Sunday, May 22, 2011

Ten Statements About....DOCTOR WHO SEASON SIX, EPISODE FIVE: The Rebel Flesh (2011)

Beware our gooey, ill-formed countenances!
"There are people coming. Well, almost."
"Almost coming?"
"Almost people."

1) Nice pre-credit teaser....the demise of the co-worker being treated with such casualness is creepy, setting up the mini-reveal that leads us to understand what's going on here. The lack of dramatics truly sells it.

2) Going back to something I've said in an earlier 10S, I adore how Smith has found certain ways to do shoutbacks to other Doctors--like, in this case, using a snowglobe to check gravitational force similar to how Tom Baker used a yoyo--in a way that's a great deal more subtle than Tennant could.

3) There's a rather cool mix of high-tech equipment and low-tech setting going on here than manages to give the whole episode an extra-level of creep. I can just imagine how this would've taken place in a cookie-cutter white lab in a Nathan-Turner or Letts era episode, which would have made things not as effective. Another clue that Moffatt is very much trying to get his Philip Hinchcliffe on. Plus if gives the Frankenstein simile a lil' more punch.

Find me a corridor, and I'll be compelled to wander down it...
4) It's to Raquel Cassidy's credit that she manages to breathe some life into her Foreman Cleaves, what is essentially a rather drab, unimaginative role. Pity that, after a brief period where we think Cleaves is going to be something other than The Regulation Authority Figure Who Gets Us In Deep, she ends up being exactly that.

5) you know, the way the Doctor susses out Cleaves problem is a lot more effective than Jennifer-Snake.....

6) Sarah Smart really does a good job hitting the emotional beats of the Jennifer Ganger. You really feel for her frustration as she copes with her identity..although the biggest flaw in the episode is how there doesn't seem to be any clear rationale as to why her Ganger is different, why she becomes the main agitator toward the end of this part of the story.

7) And on a related note...that scene contains one of the strongest moments for Arthur Darvill, who is allowed to do all the acting in it with his face and still manages to let us know everything about his own feelings and his overwhelming desire to Set Things Right for this creature.

This prolly should be the standard 'uniforms' for this
present iterations of the TARDIS Crew (the black-jeans and
matching leather jacket  look really works for Amy)..
8) And, of course, just as in Frankenstein, the problem is caused not by the 'Monsters'--in fact, we see in the interactions of Mark Bonner's Jimmy and his Ganger some evidence that the two beings can exist side by side--but by the Narrow Minded Human fucking it up for herself.

9) Once the shit hits the fan, I rather like the 'martial theme' for The Gangers, which seems to incorporate certain musical cues reversed to give the whole thing a weird, off-kilter, disturbing tone.

10) Okay, eyepatch lady is officially bugging the Hell out of me. Moffat's forcing her into each episode is closer to the ham-fisted way RTD would throw references to Torchwood into season two whether they made sense or not.

In's hard to make a clear decision on these first-part-of-a-two-parter things, but I have to admit to having some reservations about this one. There's a definite sense that this might turn out to be Nothing Special--especially after the cliffhanger (as longtime Who Watchers will tell you, there's never Anything Good that comes out of the kind of story hook the cliffhanger reveals...just ask Tom Baker about 'Meglos').

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