California Literary Review

Morning Recap — Doctor Who: The God Complex [Series 32, Episode 11]

by

September 18th, 2011 at 11:20 am

  • Print Print

Still: Doctor Who: The God Complex

[Photograph: Adrian Rogers/BBC/BBC Worldwide]


Oh, come all ye faithful

[Spoilers ahead] Hurrah! Things are looking up on Doctor Who. The problem of Amy and Rory’s passivity with regard to their baby still exists, but the plot of ‘The God Complex’ was interesting enough to make me set that to one side. The dated hotel, with its all-pervasive muzak, was suitably bizarre and creepy, while the resident monster was nicely alien and ridiculous-looking. So far, so good.

The beginning set the scene well, giving us just enough information to feel intrigued, but not giving the game away. I also liked the style of the moments of ‘worship’, with their flood of imagery and words, that this scene introduced us to. I liked the way that the scenario was set up so that it seemed totally obvious that the main element was confronting people with their fears, but then once the tables were turned it suddenly wasn’t the main element after all. It worked that the Doctor was exhorting people to cling to their faith to fight the fear, being the obvious and rational response, and therefore made the moment of realisation all the more powerful.

In general, I wouldn’t quibble about the plot, although there are a few points that didn’t seem quite consistent. Firstly, if the Weeping Angels were in Gibbis’ room, which they all went into before Amy found her room, then why wasn’t Gibbis next on the Minotaur’s lunch menu instead of Amy? Clearly Amy being next was more dramatic than Gibbis, but it was still illogical. Also, if the Weeping Angels weren’t real, why did they initially behave like them and why were fake Weeping Angels someone’s fear? If an image of a Weeping Angel can become an Angel, surely nightmare Weeping Angels can become real? Mind you, I suppose real ones would have cluttered the place up no end. Lastly, why did the TARDIS translator suddenly appear not to work (other than to allow the Doctor to have some dramatic conversations with the Minotaur, forcing him to translate and so provide the ambiguity necessary in their last exchange, obviously)?

Another point that I was unclear on was whose room they were in at the end? I assume it was Amy’s although to my mind it would almost make more sense for it to be the Doctor’s. I think it was made clear that the Doctor’s was next to the Minotaur when he was dying after stumbling out of the other room, but why was Amy’s greatest fear her initial wait for the Doctor? He came back — she herself admitted that even when she thought he wasn’t going to always came back. If that was her faith, then why was she so fearful of something that had already turned out alright? Especially when there are so many other things that she could have been scared of. I mean, Rory or her baby dying should surely be high on her list? I also wondered whether the room numbers had any significance. After all, Amelia Pond was seven when she met the Doctor and her room number reflected that. So what significance does eleven have for the Doctor?

The ending was somewhat muted for such an enjoyable episode as Rory and Amy are left on Earth to get on with their life together. It makes sense in a way that, at this moment, Amy would finally choose to let the Doctor go. He has just destroyed her utter faith in him, in order to save her from the Minotaur, and yet surely that in itself would almost make that faith stronger. Perhaps it just made it stronger in a different way — he became less of a hero and more of a trusted friend, an equal rather than someone to be blamed or adored. Although, in a way, I was sad to see Amy and Rory go, as they have been great fun to watch most of the time. But it was also something of a relief because of the slightly stalled storyline that they had been left with. I’m looking forward to seeing what the Doctor does to amuse himself next, but I’ll also look forward to the return of an Amy and Rory with more energy and purpose at some point in the future, because I can’t believe we’ve seen the last of them yet.

  • Ryan

    Surely the significance of the number 11 for the Doctor’s room is that he is the 11th incarnation of The Doctor.

  • Kirsten

    Ooh I hadn’t thought of that!

  • Stacey

    @the cause of Gibbis not being gone after, the doctor explained it in his talk about faith (Gibbis’ home world is being conquered so much that he has NO faith in anything). As for the image of an angel being an angel… you’ve got me there.
    @ the lack of TARDIS translation, I can only guess it’s because the Minotaur was from a race almost as ancient and extinct as the Time Lords (who’s native language isn’t translatable either)
    @ The room, it was Amys… I think it was to show her fear about being left behind again (and that she symbolically comes to let go of that fear by letting the doctor go at the end of the episode)
    As for her baby dying, it’s hard to think of when she knows River survives to be, well, RIVER!! (you can call it preknowledge or some such thing)

    Ahhh, I’m going to miss Amy and Rory soooo much :(

  • whovianfloovian

    I believe the doctor’s room was the one with the tragic clown. Think of it, a clown is someone who is meant to appeal to children. He’s sitting there in a suit, waistcoat, bow tie, but all alone. There have been some very dark and tragic undertones since season five (dream lord) in which we are shown that the doctor sees himself as a pide piper figure, who leads children to their deaths. He talks about it in this episode too… starts to berate and blame himself for offering “children a suitcase full of sweets,” then he’s offering Rita all of time and space… doing it again. He’s desperately lonely, and feels obsolete and ridiculous. “The old man likes the company of the young,” as the dream lord said. And we know who he was…

    The doctor also says in a previous episode, when fear of clowns is mentioned, “understandable…” Personally, I think that’s what the Doctor’s greatest fear is… that he’s a slightly ridiculous monster, bathed in the blood of the innocent (as the minotaur says, somewhat ambiguously.)He opens the door, sees the clown, and says, “of course.”

    As Amy says, he must have faith in something… “what do timelords pray to?”

    I love the Doctor completely losing his cool after Rita dies… also, what on earth was going on with the goldfish?

  • Jessica

    I think it was Amy’s room at the end just because she did go into room seven and you can see at the end they are in room seven. Also Matt Smith is the 11Th doctor so i thinks that’s why it’s in the room 11. I think that maybe his death or all the people that ever died because of him were just all together in his room.

  • Danny

    The clown was there before the Doctor got there. Also, when he opens his door he hears the Cloister Bell. It is made to ring whenever there is an emergency, even if the TARDIS itself is in danger (for more detail just google doctor who cloister bell). He also says “of course, who else” and with this seasons incarnation of the TARDIS, I’m assuming losing that would be his greatest fear. It is his only constant companion.

  • Kirsten

    Along the lines of the clown/Dream lord idea, I’d wondered whether it was actually just himself in the Doctor’s room. He certainly doesn’t like himself much and is afraid of, and guilty about, what he does to his companions – look at the exchange with the voice interface in ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’

    @Stacey, I disagree about the Gibbis point. I read it as the Doctor saying that Gibbis’ abdication of responsibility and expectation that someone would come and tell him what to do was his version of faith – he had faith that someone would come to enslave him. Plus, if he hadn’t had faith why hadn’t he been shown the door just like Rory?

    I realised after I finished writing that Melody dying probably wouldn’t be an issue, but Melody hurt or alone is surely a reasonable fear given what they know of her history?

    TARDIS translation – I guess that’s a reasonable theory, although isn’t the reason the TARDIS can’t translate Gallifreyan because that’s where she comes from? I thought that was the reason she couldn’t translate the inscription on the Doctor’s crib. I may be mistaken though.

  • Jesse

    Well, these angels weren’t images so much as group hallucinations, were they?

Get The Latest California Literary Review Updates Delivered Free To Your Inbox!

Powered by FeedBlitz

Recent Comments