There’s something I’ve said about Doctor Who a few times, but which bears repeating every so often: it’s not science fiction. It’s just not. If you go into Doctor Who expecting science of any kind of hardness then you’re going to be disappointed, and I think this is where a lot of (well, some of) the animosity towards the show comes from, people wanting/expecting it to be something that it simply isn’t.
Doctor Who isn’t about science.
Doctor Who is about magic.
It’s about being a scared little boy squeezing your eyes shut and whispering ‘please save me from the monsters please save me from the monsters please save me from the monsters’ …
… and of someone hearing. Someone who can help you. Someone who will fight as hard as they can to save you from ANY monsters.
And then the episode turns out to be not quite as good as the premise suggested it might be and you end up feeling vaguely unsatisfied and in mild (if temporary) agreement with those who say that Doctor Who ain’t all that.
I mean, when Doctor Who is good it’s fantastic, but there are a lot of mediocre episodes too. With that said …
Goodness but there were some lovely shots in this. Special mention to the Tardis’s materialisation reflected in a puddle, just a beautifully constructed image.
I enjoyed how normal everything was, apart from the stuff that wasn’t.
“‘allo Alex!” Matt Smith’s delivery made me cackle.
“He hates clowns–” “Understandable.”
I’m usually not a fan of the ‘shove the companions into a subplot’ style of Doctor Who episode construction, but I actually enjoyed Rory and Amy bumbling around trying to figure out just where/when the heck they were.
I do like it when The Doctor gets petulant.
“Come on Alex Alex come on!”
Not So Yay
Some of the gimmicky little directorial things didn’t work for me–took me out of the story too much, reminded me that I was, in fact, watching a TV program.
Music. AGAIN. This episode would have been considerably improved by its removal. Ditto with the doll puppet things, they would’ve been far creepier if they’d been silent.
Perception Filters are getting a tad bit overused as a device.
Mawkish, cop-out ending. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of The Power Of Love and an even bigger fan of the Cooldown Hug, but there are some tropes you’ve got to earn.
“In the flesh” seemed a tad tasteless considering what Amy’s been through, but oh well. Less forgiveable is that both Amy AND Rory seem to have completely forgotten that their baby is missing and, in fact, grows up to be a psychopath. What up with THAT?
Enough grumbling, I thought it was an okay episode but nowhere near as good as I hoped it’d be and pretty much totally forgettable (I must stop expecting so much of Mark Gatiss-written ‘sodes, they’re never as good as they look). As for next week’s, it looks like it could go either way, so … yes.