Sunday, 18 September 2011

The God Complex or Mrs Williams figures it out

Keep your hats on people. It isn't as bad as it looks. I have it on good word straight from the convention floor, that Karen Gillan isn't leaving Doctor Who any time soon. If anything, she and Arthur Darvill are going to be in the 50th anniversary programme and probably at least till the conclusion of the Amy/River/Doctor story. That said, tonight's ep wasn't about how many eps are left for the Williams family, it was about Amy waking up once and for all to the stark truth that her life is with Rory and always has been. Poor man, he truly is the boy who waited. Maybe finally he'll get a bit of respect from his wife?

The God Complex opens in the prototypical endless corridor set with danger behind every door, a breathless young woman who wears the same clothes Amy did when first we met the adult Amy, is trying to survive what is clearly going to get her. Enter the Tardis three and the running and the screaming begins. Except that it's not all just a bit of jogging before dying a grisly death in some Godforsaken hell that's easy and cheap to film in, (though in this case, I'm sure it is and so saves the BBC a lot of money). The story settles down pretty quickly and we find out we're in a place with no way out ( hums Hotel California to himself), and that other guests have first , been made to face their worst fear, then having been sufficiently scared senseless, they fall prey to the thing that wants them to "Praise Him". As stories go, Moffat has yet again gone back to the roots of Doctor Who, The Doctor is an ancient time traveller and yet again he's knee deep in space and time kaka. No one wants to take over the world or the Universe, it's a nice closed door mystery where with luck, enough of the cast will survive to the end credits to find out what fiend is trying to kill them.

The use of doors to hide a multitude of other peoples fears is a fun excuse to trot out the usual suspects that keep us from falling asleep or getting things done. Mum always preferred the other child, you could never be good enough for your father, you're a geek and can't pull and sexy girls mock you, then you add the clowns, the monsters and the call back villains from past eps and Doctors, and you have a  real fun park of pant soiling  nasties designed put a smile on your face, long as it's not your own personal fear that is. I would of liked some slightly more adult fears like telesales people flogging The Jerusalem Post to members of the EDL,  erectile dysfunction, Graham Norton being told he's got Katie Price, Jedward, Chloe Mafia, and the entire cast of The Only Way  is Essex , the horror of being Linda Lusardi post op,  a WI lady seeing her sponge fall during a competition or an Al Queda   having some nutter in the US claim 9/11 was all a government plot and NOT his work.  Room 11, which appears to be the Doctor's room, seemed to have the worst of the lot. What could possibly scare the Doctor,. a being so old he's been to the  Big Bang Burger Bar at least 5 times and knows the floor show personally? Room 11 we find out contains what Matt Smith reacts to with " Of course, who else". What horror is supposed to fill him with dread? Jedward? Catherine Tate? the TARDIS check engine light, or maybe all those years he spent looking like Colin Baker. We'll never know, but it will be fun prying that nugget from Steven Moffat. My personal theory, borne out of later dialogue and previous times when he's had to struggle, is the deep guilt The Doctor feels for the ruined lives, death and dislocation he has caused over the millennia. As they say in Rocky Horror, time is fleeting, madness takes control. Sometimes with dire consequences. Playing God can be prety harrowing , but clearly not as harrowing as the thing would like, because The Doctor is never troubled enough to succumb. Why should he, he's nearly eternal and knows that in the end. there are few perfect choices, just bad and worse ones . No  need to beat himself up too much about it.

Good Bye Amy?
But he does come to a startling conclusion later, startling only if you haven't been paying attention for the last few months. Amy, since she was a wee lass  has been admiring and building up the Doctor as an infallible thing that will never let her down, she's even constructed a fantasy where she has the Doctor all to herself in every way possible. Meanwhile, and since she was Amelia, poor Rory has been straggling along in her wake like a sad puppy. Thing is, since about just before Pandorica, Rory has  come into himself a lot more and asserted himself many times, most recently In Let's kill Hitler. Sadly Amy has till now failed to notice that she was always first in his book. I think the penny really started to fall in The Girl who waited. Amy, young Amy and older Amy  pin their hopes on the Doctor, but it's Rory who really saves her, chooses her. not the Doctor. Tonight in breaking the faith of Amy in him, he sets her free, finally allowing Amy to see the invisible man whose always been there for her. His last act of the play is most telling, never in the history of Who has a companion ever come back long term to the TARDIS after going home like that. On Corrie it's a cab or bus off the cobbles , on Who it's the TARDIS to your house on Earth. Except this time, the Doctor has even thrown in a flash car for Rory, a Chelsea house for Amy and the adventure Amy fears to make, the one where she stays at home and has a life with Rory. You have to wonder if even this mallet over the head will stick, we'll have to see. Amy is stubborn, but even a mule eventually sees sense and moves in the direction  it's asked to.  I certainly hope so, much as one loves Amy and Rory, their time will have to come an end one way or another.

Supporting cast in God Complex were strong as well. David Walliams was brilliant as the cowardly Gibbis  and I enjoyed the asian girl who seemed most on top of the game, Amara Karan playing Rita, would have been a most competent and acceptable companion for the Doctor except for the tiny complication of her death. Rita at one point even seemed a bit too much in control and had me wondering if maybe after all, the Minotaur wasn't the principle villain  but her .  As it is, she proved to be the bridge to the solution. Faith, any faith, faith in a Diety, in one's skills, one's class, one's mentor, all of them were bad, in fact edible. I think I'll risk holding onto my faiths despite the risk of meeting up with a relative of the Nimon. Faith keeps us going when all else fails, it make us do incredible things against all odds and it keeps us sane when evidence would normally indicate we should just give up trying what ever it is we're on about. In my case I'll continue to have faith in Newcastle United, the belief my cat will listen to me, and that the BBC will pay me to write for them.before I get fitted for a free bus pass. It's faith in my friends, the success of other previously hard working but unknown writers who are now overnight sensations, and the knowledge that there is no accounting for the choices of programmes that get commissioned these days that keep us sane and focused. Where was I?  Ah yes supporting cast. They filled out the story nicely and were essential to the ticking along of the story, unlike the frankly silly curse of the Black Spot with it's arghing and pointless posturing. Nothing was wasted in this outing not even the dummies in the dining room. Great throw away lines likes resistance is exhausting, reminded one that you need to laugh at the universe or it will get you. Walliams in particular did well not to draw on any of the Little Britain stuff and showed he can stretch himself past his admittedly large catalogue characters. I hope he's back for more. The monster, a relative of the Nimon was equally good, not your one dimensional beast that roars and destroys, it's a complex being that to has it's needs and wants to be released from it's eternal cycle of trapping and killing.

And it's here that we meet the Doctor of old, RTD would have skirted the issue, but not Moffat, The Doctor , not for the first time or the last in the ep, kills something for it's own good. And presto, there was the big surprise. From the opening scene you're screaming , Castrovalava, The Matrix, it can't be real, well you're right. It's a holodeck right off of Star Trek. Gene Rodenberry would of been proud of the story. The poor beast related to the Nimon is now free and the Universe a little safer for a while.

So why ruin it all and mention James Corden? I suppose armed with a script not improvised by him , he's ok, but I still needed a second to adjust. Maybe they'll have him die a horrible death at the hands of the Cybermen? Perhaps the Doctor will, in a scene that will be cheered in many homes, strand him on a planet where they eat unfunny motivational speakers in trakies. We can always dream.

Have you noticed what the new lead in is now? Celebrity Masterchef, yes a load of bad cooks who were famous for a few minutes for sometimes the most incredibly red tab reasons in the book. The first four have proved mostly useless in the kitchen, except maybe for the man off Holyoaks, he's ok. The rest would be hard pressed to make an impression at a cheap surf and turf restaurant. Which of course they were sent to. Jaunty Road and Greg Wallace could never have been allowed near a proper eatery with this crowd.. One filleted herself, another made the most appalling combinations of flavours and yet another had the pallet of 6 year old who'd never eaten anything outside of KFC and his mam's cooking. Next batch up aren't much better if we're to judge by the low light reel they use to promote next week. And in case you were wondering where it was during the week? Not in it's normal evening slot, but buried deep in  afternoon telly land.  I suppose it's where it belongs, Linda Lusardi who's had so much work on her, she needs to live on the shopping channel to pay for it all is a celebrity because of the  her "body" of work. I googled her old picks, very nice, but seeing her now is like stabbing yourself repeatedly while looking at fit naked women. It just doesn't work. The Blonde woman who sells lingerie, another person who's famous more in the way Ann Summers is than say Lilly Allen, is another hapless murderer of food. I'm not sure who the other alleged celebs are, but I do hope we get a better class of famous people soon or the show is doomed. Some proper actors , a few singers, a politician who's not been retired 20 years or maybe even the food critic at the Gruniad would be nice,  but I somehow doubt it.

If you're looking for a good dose of fun, well written telly, check out on ITV1 the new Doc Martin , just as fresh as ever and no let up in the quality of the stories and scripts. Martin (Martin Clunes) and Louisa (Caroline Catz) are back in Portwenn for another akward slice of life in Cornwall. . It's good , watch it !

Laters all , please don't forget to try Beat Surrender, follow the links on the right.

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