Doctor Who: Series 6, Episode 4 – The Doctor’s Wife

For me, it’s been a rocky start to the series so far. Nothing so bad I’d stop watching, but that unsettling feeling that this series is not quite what I signed up for.

Thankfully, this episode puts us right back on track. I’m impressed, really, because the sneak peek at the end of the last one wasn’t that inspiring to me.

I can only begin by saying how much I love Suranne Jones. I wasn’t that keen on her Corrie character but people raved about her, and it’s easy to see why. She was great in that thing where David Tennant cried a lot, and she also managed to bring to life the Mona Lisa in an episode of the Sarah Jane Adventures.

I love her and she was brilliant. What a difficult part to play. The actual TARDIS. So much knowledge, all cooped up inside one tiny little body. A genius idea. And the interaction between her/it and the Doctor, just indescribable.

I wanted more, wanted to gobble up all their dialogue, arguments over which way the doors should open, and what her name should be. In the end, the TARDIS was stuck inside a failing squishy human and it couldn’t last forever.

I appear to have skipped over a lot of the story here though. Firstly, the Doctor just suddenly decides he can leave the Universe? Why hasn’t he done that before? It seemed pretty easy to do. Also, if you’re going outside the universe, the writers suddenly have a lot more of time and space to play with, as if they didn’t have enough already.

We had a brief moment of believing there were some Time Lords pottering about on the planet (some kind of sea urchin?), and having seen that girl regenerate, I suppose we were fooled into thinking that would happen. It was all a trick though, to get our Doctor and his TARDIS to the planet so they could suck up the energy. Or something.

That bit didn’t seem so important. There was a random Ood there, that didn’t seem to matter either. Aunt, Uncle, Nephew. Why wasn’t the girl Niece?

The Doctor was keen to get rid of Amy and Rory, sending them back to the TARDIS and locking them in. I know Moffat said that this series had a lot of basis in them being a married couple and the Doctor sort of outstaying his welcome. But surely, if they are in his way a lot, why doesn’t he just leave them somewhere? He has previous on that front.

Locked inside the TARDIS, and subjected to the sea urchin trying to consume them/it, Rory and Amy run around quite a lot, while the urchin messes with their heads. We see time passing, Rory as a skeleton, things that are really quite disturbing to watch. Rory’s yelling as an old man was really dark, a bit much in my opinion. I was also disappointed with how quickly Amy fell for it all, considering she had already warned Rory that they were being played with. She didn’t seem to remember that fact for very long.

It was interesting, but I don’t want to see more of the TARDIS than the control room. I don’t want to see the corridors or the swimming pool or the bedrooms. It’s one of those things that I prefer to be a mystery. It may just be me, and I’ll admit that the bunk bed thing was funny, but I’m so glad they didn’t answer the question of whether the Doctor had a bedroom. It shouldn’t even be asked!

Equally, when we did see the corridors, they looked terrible, like they had been pulled out of storage from the rickety old sets of the original series. Disappointing.

Eventually, after building a fake TARDIS and sending messages to the couple inside the original one (I think I might start all greetings with “hello pretty!”), a bit of jiggery pokery, and everyone is safe back in the control room. It’s time to say goodbye to Idris, but such a beautiful moment when she doesn’t say goodbye. She says hello. Amazing. Worth any of the negative points in this episode.

With regards to the ongoing arc, we didn’t see the lady with the eye patch, and although Rory and Amy mention the Doctor dying business, they still don’t seem particularly keen to do anything about it.

Next week, something to do with scary faces, and the woman from Teachers. I must say, I’m finding the “next week” trailers to be substandard so far. I thought the process was meant to make you want to watch, make you eager for the next seven days to pass quickly. They appear to have too much going on, and not enough intrigue.

Thankfully, I want to watch regardless!

5 thoughts on “Doctor Who: Series 6, Episode 4 – The Doctor’s Wife

  1. I really liked this episode… It was nice because it was quirky and clever. That’s what Doctor Who is supposed to be about.

    Weirdly I was just thinking about James Bond. In the early films he was trying to solve specific things and people trying to steal things to do evil things. But there was suddenly one movie where Bond had to stop a nuclear missile being launched that would destroy the world. From that moment on Bond had to face bigger and bigger things just to keep up. It kind of ruined the franchise because everything had to be soooo big. It took the recent reboot to make it about a guy stealing things again. Smaller is better often in these things. The temptation to outdo the previous ones needs to be resisted.

    Same thing with the X-Files. Originally it was all self contained episodes with little bits of information threaded in. All of the fans were desperate to find out what was going on. Then they made the episodes all kind of thread together and all of a sudden the fans didn’t care because there was just so much of it.

    Moffat needs to be careful with so many strands going on that he has room for fantastic self contained little episodes like this. This should be the bulk of the series.

  2. Why hasn’t he done that before?

    This is the fifth time the Doctor’s done it if we’re only counting TV appearances, and the fourth time in the new version. Nonetheless, he’s never done it casually before, so your question makes sense.

    The previous 4 trips outside his home universe were:

    The Inferno story arc, shown in 1970. The Third Doctor, along with the TARDIS, went to a parallel universe to escape from danger. The Doctor hadn’t intended to swap universes but evidently that’s what the TARDIS thought would be for the best. It was able to do so because it was receiving enough power to exist in both universes. Normally the TARDIS can only power itself in its own universe. Before “Inferno”, the Doctor didn’t even know parallel universes were possible.

    All the other examples are from the 10th Doctor. “Age of Steel/Rise of the Cybermen” happened due to the TARDIS having a technical fault.

    “Army of Ghosts/Doomsday” didn’t involve moving the TARDIS but used special devices from another universe.

    The scene where Rose and Human!Doctor are brought to the parallel universe in “Journey’s End” used the TARDIS and looks to have been 100% intentional without exceeding any of its capabilities or breaking boundaries. How the TARDIS managed the feat was not explained, presumably it became capable of it at some point between “Rise of the Cybermen” and “Journey’s End” because otherwise the “Age of Steel/Rise of the Cybermen” storyline would have been rather short…

    Since the TARDIS was capable of effortlessly doing the “Journey’s End” parallel universe transition without drama, I would surmise that it’s been possible for the Doctor to swap universes on a whim ever since. At a guess, the 11th Doctor’s simply been too concerned with doing other stuff to exercise his TARDIS’ new abilities in that direction…

  3. I agree with most of the comments. I DO like how the series is going though.Unlike some others here, I think its a good thing to show bits and pieces of the Doctor. Having him actually emotional about losing the ability to speak to the TARDIS for example was something we’ve never seen before. I don’t think every episode has to be rushed just to find out about the little girl timelord or the woman through the door panel.

    Also I don’t think Amy and Rory have much choice about the Doctor’s death. It’s two hundred years in the future and to be honest they’ve been in far worse situations. I don’t feel this has to be resolved right away.

    I DO agree that the interiors for the TARDIS were very badly done. I’m not sure what they were trying to get at, but the set was way substandard for this show. I did like seeing David T.’s control room used though. That was pretty cool.

    I would love to see the pool etc, provided that it was done with high quality sets. But that corridor thing should not be used again.

    There was a riddle about what I thought was River Song. Not sure if anyone else caught it, about the ‘river’ being the only source of water in the forest. That sounded a little too specific to not mean River Song.

    Any thoughts on that?

  4. Having him actually emotional about losing the ability to speak to the TARDIS for example was something we’ve never seen before. I don’t think every episode has to be rushed just to find out about the little girl timelord or the woman through the door panel.

    I liked him getting emotional, I loved the connection between he and the TARDIS. It’s not that I don’t want him to have any feelings and be a robot, it’s just I like that there’s an air of mystery about him. I really don’t want to know where he sleeps, if he sleeps!

    You’re right about not rushing all the answers. It does feel like we’re settling into a more normal series feel with just a few longer arcs. The first two episodes were a lot to take in!

    There was a riddle about what I thought was River Song. Not sure if anyone else caught it, about the ‘river’ being the only source of water in the forest. That sounded a little too specific to not mean River Song.

    I heard it, and then I instantly forgot about it! 🙂

    “the only water in the forest is the river”

    She did turn up in the forest library silence thing. Not sure about the water though.

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