Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Review of Doctor Who's 6x04: "The Doctor's Wife"

Written by Neil Gaiman
Directed by Richard Clark

The Doctor: “You’re the TARDIS?”
Idris: “Yes.”
The Doctor: “My TARDIS?”
Idris: “My Doctor. Oh, we have now reached the point in the conversation where you open the lock.”

Let’s get the obvious thing out of the way first – this is not technically the first time we’ve seen the TARDIS in human personification as books and audios have tackled that thorny subject before but it is the first time it’s been done on TV and to say it’s been a success would be pretty apt. I’ll keep the gushing to a minimum but there was a lot I loved here.

For months I wanted the mysterious Idris to turn out to be Romana because I wanted an end to this whole last of the Time Lord mantra the show has been stuck and while this episode cruelly teased the possibility of other Time Lords out there and took it away in a spin, I have zero complaints in Idris turning out to be the TARDIS.

Well, to be honest, she’s actually the TARDIS matrix trapped into a human body so that the asteroid House can feed off the rest of the TARDIS but either way, it’s been long overdue for the best spaceship to have a mouth piece and for forty five minutes, this episode was perfection in dealing with a human TARDIS.

Suranne Jones was the perfect choice for the role as well. I don’t think many actresses could’ve pulled off being both beautiful and bonkers at the same time but Suranne certainly did that in spades and her chemistry with Matt Smith for the whole episode ensured that Amy and Rory weren’t too missed either.

Setting the adventure outside of the universe on a sentient asteroid was a smart idea. I liked that House controlled/repaired the likes of Auntie, Uncle and Ood Nephew and that his underestimation of Idris would later contribute to his downfall as well.

Although Auntie and Uncle didn’t get much to do apart from explaining House’s motives and warning the Doctor about Idris’s insanity, there were a great bunch of side characters and the whole fact that they were patched from parts of other life forms (mostly other Time Lords) was a nice touch too. You could tell that the Doctor was seriously pissed off when he realised he had been lured into a trap.

As for Idris though, her speech patterns and behaviour might have come across as erratic but given that it was the TARDIS trying to make sense of her temporary body and surroundings, I can’t complain too much. And again, did I mention that Suranne Jones played a blinder in this episode?

The interactions between the Doctor and Sexy were fantastic from start to finish. The biting and kissing discussion was one thing but I loved the way Idris revealed her real identity to him as well. Definitely one of those moments that will live on in the series history and their later conversations revealed a lot of depth with the Doctor and his constant companion.

It’s odd because I’ve never looked at the TARDIS as a character and because of that, I’ve nearly done it a disservice. The show has made countless allusions to it being alive and female and fanfiction sites always seem to cite the TARDIS as a character as well, so I guess my overall look of the TARDIS has changed thanks to this episode. Also this episode wasted no time in showing us how much she knew the Doctor.

She knew he was mad enough to take her across all of time and space and she promptly chose him and she finally answered a long term question by revealing that she always took him to where he needed to go. I know some fans might complain that the mystery’s now ruined but I honestly don’t care because it’s nice that the show finally answered that question.

Another thing I also loved in this episode was how when Idris and the Doctor were trying to save Amy and Rory from House’s crazy antics, it was Rory that Idris seemed to favour. Sure, it was Amy who got them into older console but it was Rory that Idris kept psychically communicating with and it was also Rory that reacted to her ‘death’ as well.

The Doctor using Idris to trick House into defeat was nice enough and worked well, considering that he was stupid enough to let her slip back into the main console room and death wise, even Idris isn’t actually really dead, I still found her passing scene really touching. The fact that she just wanted to say hello to the Doctor was one of the sweetest things going.

The other thing noteworthy in this shameless love letter to the TARDIS was Amy’s comments about how it’s always the Doctor and his ship. It is really and it always should be. There’s no way in hell this show could go without the TARDIS and this episode more than reminded me of it’s importance to the Doctor as well as the series itself.

Of course, Doctor/Idris stuff aside; I’m really interested in how much Amy/Rory can hold off not telling the Doctor about his future death or the meaning behind the phrase ‘the only water in the forest is the river’. I have a feeling that with at least one of them, I won’t have to wait too long for an answer.

Also in “The Doctor’s Wife”

This episode title was originally supposed to be used during the John Nathan Turner era of the show to seek out those who were leaking spoilers.

The Doctor: “Oh come here, come here you scrumptious little beauty.”
Rory: “A box?”
Amy: “Doctor, what is it?”
The Doctor: “I’ve got mail.”

The message boxes were the same ones that were used in “The War Games” and we heard of a good Time Lord called The Corsair, whose arm was given to Auntie. Oh and Time Lords can change gender upon regeneration.

The Doctor: “Why am I a thief? What have I stolen?”
Idris: “Me, are you going to steal me? You have stolen me, you are stealing me. Oh, tenses are difficult, aren’t they?”

Amy (re Time Lords): “You want to be forgiven.”
The Doctor: “Don’t we all?”

This episode was meant to air in Season 5 where “The Lodger” had aired. I’m glad it got pushed to this season so that Rory could be in it.

Rory (re the Doctor): “He’s a Time Lord, he’ll be fine.”
Amy: “It’s just what they’re called. It doesn’t actually mean he knows what he’s doing.”

The Doctor (to Auntie/Uncle): “You gave me hope and you took it away. That’s enough to make anyone dangerous. God knows what it’ll do to me. Run.”

House was voiced by Michael Sheen and apart from the ‘die/kill/hate Amy’ stuff we got in blood, we also saw Rory aged 2000 years and as a rotting corpse.

The Doctor: “You’re dying.”
Idris: “Yes, of course I’m dying. I don’t belong in a flesh body; I could blow the casing in no time.”

The Doctor: “You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go.”
Idris: “No, but I always took you where you needed to go.”

The Ood were credited as being created by Russell T. Davies. I don’t remember this happening last season when the Judoon featured.

Rory: “2000 years I waited for you. You did it to me again.”
Amy: “I didn’t mean to, I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry.”

Idris (to the Doctor): “Oh my beautiful idiot. You have what you always had, you’ve got me.”

The makeshift TARDIS we saw the Doctor and Idris use was from a Blue Peter winner. Also Idris referred to the dead TARDISes on House as her sisters.

The Doctor: “You’re doing it, you sexy thing.”
Idris: “See, you do call me that. Is that my name?”
The Doctor: “You bet it’s your name.”

House: “Fear me; I’ve killed hundreds of Time Lords.”
The Doctor: “Fear me; I’ve killed all of them.”

This was supposed to be the third episode of the season as well but it was pushed to fourth when “The Curse Of The Black Spot” was brought forward.

Idris: “There’s something I didn’t get to say to you.”
The Doctor: “Goodbye.”
Idris: “No, I just wanted to say hello. Hello Doctor, it’s so very, very nice to meet you.”

Amy: “Look at you pair. It’s always you and her, isn’t it? Long after the rest of us are gone. A boy and his box off to see the universe.”
The Doctor: “You say that if it’s a bad thing but honestly, it’s the best thing there is.”

Chronology: None actually specified and this episode didn’t mention anything in relation to Amy’s pregnancy either.

“The Doctor’s Wife” when you think about it isn’t a cop out title for this story. Okay the Doctor and the TARDIS/Idris aren’t actually married but their relationship can easily be compared to one and their connection is certainly something that can’t be denied either. A real masterpiece of an episode.

Rating: 10 out of 10

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