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.
Following on the heels of the previous week’s already-classic “The Doctor’s Wife,” DOCTOR WHO viewers faced “The Rebel Flesh,” another competent, workmanlike episode in the classic-series vein of “The Curse of the Black Spot”; “Rebel Flesh” is a story that, like its pirate predecessor, suffered from being something of a “non-arc” story. It is not writer Matthew Graham’s fault that this story doesn’t resolve the “Who killed the Doctor” umbrella story, so I hope Graham’s second whack at WHO (he also penned the infamous “Fear Her” story from Series 2, also known as “the one where the Doctor lights the Olympic flame.”) can be judged on its own fine merits.
I will admit I am impatient myself to find out what will happen to the Doctor and River and how Amy’s pregnancy will figure into the story. And to finally learn what the Silents are really up to. (All that Sturm und Drang to obtain a spacesuit for a little girl to go walkabout? Yeah, pull the other one, Steven Moffat!) I guess this is why the-powers-that-be do not usually open a season with an epic tale that feels like a finale: It not only sets the bar for the season to come unattainably high; that heightened sense of anticipation cannot be maintained for the balance of the season. And it is unfair for fans to expect that. All we should be demanding is a fine, entertaining story. And that is what “The Rebel Flesh” is. In fact, it’s comfort food, in a way – the Doctor defending a base under siege. Look how popular “The Waters of Mars” proved to be with that formula…