Another stand alone episode this week, and this is one was perhaps the greatest in recent history. I’ve waited two years for Neil Gaiman’s maiden entry into the Doctor Who universe and it did not disappoint. Before we get into the spoiler filled review, can I just say to the genius Neil Gaiman, “If you are listening, you better be writing a script for next season, you bloody brilliant bastard!” (That alliteration let’s him know I’m serious) Well alrighty, let’s plunge full tilt into this weeks review.
“I wanted to see the universe, so I spoiled a Timelord and spoiled away. You were the only one mad enough.”
* NEIL MOTHERF*&%#ING GAIMAN - I can’t express in words how much I was looking forward to this. But part of me was a little worried that I was having too high of expectations. Could the episode really live up to the hype I was giving it? Well it did, and it was definitely very Gaiman-like with the patchwork people, and the pure whimsy of all the lines (my favorite being, I think, “Biting’s excellent, it’s like kissing only there’s a winner.” It was decidedly Who though as well. You could tell that it was written not just by a brilliant storyteller, but one who had a true love of Doctor Who. This episode was about the most central relationship of the entire series, the Doctor and his TARDIS, or, rather, the TARDIS and her thief.
* THE TARDIS – Having the soul of the TARDIS being put into a living body is just a really cool idea, but they way it was handled was absolutely brilliant. The great thing about about having a master craftsmen at the helm like Gaiman is that there are so many layers to everything. There is the surface things like brilliant dialogue and interactions, but there are the really cool deeper things too, like the fact that her first word is “goodbye” and her last word is “hello” symbolizing how she sees time differently. Having her spout off things that were about to happen later in the episode was fun too, and made her words about the “water in the forest” all the more ominous. The best bit though was one of the sweetest moments I have ever seen in Doctor Who, “You never take me where I want to go” to which she responds, “Because I take you where you need to go.”
* HOUSE – My favorite House on TV is still the curmudgeony Doctor who eats Vicodin like trail-mix, but this bodiless entity that eats TARDISes like trail-mix is pretty cool too. The way he lured the Doctor, the way he played with Amy and Rory, and the way he kept up living creatures from old Time Lord parts was decidedly wicked (in both the cool and “witch of the west” style.)
* THE EPISODE TITLE – This episode was originally titled “The House with no Name” by Gaiman, which is a fine enough title, but not as mindraping like “The Doctor’s Wife.” That was clearly a Moffat move. I’ve never seen a man delight more in torturing an audience, and how great was it that we were all convinced that this would have to do with River Song? And then, after the fact, I can’t think of a more perfect title, as it truly was about The Doctor’s wife.
* NOT ENOUGH TIME - There was just not enough time or money for this episode, which is sad. Apparently there was a swimming pool scene which was cut, and there was so much that could have been explored more fully but wasn’t. The TARDIS doesn’t seem to like Amy very much (she referred to Amy as the Orange one, but Rory as the “pretty” one). What’s more interesting is that she never seems to arrive on time for Amy, almost intentionally making her mad at the doctor (arriving 14 years late, then another two) but she seems to love River, always arriving in a moment’s notice for her. Does she know somehow that Amy will hurt the Doctor in the future? All of this would be really cool to explore, but sadly never will.
Rory died again? Really? Even if it was just an illusion, come on now! He’s becoming the f&*#ing Kenny of Doctor Who.
* The Only Water in the Forest is a River - These foreboding words of the TARDIS are talking about River’s death, which we have already seen (the library in that original Moffat two-parter was originally referred to as a Forest). The Tardis is looking backwards and forwards, but River’s death will have a great deal to do with the events of this season.
What can I say? I loved it! My hope is that we get a Gaiman episode every year like we did before with Moffat, and when Moffat’s term is done, Gaiman can take over. This was a true classic episode, and will be talked about for seasons and seasons to come.