Sunday, November 06, 2011

Just Me and the Minibar

Finally! I've found a title that doesn't involve Hotel California!

That's what The God Complex is, though, isn't it? DW's answer to Hotel California. Other thoughts on the episode follow.

Wouldya look at that - just four episodes ago (in the comments) I was saying we needed a scene of the Doctor psychologically breaking his companion (cf The Curse of Fenric) to round out this year's collection of Doctor Who's Greatest Unethical Hits, and pow! here's an episode that pays tribute to that exact scene in Fenric! I'm claiming extra Uncanny Points for this.

This scene's important, though, inasmuch as this episode forms a kind of diptych with The Girl Who Waited. There, too, Amy came to understand that she couldn't rely on the Doctor, but she learned that by being trapped on her own for forty years, and that version of Amy doesn't exist any more. It was more of a lesson for Rory. Now Amy - the "real" one, if you like - has to learn it for herself.

There's a subtle link back to The Horns of Nimon in the title - just as the energy-eating Nimon lived in a Power Complex ("That fits!"), so the faith-eating Minotaur-like creature here lives in his God Complex. The way is open for fannish consideration of the subtextual parallels between the two stories. But overtly relating him to the Nimon - like overtly relating the Ood to the Sensorites - is just a bit of gratuitous wank that forces the point.

At the very end, we're given a horrifying new twist on the Pond family situation: "Rory and Amy's daughter has been kidnapped by evil cultists, but it's all right because the Doctor gave them a nice house and a sports car." I don't think there's much I can add to that, or should need to.

Thing is, that is easily one of the best companion departure scenes ever. It's stone cold brilliant - apart from the unfortunate idea of the Doctor buying off the bereaved parents, I mean. My only worry is that it won't stick and Amy and Rory will be Rosed back into the series (again and again, possibly) with complete disregard for the dramatic worth of this farewell scene. News this week: Karen Gillan tells reporters she thinks Amy should be killed off. Let's hope it doesn't come to that, eh?

I liked this episode a lot, just not quite as much as I'd expected to, given the extreme surreal potential of the trailer images. Perhaps a borderline 8/9 out of 10. The surreal business was certainly there, the acting was all good, the directing was amazing and the Minotaur was indeed beautiful. Just something slightly off somewhere in the execution of the story, and so it's pipped to the post by The Girl Who Waited. We're on the comedown now.


Anonymous said...

Sadly Amy and Rory are back for the Christmas special. *Sigh*

Christopher Pittard said...

Toon, I have to disagree. Best leaving scene ever? Nonsense. It's completely insincere, because we all know that the end of the series will take us back to the start... which involves Amy and Rory. Likewise, their own plotline (having seen the Doctor's death, the whole baby thing) is nowhere near resolution at this point. So, in effect, I see it as the reverse of your review; the only way this makes any kind of sense is *precisely* if they come back into it, if only to tie up their involvement in events that have happened/are about to happen.

Put another way, I defy anyone to have seen that departure and not have quoted "Wayne's World" immediately afterwards: "Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt."

The rest of it... so-so. Again, not desperately original (The Shining, but every room is room 101). Rather indicative of the imaginative rut that Who seems to have fallen into recently, really, and quite disappointing given the excellent opening. I'll say 7/10 to be generous.

John Toon said...

I take your point, Pitsy - I'm trying to approach that scene from the point of view of not knowing (or being able to guess) that Amy and Rory are coming back after this series. Endless Rose-like returns would devalue it, but that'd surely be more the fault of the return than of this episode.

As far as making any kind of sense is concerned, I thought we'd established that that ship had sailed (and immediately been holed by an iceberg). The belief that the Doctor's "death" arc or the baby abduction arc are ever going to be meaningfully resolved strikes me as just too optimistic.

And in itself, shorn of preter-retrospective cheapening and of any expectation of making broader contextual sense, I maintain that it is a fine companion departure scene. It may not stick long-term, and that's a concern that I raised in the blog post, but I just don't want to let the many flaws of Moffat Who obscure what seem to me to be the high points.