Mon
May 16 2011 9:45am

Doctor Who S6, Ep 4: “The Doctor’s Wife”

I’ve always thought that the relationship between The Doctor and the TARDIS was the most important relationship on Doctor Who; one that was surprisingly not explored often. Oh, sure, there was plenty of talk about the TARDIS being alive, and there were stray bits of dialogue directed at the TARDIS—“Thank you, dear!” “Look at you, you sexy thing!”—but there was never an episode devoted exclusively to their relationship. So, while thinking about spec scripts to write—because, you know, I do that—I was toying around with the idea of a two-hander between The Doctor and the TARDIS. Of course, the TARDIS would be a woman, in the way that all ships are women and called “she.”

Then, Neil Gaiman had to go and write “The Doctor’s Wife,” which not only uses my idea, but executes it about a million times better, creating one of the most beautiful episodes of Doctor Who ever written.

The bastard.**

**I loved Star Trek: TNG when I was a kid, and when I was about 10 or 11 I had the idea to give Data an android daughter. I wrote the “script” in a spiral-bound notebook. Then I saw “The Offspring.” Rene Echevarria is a bastard, too. But the moral of the story is, if you have an idea, WRITE FASTER!

Spoilers below!

Doctor Who episode The Doctor’s Wife

Team TARDIS are called to a “bubble outside the universe” by a cube with a message from another Time Lord (shout-out to “The War Games!”). The Doctor is thrilled by the possibility of another Time Lord being alive. However, things are not as hopeful as all that. They’ve been lured to what seems like a planet outside the universe, but is actually a sentient asteroid called “House” by the life forms who live upon it: a man and a woman, Uncle and Auntie, who are “patchwork people,” “repaired” by stitching them up with other people’s body parts and kept alive by House. There is also an Ood, called Nephew, and a woman named Idris who seems abnormally attached to The Doctor. As it turns out, House needed the TARDIS to feed off of its Artron energy, and put the personality of the TARDIS matrix into Idris. House’s back is littered with destroyed TARDISes that have come before, and once he learns that The Doctor is the last Time Lord, he transfers himself into the TARDIS (with Rory and Amy still inside) and uses it to get into the universe. The Doctor then pairs with Idris/TARDIS to cobble together another TARDIS from scrap parts and pursue House. The result is triumphant and bittersweet.

While I adore Steven Moffat’s work, his tendency as a writer lately is to go Plot First, with the characters having to scream to be heard around what’s happening. Granted, they scream loudly and well, and Moffat’s characterizations shine through in spite of the plot surrounding them, but it is clear that they are secondary to The Thing That’s Happening. (For an example of Moffat doing the opposite, see “Blink.”) Gaiman’s script for “The Doctor’s Wife” is a different, elegant, approach to Doctor Who. The plot, while intriguing, is one that allows the characters room to breathe, and the story becomes about them, not about the Monster of the Week.

Not that the Monster of the Week this week wasn’t terrifying, because he was. While we never see him, the nonchalance of House’s voice was enough to send chills up my spine. From casually allowing Auntie and Uncle to die while he takes the TARDIS, to asking Rory and Amy why he shouldn’t just kill them, then making them run in order to save themselves by “being entertaining,” House is a clear example of less being more. A few well-placed words read by a wonderful actor (Michael Sheen) are all you need to ramp up the fear.

Apparently, Gaiman originally wrote this with only Amy, because it was supposed to be part of last season when Rory was no longer with us. He’s expressed regret over losing a scene in which Amy has a monologue about being a companion. However, I was happy he was forced by circumstances to include Rory, because it allowed for a clear, loving picture of how a married couple would function on the TARDIS, and also provided a wonderful parallel to The Doctor and Idris. As Emily Asher-Perrin mentions in her article about Mr. and Mrs. Pond, it’s interesting to see The Doctor almost force them to have a great marriage by forcing them to be responsible for each other, as he does when he sends Rory after Amy and into the TARDIS. Rory keeps them alive by answering House’s question—“Why shouldn’t I just kill you now?”—cleverly. He leads Amy through the TARDIS’ endless corridors, keeping her sane when she’s ready to break down, then when it comes time to use the code he’s been given by Idris to lower the TARDIS’ shields, Amy figures out that it needs to be used telepathically. He sets ‘em up, she knocks ‘em down. They’re a wonderful team.

But not nearly as wonderful as The Doctor and Idris.

Doctor Who episode The Doctor’s Wife

The Doctor and the TARDIS are so brilliantly alike, each believing that they “stole” the other one from Gallifrey, and each needing more than what their home planet could offer them. They are each child-like, but also brimming with wisdom. They have pet names for each other: she calls him “My Thief,” and he calls her “Sexy.” She isn’t afraid to correct him, or call him on his crap, but he does the same for her. In their 700+ year relationship, they have developed a lovely shorthand that The Doctor never even realized, having never been given the opportunity to speak with the TARDIS before. He discovers a lot of other things about the TARDIS, too, like the fact that, even though it’s seemed like she hasn’t taken him where he’s wanted to go, she’s always taken him where he’s needed to go. She knows him better than he knows himself, and in this episode, The Doctor learns to really trust that, which is a beautiful thing.

And then there’s the part where one of the last things Idris says is, “The only water in the forest is the river.” “Forest of the Dead” reference to River Song saving The Doctor’s life by giving up her own? Or is this a reference to a future event?

The performances in this episode were great across the board, but Suranne Jones and Matt Smith deserve special kudos. Jones, as Idris/TARDIS, accomplished the seemingly impossible task of portraying a soul that had never before left its matrix. Words and concepts that are dependent on a physical form escaped her, while she contained the wisdom of all of time and space, and Jones balanced a creepy childishness with a matronly demeanor to wonderful effect. Her final scene with The Doctor where she explains how she feels alive and how she’s always wanted to tell him “Hello!” was buoyant and beautiful and melancholy. And Matt Smith’s heartrending performance of The Doctor meeting the love of his life for the first time was a perfect balance for hers. There’s that moment when Amy asks The Doctor if he’s looking to be forgiven, and Smith squeaks out “Doesn’t everyone?” that had me almost in tears right at the top of the episode. By the time he tearfully speaks to the TARDIS for the last time, I was crying buckets. That guy can act.

“The Doctor’s Wife” was about as perfect a Doctor Who episode as there can be. I hope that there will be more Gaiman-penned trips in the TARDIS! Next week, the first of a two-part story about evil skin!

And I agree with the TARDIS—Rory is totally the pretty one. And wonderful. But if he says “I’m a nurse” one more time, I’m going to start punching infants in the face.

Doctor Who airs Saturdays at 9PM ET on BBC America.

You can follow Tor.com’s Doctor Who coverage here.


Teresa Jusino doesn’t generally cosplay, but she now wants to try and cosplay Idris for the next Gallifrey One. Her “feminist brown person” take on pop culture has been featured on websites like ChinaShopMag.com, PinkRaygun.com, Newsarama, and PopMatters.com. Her fiction has appeared in the sci-fi literary magazine, Crossed Genres; she is the editor of Beginning of Line, the Caprica fan fiction site; and her essay “Why Joss is More Important Than His ‘Verse” is included in Whedonistas: A Celebration of the Worlds of Joss Whedon By the Women Who Love Them, which is on sale now wherever books are sold! Get Twitterpated with Teresa, or visit her at The Teresa Jusino Experience.

46 comments
Mike Foster
1. zephyrkey
An absolutely beautiful episode. I loved the way Gaiman was able to really bring out the charaters to tell a story that could really serve as the perfect introduction to the series as a whole, what with its blend of old-Who call outs and nu-Who sensibilities. I was really interested in seeing what this episode was going to actually be about once I heard what the name was, but it totally makes sense: as Amy says in the episode "It's always you and her isn't it? Long after the rest of us are gone." The 700 year relationship of the mad man and his blue box is beautiful, and Gaiman managed to capture it wonderfully.
F Shelley
2. FSS
Hooray! I've been waiting for this post. I guess the first two episodes I got spoiled, since you'd already seen them and could post in advance.

I've rewatched this one with my wife and daughter twice since we saw it Saturday night (yesterday was a lazy day for us - just Who and a trip to the beach). I think this episode may be my favorite Who (although I still really like Blink, which holds the top spot for me).

I too really liked that the action in this episode took a back seat to telling the character's stories, and Idris/Tardis and the Doctor really played well off each other.

One complaint I have about this season: "they" really seem to want to American-ize the show this year, with the Amy-intro each episode, and the frantic pace each episode seems to go at (even this one). It's like they want to tell a story and a half in 45 minutes, so they throw a ton of stuff at us, and there's barely time to register what's happened or been said before the next thing. That's fun in small quantities, but so far Series 6 has all been like that.

Despite that, this was a really, really great episode. Best of Smith by far. He showed tremendous emotional range and was quite believable as a 900 man whose made some great and terrible decisions in the last 10 years, and who gained and lost (but always has/had) the love of his life. Just a wonderful show.
Joseph Kingsmill
3. JFKingsmill16
I adored the episode. If you weren't touched by it or shed a tear you aren't human. ;-)

Seeing the previous control room was cool but it would have been even better if they would have had to work around the 4th Doctor's control room. That would have been a really awesome old school shout out to the fans.

I don't know how I feel about Time Lord's being able to change gender via regeneration. I'll have to continue to think on it...

@2. FSS - The pace of the show is really getting nuts. I personally like a slow build with the tension from time to time. The series does seem to be hitting the ground running more and more often.
UrsulaMinor
4. UrsulaMinor
I am so glad I pvr'ed this, even though I was actually around to watch it on time for once. I just want to watch it over and over again. The saddest part for me was that we would never get to hear the TARDIS talk again, and be deprived of all the lovely wonderful dialouge.
UrsulaMinor
5. WatchingPreacher
Loved this episode. As Gaiman stated; "I'll most likely never write another Doctor Who-episode, so I crammed everything I ever wanted to see and do with the Doctor into one episode." (or something along those lines)
UrsulaMinor
6. Taylor_S
I agree, this is one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes so far. The cast did a brilliant job, and Neil Gaiman did wonders in bringing out that fairytale aspect of Doctor Who. It's played with sometimes before, but it rarely seems to be the main thread of an entire episode. Here, it was.

Bringing the TARDIS alive is one thing. Bringing it alive into a human/female form for a limited duration is entirely another. Perhaps my favorite, most touching part of the episode was when Idris was disappearing at the end, and The Doctor was straining and struggling to continue to communicate - because they had such an amazing and tight bond. One of my favorite moments in Doctor Who, and very revealing.

I'm also glad that Gaiman played with the Amy/Rory dynamic so well. When she found a corpse and thought he was dead, in that very creepy hallway, it was moving (poor Rory, how many times must you appear dead?).

I do wish we could hear Amy's monologue, though. I would imagine it's superb.

Even more, I wish that Moffat/Gaiman would become the primary writers for this show... yikes, that would be so incredible.
A.J. Bobo
7. Daedylus
"The bastard."

If I were Gaiman, I'd take that as an extreme compliment. Or at least chuckle maniacally. Or maybe even both.
Teresa Jusino
8. TeresaJusino
DaedylusSL @7 - Lord, I certainly hope so! On either count. :)
UrsulaMinor
9. Forrest Leeson
This throws sections of THE LODGER and THE PANDORICA OPENS into a new light, but a light differing considerably from the one it would have cast had it aired in its originally intended position. Amy's last line goes "clunk" now, and there's no possibility of suspicion that maybe it was House that was overriding River's driving.

I had been hoping, and had once been certain, that the S5+6 arc was intended/designed to produce retrospective Aha! moments, especially since some episodes really require them to work...oh well.

"You gave me hope and then took it away."

Silly Doctor. Hope was in Pandora's box because it belonged there, with the other members of its class.
UrsulaMinor
10. Smaug's Li'l Brother Puff
I love Neil Gaiman. He seems like a genuinely good person and I count Stardust, Anansi Boys and The Graveyard Book among my favorite books of all time.

The Doctor's Wife was a good episode -- a very good episode. The best of the season so far? Certainly. But admit it: that's not such a towering acheivement. (I mean, Jeff Foxworthy could have written an episode called "You Might Be a Time Lord If..." and it would have been better than the Silents and the Pirates.*)

This episode was really good, but it wasn't great. It wasn't as creepy as Blink, wasn't as romantic as Girl in the Fireplace, not as tragic as Doomsday, not as bonkers as The Sound of Drums/Last of the Time Lords, not as heartbreaking as Vincent and the Doctor, not as tear-jerking as The End of Time, and not as epic as The Big Bang. It was a fun love letter to the show, yes, and a rollicking tale of a boy's love for his tweaked-out hot rod, but as such was just a wee shallow. I watched it twice to be sure.

Yes, it had a those elements in one, but FSS put their finger on it: it felt rushed. There was so much to the story it really deserved to be a two-parter or Christmas special. I feel we could have benefited from more time to get to know and love Idris, and as for House -- it was stone cold for sure,  but not particularly scary.

It was very, very good, but it wasn't perfect.

* "The Silence and the Pirates" is the title of my Neverwhere-inspired concept album.
Chris Meadows
11. Robotech_Master
The exchange about going where the Doctor wants vs. needs to go reminds me a lot of the results of the method of zen navigation used by Douglas Adams's offbeat detective Dirk Gently—picking a car that "looks like it knows where it's going" and following it. Gently explains that it seldom gets him where he intended to go, but often gets him to where he needed to be. I wonder if its appearance in this episode was a coincidence or an intentional homage to the man who used to work on Doctor Who?
UrsulaMinor
12. cranscape
>I don't know how I feel about Time Lord's being able to change gender via regeneration. I'll have to continue to think on it...

It was a non-issue to me. Remember how Romana regenerated? I figured it was possible all along only the Doctor is reeeeeally bad at it. He can't even make himself a ginger when Romana could make herself look like someone else she met by a whim and even then after trying on a few forms first to see what she liked best. So yeah, changing genders is possible but the Doctor is terrible at regenerating in comparison to even the a grad school level Time Lord like Romana. If it happens to him it would be something completely unplanned on his part.
UrsulaMinor
13. Pendard
I can't even list all of the things I loved about this episode. I loved when the TARDIS asked if all people were so much bigger on the inside. I loved the Doctor's pitiful, "Doesn't everyone?" I loved the idea of the Corsair, a Time Lord who actually sounds pretty cool (for a change) and can change his/her gender when s/he regenerates. I liked the call outs to previous episodes -- the message box from "The War Games," deleting rooms from "Castrovalva," the extended use of the old TARDIS control room from the RTD era, the Ood. I loved that that TARDIS takes the Doctor where he needs to do, as I've always expected it intentionally lands him where there's trouble because it knows he'll want to fix it... or maybe it's just entertained watching him squirm. And so, so much more.

The only weak link, in my opinion, was Suranne Jones as Idris. I don't think she was terrible -- she was saying dialogue written by Neil Gaiman and interacting with Matt Smith, so there was a limit on how much she could mess it up. And it was a brilliantly written part. But I really don't like the acting decisions she made to play it. The TARDIS shouldn't be Drusilla. "Creepy child-like adult woman" was not how it should have come across. I don't believe that was how it was written, I just think Suranne Jones made a decision to behave like a stock character from a Tim Burton movie. Maybe she looked in the mirror and saw the makeup and gave into the temptation, but it's too bad because there were a number of times I found myself thinking, "I can see what Neil Gaiman was going for with that line, why did she have to deliver it that way?" Her whiny, pouting delivery of "Where's my thief?", for example, was really grating.

The only scene I did think she was good in was her argument with Matt Smith, and that's because the husband-wife overtones of that scene are so powerful that she has no choice but to drop her creepy little girl charaterization and act like a mature woman. This a great scene, but I think it was an example of Gaiman's writing shining in spite of the performance, rather than because of it. But later on, when she's in the homemade TARDIS or during her death/goodbye scene, she's right back to the child-like way of playing it, so there's no chance the character "growing up" was an intentional progression the actor was going through. The death scene still powerful -- she didn't manage to wreck it -- but at no point in the episode did I feel this was a powerful, nearly all-seeing being that exists across time and space, or see the wise and compassionate side of the being that gave Margaret the Slitheen a new life in "Boom Town." It didn't even come close to ruining the episode for me, but the missed opportunities were definitely a disappointment.
Chris Meadows
14. Robotech_Master
I think it makes sense that the TARDIS is just as eccentric and strong-willed as the Doctor himself. They do say pets and owners tend to share a certain resemblance. (Though don't ask who's the "pet" and who's the "owner" in this case. :)

I found Idris remarkably endearing. And it made perfect sense that as far as she was concerned, she "stole" a Time Lord. She's kind of like a cat that way.
UrsulaMinor
15. Ali87
It seems like any time we run into River, there's a forest somewhere. In Forest of the Dead, obviously. But in Flesh and Stone there is the forest on the spaceship, and in The Pandorica Opens, there is the forest that the Romans are camped in.

Does anyone remember a forest in Impossible Astronaut? Or is all this just a coincidence?
Ursula L
16. Ursula
I love that the TARDIS was given agency at last. She wanted to see the universe, she looked for a Time Lord mad enough to suit her tastes, she made sure her doors were unlocked so he could join her, and she takes him where she knows he needs to go. This concept could have been a disaster, if the TARDIS wasn't made as powerful and mad a personality as the Doctor.

***

I also love the light that this has shed on the relationship between River and the TARDIS that we've seen in earlier episodes. River clearly was introduced to the TARDIS by a Doctor who has had these experiences, and who has the understanding of the TARDIS as a powerful personality in her own right.

While the Doctor has been known to switch between calling the TARDIS "it" and "she" in the past, with the "she" being a nod to the tradition of treating ships as female in English, the TARDIS is now clearly an intelligent being who self-identifies as female, and would do so even if House had stuffed her brain into a male body. River has always called the TARDIS "she", which makes sense since that's how the TARDIS self-identifies. I'd expect that the Doctor, Amy and Rory would all use "she" consistently in the future, as well.

River also flies the TARDIS much better than the Doctor has in the past. I expect there are two reasons for this. First, River learned to fly the TARDIS from "the best" which would surely be the TARDIS herself. Second, River learned to fly the TARDIS with the understanding that the TARDIS is intelligent and self-aware, and that the TARDIS must want to cooperate with you for flying to work properly. Now that the Doctor knows this better, I expect his flying skills will improve, as he learns to work with the TARDIS rather than trying to force her to do what he wants.

***

As far as the TARDIS's name goes, while she asked the Doctor if "Sexy" was her name, because he kept calling her that, and the Doctor said that was her name, the TARDIS also said that what she really liked was being called "Old Girl." If that's what the TARDIS likes, I'd think that "Old Girl" would be the proper name to call her. And "Girl" or "Old Girl" is also what River has called her in the past, again, showing that River knows the TARDIS and works with what the TARDIS likes and wants.
Joseph Kingsmill
17. JFKingsmill16
@12. cranscape - I guess you are right. I keep forgetting about Romanna.

I still would've liked to have seen an older control room :-P
UrsulaMinor
18. ron smith
No one has mentioned that:
They Killed Rory (again)! Those Bastards! (The mumified remains in the corridor.)
Can't they give the poor guy a rest?
Other than that, a great episode, one of my favorites. And I've been watching the show since 1965.
F Shelley
19. FSS
Along with my comments on Series 6, after further review, I have one more complaint: the whole killing the Doctor thing at the beginning of the season.

I mean, can I get hands raised from anyone who thinks the Doctor will be killed and the show declared over by the time Matt Smith is ready to leave? I guess it's possible. That way no one has to figure out a way around the 12 regeneration limit. Also, they don't hang on until cancelled. But really, I don't think the show ends with a dead Doctor.

Therefore, by "killing" the Doctor at the start of the season, all Moffat has done is insert himself in the story. The question this year isn't: "Will the Doctor save______?" It's: "How will clever Mr Moffat write himself out of this situation?"

To me, that's bad writing.
Chris Meadows
20. Robotech_Master
If that's bad writing, then so is every single time in any episode where it looks like the Doctor is in danger, because we already know he's going to survive past the end of the episode. It's perfectly reasonable to set up a puzzler as to how Moffat is going to undo it, rather than whether the Doctor will survive.

It's like the difference between a whodunnit and a howcatchem. A howcatchem, where you know the identity of the killer ahead of time, isn't a badly-written whodunnit; it's a story where the point is how the hero catches the villain rather than how the hero finds out who the villain is.

(I will say that it's funny with all the complaints about Rory getting repeatedly killed, nobody has mentioned that Moffat essentially repeated himself from "The Big Bang," which also featured a timelooped Doctor "dying".)
Steven Halter
21. stevenhalter
I really liked that the TARDIS confirms that it is the one taking the Doctor where he should go rather than where he wants to go. I had pretty much always assumed that, so I like that it's canon now.
UrsulaMinor
22. Dr. Thanatos
I'm not a trained critic or a professional writer; so my perspective is only that of someone who watches way too much TV.

Having said this I really liked this episode. After almost 55 years it's nice to be reminded that the Doctor started off as a fugitive and a thief; it's an interesting twist to see the Tardis having chosen the Doctor by leaving her doors unlocked. I love backstory, and I loved this tale of a man and his box .

I also didn't pick up on the River---Forest thing; we'll see where that goes.

I love the idea of having dead Rory once a week and let the writers have fun being creative with this; after a full season of "how short can they make Amy's skirt" I look forward to "how will Rory die this week."

I re-watched The Doctor's Daughter and picked up on his saying he had a child once before; but I still like the concept of Doctor and River Who having The and Jenny Master over for Thanksgiving dinner with little girl from episode 2 now revealed to be Susan. Gives a new meaning to strained conversation...
Simon Southey-Davis
23. Glyph
Great, great episode. I've waxed lyrical about the production itself elsewhere, so I won't repeat. But... butbutbut.

I'm starting to wonder about the "Oh my God! You killed Rory!" thing. It's becoming so regular that it doesn't feel coincidental / accidental any more. Kyle Anderson @ Nerdist also pointed out that we're always seeing Amy's fears and nightmares - when coupled with Silver Eye Woman, I'm wondering whether the recurring theme of Amy getting trapped alone / losing Rory is the latest Bad Wolf / Torchwood breadcrumb trail.

I wonder: Exactly how much of this season is actually happening as it's presented on screen? Is Moffat actually manipulating the whole shape of the story towards some big payoff?
Ursula L
24. Ursula
"Creepy child-like adult woman" was not how it should have come across.

I thought that starting out as more child-like made a great deal of sense for a TARDIS newly forced into a human-like body.

When first discovering herself in a human-like body, separate from her machine shell and her Time Lord companion, the TARDIS had to be terrified and disoriented. She doesn't know how things work when you're stuck in linear time. She doesn't know where she is. She can feel the body she's trapped in dying, and taking her with it. I'm surprised she could even walk upright, with no experience on how to control a bipedal body.

Screaming for her Thief, her friend, her closest companion and protector is all she can manage, at first. Running into his arms, kissing him, the way she's seen Amy run into Rory's arms when they've been frightened and separated, is patterning her behavior on the closest human example she's seen of how people with live bodies act when reunited with a loved one you think lost.

Thousands of years of observing the universe, yet no experience with being alive - "creepy and child-like adult" is about all that the TARDIS could be.
UrsulaMinor
25. Dr. Thanatos
Ursula@24,

Couldn't have said it better myself!
David Goldfarb
26. David_Goldfarb
I've already seen any number of people calling for a repeat of the TARDIS taking human form. I say no -- doing this again would take away from the specialness of this episode being "the time we talked". In the term Robert Heinlein coined in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, it was a "funny-once".
UrsulaMinor
27. Dr. Thanatos
David,

Film it once, you're a wit
Film it twice, you're a halfwit.
Geometric progression at best...
UrsulaMinor
28. Edward Brennan
Sure Neil Gaiman wrote an awesome episode, one he will probably get nominated for a hugo for.

But the acting on this one just slam dunks it as one of the best episodes of Dr Who ever. Yes, the regular cast members were great. But, in my mind, Suranne Jones was the TARDIS in human form and I don't think I will ever look at the TARDIS again without her portrayal registering as an important part. She could steal me any day!
Chris Meadows
29. Robotech_Master
I'm sure there will be a million fanfics about it, though. The puns alone are irresistable. ("The Doctor and his 'ship'.")
UrsulaMinor
30. LAJG
Rory: "I'm a nurse!"

I wonder if that is now a catch phrase that the writers have to put into every episode.
Ursula L
31. Ursula
I wonder if Rory keeps reminding himself he's a nurse as a way of dealing with his two thousand years of memories as the lone centurion. During that time Rory had to fight, and kill, and numb himself to the inevitable death of everyone he met and perhaps grew to care for.

So Rory tells himself he's a nurse. He's not the Centurion who fights, he's the nurse who cares. He's not the Centurion who kills, he's the nurse who heals. He's not the Centurion who waited and watched as everyone died, he's the nurse who fights death and cares whenever he looses a patient.
Rob Hansen
32. RobHansen
To those wishing an older control room had been used- yes, that would have been cool, but it also would have added to the cost of the episode, which had already had several scenes removed to stay on budget, as Neil explains here:

http://www.doctorwhonews.net/2011/05/dwn140511205508-doctors-wife-lost.html

In the Doctor Who Confidential that followed over here - 45 minutes which featured *a lot* of Neil Gaiman - Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill say how puzzled they were last season that the previous TARDIS control room set was still standing, but now it had all become clear. And I bet as soon as the episode was finished that set was struck and boxed away, to reappear eventually in a Doctor Who Exhibition somewhere. They were probably delighted to havefinally freed up the space.
Ursula L
33. Ursula
Another thing I liked was that this episode showed us that the Doctor's TARDIS is every bit as unusual for a TARDIS as the Doctor is unusual for a Time Lord.

In a junkyard full of sentient, intelligent TARDISes, there was only one that resented being labeled obsolete and left abandoned. She wanted adventure, to see the universe. And she found herself a Time Lord every bit as unusual, rebellious and adventurous as she was, opened her doors for him, and made sure he could never, ever take her back and abandon her in the junkyard again.
Teresa Jusino
34. TeresaJusino
LAJG @30 - It'd be like Dr. McCoy's "I'm a Doctor, not a..." catchphrase on Star Trek. :)

So Rory'd be all, "I'm a nurse, not a....Doctor?" ;)
Jenny Thrash
35. Sihaya
I'm with you on this, Teresa. I always thought the TARDIS was one of the two most important characters on the show. I was so delighted to meet her, and she was alot like I imagined.
Chris Meadows
36. Robotech_Master
Ursula @33: Actually, he didn't steal the TARDIS from a junkyard originally—though there are conflicting accounts (in the first series, he claimed to have built it himself, since they hadn't developed the Gallifreyan mythology yet), in "The Deadly Assassin" he was held to have taken it from a government stockpile of decommissioned TARDISes.

The first episode of the first series began in a junkyard (which the 7th Doctor later revisited), but the Doctor had already had the TARDIS for a while at that point.

Either way, the idea of these two lonely misfits "stealing" each other is one of the most endearing images anyone associated with Doctor Who has ever come up with. And the delighted grin on Matt Smith's face at the end of the episode as the TARDIS once again takes him where he needs to go is another one.
Ursula L
37. Ursula
A government stockpile of decommissioned TARDISes seems close enough to a junkyard, to me. An unknown number of these intelligent, sentient machines abandoned and grounded, left idle and alone and bored, just because they're no longer the latest model.

What must it be like, to be a TARDIS, capable of seeing all of time and space, yet left to sit still and alone in one place and bit of time? It seems a prison crueler than River's Stormcage.
Chris Meadows
38. Robotech_Master
Ursula @37: But the TARDIS exists in its entire timeline at once. Getting stuck in a stockpile/scrapyard is only an eyeblink in its overall existence. So even if it is still and alone in that one place and bit of time, it's also out traveling the universe thereafter at the same time. (Of course, a worse part of it is that the TARDIS is also simultaneously existing in its moment of birth and its eventual moment of destruction. How must it feel to be born and be dying all the time? Of course, I suppose the TARDIS feels sorry for those of us who're stuck in one single moment every moment of our lives, never knowing what's going to come next.)
UrsulaMinor
39. ron smith
I assume that House took over the TARDIS by occupying the Matrix, which was left vacant by the entity (for lack of a better description) that was transfered to Idris.
If House occupied the TARDIS Matrix, becoming the 'living' portion of the box, and was able to communicate with Rory and Amy in real time, why can't the original occupant, 'Sexy', communicate in the same manner?

Yes, I know, "It's just a show, relax.". But to me it is fun to play with questions like this. Any suggestions?
Ursula L
40. Ursula
If House occupied the TARDIS Matrix, becoming the 'living' portion of the box, and was able to communicate with Rory and Amy in real time, why can't the original occupant, 'Sexy', communicate in the same manner?

Well, the House entity was naturally able to communicate with humans in real time. He could do it before he was in the TARDIS. His mind just worked that way.

The TARDIS, on the other hand, is not, by her nature, able to communicate with humans in real time. She really struggled, at first, to get words out properly when she was in human form. Doing so required her to twist her mind in an unnatural way, and was only possible for her because she was using the human body she was forced into.

The TARDIS has her natural form of communication with the Doctor expressed in how she interacts with him as they fly. Verbal communication was unnatural for her, and doesn't really express the way that she thinks.
Charles Dunkley
41. cedunkley
Loved this episode. A few things I've come to really enjoy about this Doctor and Amy and Rory as his Companions: I love how he reminds (and relies upon) Rory to watch after Amy. We've seen yet again how much Rory really helps to ground Amy, to make her feel safe, even though she picks on him all the time. House really played upon her fear of losing Rory in this episode, of him rejecting and hating her for what he has to endure for her, which is something a bit new.

One of my favorite things about Matt Smith is his ability to bring out the Time Lord aspect of the Doctor. He has no hesitation at all to destroy House. Clearly he's acting out of revenge and love when he tells the TARDIS to finish him off. For all of the Doctor's desire to sek a peaceful resolution to a situation, when the Time Lord aspect of his nature takes over he can be merciless, but only after still giving his opponents the chance to Run.

Tom Baker was long my favorite Doctor. But since the revival of the series each of the 3 actors who have taken on this role have brought some aspect of the Doctor that I believe they have become best at. I've this sneaking suspicion that when all is said and done that Matt Smith will rank 2nd behind Baker as my all time favorite Doctor. And while Rose Tyler remains my favorite Companion, the pairing of Amy and Rory holds a special place for me.

Now if only they would bring back Captain Jack. What would Amy make of him? And have Jack and River Song ever actually met?
UrsulaMinor
43. Pendard
A lot of people haver remarked on the fact that the Corsair could change genders when he regenerates. I had a thought about that that I thought was kind of neat, so I'm going to share it.

What if Time Lords are like people? Most of them conform to a certain gender, but some of them are non-gender specific -- what we would think of as either transsexual or genderqueer, depending on the person? We've seen a lot of Time Lords regenerate -- eleven versions of the Doctor, five versions of the Master, three versions of Chancellor Borusa, two versions of Romana (not including her tentative bodies) -- and no one has ever changed gender before. What if only certain Time Lords have the ability or inclination to change genders when they regenerate, because their soul (or whatever you want to call the part of a Time Lord that transcends the individual bodies) hasn't got a built-in gender?

@cedunkley (#41): I also love Amy and Rory as companions. One interesting thing about them that dawned on me recently -- if it hadn't been for the Doctor coming back when he did, I don't think Amy and Rory's relationship would have lasted. Back in "The Beast Below," Amy seemed unsure about whether she would go through with the wedding -- and it was only twelve hours away for her! And throwing herself at the Doctor in "Flesh and Stone" (a scene that I love, don't get me wrong!) also didn't bode well for their longterm happiness.

Starting when the Doctor brought Rory aboard the TARDIS, their relationship has gone through hell. Both of them have had to and continue to have to face fears of losing or abandoning the other -- in fact, not only have they had to face fears, they've had to face the reality of losing or abandoning (or forgetting) each other. The fact is that Amy and Rory are quite mismatched. I think the reason they love each other is that each one of them has something the other one needs to be happy -- Rory needs Amy's ability to be adventurous, Amy needs Rory's ability to be sensible. But this also means that, at least when we met them, they largely didn't understand each other, and both of them were very insecure. Traveling with the Doctor has put their relationship under a lot of stress, but both of them have grown up a lot because of it, and I think their deepening understanding is all that allowed their relationship to survive.
Teresa Jusino
44. TeresaJusino
Pendard @43 -


"The fact is that Amy and Rory are quite mismatched. I think the reason they love each other is that each one of them has something the other
one needs to be happy -- Rory needs Amy's ability to be adventurous, Amy
needs Rory's ability to be sensible."


It's interesting that you call that "mismatched." I would say that means they're perfectly matched. They complete each other. Two left-foot socks aren't a perfectly matched set. They're useless socks. :)
UrsulaMinor
45. Pendard
@Teresa (#44): I don't think they're a left sock and a right sock. I think they're a left sock and a right glove.
UrsulaMinor
46. Dr. Cox
I kept remembering those lines in "School Reunion" when Sarah Jane asks Rose "Does he still stroke bits of the Tardis?" and she says "Yes, and it's like 'Do you two want to be alone?'" (not sure if the second part of the quote is correct . . . it's from memory, and the first part I found on imdb.com).

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