?

Log in

No account? Create an account
parrot_knight [userpic]

Doctor Who XXXII.5: The Rebel Flesh

May 21st, 2011 (08:55 pm)

I've not seen any reviews beyond a couple on my flist, but from the viewing party I was with, it appears the jury is very much out on whether Matthew Graham has redeemed himself, five years after 'Fear Her' was greeted with almost universal disappointment. I thought it was very good indeed; I was more tense than I have been this season, with my hand in front of my face in anticipation of the next revelation or piece of body horror... or perhaps I'm easily scared.

This story seems to be a keystone to the arc. The Doctor's line about fish and chips was a diversion; he'd already decided, I suspect, to travel to the monastery-factory at a point crucial in the development of the Flesh. He has been studying Amy's quantum pregnancy for the last few weeks, and rejecting options - hence the "It's not like that at all" asides. I speculate that the Amy who is travelling with the Doctor and Rory is made of a more advanced version of Flesh, hence the Doctor's reference to 'early technology'. The original Amy is still 'driving' the copy, unconsciously; when she wakes up (and sees the Eyepatch Lady), her conscious experience overlaps with that of the copy. Though the copy is not pregnant, to some extent her body is reproducing the symptoms of pregnancy, or whatever link across time and space the two have is causing the TARDIS to report on both Amys at once.

The implications of this for Rory would involve a lot of emoting next week - Jennifer has shown herself a potential focus of jealousy for Amy, but what if Amy is herself an 'imposter'? This would call Rory's sympathy for the duplicates into question, as well as turn Amy's rejection of them as 'monsters' on its head. (A lot of us suspected that everyone left of the monastery team after the Doctor, Amy and Rory awake is a Ganger; we will, I expect, come back to the sneezing character again - will he cough up Flesh?)

Just possibly, I wonder whether Flesh has some connection to the origins of the Silence - their tones are somewhat similar...

Comments

Posted by: Lady Summerisle (strange_complex)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 09:02 pm (UTC)
Sherlock Aha!

Ooh, exciting thoughts! Now that you suggest it, it all sounds very plausible. Certainly, we have been given heavy hints to think of the Flesh as something with resonances in the wider Whoniverse, beyond this two-parter.

I'm trying to work out when and why Amy might have been duplicated now. I thought at first perhaps when she is captured by the Silence, and they say strange things about wanting to 'do her honour' - but in fact that comes after she has already seen the Eyepatch lady in the door of the little girl's room for the first time. Oh well - I expect all will be revealed.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 10:18 pm (UTC)

Of course, I might be completely wrong... but this episode has been rather like watching a game of murder in the dark, where the lights were switched off for a period, the consequences are unfolding, but we don't know quite what happened in the missing minutes.

I'd not seen the trailer at the end of the episode when I posted, and am now more open than I was to the idea that everyone we are seeing is a Ganger, and the 'real' characters are off somewhere else.

Posted by: sharaz_jek (sharaz_jek)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 10:20 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 10:24 pm (UTC)

Posted by: sharaz_jek (sharaz_jek)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 10:30 pm (UTC)

Posted by: sharaz_jek (sharaz_jek)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 10:34 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)

Posted by: sharaz_jek (sharaz_jek)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 10:38 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 11:01 pm (UTC)

Posted by: manylelephants (manylelephants)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 10:12 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 01:44 pm (UTC)

Posted by: nineveh_uk (nineveh_uk)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2011 09:26 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2011 10:14 am (UTC)

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 24th, 2011 07:51 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 24th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC)

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 24th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 11:00 pm (UTC)

Posted by: sharaz_jek (sharaz_jek)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 09:39 pm (UTC)

speculate that the Amy who is travelling with the Doctor and Rory is made of a more advanced version of Flesh, hence the Doctor's reference to 'early technology'. The original Amy is still 'driving' the copy, unconsciously; when she wakes up (and sees the Eyepatch Lady), her conscious experience overlaps with that of the copy. Though the copy is not pregnant, to some extent her body is reproducing the symptoms of pregnancy, or whatever link across time and space the two have is causing the TARDIS to report on both Amys at once.

... I think you're on to something here. This is brilliant.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 21st, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
MattKarenArthur

Thank you! This was partly the result of groupthink after a group viewing at the St John's MCR... I think it says good things about the episode that it could lead in that direction.

(Deleted comment)
Posted by: Fangirling the Ə since 2006! (glitterfairy25)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 10:32 am (UTC)
OT4

I think it was less of a plan on the Doctor's part and more of an accident with the solar storm.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary World (ogew)
Posted at: May 25th, 2011 03:13 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 25th, 2011 10:25 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 25th, 2011 10:26 am (UTC)

Posted by: Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary World (ogew)
Posted at: May 31st, 2011 05:53 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 31st, 2011 10:48 am (UTC)

Posted by: Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary World (ogew)
Posted at: May 31st, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 01:23 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Virgers! How are we doing with those explosives? (tree_and_leaf)
Posted at: May 25th, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 25th, 2011 11:19 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Fangirling the Ə since 2006! (glitterfairy25)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 10:32 am (UTC)
The Doctor is NOT impressed

Here from who_daily :)

Really like your theory about Eye Patch Lady but when does the Doctor talk about "early technology"? Is it in the episode?

There's definitely room for duplicates of duplicates and the "which one's which?" game, AND suspect "originals" too.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
MattKarenArthur

Hello! I like the userpics.

Rewatching, the Doctor doesn't quite use the words himself. He refers to 'early stages of the technology' during the scene where Cleeve's Ganger status is revealed when she doesn't feel the heat from the hot plate; and Jimmy uses the term 'early technology' a few minutes later, when he accuses the Doctor of knowing much more than he is revealing. The way the Doctor looks fixedly at Amy during a discussion about the Flesh is potentially telling, though quite possibly about either or both the Doctor and Amy's doppelganger status or indeed all three characters in the scene.

Posted by: Matthew (emperor)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 01:52 pm (UTC)

Interesting theories!

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 02:00 pm (UTC)
Tom

Time will tell, as they say!

Posted by: gwydion_writes (gwydion_writes)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 05:05 pm (UTC)

Interesting! So the "original" Amy might be held in some kind of alien containment waiting for the baby to be born so the baby can be hijacked in some way. Not beyond the bounds of reasonableness considering what cultures would do to procure a "time lord's body". R says that maybe this flows way back and that the "doctor" shot in the season opener might have been a Ganger, too. The one who sent the invites. Not wanting himself to continue to exist in double etc. for the good of the universe etc. But knowing this has something to do with Amy's baby and trying to set them on the right path toward saving the baby.
Sounds typically Doctorish self-sacrificial to me.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 05:45 pm (UTC)
MattKarenArthur

Presumably the Silence or some other entity or entities have Amy and want to use her baby, if I'm right. I'd thought this might be a 'nested universe' alt-Amy, but we now seem to be being pointed along the doppelganger route.

The Doctor who apparently received the invitation might be a double too/instead, with the real Doctor doing the 'running' and being killed; or this clone business might be being taken too far with that...

Posted by: daniel_saunders (daniel_saunders)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 08:51 pm (UTC)
Me

I really liked Fear Her. Not only did I not think it was the worst story of new Who, I don't even think it was the worst - or even third worst - story of that season.

I'm not sure what I make of this. It seemed a little simplistic and too similar to last year's Silurian tale (the Doctor tries to make peace between two groups that don't even recognise each other as fully 'human'). It was more sinister than that story, though, and I hope your speculation is near the truth and that this doesn't turn into a boring runaround.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 09:18 pm (UTC)
MattKarenArthur

I'd not thought of parallels with the Silurian story. I find this episode much better performed and much more inventively filmed. It is indeed sinister; I felt quite disturbed afterwards, and I hope that next week is as rewarding.

Posted by: Andy (alitalf)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 09:58 pm (UTC)

On watching the episode, it seemed to me that there had been inspiration from at least two books: Frankenstein, in that the lightning animated the gangers, and Kil'n People by David Brin. In particular, the copies in David Brin's story have a degree of independence, but begin to fall apart after period of time depending on how well they are made.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 22nd, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC)

The writer and others involved in the production indicated on Doctor Who Confidential that they expected everyone to get the Frankenstein reference, I think... but I'd not heard of the Brin book. I wonder if Matthew Graham or Steven Moffat do?

Posted by: A Meticulous Catalogue of Wrongs To Be Avenged (splendorsine)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2011 04:40 am (UTC)

The jury is definitely out, isn't it. I've seen quite a few people declaring they loved it, and quite a few more asserting that it is absolute bilge, with zero plot, characterization or redeeming features; almost (but not quite) worse than Fear Her.

Which I find insane, frankly; this is definitely my favourite of the season so far, with astonishing production values, an awful lot of laugh-out-loud dialogue, and a real old-school (but updated) feel. I'm wondering if the people who hate it most are the ones who don't have much time for pre-RTD Who. If running away from monsters in spookily lit corridors isn't your thing, then maybe this was dreadful...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2011 10:04 am (UTC)
regeneration

So far the divide seems to be marked by an impatience with SF tropes-familiar-outside-Who, and those who aren't as bothered by this. There are others who find Matthew Graham's get-the-reference game too obvious this time round - Matt Hills's review at Antenna makes a lot of Graham's split personality as a television writer, and I'm annoyed that I didn't spot how obvious the name 'Cleaves' was.

Posted by: A Meticulous Catalogue of Wrongs To Be Avenged (splendorsine)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2011 02:29 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 23rd, 2011 02:30 pm (UTC)

Posted by: elegaer (elegaer)
Posted at: May 24th, 2011 06:28 am (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 24th, 2011 02:01 pm (UTC)

Posted by: elegaer (elegaer)
Posted at: May 24th, 2011 07:14 pm (UTC)

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 24th, 2011 07:46 pm (UTC)
Liz & Pertwee

This sounds intersting and would make sense of a few things (and confuse others), but I must admit that my first reaction (long before the cliffhanger) was that it is leading up to explanaining (away) the Doctor's death.

This may look so obvious that it could be argued to be a red herring just because of that, but then Amy's pregnancy is referred to so strongly that it may eqully well be designed to mislead. In fact both things have been constantly referred to during the lest few episodes.

Also, the person who was shot had a real heart. If he was a Ganger, that means he had been replicated pretty exactly. So would a pregnant Amy not also be replicated pregnant? Or if she was replicated before she got pregnant, why is the Tardis confused? In other words, I'm not sure this would explain her ebing both at the same time (unless both are actually *inside* the Tardis simultaneously, of course, precluding Amy from being held elsewhere).

If my first association is right, the Doctor may be looking for a suitable level of flesh technology for himself/his plan (?already), or have had other experiences with the substance, that will eventually lead him to make use of it in 200 years' time.

Oops, I'm spamming your blog with waffle. Stopping now...

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 24th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)

Remember that the Doctor seems to be distingushing between the 'early stages of the technology' and something he already knows. It's possible that a copy of Amy could be programmed not to be pregnant while the original still is. I lean towards those who think that the Doctor's command to Amy to "Breathe!" is because the original Amy is in labour.

This isn't to say that the Doctor isn't interested in Flesh technology for himself too, of course.

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 24th, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 24th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 25th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 25th, 2011 11:27 pm (UTC)

Posted by: widsidh (widsidh)
Posted at: May 26th, 2011 11:50 pm (UTC)

Posted by: Virgers! How are we doing with those explosives? (tree_and_leaf)
Posted at: May 25th, 2011 10:56 pm (UTC)

Oooh. An interesting theory, that.

Posted by: parrot_knight (parrot_knight)
Posted at: May 25th, 2011 11:26 pm (UTC)
regeneration

I will probably have to make sure I watch the episode as it goes out, just because I want to remove any chance anyone else can tell me whether my interpretation is correct or not before I see the episode...

Another possibility is that the Eyepatch Lady will directly intervene in events, reaching through her window somehow, which would be very 'fairytale'; and there is a question over whether the Ganger Doctor is a one-episode gimmick, an indication of a broader relationship between the Ganger Doctor and the wider theme of the double Doctor this series, or a more specific one (that the Ganger Doctor is already someone we've been travelling with all season, and he will be sent back to the diner by the 'real' Doctor during this next episode).

I still like my first theory, though - and there are definite irregularities in the way the Doctor looks at Amy this episode.