run on Doctor Who had gone on for far too long. And then Steven Moffat came along, proving that not only could you make good Doctor Who episodes, you could also make Doctor Who good television. So braced again we were for the first half of his and Matt Smith’s second run with the eleventh time and space travelling crazy man with a box.
Pre-amble aside, it’s been pretty good, hasn’t it? Whilst we’re still left with the void where the answer for last series’ mind-bending conclusion should be (Who made the TARDIS explode? Who has that power?), we were treated with a veritable smorgasbord (I know) of surprises, twists, turns, loops, ‘timey-wimey’ and that the next episode is hilariously called “Let’s Kill Hitler”, which I feel warrants an ! at the end of it because it’s so ridiculous anyhow, it might as well stick out a little bit more.
The opening two-parter was a bit bizarre in that within the first ten minutes, The Doctor is killed. For reals. Yeah…Quite an interesting way to start the series, although I dislike how in ‘Nu Who’ they’ve toyed with what it means to regenerate. The regenerations are something rare, an event that brings about much change to the show. To play with this seems a little bit weak, as if they cannot find another way of creating interesting. The fact is they clearly can, but I’d have much preferred if another character was used. Killing off the title character so very rarely actually happens, even more strained to belief in a show where we take for granted this can happen, thus triggering the special event that is a new main character who is almost-but-not-quite the same person. Also, they’re not going to kill The Doctor. Come on.
Of course this opening two-parter whammy was just that, as the two episodes passed with a furious tempo and setting in motion numerous more story-line threads to follow. And follow they did. The third episode, one with pirates, couldn’t really keep up with the quality of the opening two-parter, but hey, Pirate Amy. That was cool for a minute. What this episode did, much like the later two-parter, was weave in some concepts that would eventually manifest in this half’s conclusion. The fourth episode was something rare though, and I don’t just mean for Doctor Who, but for all TV shows. An episode that was so fantastically brilliant that you could only sit and enjoy it. Very much homage to the older run with lots of fan material, the guest writer Neil Gaiman (some big sci-fi dude, apparently) did a perfect job of making a flawless episode.
Unfortunately with a peak as good as the fourth episode, we were led onto the two-parter which displayed to us ‘The Flesh’, an organism used to duplicate other organisms. Tried and tested in sci-fi, the unfortunate mistake of using the wrong clichés came about. The story wasn’t bad, as such, but the characters were fairly bland and one of them actually said “So who’s the real monster?” Just to hit you over the head with the moral implications, of course. In case you weren’t made perfectly aware that it was an ethical and moral dilemma presented to us in the form of identity and what it means to be human. For you see in this two-parter, a group of humans are duplicated and share mannerisms, memory…everything. So who’s the real person?
Well, after some pathetic hand-waving, everyone is at the end of it. Those who are left, which conveniently happens to be one of each of the original people. Funny that. Could’ve taken a risk. Much like Davies’ run, the ending of the episode completely eclipsed the story before it, as our favourite red-haired companion Amy turns out to be one of these duplicates. And then The Doctor disintegrates her. Oh yeah, and she’s actually being held captive and being forced to give birth to her child. Lovely.
The last episode started in a whirlwind of fire and then didn’t really let up. Like the rest of the series, it presented itself with style, clever dialogue and plot and specifically highlighted the identity of The Doctor; is he a war-monger or the universes’ best cleaner? More shooting and talking and oh…it’s the end of the episode. By the way, River Song is Amy and Rory’s daughter. Time, eh? All wibbly and such.
So, much like the last episode, we can take from that something that really represented this series so far. It made you think. It made you laugh. It made you think some more. Then it made you wonder if you actually followed any of it. Then you thought that that particular moment, yes, that one, was pretty bad-ass and not what you expected to get quality wise out of Doctor Who. And then you wondered how long Steven Moffat had been planning all of this.
I guess my point is, if you have the production values, things generally turn out better.
OH MY GOD I NEED TO THEORISE WITH PEOPLE NOW!