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22 May 2011 @ 01:27 pm
The Rebel Flesh  
Just watched Doctor Who. I am thoroughly creeped out and my brain is totally broken.

I'm also really pleased, because this is exactly the sort of thing that left me totally unsettled at the end of S4's Sontaran episodes: that Martha clone had all of Martha's memories, and that was never really addressed; they just left the clone there at the end as though that fact didn't matter at all. (This is also the weird thing about the second Ten, in the opposite direction: the idea that he can be passed off as the Doctor, even though he is partly human, and specifically partly Donna. That still feels not-right.) I have no idea how next week's conclusion is going to end--probably not well--but this episode really delved into what that means, to have all of someone else's memories and loves. The bit where the two men talked about "their" son was particularly effective, because it's both an incredibly emotional memory--one that might convince Jimmy that his "ganger" has the same capacity for being human that he does--and one that is incredibly threatening: what's the difference between lived memory and stored memory? Does one's presence at an event take precedence over simply remembering and feeling it? And if it doesn't, then who's to say that first-Jimmy is actually more his son's father than ganger-Jimmy? Is it self-defense to kill someone who might step into your life and fill it completely? (And this is where the story parts ways from Frankenstein, which it echoes--or at least the films--with its solar storms in place of lightning--because Frankenstein is about the status of scientifically created life, but not life that is identical to its creator in major respects.)

I love Rory's protectiveness in this episode, the more so because I find myself feeling obscurely and bizarrely threatened by the presence of a ganger-Doctor: my instant reaction, somewhere in the vicinity of my stomach, was "that's not him." Even if he figures out how to stop looking like "pure flesh," even if his voice stops sounding so muddy and menacing, even if he has all the same memories. And he wasn't created in the same way, so there may be objective reasons for feeling that way: he had to slowly learn to speak like the Doctor, he wasn't formed instantaneously: how much is he an echo, an incomplete copy, or a mimic? But those objective reasons were not what I was reacting to, in the moment. So well done, Rory, for overcoming that aversion and doing what you do best, which is taking care of people. Also, don't die or get cloned, okay? Thanks.

There seem to have been some temporal hijinks here; the Doctor seems to have prior knowledge of the situation somehow, finishing Amy's sentences and dropping inadvertent remarks. I wonder if that will be answered next week, or if it's part of the season-long arc.

ETA: Apparently people don't like this episode as much as I did, huh. I mean, yes, it's not the most original thing ever. It borrows from sci-fi as far back as 1818 if not earlier. But I tend to think that it ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it, and I thought this episode did what it did well. I may change my mind next week, but so far I think it's a nicely creepy romp (can one actually have a nicely creepy romp?) with some good emotional set pieces.
litlover12 on May 22nd, 2011 06:05 pm (UTC)
I was thoroughly creeped out -- and I fully expect to have a nightmare someday about that long neck bursting out of the toilet stall -- but I thought it was really good, all the same.
tempestsarekindtempestsarekind on May 22nd, 2011 06:27 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I definitely thought that what it lacked in originality, it made up in atmosphere. Yes, it's reminiscent of other stuff, including other Doctor Who stuff. But lots of that other stuff didn't work for me (like the Sontaran S4 episodes I referenced in the post), and this one did.
viomisehuntviomisehunt on May 23rd, 2011 06:22 am (UTC)
It resembled the worst nightmare one could ever had -- you're being chased up disconnecting stairs and you turn to face your adversary and it's you.
tempestsarekind: eleventempestsarekind on May 24th, 2011 06:17 pm (UTC)
pink for pterodactyl: discworld:out of cheese!significantowl on May 23rd, 2011 10:00 pm (UTC)
lol I have 2:12 left on the clock. Short version then, we liked it tooooo, and were glad to see the clone thing more fully explored as well! And always good to see the Doctor having to face practicing what he preaches (this time re clones)
tempestsarekind: eleventempestsarekind on May 24th, 2011 06:16 pm (UTC)
2:12 to spare! Yay! I'm glad that I got a little bit of that time.

Yes--I am definitely looking forward to seeing what happens when the Doctor is confronted with his very own clone: will he feel the same way about that clone's right to exist as he did about the others?