Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer DVR Dump: Doctor Who 6.06: "The Almost People"

"I expect chocolate for breakfast. If you don't feel sick by mid-morning, you're not doing it right."
-The Doctor

The conclusion to the second two-parter of series six was pretty much just as disappointing as the first part. There was a lot of running around the monestary and Flesh and humans saying hateful things about each other, but not really a whole lot of consequence. Really the only interesting thing about the entire episode is the twist at the end, and I really think that it wasn’t worth two rather plodding episodes to get to that point. Overall, I wasn’t very impressed, and considering this was a two-parter, that’s really not good at all. I think the biggest problem, bigger than the stuff I’ve already alluded to, is that I didn’t really connect with any of the guest characters. I didn’t care about Cleaves’ blood clot in her brain, and I didn’t really care about Jennifer’s apparently troubled past. I cared slightly about the worker who had a sun, but bringing kids in is a pretty blatant emotional ploy, so that’s really to be expected. The best Doctor Who episodes, both one and two-parter, have memorable guest characters. And Moffat has written some of the best in the past, like Sally Sparrow in “Blink” and Miss Evangelista in “Silence in the Library.” It’s a shame he couldn’t make sure the same quality was kept up here.

The episode opens in the aftermath of the big reveal that the Doctor has a doppelganger. Flesh!Doctor is struggling to cope with his past regenerations, and he says some old catch phrases, such as talking about Jelly Babies. I was very sad he didn’t say any Tenth Doctor catch phrases like “allons-y” or “molto bene.” Even a Ninth Doctor “fantastic” would have made me a bit happy. There’s banging on the door of the room where everyone is gathered. The Flesh doppelgangers are wearing the acid suits, and they’re trying to get into the room. While this threat is materializing, the two Doctors are having a happy conversation among themselves. While this was a bad episode overall, Matt certainly gave it his all in this scene at least. Watching the two Doctors interact was a lot of fun. The Doctor has an ego on him, so interacting with himself is always going to be rather epic. The Doctors and the humans need to get to yet another controller unit of some type to send out a distress call, and they have to go through choking gas to get there. Because that’s so healthy.

Elsewhere at the factory, the Flesh doppelgangers are having a pow wow about what to do next. Jennifer wants a full-out revolution. She thinks they can get some of the many ‘gangers in India on their side. The rest of the group doesn’t seem quite so enthusiastic (or belligerent). Cleaves, for one, just wants to go home. I found that surprising considering how she got kind of belligerent in the last episode. Eventually, though, Jennifer wins the debate. She claims that she has a plan to “destroy them all.”

The Doctors, meanwhile, are working on fixing a control panel, and they’re finishing each other’s sentences as they do so. Amy is kind of skeptical of this whole doppelganger Doctor deal, though, She thinks that Flesh!Doctor is “almost the Doctor and not the real thing. Both Doctors seem kind of offended by that, understandably. They’re both fighting for the idea that Flesh and humans can coexist, after all. Anyway, the communications panel is finally fixed, and Cleaves uses it to call the mainland and request evacuation. She tells the dispatcher that any further orders from her need to come with a password, which she types but doesn’t actually say. She does that to try and have some security against eavesdropping ‘gangers, and that turns out to be a valid concern. The ‘gangers are indeed listening in on the transmission.

Once the transmission is made, the Doctor starts scanning the factory for Rory. The Doctor also says he needs to make a phone call. While the Doctor is preoccupied with his call, Amy sees a window slide open in a door again, with the eyepatch lady peeking through. She tells the Doctor what she saw, but he tells her it’s nothing. One of the Doctors leaves the room, and Amy, thinking it’s Flesh!Doctor, follows to apologize about the “almost” comment. Then she slips up and says that she’s seen the Doctor die. The Doctor freaks out at this comment, and starts going on about how ‘gangers die every day (when they’re decommissioned), and all they can say when it happens is “why?” Amy runs off, presumably a bit scared about the Doctor’s reaction. The purported Flesh!Doctor tells the rest of the group that the Flesh is in pain and wants revenge. This makes him seem a bit sketchy to the rest of the group, and they want him to go sit on the other side of the room.

Rory finds what he thinks are both Jennifers (human and ‘ganger). They try to confuse Rory about who is the “real” Jennifer. They start fighting (an all-out knock-down-drag-out fight), and Flesh!Jen slips in a puddle of acid and disintegrates. It’s pretty gross. The Doctor sees Rory and Jennifer on a video screen. Amy wants to go get Rory, but the Doctor says he’ll do it, and he’ll take one of the workers with him. Rory and Jennifer go into a thermostatic chamber to “stir the oxygen.” Jennifer has Rory put his hand on the security device, which made me (rightfully) doubt she was human. Rory turns a wheel, and the temperature of the factory starts rising and things start shaking. Cleaves tries to radio a change in the rescue shuttle request, but she gets cut off before she can say the code word. ‘Ganger Cleaves guesses the code word (since she is the same person, after all) and has the shuttle rerouted to the courtyard.

After “stirring oxygen,” Jennifer shows Rory a pile of discarded ‘gangers. They’re kind of jelly-like, and they have vague outlines of faces. Rory is rightfully horrified. He thinks the rest of the world needs to see what is going on. You can’t stop the signal! Meanwhile, the Doctor finds the “real” Jennifer, and she has just died of some pretty extensive injuries. So yeah, those two Jennifers who were fighting earlier? They were both Flesh. One of the human workers fins ‘ganger Jen and accuses her of murder. She kills him too. Real ray of sunshine, that one is. I’m kind of not thrilled we share the same name.

The Doctor is looking at yet another controller panel, and it’s looking really bad. Everyone needs to get out of the factory ASAP. The Doctors/Human group finally finds Rory, and he tells them he has found a secret tunnel out of the monastery. Next thing we know, one of the Doctors wakes up to see that he’s surrounded by ‘gangers. Rory locks the rest of the group up too, as part of his plan to make a statement about the treatment of ‘gangers. Jennifer is with him, of course, and eventually, Rory realizes she’s a ganger too. He’s pretty pissed off about it. The Doctor doesn’t seem especially phased by their predicament. He just starts saying “ring ring.” The call that he placed earlier finally goes through. It’s from the son of one of the workers. That worker’s ganger runs off rather than be faced with thinking of his counterpart’s family. ‘Ganger Cleaves is having second thoughts about the revenge plan too, but Jennifer is still very gung ho about it. The Doctor says she is better than that, but Jennifer runs off.

Jimmy, the worker with the son, gets killed by some acid, and his ‘ganger finally has to be th dad and talk to the kid on the phone. It’s the kid’s birthday, after all, and he’s emotionally manipulative and cute as a button. Jennifer is all totally monster-ed out, and the group, human and Flesh alike, are trying to hold some doors closed to keep her from attacking. The TARDIS appears, and almost everyone starts running for it. One of the Doctors, ‘Ganger Cleaves, and Amy are still holding the door. Amy thinks it’s the real Doctor who is staying behind, but it turns out that it’s the Flesh!Doctor. The two Doctors changed their shoes. Amy feels pretty darn sheepish about that. Once everyone else is safely in the TARDIS, Flesh!Doctor and ‘Ganger Cleaves let go of the door, and ‘Ganger Cleaves uses the sonic screwdriver to disintegrate Jennifer. Unfortunately, it disintegrates ‘Ganger Cleaves and Flesh!Doctor, too.

The Doctor takes Cleaves and one of the now stabilized ‘ganger workers to their company’s headquarters so they can speak out about Flesh mistreatment. He gives them a little pep talk before they head into the boardroom, and it looks like they may be able to make some positive change. Back on the TARDIS, Amy starts feeling some severe abdominal pain. The Doctor says she’s having contractions. This doesn’t make sense until the Doctor further reveals that she’s actually Flesh. It’s the “real” Amy who is having contractions, and Flesh!Amy is feeling them through their neural link, I presume. The Doctor disintegrates Flesh!Amy as Rory looks on, rather bewildered. We then see where Amy really is. She’s in a metal bed locked in some sort of cell. The creepy eyepatch lady starts telling her to push. I don’t love the fact that Amy is a damsel in distress yet again, but that’s a rant for another day.

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