Previously on Doctor Who: The Curse of the Black Spot.
This is the longest and most exciting elopement in the history of the universe. And it’s glorious.
This is the most beautiful story that could ever have been told about the Doctor and his old girl, the most beautiful way of telling this tale of two thieves who fell in love as they stole each other, of who the TARDIS really is. That relationship that’s so much more important than anything else. Because she chose him, too.
TARDIS: I wanted to see the universe, so I stole a Time Lord and ran away. And you were the only one mad enough.
As much as the House—who is voiced by Michael Sheen, by the way, incredible and lovely Michael Sheen!—is a worthy opponent and the Evil Plot was breathtaking, at the end of the day it’s just about Amy and Rory, and the Doctor and his girl.
The TARDIS now finally has a voice—we get to see what so many have felt all along: of course she has a soul, a personality, her own will when it comes to disparities between set coordinates and actual landing, and she’s the Doctor’s only remaining constant now that Gallifrey is gone; and his home she’d been ever since he first set foot into her console room. (One of thirty, apparently. This is going to be exciting.) The Doctor has certainly felt it, but never known for sure, as have some of his companions—Martha, for example—and they both must have craved this opportunity to talk for so long. That’s how they mirror Amy and Rory, the Girl and the Boy Who Waited. The TARDIS has waited so long for him to realize, and to finally get to say hello. And the Doctor has waited so long for someone to understand. What’s more, for someone he can love without feeling guilty: she won’t wither and die, she’ll always be there. Remember when the TARDIS looked into Rose and Rose looked into the TARDIS and they saved the Doctor, together? She said, “I want to keep you safe. My Doctor.” How much more meaning is there in those words now that we have met the TARDIS’ soul.
Doctor: You did it, you sexy thing!
TARDIS: See, you do call me that! Is it my name?!
Doctor: You bet it’s your name!
That wonderful script, combined with the phenomenal acting by Suranne Jones and Matt Smith—tears everywhere. Too see the Doctor cry like this is humbling and, dare I say it, beautiful in a gut-twisting way. Right after shoving the events of pre-2005 Who and The End of Time into his enemy’s face, after discovering that there really is no hope of ever finding any other living Time Lords—only their frantic and terrified voices calling for help in psychic messages—he drops all his masks, lets go of all his bravado and allows himself to succumb to his grief in front of the ones he loves, instead of raging to disguise it, or hiding in solitude to stave off his vulnerability. He begs.
Tardis: Doctor? Are you there? It’s so very dark in here.
Doctor: I’m here.
Tardis: I’ve been looking for a word. A big, complicated word, but so sad. I’ve found it now.
Doctor: What word?
Tardis: Alive. I’m alive!
Doctor: Alive isn’t sad.
Tardis: It’s sad when it’s over. I’ll always be here. But this is when we talked and now even that has to come to an end. There’s something I didn’t get to say to you.
Tardis: No, I just wanted to say … hello. Hello, Doctor. It’s so very, very nice to meet you.
Doctor: Please! I don’t want you to. Please.
And he is rewarded by hearing the words he needs to hear when he can actually accept them, just before Idris’ body fades away.
TARDIS: I love you.
And that’s not the only heart-wrenching relationship twist Neil Gaiman has presented us with: Amy and Rory.
Apart from the inevitable Bowl of Petunias moment: Rory’s dead? Oh no, not again. Was it necessary to have him die? Him being all old and insane in Amy’s fucked-with imagination was bad enough, surely? The scribbles on the wall could have been incorporated in that scene, instead of having a Rory!mummy lying there… Well, what I was going to say—the House chooses Amy as the victim of his hallucinogenic attentions because it can see her guilt about the sacrifices Rory made for her, the biggest of all waiting for 2,000 years only to get her back and still be insecure about her affections. Now all that’s left to hope is that she’ll talk to him about it before it’s too late. But they have enough to talk about as it is—the Doctor’s death, for now, is a regular thing to crop up at the end of the episode, but it won’t be long before it starts interfering with their adventures in earnest. (Oh, and for God’s sake, Doctor, don’t make Amy and Rory sleep in bunkbeds again, that’s just cruel and uncomfortable.)
Enough with the tragedy, though—there is the fun, the excitement, the slapstick, the comedy. The, “You are not my mother!”, the “It says PULL TO OPEN,” the flirtatious banter…
The Doctor: She’s a woman. And she’s my TARDIS.
Amy: Did you wish really hard?
The Doctor: Shut up! Not like that.
TARDIS: Hello! I’m… Sexy.
Doctor: Still shut up!
Not to mention all the impossibly mad ideas Neil Gaiman has in his head. The TARDIS can archive console rooms now. Archived console rooms are cool:
The Doctor: You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go!
TARDIS: But I always took you where you needed to.
So many questions, answered in one impossibly wonderful sequence of dialogue. Speaking of: the dialogue. As you can see, I’m quoting as much as possible today, because it’s so utterly brilliant. I just want to take this script and cuddle it to death.
Something that is most likely going to be very relevant to the series’ story arc:
TARDIS: The only water in the forest is the river.
Eh? River? Forest of the Dead, the forest on the Byzantium? What have you done now?
Next episode: The Rebel Flesh (1).
I was reminded of the show Gargoyles and how it sees the universe. Remember the World Tour episodes?
“It doesn’t send you where you want to go. It sends you where you need to be”
I guess if you welded the Phoenix Gate to that rowboat you’d have the magical equivalent of a TARDIS thing.
Hahaha. That’s how I see the world. Like the CLAMP universe. No such thing as coincidence, only inevitibility. Hitsuzen. Fate. The Doctor is quite essentially Chronic Hero Syndrome and Knight Errant.
First off, welcome! To be honest, I didn’t understand half of what you’re saying, but I’m certainly glad you took the time to comment! :3 And maybe you can explain the Phoenix Gate and CLAMP? (I suppose Chronic Hero Syndrome and Knight Errant can be understood as common tropes?) I always want to get to know new stuff 🙂
What an incredible episode! Been a Neil Gaiman fan for more then a decade, longer than I’ve been a Doctor Who fan, and so when I found out he was writing for Who I was so excited. After being excited about this episode for years, and it was totally worth it. Great, great stuff here. And a lovely review!
Yes, Neil Gaiman is amazing! I’m very excited for the Good Omens mini-series that they’ve been on about for so long! ❤
Thank you so much! 🙂
ASDFGHJKL I FORGOT TO COMMENT ON THIS EPISODE WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH ME!?!? O.o /shot
ANYWAY YES THIS EPISODE WAS OUTSTANDING ONE OF THE BEST ONE I’VE EVER SEEN…The best one of series 6 so far, definitely.
I LOVED the human TARDIS. They portrayed her absolutely perfectly; from the very first thing we hear her say–“Where’s my thief!”–to her problem with tenses, to her utter madness, to her saying everything in the wrong order–it was expertly done. Plus her interactions with the Doctor were hilarious and fitting. I loved their back and forth banter throughout the episode. XDDD
And I of course must point out once again how much I love the acting. Whoever played TARDIS Idris is BRILLIANT, and once again, Matt Smith is absolutely fantastic, cuz he can do the crazy, erratic Doctor but then turn around and bring out the dark side just as well. I always love seeing how he acts scenes like that out, when he gets really angry. (And I also didn’t miss the harsher repeat of his line back in Eleventh Hour; “Basically…RUN!” O.o) And now we’ve seen a new side as he pleaded for the TARDIS not to leave. Aside from just the acting, it was a shock to see the Doctor so vulnerable like that (heart-wrenching–perfect term), as well as that scene where he flat out said he had no idea what to do, which was the intention, I’m sure. And it was even worse knowing how desperately the Doctor wanted to see other Time Lords again, not just out of loneliness but, as Amy aptly pointed out, because he wanted to be forgiven. And it’s at that point where you might think he’s going to protest, but instead seems to just…sort of sag, and become rather petulant. “Well, don’t we all?” And you can’t even blame him, really.
THE SCRIPT. I WILL CUDDLE IT WITH YOU. :3 If you hadn’t already quoted all the awesome lines from this episode I’d have done it myself. But you did. So I’ll just have to settle with fervently agreeing with you instead. Everyone should just raise Gaiman up to a pedestal and worship him.
And Amy and Rory! Can’t forget them. …Except…oh dear, Rory’s died again. Really now. /facepalm…
Although I can’t help thinking that this time, it was actually rather well done. It seemed so much more unnecessary than it actually was because this is what, the fourth time he’s died now? But it transitioned from Amy being terrified at the old senile Rory to grief-stricken at seeing a Rory-skeleton, and I think there was a point to be made there that was somewhat lost since everyone at that point was just rolling their eyes at his “death”. I think the intended impact would have been there if this had been the first time he had died this season, because it wasn’t a huge, drawn-out death per se–it lasted just long enough for Amy’s reaction and then it was over. The one in the previous episode was really just stupid, drawn-out and dramatic for no reason whatsoever, because everyone knew he wasn’t actually dead, and it had a negative impact that transitioned over into this episode.
Also liked the lines of the Doctor just being the Doctor–“Yes. No! But if it helps, yes.” “The pretty one!?” “Yes, it’s spacey-wacey!”
All in all, an extremely enjoyable episode. One of the best…ever, actually. Sorry I didn’t leave a comment before! :3;;
It’s alright, don’t fuss–I mean, I did wonder where you’d been ;P
Anyway, you’re right, this death of Rory’s was one of the better ones, the others were bad, bad plot beans, so this was actually one that should have happened anyway.
The TARDIS/Idris was played be Suranna Jones, actually, in case you want to look her up. I don’t know what kind of other work she’s done, but I’ll keep an eye out from now on, she was magnificent!
I’m just on the point of starting last night’s episode, by the way–this is gonna be goood, from what I’ve seen on tumblr on my quest to find a decent link 😀
Well, don’t forget, the first two were well-done too ^^ The first was done so that Amy could finally choose between her boys, so to speak, and the second was the only one that was actually a death, and it impacted the story nicely, I think. Honestly, the only one I found really unnecessary and stupid was the one during Black Spot. The others were good though. :3
Ooh, thanks for giving me the name! I’ll definitely keep an eye out for her! 😀
Nah, I don’t have any problems with the Series 5 deaths, but it seems to become a running gag in this series, which is a bit mean 😀
Oh, it posted twice XP LOL sorry about that :3