Saturday, 17 September 2011

Doctor Who: The God Complex

Monosyllabic Monotheism

Doctor Who: The God Complex
Airdate: September 17th 2011. UK. BBC1

Warning: A sprinkling of spoilers for that
extra touch of seasoning on the food supply.

Woohoo. Finally a really great humdinger of a Doctor Who episode! The Doctor is in everybody. He's well and truly back.

That’s what I just tweeted anyway... and then I figured, why waste a nice strong burst of enthusiasm like that. So I’m shamelessly using it as the opening to this review and there’s probably nothing or, at least, not much that you can do about it. Bwahahahahahaha!

Okay, so where to begin. Cheapish episode I imagine as it’s only got a few sets which are constantly redressed I would think. All set in a 1980s hotel setting straight out of Kubrik’s The Shining... but it’s a hotel in space because- hey I’m not spoiling it that much. You might not have seen it yet. If you haven’t, on yer bike because there’s probably much worse coming down the page I reckon... once I get into full flow.

So, a handful of people running scared around a hotel with the only thing to keep them company... their worst fears ensconced in one of the many rooms and a big, hungry minotaur feeding off their resolute belief in their faith symbol as they try to conquer their fears. Good stuff.

And the good Doctor and Rory have been whisked there by accident by Amy whose unshakable faith in the Doctor has acted like bait to the broken down prison ship feeding the minotaur with the strength of their conviction. Except the minotaur doesn’t want to carry on and is only doing it on instinct... which The Doctor recognises and he does his best to help the minotaur out by cutting off his food supply and letting him die.

And the way he cuts off his food supply is by pulling himself down as a pillar of virtuous heroism for Amy and letting her see a more tarnished interpretation of him... which of course is an image he will be reversing for her in just a short couple of weeks time I suspect but we have to get there yet.

So what else was great about this episode?

Well, we had a couple more references to classic Who in the sound of the cloister bell and also, a lovely throw away line stating that the minotaur was an alien cousin to the Nimon from the Tom Baker story Horns Of The Nimon. Well it had to be really didn’t it? After all, you can’t really go anywhere in the Who universe without associating Minotaurs with the Nimon can you?

But never mind the fan pleasing references... there was some fantastic photography taking place and some brilliant lighting which, in one memorable scene involving a bunch of mirrors and the “source lighting” through a fish bowl (which it almost certainly wasn’t), being almost an homage to that shot by Vittorio Storaro in Bertolluci’s early seventies classic Il Conformista (aka The Conformist)... fans of that movie will know exactly which shot I’m talking about. Saw it decades ago myself and remember none of it... except for that one shot!

You had a possible new companion... except you didn’t because you knew as soon as The Doctor got interested in her she’d get herself killed... or in this case snuffed by the minotaur. And there was even a side swipe at amateur bloggers portraying them as long haired, bespectacled computer nerds spouting nonsense conspiracy theories. Ha! Bit wild that one. Spectacles? Long hair? What an imagination! Ahem. Moving swiftly on...

I think the one scene where this let itself down a little was in an overtly melodramatic good bye sequence where The Doctor dumps Amy Pond and Rory and says goodbye to them... yeah right. For the umpteenth time! He’s alway’s doing that with these two particular companions for some reason. Why the writers saw the need to drag that one out is beyond me. Especially since the last episode of this series is entitled The Wedding Of River Song (can’t be missing yer daughters wedding now, can you Amy?) and since it’s obvious it’s all just a ploy to let The Doctor have some time to himself to get to grips with his upcoming death.The last person he needs to have running around while he deals with that issue is a future-knowledge Amy Pond who might tip her younger self off. That would be silly wouldn’t it?

And, of course, even more so since we know that Amy Pond features in the next series too as confirmed by Karen Gillan a few weeks ago. So anybody who thinks they're leaving the companions in this manner is on crack I reckon (although I suspect it’s high time they killed off Rory now and for good this time when his death can still be of dramatic use as a catapult of emotional situations for the surviving characters). Anybody who thinks this is the last we’ll see of Amy and Rory and that the last 8 or so minutes of this episode wasn’t a huge waste of preparatory time raise your hands now! Didn’t think so.

So where do we go from here... well, back to see Craig from the excellent The Lodger episode of last season by the looks of it. And dressed in a lot of the trailers as someone who would make an excellent best man at a certain someone’s wedding if they made an additional appearance in the last episode of the series if I’m not mistaken? Oh, well... I guess I might be mistaken but that’s my guess for now anyway.

Right then... two episodes to tie up all the plot holes or will they leave it for the Christmas special do you think? I reckon we’ll be seeing a few “scene” cameos from the last series thrown in for good measure too... at least that’s my guess. I don’t think we’re quite done with the fall out from the Pandorica yet... again I’m guessing but that seems to be everybody’s “funnest” game with Doctor Who these days... and why not?

A thrilling episode with the possibility of at least one more good one out of two before the season’s end and I’m genuinely enthused after that one. Can’t wait!

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