Monday, May 30, 2011

"The Doctor's Wife" Season 6 Episode 4

Finally, I am writing about this episode! Of course, I am re-watching it in order to write this. Of all of episodes of the new season, this one was for me one of the strangest, but it also answers some long-standing issues about the series.

We start in a junkyard, there are three humans, Auntie, Uncle and Idris, and an Ood called Nephew, and Idris is about to get their brains sucked out. Shift to the TARDIS. A knock on the door in flight reveals a flying glowing cube. The Doctor utters a line that exemplifies something that is starting to bother me about this series of Doctor Who. When have we ever known the Doctor to say something like "Come here you scrumptious little beauty"? The Doctor's got mail? It is a Time Lord emergency messaging system. It is reminiscent of the cube assembled by the Second Doctor to ask for help from the Time Lords with returning combatants to their rightful times and places in "The War Games." The Doctor takes this to mean that there is a living Time Lord out there called The Corsair and he has to pilot the TARDIS out of the universe to get there, accomplishing this by jettisoning parts of the interior of the TARDIS, again harkening back to a classic episode, "Castrovalva," in which they jettisoned parts of the TARDIS to escape the Big Bang. Suddenly Idris awakens and she is overflowing with energy ... actually, it looks like the start of a regeneration scene. Cue the annoying Amy intro ...

They are on a junk planet outside the Universe. Well, they are in a pocket universe Think of it as a little soap bubble clinging to the side of a big soap bubble, the Doctor says. The Doctor is assaulted by Idris, first kissed, then bitten. She calls him a thief, saying that he has stolen her. The Doctor repairs the communication ball of the Ood, and he suddenly hears the voices of Time Lords in trouble. The Doctor demands to find out who else is there, believing there are multiple Time Lords on the planet.

In a cage, Idris is wondering about herself, and the asteroid they are on turns out to be sentient. The Asteroid tells the Doctor that there have been many Time Lords and Travelers on the planet and that he fixes people when they come to visit him. The woman who is known as "Auntie" touches Amy and the Doctor notices that she has two different hands. The Doctor sends Amy to the TARDIS for his screwdriver, and then when she calls him, he uses his screwdriver to lock them in. The Doctor finds a cabinet containing multiple cubes, the final messages of many Time Lords. He confronts Uncle and Auntie, pointing out that Uncle is made of of spare body parts, and the arm of Autie is the arm of The Corsair, revealing that the people there were created by patching the body parts of others together. The Doctor confronts Idris as a green fog envelops the TARDIS.

He talks to Idris, and she says that that she is the TARDIS. She tells the Doctor about how they first left Gallifrey, and she reveals that as much as he stole the TARDIS, the TARDIS stole him. Now we enter the strangeness of this episode. One of the newer ideas in the new series is that the TARDIS is alive. In the classic series, the TARDIS is just a machine, but now they are living sentient things. The shift was first explained that the TARDIS has a telepathic field that gets into your head and translates alien languages ("Rose"), and he eventually explains that the TARDIS is alive ("Boom Town"). In "The Impossible Planet" the Doctor indicates that TARDISes are grown, not built. The Living memory o the TARDIS was removed and placed in the body of a human woman so that House could feed on the TARDIS. In the TARDIS, the cloister bell is ringing, and Amy and Rory are still trapped inside as the TARDIS dematerializes and heads for the rift back into the universe proper. House speaks to them asking why he shouldn't just kill them. Auntie and Uncle die, and TARDIS-woman is also dying. He asks her name, and she tells him that he calls her "Sexy." Rory and Amy attempt to explain to house why they should be allowed to live. The Doctor heads out into the junkyard and starts scavenging TARDIS parts to build a working TARDIS console to go after the TARDIS and Amy and Rory.

House is tormenting Amy and Rory, and the Doctor and "Sexy" start arguing. He accuses her of being unreliable, never taking him where he wanted to go, but she replies that she always took him where he needed to go. This explains why the TARDIS's steering never quite worked properly in the early series, with the steering growing more and more reliable as the series progressed. Amy and Rory are being tormented by House, and Amy is made to believe that she has abandoned Rory for two thousand years. "Sexy" reveals that she wanted to see the universe so she "stole a Time Lord" and the Doctor was the only one crazy enough to run off with her. She powers the console for him and they dematerialize in a ball of energy and she sends a telepathic message to Rory to go to one of the old control rooms. "Sexy" reveals that she archived each control room, and that she has about thirty of them now (ala the secondary console room from season 14 in the Tom Baker era). House seems to primarily take pleasure in tormenting Amy through psychic attacks. In the TARDIS corridors, Amy and Rory encounter Nephew, the Ood from the Asteroid.

In the Vortex, the Doctor calls Idris "you sexy thing" and she asks if that is her name, and he responds that it is. They enter the other control room, which happens to be the Ninth and Tenth Doctor era control room, which had been destroyed in the regeneration from David Tenant to Matt Smith. You know, it would have been nice to see an old school console room in this scene, but they were never really big enough for something big like this to happen. The Doctor tries to convince House not to kill them and tells him to delete rooms, and House deletes the control room they are in, causing them to be instantly transported to the main control room due to a failsafe mechanism that protects the TARDIS's passengers. The body of Idris dies and the matrix, the soul of the TARDIS is freed in the control room, and she re-takes control of the TARDIS, defeating House. She appears as an apparition and says her last words to the Doctor telling him she has found the word she has wanted to say to him the whole episode, the word being "hello".

The Doctor installs a firewall around the Matrix to protect her form future attacks. Rory tells the Doctor that at the end, she kept repeating to Rory that "the only water in the forest is the River" and that they would need to know that soon. He tells Amy and Rory he would make them a new bedroom since the House deleted all the bedrooms. Amy requests that they not have bunk beds in their new room, but the Doctor replies that bunk beds are cool, because they are a bed with a ladder. Amy and Rory head off to their new room, and the Doctor talks to the TARDIS hoping she hears and understands him, and she responds by throwing a lever for him. The TARDIS flies off and the Doctor runs around the console room like a happy madman.

So the Doctor's wife is ... the TARDIS. What do they say about men and their toys? We also get a little more of a glimpse of the dichotomy of the TARDIS as both a machine and a living, sentient thing. It is almost enough to make your head spin...

Well, until next week, when we have the second part of "The Rebel Flesh".

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