Thursday, 4 August 2011

The Almost People


Originally Broadcast 28th May 2011
 Written by: Matthew Graham

I know it isn’t what you’re expecting to hear from me, but I really love parts of this episode. It isn’t for the writing or the directing, but for Matt Smith and Matt Smith. When these two get together it is absolutely brilliant. Graham’s dialogue is really good here too, with the two talking together, it’s just a perfect scene.
Smith is the Doctor that works the best with having a double, as his dialogue is always as though he’s conversing with himself so here it just feels the same but with two on the screen. But we don’t have time to love this for too long, we get a close-up on the Doctor’s shoes (that’ll be important) and Amy’s told to breath (again).

“Damned headaches. I’m so tired”
I think, note it’s only a thought, that Matt Graham’s trying to tell us something here. Nah, he can’t be that obvious again, can he?
Oh and the next scene:
“Midnight. It’s Adam’s birthday”
Before both versions of Jimmy decide to tell us about him. It’s getting more painful. Yes, we get that these people are the same; do we need to get it twice?
I suppose Graham’s trying to tell us everything two (or many more) times over because he’s making a “fun” point looking at how we have multiples of the same character? Somehow I doubt it.

Two Doctor's are better than one
Amy’s interaction with the two Doctor’s is really good, I think it’s one of the points of this episode that work well, but then she has to go and spoil it all by seeing that woman with the eye patch.
We get this stereotypical writing, because Amy fell out with Doctor-Ganger, she has to be the one to have a quiet talk with him when he storms out the room. But if this is the real Doctor (as later revealed) he’s a really good actor when he pushes Amy against that wall!

This episode feels like the modern day version of showing the science-fiction equivalent of racial issues, which has been done to no end, most famously back in 1972 with The Mutants.
I said I liked Amy’s reaction to the GangerDoctor, but it’s really been pushed pretty soon into the point of too-far as Amy shouts at the Ganger again with lines about “he’s not real”.

I’m still in the same opinion with Rory, he doesn’t feel ‘in character’, he’s more doing all this stuff because the story demands a TARDIS character to do this to show more. I don’t like Rory here, he’s a brilliant companion but here it’s just not.
And now we get the Doctor’s phone call, which was painfully obvious and is meant to hammer home the point that these two are or are not the same person but it turns into overkill (not for the first time in Graham’s script).

Is that where the BBC's budget goes?
As the episode reaches it’s third act, it feels like we HAVE to have a giant, crap CGI monster just to fulfil the show. The episode was already bad, but it would’ve been more effective without a giant Jennifer stampeding toward them looking like an uncooked chicken.

I think this one of the worst five minutes in the show, due not only to the giant monster, but the really tedious goodbyes that are all pointless. They can all be saved and if two people need to hold that door, why can one go off and talk for a few minutes first? And the TARDIS just popping up like that? Really? It’s the most pathetically scripted co-incidence since The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit (2006) when the TARDIS randomly appears.

And it all gets one step worse as the Doctor pulls out a magic cure for a brain clot. I honestly can not believe Graham, who feels the need to point out he’s a fan, let this through into a first draft let alone Moffat letting it get onto the screen. It’s a incredibly terrible plot. Now the Doctor can go and save anyone like that.

Meanwhile, we get a fantastic scene tagged onto the end as we learn what happened to Amelia Pond all along. The cliffhanger is what this episode, quite rightly, known for. I think this ending is bigger than the one at the end of the next episode, A Good Man Goes To War, in which a review is coming very shortly…

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