After last week’s loving homage to the hero’s habit of talking to his car, this week Doctor Who gets back to basics and brings us a proper adventure. You guessed it, the cast run around an abandoned building in Wales with some people in prosthetics chasing them. It’s the first of a two-parter, so there’s a big cheesy cliffhanger as well.
So is this a welcome return of old friends, or merely a retread of the formula, as seen in that pirate episode?
Ideas About Spare People
Well, I thought there was a lot to like here. The concepts of the Flesh and the “Gangers” are more interesting than some of the throwaway monsters we get in Doctor Who, the white putty faces give them a strong visual and other writers might be able to get interesting stories out of them in future. For all I know, that’s already in the pipeline.
The episode itself is a bit of a mixed bag – most of the sundry humans remain generic, but I did enjoy some of the twists regarding who was real and who was false, between the huge dumps of exposition needed to justify the plot. And the cliffhanger was good, but did they have to telegraph it so brutally?
However, might having a spare Doctor around may come in useful for resolving that dangling thread about his future death, or is that too obvious? Also, is it me, or was the Doc an unusually small presence in this episode? Matt Smith is usually a lot more all over it. Maybe he just seemed subdued compared to his full emotional workout last week.
Of course, with the Doctor low-key, that left space for a companion to take centre stage. And for once, it was Rory, still getting pushed hard as a “really nice bloke”, somewhat to the exclusion of common sense. At least he didn’t get killed by anything, although there’s still time next week for his head to be popped off and eaten by a Ganger.
Actually, this episode reminded me quite strongly of last year’s The Hungry Earth, in that it sets up some interesting plot points without boring me, but it needs a good ending next week. Of course, look how well that turned out for Poor Rory. Let us know below exactly how you think he’ll die, and watch it on iPlayer if need be.