Sunday, May 15, 2011

Doctor Who - "The Doctor's Wife"

Idris (Suranne Jones) meets the Doctor (Matt Smith).
Photo Credit: BBC
Review by Paul Steven Brown

'Doctor Who'
Season 6 - Episode 4
"The Doctor's Wife"

The nature of the TARDIS has always been one the cooler, more fanciful, aspects of 'Doctor Who'. We know that the Doctor stole, or in his words "borrowed", it long before his adventures begam being televised in the mid '60s. Also, the TARDIS doesn't always take the Doctor where he wants to go, but quite to where he is needed. There are times when the little blue box seems almost alive.

The Neil Gaimen penned "The Doctor's Wife" does the remarkable and gives the TARDIS it's own voice. Gaimen takes things even further by actually have the soul of the machine downloaded into a young woman's body. The result is an excitingly fun and enlightening hour of 'Doctor Who'.

By giving the TARDIS a human body, at least for one episode, we learn that "she" and the Doctor are perfectly matched. He may have stolen her initially (though it is implied that she left herself unlocked on purpose), but she's the one that stole him away so they both could continue to journey through space and time. Also, Suranne Jones imbues "Irdris" with madcap excitement that made me wish that the TARDIS could have stayed in her human form for a few episodes more. Still, the door is open for the TARDIS to possess another body again, if the story warrants it.

While the soul of the TARDIS is off running around a junkyard with the Doctor, Amy and Rory become rats in the maze that is the TARDIS, which becomes possessed by a being referred to as House. I think this is the first time since the modern relaunch of 'Doctor Who' that I can remember seeing other rooms or corridors inside the ship. It's all wonderfully old school 'Doctor Who' from the retro looking hallways and the fact that Amy and Rory are forced to run down them over and over.

Unfortunately, this is the third episode in a row that Rory Williams "dies". He was shot on Hoover Dam by Feds (though a ploy by Agent Delaware). He drowned last week, but was resucitated by Amy. This week we seem him aged due to timey-whimey nature of the TARDIS and then as a skeleton. It was all mental trickery played on Amy by House, but Rory's "dying" this frequently has really lost its punch. Besides, he died for real last season, so I'd think that creatively this is a dead end.

There were other bits of "The Doctor's Wife" that were great fun. When Irdris is instructed to send a telepathic message to "the pretty one" on the TARDIS, she assumes Rory is the pretty one. The look on the Doctor's face when he realized that she had contacted Rory instead of Amy was priceless. It was also cool to see the console room from the Ninth and Tenth Doctor's seasons back for a brief scene. When Irdris said that the TARDIS archived all the old ones, I half expected to see on of the stark white ones from the '60s. Plus, the TARDIS liked being called "Sexy" and as result deemed it a proper name for herself.

Overall 'The Doctor's Wife" was a wonderful episode, and the best so far this season. It was weird, wild fun, but it also had plenty of room for some heart-warming moments. Hopefully we can get Mr. Gaimen to write another script in a year or two.

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