Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Review of Doctor Who's 6x11: "The God Complex"

Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Nick Hurran

Rory (re the Doctor): “What’s happened? What is he doing?”
Amy: “He’s saving us.”

Meme to this series, I already had enough shocks this week thanks to another show I watch but even I saw the last scene of this episode coming a mile off. Did that ruin the moment for me? Actually, no it didn’t but more on that later.

I loved the concept of this episode – a creepy hotel feeding on people’s fears and resulting in their actual deaths, so when the episode actually subverted and it was their faith that was becoming the guests undoing in this episode, my enjoyment skyrocketed a little more for this particular story.

The Doctor has a tendency for bringing the gang to the wrong place a lot of the time but obviously, the TARDIS must have thought that he needed to visit this creepy hotel and form an alliance with the remaining survivors against the Minotaur in order to save the day, didn’t she?

Most of the guest characters in this one worked extremely well. Lucy Haywood set the tone up nicely with her death and fears of a gorilla giving us the first clue that faith rather than fear was the key to the whole thing.

Similarly Joe when he wasn’t bound and gagged by everyone else also showed us the way before getting killed by the Minotaur. I have to admit that I find ventriloquist dummies more annoying than terrifying but it seemed like a plausible thing to be frightened of, even if Joe’s faith in gambling/luck became his downfall.

But it was really Howie, Rita and Gibbis who were the guest characters we got to form more of an attachment to, compared to Lucy and Joe. Howie definitely seemed to be a socially awkward young guy consumed with his fear of being rejected by women and his obsession with conspiracy theories.

In some ways that made the character a rather broad stereotype but given that he was played extremely well and that his possession of the Minotaur actually gave the Doctor a chance to trap the creature, he did work a lot better than expected to, even if he did also perish in this episode.

For me, the death that actually got to me was Rita. Okay, so the moment she was written as a potential future companion should’ve been enough of a hint that she wasn’t going to survive the episode but for once, I was hoping the show would do something different.

I loved the character of Rita. Her fears of her father’s disapproval of her academia worked extremely well, she had a wonderful rapport with the Doctor, Amy and Rory and because she sacrificed herself to the Minotaur, she did actually manage to buy the Doctor some time and I loved that he lost it as well.

As impressive as the body count was in this episode, what was better was the Doctor reacting to it. Joe, Howie and Rita’s deaths along with the others that happened in the hotel bothered the Doctor as they should but they also gave him some food for thought concerning Amy and Rory as well.

It’s interesting that Rory didn’t have a room in this episode (all the characters had rooms with fears) but considering the stuff that he’s been through, I think Rory really is made of sterner stuff. Though there was a point in the story where he did look an exit door, so maybe that was intended for him.

As for the Doctor’s room – of course we weren’t going to see what was in it but if I to hazard a guess, it’s either the astronaut revealing itself or it’s the Doctor himself. Remember if “Amy’s Choice” has taught us anything, it’s that the Doctor has a lot of self loathing issues and it makes more sense than a PE teacher as well.

Amy’s fears of her seven year self being abandoned really does sum her up though. I loved that the Doctor shattered her faith in order to starve/kill the Minotaur, especially as the scene in question was similar to what the Doctor had done to Ace in “The Curse Of Fenric” but done in a different manner with Amy.

As for the departure with Amy and Rory at the end – I actually loved the scene. In some ways, it’s a reverse of Martha’s exit from “Last Of The Time Lords” but it also made a lot of sense too. Eventually every companion has to leave the TARDIS and given that Amy/Rory have suffered whilst being with the Doctor, he’s actually being kind in his own way too.

More importantly what I loved about the scene was that Amy understood what the Doctor was doing as well. She might not have liked the idea of leaving the Doctor but she understood and seemed to accept his reasons. However, considering that Amy/Rory are still in the last two episodes, their time with the Doctor isn’t completely over yet and let’s not forget about the whole River arc too.

As for the rest of the episode, I really liked the reveal of the hotel being a prison as well as the reveal of the Minotaur being a distant cousin of Nimon but as enjoyable as David Wallaims is, I actually disliked Gibbis as a character.

Gibbis’s cowardice really had been a form of slyness and I hated that he was responsible for Howie’s death. Similarly, I don’t really that Wallaims was given that much to really do but aside from that, there’s very little about the episode that bothered me.

Also in “The God Complex”

Did anyone think the hotel in this episode looked like a slightly bigger one of Honolulu Heights from Being Human?

Amy (to Rory): “Did you just say ‘it’s okay, we’re nice’?”

The Daleks were mentioned in this episode, the Weeping Angels were Gibbis’s fear and on the wall of the defeated, there were pictures of Judoon, Sontaran, Silurian and a Cat Nurse.

Joe: “We’re going to die here.”
The Doctor: “Well they certainly didn’t mention that in the brochure.”

Gibbis: “Times like this, I think of my old school motto – resistance is exhausting.”

Joe (and presumably) everyone else was here two days before being taken over. Gibbis is from Tivoli, the most taken over planet in the universe.

Rory (to Amy, re Rita): “Every time the Doctor gets pally with someone, I have this overwhelming urge to notify their next of kin.”

Gibbis: “All I want to do is go home, be conquered and oppressed. Is that too much to ask?”

The Doctor’s room was 11 (a reference to his current incarnation) and Amy’s was 7 (a reference to the first time she met the Doctor). The gang were also meant to go to Ravan-Skala, where the people are 600 feet tall.

Rita: “How’s it going?”
Amy: “Don’t talk to the clown.”

The Doctor: “Have you found your room yet?”
Rory: “No, is that good or bad?”

Side-note: Why were some fans offended by Rita’s Muslim comments? Rani said something similar in The Sarah Jane Adventures once. It was also Rita who spoke the episode’s title in obvious relation to the Doctor.

The Doctor (re his room): “Of course. Who else?”

The Doctor: “Let me find you.”
Rita: “You stay where you are. Let me be robbed of my faith in private.”

Are Amy and Rory actually living in the same house we saw back in “The Impossible Astronaut”? I have to admit, the car was nice too.

The Doctor: “Forget your faith in me. I took you with me because I was vain. Because I wanted to be adored. Look at you, glorious Pond, the girl who waited for me. I’m not a hero, I really am just a mad man in a box and it’s time we saw each other as we really are, Amy Williams. It’s time to stop waiting.”

For everyone wondering about River, well Amy did mention her in this one before the Doctor left.

Amy: “So, you’re leaving, aren’t you?”
The Doctor: “You haven’t seen the last of me. Bad Penny is my middle name.”

Amy (to the Doctor, re River): “If you bump into my daughter, tell her to visit her old mum sometime.”

Chronology: I assume it’s 2011 where the Doctor left Amy and Rory but I’m not sure when though. Before or after “The Impossible Astronaut”?

Now, this to me is why I hope Toby Whithouse either succeeds Moffat as a producer or simply writes more for this show. The man simply gets the characters and “The God Complex” certainly enforced that more and more. I guess I should say I have faith in Toby Whithouse but I could’ve sworn I saw a Minotaur looming about, so maybe writing it down will keep me safe.

Rating: 10 out of 10


Guada GN said...

I love that Rory has no room in the hotel and that the Minotaur tried to get him out. Don´t know if it means he has no fears or that he has no faith in anything, but I think that it´s probably the first.
And the last image of the doctor, alone in the Tardis, the god in the labyrinth, trying to make himself smaller, was terribly sad.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Rory's awesomeness does seem to be a continuing trend with this show.

Effective last image too.