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Doctor Who XXXII.6: The Almost People

May 29th, 2011 (01:56 am)
current music: Johnny Cash: Hurt (on Doctor Who Confidential)

Not a long essay this time; but it appears that the theory I promulgated last week was correct; the Amy we have been watching for the past few weeks was reduced to a puddle in mid-air and then to vapour, while the original Amy was revealed (as suspected) to be about to give birth under the supervision of the Joker-like Eyepatch Lady, finally seen in Nicholsonesque close-up in the shape of Frances Barber.

Disappointments there were - I'd expected the acid to be revealed as involved in Ganger-manufacture somehow, but it wasn't. It would have lent some power to the off-screen press conference Miranda and Dickon enter at the end, if they were going to bring Morpeth Jetsan crashing down; it needn't have endangered the development of the Flesh technology itself for Amy's kidnappers (whoever they are - they are not necessarily the Silence - yet) to make use of it. I found the Jennifer monster underwhelming, and reminiscent of the Lazarus monster from 'The Lazarus Experiment' which was not my favorite effect in the first place. The characters were sketchy - I'd have liked them to talk a bit more about their lives - but acted with conviction; Marshall Lancaster and Buzzer were thrown away rather, though I believed most of all in Miranda Cleaves; I was disappointed to see her vaporized with the double Doctor at the end, as I could imagine her continuing as a companion to this TARDISless Time Lord. What happened to Dickon's cold, too, which seemed to be flagged as having some plot function?

Next week is set to raise the proverbial bar, and will have to work its socks off not to look like a high-kicking old monster chorus line, with Amy ignoring the advice Noel Coward gave to Mrs Worthington and putting her baby (daughter?) on the stage.

Comments

Posted by: A Meticulous Catalogue of Wrongs To Be Avenged (splendorsine)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 05:02 am (UTC)

Mmm, I can certainly see why some would be disappointed by part two; as with Cold Blood a year ago, it rushed past the ending to an "awesome" "game-changing" "revelation", which is obviously the only thing fans on the internet are talking about right now. What's even the point of having subtly plotted stories if they're just going to be lost amidst the titanic cymbal crashes of the story arc?

Having said that, episodes 5/6 are still my favourites of the season so far. I'd rather see run-of-the-mill, trad, mid-season Doctor Who done well than ground-breaking high-concept stuff that doesn't quite come off. I mean I'm all for ambition, but there's almost too much of it in Doctor Who these days... I want to see a season that doesn't feel the burning need to top the last at some point!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 11:30 am (UTC)
Northumberland

I enjoyed it, and certainly felt tension throughout this two-parter in a way which I didn't in either 'Curse of the Black Spot' or 'The Doctor's Wife', enjoyable in their ways as each were. The game-changing revelation wasn't bolted on either, it was organically part of the story, and lots of people seem to have missed this.

Posted by: aranelcharis (aranelcharis)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 06:31 am (UTC)
finduilas?

In the preview, was it implied that the baby is the Doctor's, or was I completely misinterpreting the remark (highly possible)? I don't see that as plausible, so I wondered what your interpretation is.

Posted by: http://elevatormusic.space (sebastienne)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 08:31 am (UTC)

I didn't see the preview as I don't watch them, but I now have a theory that brings together a concept from every episode in the series:

Amy was taken by the Silence to produce a Timey-Wimey baby to fly (or even be, a la Idris' consciousness?) the Lodger-TARDIS that they are building.

They used the Doctor's DNA as taken as a medical sample in Curse of the Black Spot.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 11:48 am (UTC)

All very possible!

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 02:22 pm (UTC)
K9

They used the Doctor's DNA as taken as a medical sample in Curse of the Black Spot.

Good idea. If the child is the Doctor's, I very much doubt it was produced in the traditional manner...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)

Certainly not!

Posted by: aranelcharis (aranelcharis)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 01:09 am (UTC)
England

Didn't Amy get erm...sideways flashes that she was pregnant before Curse of the Black Spot though? On second thought, I guess they could've traveled back in time with the sample.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 11:52 am (UTC)
MattKarenArthur

Timey-wimeyness guaranteed, I think.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 11:43 am (UTC)
MattKarenArthur

Someone somewhere certainly believes that the baby is the Doctor's. I'm very interested to see how all this plays out in terms of the Doctor-Amy-Rory relationship.

Posted by: aranelcharis (aranelcharis)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 01:10 am (UTC)

I'm interested in the Doctor-Amy-Rory relationship dynamic too.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 02:10 am (UTC)
MattKarenArthur

I very much hope that attention is paid to this - what can adventures be like post-baby, particularly given the traumatic experiences of its birth?

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
K9

I like the word "believes" in there.
Maybe the baby is Rory's after all...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 01:41 pm (UTC)
Verity

I rather hope it is...

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)

I hope so too, but I suspect the answer will be even more complex and possibly involve time travel in a convoluted way. I do wonder how Amy and Rory will carry on adventuring with a baby and suspect that either they are about to be written out or something unexpected is going to happen to the child.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 07:02 pm (UTC)
MattKarenArthur

I expect Amy and Rory to be written out at the end of this series too; and something unexpected almost certainly will happen to the baby, given this programme. The image of Amy imprisoned like a battery hen at the end of the episode operated within substantially more acutely-drawn parameters of horror than the main storyline of the two-parter.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 02:20 pm (UTC)
Liz & Pertwee

I was disappointed to see her vaporized with the double Doctor at the end, as I could imagine her continuing as a companion to this TARDISless Time Lord.

That might yet happen. The dialogue seems to imply both 'Mr Smith' and the Doctor have tought of ways of surviving. I assume these could be extended to Miranda.
Incidentally, there was much in that bit of dialogue and I knew I hadn't taken it all in, so I rewatched it when I got home.
(Also, does that say anything about the future of Flesh-Amy - I've been wondering why the Doctor can do what he does so apparently easily).
I do think my other theory is going somewhere, too: When Mr Smith says something about his death being imminent, the Doctor says "this time, we are not invited."

What happened to Dickon's cold, too, which seemed to be flagged as having some plot function?

That puzzled me too, although in the general hubbub of theorizing I never got round to saying so. Especially, since it's significance had been signalled by the scanning for bugs when they arrived. I had expected something along the lines of the War of the Worlds resolution (well, with some Who-ish alterations).
I think I did mention that I share your misgivings about Lazarus-Jenny. She just wasn't scary...

I'd expected the acid to be revealed as involved in Ganger-manufacture somehow, but it wasn't.

I'd never seen the acid as more than the extreme environment needed for the situation to develop, and there is rederence to gangers being in common use. So events are not so much at the heart of Flesh-manufacture itself, but may provide the thin end of the wedge in bringing down the system.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC)
Tom

This is an old-fashioned Doctor Who story in a sense we've rarely seen since 2005, that there might be a more interesting story to be hypotheised behind and around what we actually see on screen. (Although to a large extent television is a collaboration which includes the viewer anyway.)

Posted by: aranelcharis (aranelcharis)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 01:06 am (UTC)
England

I thought too that the story was "old-fashioned." The technology (computers in the monastery for example) even seemed that way.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 11:52 am (UTC)
Troughton

The birthing tank for the Gangers reminded me a little of the Cyberman revivication unit in The Tomb of the Cybermen; and much of the set detail was reminiscent of various incarnations of the TARDIS set. Much of the rest of the technology indeed looked more like the sort of thing 1960s and 1970s Doctor Who were striving for, rather than something derived from 'now'.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)
Liz & Pertwee

I like the way it is so old-school and at the same tinme pivotal to a very 21st-century arc. In other words, this time, the unseen larger story we can hypothesize about is actually there, awaiting to be seen.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 01:40 pm (UTC)

An Arc in Space!

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 30th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
Liz & Pertwee

*amused facial expression that can't be summed up in a smiley*

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)

Joker-like Eyepatch Lady

She reminded me more (at least in appearance) of Travis (the Blake's 7 villain, not the band that got rained on).

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)

Gary Gillatt refers to her as ServaTravis! The Joker similarity only hit me watching the episode last night; there's more than a touch of Cesar Romero there too.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 09:14 pm (UTC)

Now I'm wondering, based on what we've seen so far, whether she actually has a body or is a disembodied head a la Futurama...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 09:16 pm (UTC)

I think she's been glimpsed somewhere with a body, but production is certainly toying with the idea that she is only a head.

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 09:42 pm (UTC)

Just seen the trailer on the BBC website and she has a body there. To be fair, a disembodied head would probably be too silly.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 29th, 2011 09:51 pm (UTC)
Styre

I'm not sure that the current team are frightened of being too silly...