DOCTOR WHO 6.6 (32.6): The Almost People

Well, well, well… So this DOCTOR WHO story had a lot more to do with the season arc than previously suspected! This episode’s cliff-hanger easily outdoes last week’s dramatic reveal by hitting us with yet another duplicate! One might say this story was a copy of a copy…or even that the sequel was better than the original.

Now we know why the TARDIS was giving conflicting readings about Amy’s pregnancy; Amy is pregnant, but the Flesh isn’t. Wherever Amy is, she was either being allowed to control the Flesh avatar, or the Ganger simply believed it was Amy. As this two-part story reveals, the Gangers are legitimate beings on their own.

Picking up from last week’s cliff-hanger, the Flesh-born doppelganger Doctor struggled to integrate memories of the Time Lord’s previous incarnations, and then he teamed up with the Doctor (Matt Smith) to lead the others away from the advancing Gangers through a maintenance duct – more old-school thinking! Though GangerCleaves (Raquel Cassidy) started feeling headaches from a blood clot suffered by her original, she still thought exactly like the real Cleaves, so she knew they were headed for the evacuation tower to restore power. As the Doctors worked together, Amy (Karen Gillan) was confused, until it was established that the doctors can be distinguished by their footwear: the real Time Lord was wearing substitute brown boots after his own shoes were burned by acid. However, both versions of the Doctor agree that they are equally effective and can both be trusted. Amy and Cleaves are unimpressed. Meanwhile, Rory (Arthur Darvill) still trailed GangerJen (Sarah Smart), who had revolution on her mind. Briefly alone with the DoppelDoctor, Amy tells him that she witnessed the death of his future self and is withholding that “spoiler” from the Doctor as part of an elaborate plan. The DoppelDoctor was suddenly overcome by a sort of Ganger race memory that questioned why the Flesh has to die to serve humanity. “The Flesh wants revenge!” the DoppelDoctor screamed.

Rory eventually caught up with GangerJen – and the real one. They fought, and one Jennifer was melted in a puddle of acid. The winner manipulated Rory into helping her turn off the underground cooling vents. Then they encountered a pile of junked Gangers who were left to die in torment, horrifying Rory. The real Cleaves summoned a rescue ship, but GangerCleaves was able to figure out real Cleaves’ codeword and tricked the shuttle into coming for the Gangers. DoppelDoctor and Buzzer (Marshall Lancaster) found the real Jen dead outside the monastery, and then Buzzer knocked out the Time Lord doppelganger. Buzzer found GangerJen comforting the dying Gangers, and she demonstrated that she could contort and change her body, and then killed him. The other Gangers found DoppelDoctor, who woke up and demanded to be called “John Smith.” As the Doctor and his pals fled, they ran into Rory, who advised them of a secret escape tunnel beneath the chapel. Returning to the acid vat room, they were locked in by GangerJen, who revealed that Rory was her dupe. (Well, one of them; she also created the duplicate that was dissolved in the acid puddle.) Rory was taken to Ganger central, where the DoppelDoctor answered a phone call that the Doctor earlier arranged – a call to Adam. GangerJimmy (Mark Bonnar) was stunned to see “his” child, and immediately ran off to free the real Jimmy. GangerJimmy arrived just as the acid vat blew, fatally burning Jimmy, who urged his Ganger to take over as Adam’s father.

As the Doctor tried to evacuate the survivors, GangerJen transformed into a monster. Dicken (Leon Vickers) sacrificed himself to close a door to delay her, and then the TARDIS dropped through the acid-soaked ground into the tunnel nearby. GangerCleaves held the door against MonsterJen, and was bolstered by the Doctor, who offered to stay behind and help hold it so the others could escape in the TARDIS. Amy refused to leave the Doctor behind. John Smith asked her if she wanted him to stay behind and hold the door. Amy said she belongs with the Doctor; she admitted she had misjudged the DoppelDoctor, but he’s still not the Doctor. But then DoppelDoctor revealed that they had swapped shoes; the person she thought was the real Doctor was actually the Ganger. She apologized, and Rory herded her into the TARDIS. The Doctor gave the duplicate his sonic, and after the TARDIS was clear, the Ganger opened the door and used the sonic to dissolve Jen back into raw Flesh – as well as GangerCleaves and himself. Inside the TARDIS, the Vortex energy stabilized GangerJimmy and GangerDicken – and the Doctor had a convenient cure for Cleaves’ blood clot. The Doctor brought Jimmy “home” to Adam, then dropped Cleaves and Dicken off at company headquarters so they could explain the problems with the Flesh. Then, the Doctor told Amy to “breathe,” and she doubled over in pain. The Doctor explained that she’s going into labor. Back in the TARDIS, he warned Rory to step away from his wife, and vowed to find Amy, no matter where she is. Frightened, Amy insisted she was standing right in front of him, but the Doctor said she hasn’t been there for a long time. He turned a new sonic on her, and she reverted to raw Flesh. The Doctor explained to Rory that he needed to learn how the Flesh is operated in order to understand how to block the control signal. Amy woke up lying in a tiny white cell, visibly pregnant and loomed over by the Eye Patch Lady (Frances Barber), who told her to “Push.” Amy screamed…

Aargh! Where is Amy? What does the Eye Patch Lady want with her/her baby? Why don’t viewers (coughyouknowwhoImeancough) have more faith in Steven Moffat’s ability to tie things together? Who would have thought that this two-parter would provide several key developments in the “Death of the Doctor” umbrella story?

The most important reveal, clearly, was that Amy has been kidnapped (and she really is pregnant), but a close second has to be that Amy accidentally spilled the beans to the Doctor that she saw him die 200 years in his personal future. And make no mistake: She told the real Doctor. As the DoppelDoctor held the door, he told his original, “My death arrives, I suppose.” The real Doctor replied, “But this one we’re not invited to,” clearly demonstrating that he knows about watching the spectacle of his own death. Forewarned is forearmed, however, so this will definitely figure into the Doctor’s plans for his future. The Doctor knows how dangerous it is to mess with his own timestream – but maybe the fact that his death has not happened yet (from his perspective) will give him the wiggle room he needs to…uh, shape future events. (Time can be rewritten!) That is, presuming his death is not a Fixed Point in Time. (And it is hard to believe such a major event would not be!) Perhaps this idea that his companions will (try to) keep his death a secret factors into the strange gathering in Utah?

But let’s not forget about Amy’s pregnancy. How long has Amy been gone? We have to presume it has been several months, since she is about to give birth as the episode ends. She did not look pregnant on her honeymoon during “A Christmas Carol,” but then again she really wasn’t seen much. But she did still fit into the sexy policewoman costume, so she couldn’t have had a bulging belly then. We fans are not privy to how much privacy the Ponds get aboard the TARDIS (though the bunk beds could not have helped), but one could assume they got to spend some quality time together on their wedding night, and presumably nine months have passed since it happened (assuming normal gestation).

Speaking of spending time together, are two Doctors better than one? Judging from Smith’s brilliant performance, the answer is a resounding “YES!” Nice idea, having the Doctor’s Flesh avatar struggle to reconcile the previous regenerations. I’ve always wondered about instant clones on TV shows that conveniently stabilize at the precise age of the actor playing the original. What kind of template would a Time Lord make? Isn’t the Doctor a sort of copy of a copy of a copy, etc.? It’s a wonder the Ganger didn’t end up looking like a spry young William Hartnell or even Colin Baker! Still, it was a nice present to longtime Whovians to have Smith “relive” some of his previous personas through snatches of dialogue from his First, Third, Fourth, Fifth and 10th incarnations. My favorite was the 10th’s voice saying, “Hello, I’m The Doctor,” followed by Smith declaring, “Let it go! We’ve moved on!” (And so has this fan; I’m saying David Who? Sylvester Who? Matt Smith is the Doctor!) Of course the 11th Doctor would perceive the coolness and fun of teaming up with himself. After a quick quiz about cybermats to establish that the duplicate had a handle on his memories, they were ready to get to work. “What now, Doctor?” asked one version. “Time to get cracking, Doctor!” answered the other. I’d love to see dual 11s again sometime…

But Amy was clearly not ready to move on to a Ganger. The DoppelDoctor seemed very offended that Amy held more affection for the original, but this week’s lesson in tolerance came through her and her snippy attitude toward the DoppelDoctor, whom she did not consider to be as good as the real one. She got her comeuppance when the Doctors revealed they had switched boots (probably when they were doing that comedy bit, ducking behind the machinery and finishing each other’s sentences). Just goes to show how our preconceptions color our view of people. Amy admitted that the “copy” had proved himself worthy, but she insisted the Flesh still wasn’t… “him.” To her credit, Amy acknowledged her mistake, calling him “twice the man a thought you were!”

Quite sad and revolting is the best way to describe the discarded Gangers that were melded together in that huge junk pile – “left to rot, full conscious.” It was a creepy image, as was the wall covered in staring Ganger eyes.

Bonus blooper note: When locked in the chapel by the treacherous GangerJen, the Doctor had a sonic with which to examine the acid vat – even though he had given it to the other version of himself to help in the hunt for Rory! He certainly couldn’t have popped back into the TARDIS to grab a new one…

Next week (in the USA, at least), we find out what happened to Amy (maybe…maybe not) and learn what happens when a good man goes to war…

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2 thoughts on “DOCTOR WHO 6.6 (32.6): The Almost People

  1. “Reverse the Polarity of the Neutron Flow. Would you like a Jelly Baby?”
    That was the best part !!

    I am so glad that this otherwise ho-hum two parter actually served a higher purpose.
    Amy may have been switched when she was held by the Silence.
    Of course there were those three months in American when they were investigating.

    But consider, that was in 1969, so she may still be in the past !!
    Also, the child would be an adult now !!!!

    Too bad that the fans already figured out that River is that baby.
    At least that is what little I have picked up from those who have already seen A Good Man Goes to War.
    (I’ll see it today)

    Like

    • Yes, I was very glad to see that the Ganger story fit into the overall continuity of the season. Now, instead of just a workmanlike two-parter, it contributed important information. This story casts new light on those visions of Amy surrounded by Silents.When/where is all of this happening/did it happen? It might help explain how that Silent knew Amy was pregnant and told her to tell the Doctor “what he needs to know.” Seems to me that Amy was snatched before the events seen in “The Impossible Astronaut,” but we shall see…
      As always, thanks for stopping by for a chat…

      Like

Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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