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Friday, 3 June 2011

The Almost People

Oh dear. One of the things I really didn't want to happen happened in The Almost People. I didn't want a big, scary, Lazarus-style monster stalking the corridors of Caerphilly Castle (or wherever that particular scene was shot) but it happened. So I'll complain about that first...

The nice Ganger from The Rebel Flesh, Jenny (Sarah Smart) suddenly became a bit of a monster in part two of the story, then literally became a monster about five minutes before the end. There seemed no need for this - if her Flesh Form was mutating and failing to hold itself together then have it stumble forward like some kind of melting zombie or something... But whatever. It happened. Too late to bitch about it now. And it was only a few minutes, hardly any screen time at all! It's hardly worth me even bringing up - but since it was one of my specific "don't's" then I feel I have to mention it at least.

So, secondly, I shall bleat about how truly spectacular this concluding part of the story was! And it really was spectacular. It took the story to another level, keeping the "base-under-siege" feel of part one, but added more to the series' "arc" than any other episode this series.

Having two identical Doctors running about in the same episode has happened before, in Journey's End, but this time, unlike then, it worked. Matt Smith was born to play opposite himself. Writer Matthew Graham summed it up perfectly in his bit on Doctor Who Confidential when he said "Writing for Matt's Doctor is sort of like writing for two Doctors anyway, since he's always almost finishing his own sentences in a way" - and it's true. Watch him back. He does indeed finish his own sentences, contradicts himself, then picks himself up on those contradictions. This two-Doctors lark worked well here, especially the "Wowza!" moment.

So blah blah blah, the Gangers are bad and then the Doctor(s) convince them that humanity is something they should want to join, not destroy. There's a bigger body count in this episode than the last and every death is dealt with swiftly and without cloying melodrama (except one, which needed it).

But lets talk about that ending eh? So, with a human and a Ganger heading to HO to tell the bosses that 'this sort of thing has to stop, for all our sakes' the Doctor and Rory help an incapacitated Amy into the TARDIS. "Contractions" the Doctor says, Amy's having a baby. 

But wait. What? Where's the bump? Where's the cravings? Where's the explosive temper and all-too-sudden-and-over-nothing hysterical tears?! Well, one click of the sonic and poor Amy is revealed to be not all she seems. Or, I should say, all she seems and more. This Amy - our Amy, the one we've been watching this series - has been a Ganger all along. As she holds herself, crippled with pain, she utters a heartbreaking "Doctor, I am frigh'ened!" before disappearing before our eyes in a splash of goo. 

And so we forget the entire story of the last two episodes and look only to the future. Those last three minutes of The Almost People are what cliffhangers are all about. And except for the purely-panto "Puuuuuuuuussssssssshhhhhhhh!" from the midwife from hell, Frances Barber's Madame Kovarian looks to be a threatening and slightly "new style" villain.

So where do the Doctor and Rory go from here? Amy's missing, giving birth and "frigh'ened!" and it seems it'll take a lot more than a quick jaunt in the TARDIS to clear this one up! 

A Good Man Goes To War hits our screens at 6:40pm on Saturday 4th June (that's tomorrow folks) and promises to deliver a quest which will not only reveal a darker side to the Doctor, a braver side to Rory and a Motherly side to Amy but also promises to reveal something that we've wondered - no, obsessed - about since the character was introduced: just who is River Song? We've been promised an answer. We'll get it. Whether it'll be the one we want is another thing altogether - but an answer is incoming. 

New faces and old appear to help the Doctor and Rory track down Amy and Melody, but since this is the opening episode to the most eagerly awaited two-parter since Moffat took the top job - and there is a gap of TWO MONTHS between this opening story and its concluding part - I don't expect us to know too much just yet. It feels like the end of the series, but we're only half way through! Don't you just love that tingly feeling in your belly when you think that?