Retro ‘Doctor Who’ Reviews – Vol. 11.7
The Girl Who Waited
The Doctor takes Amy and Rory to Apalapucia a reputed holiday destination. What they don’t know is that a plague has already spread among the planet, and the population has taken to using ‘kindness centres’. Those who have been infected are put in accelerated time areas so that they can live out their lives in communication with their loved ones. The travellers are not aware of this when they arrive, and Amy winds up in the accelerated time zone, where she becomes trapped. Suddenly she is living life at a much quicker pace than the Doctor and Amy.
By the time Rory manages to reach Amy she has been waiting 38 years. Having spent the time waiting for rescue while fending off attacks from the automated medical guards. Armed, violent and angry she is conflicted about meeting Rory again, yet his affections for her are unwavering. The Doctor creates a rift so the older Amy can warn the younger Amy off the course she was trapped in, allowing her to escape.
This is a fantastic episode. The design of the world that Amy gets trapped in is rich and imaginative, and the Handbots are a very different form of enemy. Rory continues to impress as a character with his dedication to Amy regardless of what happens to her. When the timelines come together at the end of the episode the Doctor is forced to make a sacrifice during with Karen Gillan, through layers of make-up and prosthetic, renders and heart breaking performance. Every aspect of this episode is done to an immensely high standard.
The God Complex
Something of an abstract horror episode, and a surreal version of the labyrinth legend from Greek mythology. The time travellers arrive in what appears to be hotel in 1980s Earth where they meet a small group of people from different races. They explain that there’s a Minotaur monster prowling the halls demanding that they ‘praise him’ while the rooms of the hotel each contains one of their greatest fears.
One by one the group become possessed by the creature and seek him out to offer their praise. The Doctor deduces that the Minotaur is not out to challenge people’s fears but their faith. The challenge then is to break Amy’s trust in him in order to take away her faith.
This episode has some big ideas to discuss but seems reluctant to dig into the issue. The Minotaur may challenge the notion of faith but this episode does not. Instead it’s used as something of a gimmick. Some smarter writing could have made this a serious discussion of faith being used as both a weapon and a shield but political concerns seem to hold it back. A good concept, but shallow executuion.
After saying farewell to Amy and Rory at the conclusion of the previous episode 200 years have passed and the Doctor is saying farewell to his friends. The day before his predicted death he visits former roommate Craig Owens to try and fit into human society once again. He even takes up a job working in a toy department of a shopping complex where notices something unusal.
Craig, now carry for his young son Alfie aka Stormageddon, finds himself caught up in the mayhem as the Doctor follows his lead. It’s a good thing he does because it turns out to be a Cybernat, and the Cybermen are building a small force within the walls of the mall. In trying to shut them down Craig winds up being converted and has to rely on his will to be able to bring himself back and prove himself to his son.
The return of Craig is welcome, he’s a character who brings out some good material from the Doctor. It’s unusual that Cyebermen are used for comedy purposes when they’re usually one the scarier side of the monster spectrum. Nonetheless the story is all about the Doctor and Craig, and to that extend the episode works to a tee.