Sunday, 8 December 2013

The God Complex, Closing Time & The Wedding of River Song

The God Complex

David Walliams (right) with others trapped in the hotel.
To me, ‘The God Complex’ felt similar in tone to ‘Night Terrors’, although it was much better, much scarier and much creepier. It still left me feeling a little unsatisfied, mostly at the way the Doctor saves Amy, which is a repeat of the end of ‘The Curse of Fenric’ when Amy has to lose her faith in the Doctor. There’s a Nimon-like creature in a maze which looks like a hotel. It feeds off people’s faith, and they eventually start to say ‘praise him’ before he devours them. In reference to the creature. Amy’s faith is in the Doctor, and as in ‘Curse of Fenric’ it’s amazing how a couple of words and she loses faith just as Ace did.
The Nimon-like beast hunted those in the hotel.
So this was perhaps the most unsatisfying part of the episode. David Walliams guest stars as a creature from a planet where everyone longs to be subservient. It makes for a few funny lines, and it is no fault of Walliams that to be honest, the character is nothing more than a comic caricature. However it does seem to belong in a sketch comedy show rather than Doctor Who.
Having said all that, the story is not th Doctor is more child like at this point than when he started out.
Even the Angels make an appearance.
short on creepy images including clowns and a room full of ventriloquist dolls. And then at the end the illusion is broken as the creature slowly dies, which is quite sad. Matt Smith has a bit more gravitas to the part in this one, thankfully as he has been getting more childlike with every passing adventure. It does distinguish him more from his predecessor I guess, but at the end of the day I feel like the 11

Closing Time

The Doctor pays a social call.

The Doctor and Val (Lynda Barron)
‘Closing Time’ is a sequel to ‘The Lodger’ seeing James Corden returning as Craig Owens. It’s not as good to be fair, but still a decent episode, without Amy or Rory apart from a fleeting moment which reveals that bizarrely Amy has become a fashion model. Go figure.
It sees the return of the Cybermen, stuck in a spaceship trapped under a big department store. The Doctor is aware now that he is supposed to die in the future, as witnessed in the first episode of series six, and he’s trying to delay it all. He decides to catch up with Craig who now has a baby called Alfie, but the Doctor speaks baby and Alfie prefers ‘Stormaggeddon’.
Yes, there’s a lot of brevity and humour in this one and it works well. The Doctor takes a job in a toy store in the department store (where Val, played by Lynda Barron (‘Enlightenment’) also works which is lovely) to investigate strange drains on the electricity. Val sees a Cybermat (yes they are back, with vicious teeth this time!) and the Doctor captures it. Some great physical comedy in this one too by Matt Smith. Craig is turned into
Craig Owens with Alfie.
a Cyberman but reverts to human after hearing Alfie’s cries. He beats the Cybermen with love – their heads all explode.
It’s a pretty meh way to resolve a tale, but in this one it’s quite fitting I think. I actually rather like the character of Craig Owens and would be happy to see him again. The only bit I really didn’t like was the Doctor speaking ‘baby’. A bit infantile and a step too silly for me to be honest.


The Wedding of River Song

The first time a season finale hasn’t been a two-part adventure, ‘The Wedding of River Song’ is as equally barmy as ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’, answering one question, asking more and leaving an awful lot of stuff unresolved. So in a way, it’s typical Steven Moffat.
Amazing vision, good CGI.
We are presented with a world where time has bled into itself and everything is happening at once. An original concept in many ways, and the CGI looks amazing of London with steam trains running on magical bridges through buildings, Winston Churchill (Ian McNiece) is backas Emporer, looked after by a Silurian. There’s a heap of stuff there and it’s a great idea. The time is always 5:02pm as well – the time where the Doctor is shot at Lake Silencio (yeah I groaned too). And this is purpose of the whole episode  - to resolve if the Doctor was really shot or not. He’s been kept a prisoner by Churchill, who he calls his soothsayer. (Churchill calls the Doctor that)
The Skulls devour...
We see the events that led up to the creation of this strange world where it is always 5:02. In the series we were treated with two possible ways the man shot might not have been the Doctor. Firstly, he could have been a ganger, or secondly the Tessalector from ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ could recreate a person. And it’s the second (sorry for the spoilers).
It’s very interesting. This Doctor is supposedly 200 years older than at the start of the series. Most of the 200 years occurred after ‘The God
Complex’ with the Doctor travelling alone. We have the return of the brilliant Dorian (as a head!), River, Madame Kovarian, Amy and Rory and others. It’s a packed episode, which ends in the Doctor showing River is the Tessalector, they kiss (she was refusing to kill him in another reality). OK no I’m not going to tell you the plot anymore. The Universe returns to normal. River tells Amy and Rory the Doctor is not dead.
Some wonderful elements in this barmy episode, including the skulls of the Headless Monks that kill. Madame Kovarian – well she is killed, but in aborted timeline so presumably she is still alive now. But we learn nothing about her which was annoying. I expect she will return sooner or later. We get a lot of intentionally cryptic messages from Dorian about ‘the fall of the Eleventh’ – is this Moffat’s plan for the 11th Doctor? We will see. Yes sir we will.
So it’s an awful lot of fun. Amy and Rory don’t really know who each other is in this story, and that plays out brilliantly. There’s a lot to enjoy, it could have been stretched to two parts easily, and that’s the main disappointment – that and lack of resolutions. I think Mr Moffat should have shelved ‘Night Terrors’ and made this two parts. But that’s just my opinion.
As a conclusion to the series it certainly packs a punch, but as a whole I felt the series lost its way at ‘A Good Man Goes to War’. It never really got back on them, although ‘The Girl Who Waited’ was a good episode and I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’. But the arc was really a series of questions, and I preferred the ‘what’s coming’ arc of the Russel T Davies era, which worked well in series four and brilliant in series 3, albeit with a dreadful final episode.

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