The Doctor's Wife
This week’s episode opens with some frankly strange looking people comforting a dark haired woman as she is led up onto a platform by an Ood to have her soul and her mind drained from her body. Always nice and cheerful, is Doctor Who.
Anyway, her soul is soon replaced by that of the TARDIS. Yes, the TARDIS. The Doctor got an SOS from a Time Lord, but as soon as he landed on the source of the SOS the soul is sucked from the TARDIS and put in the body of the woman. Strangely enough that’s not the weirdest thing about this world; it looks like a junkyard, is inhabited by weird patchwork people and is sentient. The planet itself is called House actually talks to the Doctor. Which, y’know. Is a bit weird.
The Doctor isn’t too interested in him, though; he heard what sounded like an SOS from lots and lots of Time Lords and is hell-bent on finding them. Amy and Rory warn him to be careful, which he doesn’t like, so he tricks them back into the TARDIS and locks them in.
This is a very bad move. See, House isn’t nice and friendly like he seems. He is in fact a great big baddie who has tricked countless Time Lords onto landing on him so he can eat their TARDIS and use their bodies for parts. Now House is eating the TARDIS, with Amy and Rory trapped inside.
Problem is, House has learnt that this is the last TARDIS, and so is flying it back to the universe to find other sources of food and chasing Amy and Rory through the corridors of the TARDIS whilst he does so. It all seems pretty bleak, but the Doctor has a secret weapon: the soul of the TARDIS.
She and the Doctor rebuild a TARDIS console from the skeletons of the many previously eaten TARDIS and charse after Rory and Amy. Eventually they manage to get back into the TARDIS, the human body of the TARDIS dies and her soul goes back into the machine and destroys House, bringing everything back to normal. A very happy ending indeed.
Or rather, a very bittersweet ending. I fell completely in love with the TARDIS in this episode. Suranne Jones plays her to absolute, heartbreaking perfection. Baffled but delighted by the world around her. Somehow knowing everything at nothing at the same time. Incredibly kind, utterly mischievous, excitable as a puppy. Generally just completely adorable in every way.
I’ve always known that the Doctor loves the TARDIS, but I never really expected that the TARDIS would love him back. Forget Rose, forget River, the real love story is and always has been him and that funny blue box. He stole her, she stole him, and she has no intention of ever giving him back. The relationship between these two is the real highlight of this episode, and I’m not ashamed to admit that there was a tear in my eye as she stopped being a woman and went back to being a machine.
Not the only highlight, though. Neil Gaiman is a fantastic writer, and this episode is peppered with fantastic little touches. There are a couple of fantastic lines — “Fear me. I’ve killed hundreds of Time Lords” “Fear me. I killed all of them” is possibly the best tough-talk ever and Amy’s line “She’s the TARDIS? Did you wish really hard?” made me genuinely laugh out loud — and little touches that made an already entertaining script utterly perfect.
I do wish that Doctor Who had the budget to match the ideas, though. Rory and Amy running through the TARDIS had the potential to be a fantastic sequence, but actually looked a bit like they were running round a hamster run from the Pets at Home “futuristic” range. I would have loved to have seen them running through the different rooms of the TARDIS (the swimming pool, the library, their bedrooms, the kitchen) but I imagine that the budget didn’t stretch that far.
However, did you notice the enormous piece of information about regeneration they slipped in there? That Time Lords can regenerate as Time Ladies?
“He had that snake as a tattoo in every regeneration, he didn’t feel like himself unless he had the tattoo. Or herself, a couple of times. Oooooh, she was a bad girl”
So, theory fans, do you think the door is open for a female Doctor when Matt Smith leaves? And what about you, conspiracy theorists: do you think River could be a future, female incarnation of the Doctor?
This series gets more and more interesting every week.