I'm going to be examining Doctor Who... every single episode. I'm going to take you on a journey through the 50+ years worth of this show, showcasing the good and the bad along the way. For each episode I'm going to give you a very brief rundown of the plot, how good/bad the story is, and anything interesting about the episode. Basically I'll just talk about whatever comes to mind for each of them. These will be a more in-depth overview of the series as a whole so you can see which stories or episodes (if any) you want to check out for yourself. Today I'm going to be talking about
The Eleventh Doctor
Series six ran from April 23 2011 till October 1, 2011 and contained thirteen episodes. Given that particular time span, it would seem like more episodes would have been needed to fill every week in between those dates. However series six does something a little strange. It showed the first seven episodes then took a two month break before showing the remaining six. This was possibly due to the fact that episode 7 has sort of a massive "game-changing cliffhanger" and Moffat wanted to give it an appropriate amount of time to breathe before continuing on. This season also has the first single episode season finale.
This series continues the mystery from series five about "Silence will Fall" and mostly concerns itself with the Silence. However that's not the only big theme of this season. Who exactly is River Song? Why does Amy keep seeing a woman's face coming out of various places? How will the Doctor avoid his seemingly inevitable death?
Side Note: You'll notice from here on out that my descriptions are going to get a little shorter. In an attempt to make these final few Doctor Who posts shorter I'm going to be mostly utilizing the Wikipedia plot summary for each episode...though I don't plan on just copying and pasting directly.
The Impossible Astronaut
Amy, Rory, and River all receive invitations in "TARDIS blue" envelopes to the Utah desert where they meet the Doctor, but he is 200 years older than when they had last seen him. He says that he will take them to space 1969. As they dine beside Lake Silencio, Amy sees a figure on the horizon but immediately forgets it when she turns around. Suddenly an unknown figure in a spacesuit appears from the lake and kills the Doctor. Then they are met by an old man named Canton Everett Delaware III who had also been invited and instructed to bring a can of gas. They burn the Doctor's body and regroup only to meet a younger version of the Doctor having been invited there. They use the clues to land the TARDIS in the oval office in 1969 where they are enlisted by President Nixon to assist a younger version of Canton in saving a terrified girl from a mysterious spaceman. The Doctor traces the child to a warehouse in Florida where they investigate with Canton, unaware that it contains aliens which have the ability to make you forget about them after looking away from them. After Amy reveals to the Doctor that she is pregnant, the space suit appears and Amy shoots it, only afterwards realizing that it is the little girl.
Obviously this is the first episode of another two-parter but the feel of the different episodes are so different that I've split them up. What a way to start a season! I legitimately have nothing negative to say here. Moffat wanted to start off season 6 with a bang and he certainly did! The mystery behind what's going on, the fact that we actually see the Doctor die, and the confusion about how he's going to get out of it was brilliant. There is just so much going on that truly makes you want to watch more!
Day of the Moon
It is revealed that Amy's shot had missed the girl. Amy, Rory, and River spend three months traveling throughout the United States looking for the creatures who are called the Silence. Meanwhile the Doctor and the TARDIS are being held in Area 51 by Canton. The group reunites and discusses the Silence which have been seen all over America and have been found to have the ability to implant post-hypnotic suggestions in anyone they encounter. While the Doctor goes to tamper with Apollo 11, Amy and Canton visit the orphanage where the little girl was kept only to find that it is infected with Silence. Amy sees a woman with an eye patch through a hatch who suddenly disappears. Then she finds a picture of herself with a baby in the little girl's room before she is kidnapped by the Silence. Canton wounds one of the Silence and records it taunting him that "you should kill us all on sight." The Doctor tracks down Amy in the Silence's base and shows them the live broadcast of the moon landing. He uses his modifications of Apollo 11 to implant Canton's recording, therefore instructing every human watching the moon landing to kill the Silence on sight. Later, Amy denies that she is actually pregnant but the Doctor initiates a scan which shows her as both pregnant and not pregnant. Six months later in New York City, the little girl is dying but she says it's OK because she knows what to do.... she regenerates.
I said I wanted more and thankfully I got it. There is just so much fantastic going on here with the opening confusion of everyone running away and seemingly dying, to the infiltration of the school which was incredibly creepy. The manner in which the Doctor took out the Silence by using their own power against them was creative. It even built up some more mystery with the eye-patch lady, Amy's pregnancy, and the regeneration of the little girl. Basically this is possibly my favorite opening story of any season to date.
The Curse of the Black Spot
Following a distress signal, the TARDIS lands on a 17th century pirate ship captained by Henry Avery. His crew has been stuck in the doldrums of the sea and are being terrorized by a Siren who marks injured crew members with a black spot, somewhat seduces them with her song, and then disintegrates them. Rory receives a cut and Amy and the Doctor try their best to keep him away from the Siren. They discover that the Siren uses reflection as a portal so they rid the ship of any reflective surfaces. However, thanks to Avery not throwing away all of his treasure, Rory and Avery's sick son Toby (who was a stowaway) are taken by the Siren. The Doctor, Amy, and Avery prick themselves and the Siren takes them as well. They wake up on a spaceship whose occupants had all died. The Doctor realizes that this invisible space ship is occupying the same space as the pirate ship thus allowing the Siren access to the ship. They find a sick bay where Rory, Toby, and all the other pirates are asleep. The Siren is a sort of Doctor program trying its best to cope with human anatomy. Amy and the Doctor pull Rory off the life support and revive him while Avery decides to take the space ship for himself so that they can explore the stars and that his son may be able to survive his sickness with help from the Siren.
This is equal parts fun and silly. There are a couple of logic problems I have with the episode. The aliens on the ship were clearly not human-looking yet the Psiren was. Now there may have been an in-episode explanation for this that i'm forgetting but wouldn't you want some sort of embodiment of your infirmary to resemble the same species as the crew of the ship? Also the fact that Captain Avery was able to understand how the TARDIS pilots because he could steer a wooden ship is beyond stupid. These aren't big criticisms but are just things that made me scratch my head. Aside from that it was a decently fun little story.
The Doctor's Wife
The Doctor receives a Time Lord distress cube and follows it outside the universe to a junkyard on an asteroid. When he lands, the TARDIS suddenly goes dead. The Doctor, Amy, and Rory explore the asteroid and run into it's strange inhabitants, the disfigured Auntie and Uncle, and a silent Ood named Nephew as well as an excitable woman named Idris who instantly becomes attached to the Doctor. A formless intelligence known as "House" is controlling the asteroid. The Doctor then discovers that other Time Lords have been lured to the asteroid and killed by House to feed off the energy of their TARDIS and used the bodies of the Time Lord to torture and surgically alter Auntie and Uncle. Upon learning that the Doctor is the last of the Time Lords, House takes possession of the empty TARDIS to escape into the regular universe with Amy and Rory trapped inside for him to mentally torture. The Doctor learns that House had siphoned the personality of the TARDIS and placed it into Idris causing her body to die rapidly. The two build a makeshift TARDIS out of the junkyard scraps and pursue Amy, Rory, and House. They manage to materialize inside the TARDIS where Idris releases the TARDIS personality, destroying house and returning the TARDIS to normal.
This is the first of two episodes written by Neil Gaiman who is absolutely brilliant. Both episodes written by him are excellent, full of imagination, and containing a twist of darkness. The Doctor had always referred to the TARDIS as being alive and now she actually (temporarily) got a body and was able to talk to him. The dynamic and dialogue between Idris and the Doctor was just what we were hoping for. The psychological torture put on Amy and Rory was also deeply disturbing. Basically this is an excellent episode that everyone needs to watch!
The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People
After being caught in a "solar tsunami" the TARDIS crashes on a 22nd century monastery which has been converted into a factory for pumping deadly acid off the island. The crew of the factory and their leader Miranda Cleaves, create dopplegangers (known as Gangers) using a self-replicating fluid known as the Flesh. They can control the Gangers and use them for dangerous duties as they are seemingly disposable. With the solar storm approaching Earth, the Doctor attempts to disconnect the solar connector, but an electrical strike knocks everyone in the complex unconscious. It also has caused the crew's Gangers to become sentient with the memories of the original humans. The Gangers then plan on killing the humans so the Doctor herds the humans into the chapel for safety. Rory leaves to group to find Jennifer, who had become separated and whose Ganger is actively hunting her. In the chapel, however, Amy and the Doctor discover a Flesh version of the Doctor having been created from his touching the Flesh earlier.
This pair of episodes tries to tackle some big discussion points about trust, what life is, and the value of life in all the forms that it takes. Some could also argue that this is also hitting on racism a slight bit. All of these ideas and issues are big and serious... and just like all big and serious issues it makes for boring tv. While it did have the knee jerk reaction of seeing a Flesh Doctor and realizing Amy was a flesh avatar the whole season, the rest of the episode just didn't hold the excitement of the rest of this season for me. It's not terrible it's just.... really dull.
A Good Man Goes to War
The Doctor assembles an army of various characters (most of them new to the series) as he and Rory infiltrate Demon's Run to rescue Amy and her newborn child Melody Pond. They had been taken there by the eye-patch lady, Madame Kovorian. River refuses to join the Rory and the Doctor explaining that she cannot be there until the end when he discovers her identity. The Doctor and his group secure the base, send the enemy packing without a single shot, free Amy, and take back Melody from the fleeing Kovorian. The Doctor's allies then discover that Melody contains both human and Time Lord DNA as a result of being conceived on the TARDIS on Amy and Rory's wedding night. Rory and the others then battle the Headless Monks as the Doctor learns he has been tricked a second time. Melody has been replaced by a Ganger who disintegrates when Kovorian severs the mental link. River then arrives and communicates her identity to the Doctor who smiles and runs off to the TARDIS promising Amy and Rory that he will get her daughter back. River then lets Amy and Rory know that she is, in fact, their daughter. River Song is a translation of Melody Pond in the language of the Gamma Forest.
*sigh* Let me start this off by saying that I liked the revelation of River Song to her parents. I also absolutely love the idea of the Doctor having to go to war and assembling troops from all over time and space to aid him in his goal. That's a very interesting idea, however it's something that needs to be done in a comic, book, movie, or over multiple episodes. Here it's done completely and utterly wrong. If the Doctor is going to be assembling an army then he needs to bring in the likes of Steven, The Meddling Monk, Sara Kingdom, Jamie, Pertwee's UNIT, the Draconians, the Gallifreyan guards from his tenure as Lord President, Leela, Sabalom Glitz, Ace... I could go on. Instead we get a group of Silurians, Rory dressed in his Centurion garb for no reason, and the new characters Madame Vastra and Jenny (a Silurian lady and her maid who appear to mostly exist for a lesbian joke in this particular episode), Strax (a Sontaran who was forced to serve his penance as a nurse) and Dorium (a blue man who does nothing.) Now I do love Vastra, Jenny, and Strax more than a lot of people but this was not the way to introduce them. This whole thing was just done wrong. It's not terrible, it just could have been SO much more.
Let's Kill Hitler
Amy and Rory summon the Doctor in a field where he admits that he hasn't found Melody quite yet. The three are met by Mels, their childhood friend responsible for Amy and Rory's relationship and whom Amy named Meldoy after, running from the police. She forces the Doctor to take off in the TARDIS and causes it to spin out of control and crash into the office of Adolf Hitler in 1938. They accidentally save his life by disrupting a Teselecta (a shapeshifting robot piloted by miniaturized people to travel time and punish criminals near their time of death) from killing him. Hitler shoots at the Teselecta but misses and hits Mels; Rory punches Hitler and locks him in the cupboard. Rather than die from the fatal shot, Mels begins to regenerate into a body that the trio know well... River. She attempts to kill the Doctor several times before eventually kissing him. The Doctor discovers that her lipstick was laced with a specific poison that would kill a Time Lord in 32 minutes. She then leaves to run around the Third Reich. Amy, Rory, and the Teselecta pursue as the Teselecta identifies her as the man who will kill the Doctor and intends to torture and execute her. Eventually tracking her down, Amy and the Doctor (having barely made it there in the TARDIS) convinces the Teselecta to not torture River and then turn the Teselecta's security robots on the people who teleport out. Eventually appealing to the good side of River, she saves the dying Doctor by giving up all her remaining regenerations.
This is a fairly decent episode. Despite her ret-conned nature, I liked the idea of Mels being Amy and Rory's friend from childhood turning out to be their daughter. I also loved the exchange between the newly regenerated River and the Doctor as they try to outwit each other in Hitler's office as well the appeal to her good nature. I do have one negative and it's a bit of a nitpick. The episode is called Let's Kill Hitler, and it was stated that the original purpose of this was to "take the Mickey out of" (poke fun of) Hitler. That's a neat and potentially funny idea but if you're going to do that, Hitler, the title character of the episode, needs to be in the episode a lot more. Instead he just thanks them for saving his life, accidentally shoots Mel, then gets punched out and locked in a cupboard. Do more with your Hitler, episode! Aside from that it's a pretty good River story!
The Doctor receives a cry for help on his psychic paper and he, along with Amy and Rory make a house call to a young boy named George who is terrified of almost everything, especially the wardrobe in his room. As the Doctor talks to George's father Alex, Amy and Rory are suddenly transported from an elevator to a gigantic doll house where other members of the apartment complex have also been transported and turned into sentient wooden dolls; a fate that soon happens to Amy. The Doctor investigates further and Alex suddenly realizes that his wife cannot have children and was never pregnant. The Doctor realizes that George is a Tenza child, an empathic alien who took on the form of George due to their desire for a child and who just wants to be loved. As a Tenza, he has the ability to literally lock away his fears inside the wardrobe. George panics and sends the Doctor and Alex into the wardrobe as well out of fear of rejection. The Doctor tries to convince George to face his fears. He eventually does and with the embrace of his father who loves him no matter what he is, the wardrobe world disappears and everyone returns to normal.
I'll be perfectly honest. The first time I watched this I thought this was a decently creepy mystery but I thought the child was unbearably annoying. Maybe it was just flashbacks of Series 2's Fear Her episode that was making me feel this way but I just couldn't stand the kid. However subsequent viewings of this episode downgraded my annoyance significantly to the point that I actually enjoy his performance now. I must have just been in a bad mood at the time. This honestly is another perfectly creepy episode of Doctor Who with a fairly heartwarming ending. Definitely give this one a watch.
The Girl Who Waited
The Doctor takes Amy and Rory to the planet of Apalapucia, but they find that the planet is under strict quarantine due to a deadly plague which kills any two-hearted beings within a day of becoming infected. Those infected with the plague are placed in an accelerated time stream which would allow them to live out their lives while in communication with their loved ones. Amy accidentally enters one of the infected rooms and becomes separated from Rory and the Doctor uses the TARDIS to attempt to find her in the mess of time streams and once landed, Rory leaves to find her as the Doctor who has two hearts cannot leave the TARDIS. Rory does find Amy but 36 years has passed for her and she has become battle hardened and bitter from being left behind and having to fight off the nurse robots whose anesthetic touch would kill human beings. The older Amy refuses to let them find and rescue her younger self but eventually softens due to her love of Rory and agrees after the Doctor says that both versions of Amy will be able to leave on the TARDIS. As both Amy's are finally brought together and proceed to the TARDIS, the Doctor locks the older Amy out explaining that the TARDIS wouldn't allow the paradox and that Rory must choose which Amy to allow on. Rory is distraught but the older Amy says that if he really loves her, he'll pick the younger one. He does so leaving older Amy to look at a projection of Earth as the TARDIS disappears and she surrenders to the killing medicine of the robots.
This is an interesting and fairly heartbreaking episode. It's a testament to Karen Gillan's acting that she can so easily portray not only the normal Amy that we all love but also this much older battle-hardened Amy who still is that same person we adore underneath. Although the "dilemma" of which Amy at the end isn't really much of a dilemma at all seeing as how the older Amy wouldn't even exist as soon as they left the planet... it still feels like a dilemma as the episode knows how to pull on your emotions and older Amy's hopes. It's a great episode. Side Note - That's Imelda Staunton (Delores Umbridge from Harry Potter) voicing the interface.
The God Complex
The TARDIS lands on what appears to be a 1980's hotel, however there are "things" in the rooms. Things intended to terrify the one person it is meant for. The Doctor realizes that this is actually some alien structure and soon they lose track of the TARDIS as the hotel is constantly shifting. They meet up with other people who had just suddenly found themselves in the hotel and one by one each of them become seemingly possessed by a minotaur-like monster and begin praising it. They lure the minotaur to themselves by their praise and are then killed by it. The Doctor surmises that the minotaur is feeding on each person's faith and modifies it into worshipping him so that he can consume them. He realizes that Amy is next as she has strong faith in him. Finding Amy's room with a vision of her younger self waiting eternally on the Doctor, the Doctor breaks her faith in him causing the link with the minotaur to sever and the creature to collaspe, dying under the extreme shift of her faith. The hotel setting dissipates and is seen to be a simulation taking place on a prison ship for the monster. The Doctor returns Amy and Rory back to Earth having given them a condo and a car believing it best for them to stop traveling with him before they are killed.
Talk about atmosphere and a unique idea. This episode is dripping with atmosphere with the unsettling 80's hotel vibe to the strange revolving corridors. It honestly felt like a slightly updated Classic Who episode at least in tone. The new characters were mostly fun and I honestly wanted the Muslim girl to have become a companion; she seemed smart and awesome. It was nice to see the new show do a "break your faith in the Doctor" moment like how 7 did with Ace. It was also neat for them to mention that the minotaur in this episode was a relation to the Nimon from the 4th Doctor story The Horns of Nimon. This episode deposited Amy and Rory back home. While this was very nice and his reasons for doing so are legitimate, for the show as a whole it started a little bit of an annoyance with me that I shall explain further next season. This may not be the best story of the season but it certainly knew exactly the atmosphere it was going for and nailed it!
Almost 200 years have passed for the Doctor and as he nears his oncoming death at Lake Silencio, he decides to visit his friend Craig Owens. Craig has now moved in with his girlfriend and is taking care of their son Alfie while Sophie has left for a vacation. The Doctor is then compelled to stick around and investigate some very strange electrical disturbances in the area. He eventually finds the source to be a local department store and he, along with Craig, accidentally discover a teleporter to a Cyberman space ship as well as a roaming Cybermat. The Doctor finds that the ship is actually underneath the building but is captured by the Cybermen. Craig follows hoping to be safe with the Doctor and is also captured and nearly converted into a Cyberman. However he hears Alfie's cries from the surveillance system on the Cyberman ship and recovers the strength to reverse the conversion; his love for his son overwhelming the Cybermen's circuitry. Craig gives the Doctor his "cowboy hat" and the Doctor asks if he can have 4 TARDIS-blue envelopes that Craig so happened to have. Elsewhere, Madame Kovarian and the Silence find River and force her into an astronaut suit.
FINALLY! A Cyberman story that doesn't involve them coming from the alternate universe! I was afraid that we would be stuck dealing with that till the end of the show but here comes this episode bringing some Cybermen from this actual dimension. It was great to see a Cybermat once again and looking threatening for once! Craig is once again an excellent addition to Doctor Who and this is yet another funny episode. While it was effective to show Craig's emotions overcoming the Cyber Conversion, I would be lying if I didn't roll my eyes at the cheesiness of love conquering the Cybermen. If you don't mind the cheese factor this is actually a fun episode.
The Wedding of River Song
The Doctor has been on the run from his own death but after getting word that Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart has passed, the Doctor surrenders that death cannot be avoided. The Doctor fills out the invitations to Lake Silencio for Amy, Rory, River, and Canton and gives them to a Teselecta crew to deliver. The events at Lake Silencio unfold, but the River in the astronaut suit refuses to kill the Doctor. As his death was a fixed point in time, the Earth is violently thrown into an aborted time line where all of history is happening once and it's always the same time. The Doctor is eventually found by Amy who is able to remember the universe as it should be thanks to the crack in her wall as a child, though she is unaware that one of her soldiers is Rory. The Doctor is taken to River who realizes that if the two of them touch, the correct time will resume and the Doctor will die. Madame Kovarian is held prisoner there and once Amy realizes who Rory is, she kills Kovarian for taking away Melody. The Doctor refuses to stay in the aborted timeline as the universe will certainly collapse. He whispers something to River and then marries her on the spot. They kiss, allowing time to resume and River to shoot and kill the Doctor. Later at Amy and Rory's house, River visits having just left the Byzantium (from last season) and explains to them that the Doctor isn't dead. The Teselecta crew had allowed him to take the machine and it was impersonating him with the Doctor and his TARDIS safely inside. Elsewhere the Doctor is warned by the severed head of his ally Dorium (who was beheaded in A Good Man Goes to War) that it's all still waiting for him on the fields of Trenzelore, and that the question will still be asked. The first ever question hidden in plain site.... Doctor Who?
This is an interesting way to end the season. There's a lot of neat ideas with time being stopped, pteradactyls flying around with Winston Churchill as the president. It's chaos and I love every second of it. I also liked the fact that the Doctor accepted his own fate after hearing that the Brigadier had passed away...though the show SHOULD have gotten Nicholas Courtney on the show before his passing. The rest of the story is a nice ending to the season between Amy killing Kovarian, the universe trying to help the Doctor not to die, and the eventual revelation of what actually happened. The ending lines spoken by Dorium's head made me look forward to Season 7. Not as strong of a closer as the opening was but it was still pretty decent.
The Doctor, The Widow, and the Wardrobe
The Doctor crash lands on Earth in 1938 where he is helped back to his TARDIS by Madge Arwell. The Doctor promises to one day repay her for her kindness. Three years later, Madge's husband has disappeared while flying a plane in World War II but as it is so close to Christmas, Madge refuses to tell her children Lily and Cyril. The three head to the country for Christmas and stay at a house where the Doctor poses as the caretaker and has redecorated the place and has a very large present for the family. Cyril however is lured to the present and upon opening it discovers that it is actual a portal to a winter planet that the Doctor had planned to take the family to the next morning. Looking for Cyril, the Doctor, Lily, and later Madge enter the box as well. Madge encounters a group of tree farmers who plan on harvesting all the trees in the forest with acid rain. Lily and the Doctor have followed Cyrills footprints to a tower were humanoid wood creatures are trying to put a crown on the boy's head in order to allow the souls of the trees to escape the acid rain. Eventually Madge arrives at the tower and is deemed strong enough to pilot the top of the tower and the souls of the tree to safety as she was a mother. The Doctor guides Madge to pilot the tower through the time vortex by focusing on her husband. These thoughts lead her to passing by his plane and he followed the light of her tower through the time vortex and landed with them on Christmas Day safe. The Doctor turns down Christmas dinner with Madge and instead visits Amy and Rory two years after he last saw them.
This is... one of the weaker of the Christmas specials. After the success of taking inspiration from A Christmas Carol, I guess they decided to find another book and try it again... it didn't pay off that well. The similarities between this and The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe are... kind of minimal in some respects. I mean yes both have children going to the country during WWII, and both have the younger child finding a portal to a snowy world but that's about where the similarities end. The family are annoying or dull (though I realize that's the point of them so I'm not faulting the actors at all), there's insane logic about wool causing failure of a metal scanner, and even more insane logic of a woman from the late 30's being able to pilot an alien mining machine. I did notice the reference to The Caves of Androzani (one of the greatest stories of Doctor Who ever made) in making the trees Androzani trees... so that was nice. It's not a bad Christmas story per-say its just got some logic issues and is surrounded by far better Christmas Specials.
This is a legitimately good season and that's not just my love for the 11th Doctor taking over. Despite the four episode "bump-in-the-road" there in the middle of the season, I still generally recommend this season as a whole over most of the other seasons of the modern show. There just seemed to be an increase in mystery and gravity this season with the focus of the show being exactly where it needed to be... on the Doctor. Now that may seem like a silly thing to say but... well you'll see when the next few seasons roll around. All in all this is one season you don't want to miss. Please join me again as we continue to examine all of Doctor Who.
This is Ghost, fading into the darkness
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