So, 1 day before the end of the summer Whoatus and here I am, only just writing up my thoughts on the first part for series 6 of Doctor Who. My, my, I have been slacking!
I always meant to write a review for each episode as I watched them but somehow just never got around to it. Now i find myself sat here, staring blankly at my computer screen, with so much to say but no idea how to say it. So, please forgive me if i seem rambling – I’ll get to the point eventually! I shall only touch on the episodes briefly as i’m sure you have all read in-depth reviews about each one and have watched them more than once. I know I have!
Let’s start at the beginning with The Impossible Astronaut and Day of The Moon. I think that deciding to open the series inAmericawas an interesting one from The Moff. It certainly gave the series opener an epic scale and i think that was the whole point of that decision. The open vistas ofMonumentValleyand views from the Hoover Dam let us know that this series of Doctor Who was by no means going to be a small affair. It let us know that whatever Moffatt had in store of us this series was going to be seriously huge. And we all had questions after the end of series 5. I for one went and reached all the previous series after I found out about The Silence to see if there were any clues! The most burning question of last series and this has got to be who River Song is. We all wanted to know and we all had our own opinions. What we did know was that she was married to the Doctor way into the future, and that she was in prison for killing a good man. A very good man. Now, we all immediately thought that it was the Doctor. I know I did. But as series 5 came to an end and series 6 began, I wasn’t so sure.
So who is she? Well, now we all know but I’ll touch on that point again later.
It was quickly apparent this series that the plot twists and arcs were going to be a lot more complicated that last series but then The Moff is the master of such things. It was also clear that the speed of this series was going to be a lot faster than the last. The first 2 episodes, The Impossible Astronaut and Day of The Moon were a lot faster paced than previous series episodes. But i liked that. I almost felt like you were running to keep up, which is what most people travelling with The Doctor must feel like! The only downside of this fast pace is that I felt I had to watch each episode more than once to take it all in. Not that it was a downside for me – I could watch Doctor Who all day, over and over again! With the first to episodes of series 6 we had established the 3 main story arcs of this series: The Silence, is Amy pregnant and who the hell killed the Doctor? The other plot lines just slotted in nicely with the main ones. But we all know Moffatt by now and even though they may seem like lesser stories, they’ll all become front and centre somewhere down the line.
The series continued with Curse of The Black Spot. Some say that this was the lesser of all the episodes in part 1 but I disagree. I can see why people felt that way as after such an epic opening 2 parter set against the vast American backdrop, whatever followed was of course going to feel smaller but by no means less important. Infact, i loved this episode. It had everything you needed for a pirate episode: a pirate ship, moody weather, a mutinous crew, a stow away and, of course, the traditional sea siren and space pirates. And The Doctor got to wear a pirate hat. What more could you ask for?! Having not really thought too much about the Eyepatch Lady, it made me jump when she reappeared and I began to try and work out where she would fit in to the whole series. It was clear by this point that only Amy could see her but who was she and what did she want? Now, if it was me and i was seeing Eyepatch lady for the second or third time and I was travelling with the Doctor, I would have immediately said something. But that’s just me!
The fourth episode, The Doctor’s Wife, was by far my favourite episode of the series so far. In fact, I would go as to say it’s my favourite episode of Doctor Who ever. And I’ve seen them all. The reason I loved this episode so much was because the TARDIS finally got an episode all to herself. For me, the TARDIS is the best thing about Doctor Who by far. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Doctor, but for me, it’s always been the TARDIS. Not only did the TARDIS get her own episode, but Neil Gaimen wrote it and he truly outdid himself. It was funny, sad, heartfelt and lovely. The title of the episode had the internet speculating for weeks about its plot and would it be about River. I’m thankful that it wasn’t. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much watching an episode of Doctor Who and i’m tearing up even now as I write. The feel of this episode was so different to the 3 that we had already seen and I loved that.
What I loved about it the most was that after all the companions the Doctor has ever had, it drove home that not one of them would ever be able to compete with his one true and constant companion – the TARDIS. It was also lovely to have so much on screen time with the Doctor, which is something that is sometimes lacking. This TV show is, after all, called Doctor Who. And Matt Smith’s performance in this episode was heart wrenching at the end. Being able to actually speak to his TARDIS and then have her human form disappear at the end. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Matt manage to look so old, tired and heartbroken before. It’s a testament to the man’s acting abilities. And Idris left us with something to ponder, didn’t she? “The only water in the forest is the River.” Cue the internet crashing with the sheer weight of people throwing they’re theories into the mix!
The next episodes were The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People. I was still rather emotional a week after The Doctors Wife so wasn’t as attentive to this episode as i should have been. Hence the fact that I have now watched it about 4 times, just to make sure that i have it my full attention!
In this episode, I had the feeling that they were going to start wrapping things up for the mid-season finale. I was sure that The Moff would start to bring certain threads to a close. To a certain point, this was true for this episode. It was also a pretty creepy instalment of DW – anyone else thinks The Flesh was scary? No? Just me the 31 year old scaredy cat then! I thought that the Gangers were a great ‘monster’ – really quite creepy for Doctor Who. And it was nice to see Rory standing his ground where Amy was concerned. The poor man has put up with really rather a lot this series. Well, since he’s known Amy really. How many times has he been killed now? He’s the Doctor Who equivalent of a Red Shirt in Star Trek!
And then we got 2 Doctors which for Matt fangirls like myself, was a treat! I think it also gave Matt a chance to flex his acting muscles a bit too. Must have been hard work having to shot all those extra scenes as the Ganger Doctor! And i have to admit, I did emit somewhat a squeal when his Ganger was transforming and the voice of Tom Baker came out of his mouth! That was a stroke of genius and just goes to show what a huge fan The Moff is of Doctor Who.
So, we have Gangers trying to take over an acid production plant and get back to earth take over and make humans suffers for what they’ve done to the flesh. We’ve also got 2 Doctors, Rory is running around trying to protect one of the crew who is or isn’t a Ganger, Amy is seeing the Eye Patch Lady again, the TARDIS is buried in the ground and time is running out before the whole place explodes and they all die slow and painful deaths. No pressure then?!
For me, I like Matt when he’s portraying the grumpy, angry side of The Doctor. He does it so well and with such conviction that when it got to the scene in the corridor with Amy and she tells what she thinks is The Doctor’s Ganger that she’s scene his death, I really felt how angry he was. I want to see more of that side of The Doctor in the second part of this series. After all, if you were over 900 years old, you’d be a bit grumpy too, wouldn’t you?
After nearly 6 episodes, when Amy sees the Eye Patch Lady this time, she finally says something to The Doctor. About time too. And here is when you start to see the loose ends of this half of the series start to surface. We also find out at the end of the episode that the Doctor that Amy thought was the real Doctor is in fact the real one. And she’s told him what they all swore that they wouldn’t tell him – about his own death. Oops! Back on the TARDIS, we get to see the strict, angry side of the Doctor again and we also find out that the Amy that we’ve been following all series is not, in fact, Amy at all. She’s a Ganger. And suddenly, the Eye Patch Lady and the 1st two episodes of the series start to click into place nicely. So we end this 2 parter with Amy locked in some sort of birthing tube and the Eye Patch Lady telling her to push. Anyone else find that ending creepy? No? Just me again then!
The last episode before the enforced Whoatus was A Good Man Goes to War. The trailers promised us a corker. The internet rumour mill went into over drive and all of time and space nearly collapsed on us all during the wait for this episode. Did anyone else think that week was the slowest week in history? After all, this was the episode that promised us the answer to who River was. Were we ready for that answer? How many of our own answers had we already made up? Would we be right?
This was an epic episode. When i think back to the final 2-parter of series 5 and how epic that was, this episode was shaping up to be just as impressive. It begins with Cybermen for goodness sake! Cybermen and Rory in his Roman garb. And a Sontaran. And a Silurian. And then we even get the Spitfires from Victory of The Daleks from series 5. They’re all here in this episode. I was a little worried that this was too much for a mid season finale. Then i thought that if this is what The Moff has planned for the mid season finish, what on earth does he have planned for the end of the whole series? Whatever it is, it’s going to have to be massive to top this episode.
This episode was funny, sad, thrilling and quite brutal at times. The Doctor showed what sort of stuff he’s made off and was quite aggressive in this episode i thought. Blowing up Cyber ships, shouting at everyone, even those who came to help him. Ok, we were told that they were debts that were to be repaid, but they all still came to his aid.
Here we were, the mid season ending and about to find out whom River is. And also who Eye Patch Lady is. What does she want with Amy’s baby? Who is she working for? My initial theories were that Amy was pregnant with a Silence. That’s why i thought the TARDIS couldn’t determine if she was pregnant or not. It would make sense: as soon as the TARDIS scanned her, it would forget, right? But then why would Eye Patch Lady want a Silence/human hybrid? No, that theory was no good. Then i realised that the baby would probably be part Timelord, hence the little girl in the astronaut suit and her regenerating at the end of Day of The Moon.
We find out that the baby has Timelord DNA running through her which is why the Eye Patch Lady wanted her. We now know that Melody is to be a weapon against the war on the Doctor. But what war? Is this something that we haven’t seen yet or is she just referring to all his enemies? But the Eye Patch Lady has managed to fool the Doctor again and the baby that Amy now has a hold of is, in fact, a Ganger. I certainly didn’t see that one coming!
And so to the name of Amy and Rory’s baby: Melody Pond. I think that’s when most of us figured it out, isn’t it? Melody Pond or River Song? The TARDIS made sense 3 episodes back, didn’t she? “The only water in the forest is the river.” The people of the Gamma forests have no word for Pond, they only have River. That raises another theory i have. The Gamma forests were mentioned an awful lot in this episode – anyone else think that’s more than just a coincidence?
So, now we know who River is, how do we feel about it? I do have a few issues and questions about the whole River story line. For starters, how did River not know who Amy was when they first met in Time of Angels in series 5? Surely she would recognise her own mother? But then, if Eye Patch Lady has Melody and the Doctor can’t get her back, then River wouldn’t know who Amy was.
Does this also mean that the little girl in the astronaut suit and who regenerates at the end of Day of The Moon is River?
Is it River in the Astronaut suit at the beginning of The Impossible Astronaut that kills the future Doctor?
Where has Eye Patch Lady taken Melody?
Will the Doctor be able to get her back?
If River didn’t know she was Amy & Rory’s daughter, does that mean that the Doctor can’t save her? Who raises her?
When was Amy taken – before or after A Christmas Carol?
At this point, you can probably hear my head exploding with all the questions and possibly theories going around in my head! This is what The Moff is great at – spinning you a yarn that has just enough information to give you a little glimpse into what could be but at the same time, showing you a multitude of possible plot threads and directions.
This series is shaping up to be one of the creepiest, scariest and most brilliant series yet. Having seen pretty much every episode of Doctor Who made since its creation in 1963, that’s a big claim, but i feel that it’s true. The stories are bigger, the sets are bigger and Moffat is drawing on Doctor Who legend going way, way back in its history. It’s glaringly obvious that he has been a fan for a long, long time and that’s what makes his series so great. We now have a 3 month wait for the second half of the series to start and he’s already got us spouting all sorts of theories and possibilities!
I have a few theories of my own but I shall save them for another day!