The Rebel Flesh and Almost People: Mind-blower

I’ve decided to combine these two episodes into one post because there isn’t a whole lot to talk about that won’t be covered in the next (and last… for now) Doctor Who review/discussion blog. That said, however, this blog will spoil one of the most mind-blowing reveals of the new season, so if you have ANY interest in ever watching this show, DO NOT READ ON. Seriously. DON’T DO IT. Because it will totally ruin the whole episode pair. Whew. Ok. We good? Good. Moving on.

This was a really cool pair of episodes. The imagery was, admittedly, a bit disturbing, and there were a couple characters that sort of bothered me, but overall, it was a solid 2 part-er. The Rebel Flesh introduced not only an interesting concept that I’m sure they will end up using later on (in fact, they already have), but also my favorite kind of Doctor Who enemy: humanity.

Even though “humanity” isn’t technically a Doctor Who monster, like the cybermen and the Daleks, it’s always my favorite antagonist, because of how interesting the whole dynamic is. When the Doctor fights against humanity, or human nature, in order to save humanity, or human nature, there isn’t a cut and dry solution: you can’t just fight them back, or contain them in some sort of prison, or wipe them out. He has to change their minds, force them to work together against themselves. And I just think that’s a fascinating concept.

But let’s go back to the flesh for the sake of discussing the totally awesome SPOILER-y end. Amy is flesh. Holy crap, Amy isn’t real. Well, she is real, but not at the moment. In the next episode (A Good Man Goes to War) the Doctor speculates someone must have switched real Amy with flesh Amy sometime before America, or before the first episode. Woah. Mind. Blown.

A couple things:

1. The whole idea of the flesh is brilliant, because it makes you completely paranoid about everything. Is Rory flesh/ will he be flesh eventually? Can the Doctor harness the power of the flesh? Does the Doctor have a flesh lab where he creates flesh replicas? Will he eventually have said lab? (I can’t keep saying “flesh” because it’s a creepy word. Like fetus. Feeeeeeetuuuuuus)

2. The entire episode, I didn’t really know who to root for, which, of course, was also brilliant. On the one hand, the Gangers were merely copies of the preexisting humans, and having two versions of the same person, with the same memories, could be problematic, especially when you bring kids into it. (Like that one guy… with the face…. and the kid. How can the kid have two dads that are the same person? Confusing) But on the other hand, the Gangers are just as emotionally and mentally human as their human counterparts, and don’t they have the right to exist without persecution?

3. As my favorite Who blogger Kyle Anderson points out, there are an awful lot of really convenient coincidences that make this episode work. From Kyle:

Matthew Graham’s nickname should be “Deus ex Machina.”  The success or failure of any of the characters in the story comes from coincidence and not from any of their own actions.  It starts right in the post-credit sequence where they just happen to find a duct system in the supposedly impenetrable chapel.  Why go to the trouble of saying there is “only one way in or out” just to change that almost immediately?  They could have said, “The most secure place is the chapel, it would be the easiest to fortify,” or whatever.  Then there’s the idea of the TARDIS, stuck in the ground thanks to a pool of acid, which just so happens to fall directly into a TARDIS-shaped area in the most remote room in the compound.  And the door to this room needs to be held by two people, even though they seem to have ample time to get to the TARDIS before Monster Jen got to them.  Also convenient: No set of “twins” survived.  Both Buzzers and Jens bit the dust, Flesh Jimmy and Flesh Dicken survive, as does Real Cleaves, whom we’re supposed to side with at the end… It’s all her damn fault the whole thing happened in the first place!  Also, she didn’t have a blood clot in her brain in episode one, did she? I swear they never mentioned it at all, but here she has one just so the Flesh Cleaves can also have one. AND, it doesn’t matter anyway because the Doctor had a vial of special clot-unclotting elixir. So, a terminal illness we didn’t even know she had is cured thanks to something the Doctor just happened to have lying around. Thanks, Graham.

And he’s totally right. I didn’t notice these things when I was watching, but that’s because I’m bad at watching/reading critically if I don’t expect to need to. However, it’s Doctor Who. A woman had a baby with a giant alien bee once in the fourth season. Whatever. ALSO. I would point out that the TARDIS probably parked itself in that convenient area of acidy grass because she KNEW it would fall into the space where it was needed. Remember, she knows things, and she always “takes him where he needs to go.” Think about it.

4. Rory. Rory Rory Rory. This is the first time since the Pandorica Opens that he’s taken initiative on something, and I’m very excited to see it. Seriously, I care more about Rory now as a character than Amy at this point, just because he’s such an underdog. And I love Amy. In fact, I wish he got to spend more one-on-one time with the Doctor (on screen), since they have a really interesting male dynamic that’s been kind of missing in the show. But more on that in a different blog.

In all, I thought these episodes, while not my favorite in recent memory, were pretty great, especially as far as setting up later plotlines goes. The whole flesh idea was intriguing, Matt Smith gives yet another incredible performance, and HOLY CRAP AMY IS FLESH WHAAAAAAT. See you Friday :)

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