Saturday, September 17, 2011

Doctor Who: The God Complex (Spoilers)

TL;DR: This episode was about saying goodbye to Amy and Rory, the seventh and eighth companions of the Doctor since the revival, as well as keeping the Doctor on his path to ruin.

Overall, the episode is very tight. The visual cues are quick and clean, immediately telling us that this is all a bit Hotel California had a love child with Stephen King. Even though everything progresses on a predictable path, it's forgivable as the story hurtles forward. For me, the pacing evoked a sense of River Song's statement/command: "Love the running".

At episode's end, Amy receives a very Sarah Jane send off. So much so that I was compelled to go back and watch Sarah Jane's departure. Had Elizabeth Sladen not passed away this year, we wouldn't have had such a soft adieu for Amy. Our spitfire would have stayed with her raggedy man til the bitter end, forsaking her marriage and, eventually, her own life. The most tragic part of that is that had the metaphorical mallet not been brought down on the Doctor's head, he might have let her.

The Doctor's interactions with Rita show us that he has already prepared himself to move on. Knowing what we know of the TARDIS (The Doctor's Wife), I have to wonder if bringing the Doctor to this place had more to do with pushing him to finally let Amy go than it did with saving anyone trapped there. We've seen the Doctor travel alone before, nearly always ending in recession, the part of the three "r"s every hero must cycle through. At some point, though, he will have to follow that recession to ruin before truly finding redemption.

With so many things swirling through my mind at the conclusion of The God Complex, I nearly forgot the placeholder image for the episode: the sad clown with the red balloon. While he is seen in the episode, he's never really interacted with and seems to be little more than a distraction to keep viewers off guard until the end of the episode. He's a visual slight of hand, if you will. Personally, I hope he comes back to haunt us later in the story arc as the visual is teeming with potential, and he has a bowtie. Bowties are cool.

A list of things that caught my attention:

In reception the Doctor states "I tell a lie", and 'fires' Amy. Moments earlier, he bites into an apple without complaint while in The Eleventh Hour he had spit out an apple, calling them rubbish and claiming to hate them. Before they leave reception, he pockets an unsolved Rubik's cube - another item that he proclaimed rubbish (Night Terrors). Towards the end of the episode, the Doctor calls Amy by her proper, married name.

Rita is not only a medical professional but her Who-worthy predicament nabs her at the beginning of her shift, similar to Martha Jones. When the Doctor fires Amy, he gestures for Rita to call him. For the rest of the episode, she is essentially a third companion, complete with her calling the Doctor out on his shit and the Doctor offering to show her all of time and space once they escape. Later, the Doctor dials '311' to communicate with her. She is also the third corpse, and dies on the third floor. (We'll skip the staggering mathematics behind 311.)

The rooms have their own importance and portent. Amy's room is 7, while in the intro Lucy's was 214. The Doctor's room is numbered 11, and, when we first see them, both the Doctor and Amy's rooms are end rooms.

Rory tells us over and over again what's coming. His 'room' is a fire escape. He talks about traveling with the Doctor in the past tense, and while looking over the photos in reception he notes that not all victories are about saving the universe.

More random foreshadowing: Joe quotes "Oranges and Lemons". The Doctor is hostile about Gibbis's cowardice. In the salon, the Minotaur says he's lived so long his name is lost. In the escape from the salon, the music takes on elements of Torchwood's theme tune. Before Amy begins to worship, the Doctor's Rubik's cube is solved. The last thing from the hotel to disappear is the Doctor's room door. Amy can't tell what the Minotaur is saying as it dies. The Minotaur says "I wasn't talking about myself" during the death scene.

Finally, prisons! The ship the Doctor and crew land on is a prison. Since Eleven began, we've seen prisons over and over again. The crack leads to a prison, River's in one, the Pandorica, and Demon's Run.

Quote of the Episode:
"Well, it is all right there on the internet."
"No, amazing that you've come up with a theory even more insane than what's actually happening."

The idea of reacting needs some polishing. Feel free to comment at length.

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