“Say, ‘Whee!'” – the Doctor
I’ll skip the usual synopsis/analysis section and cut right to the bone: this was another fine episode of Doctor Who. With only two episodes of Smith’s reign and Moffat’s stewardship, I could hardly be happier with their start.
This episode we get to see Smith in all his gangly, oddly walking Time Lord glory and he really does fit perfectly. I’m convinced now that he’s not aping Troughton and Davison, but that’s he’s settled on a persona that bears resemblances to them without being the copies. It’s perhaps the best example of “same man, different face” that we’ve yet seen in the actors who play the Doctor.
For the first time ever, the Doctor finds himself in a truly unwinnable situation: He has three choices and in all of them innocents will be grievously harmed or killed. Gone is Russell T. Davies “the Doctor is an absolute moral compass” – or perhaps it’s still there, but we realize even with a compass, sometimes life’s decisions are about taking the least of bad situations.
In the previous episode, the only thing that bothered me about the story was the fact that there were so many coma victims in such a small town, in this episode there were several points that bothered me:
- Why did the smilers have rotating heads? Each smiler has three expressions, “Happy”, “Sad” and “Angry”, yet only two sides to their face – front and back. When ‘happy’ turned to ‘sad’ and then ‘sad’ turned to ‘angry’, the ‘happy’ face must somehow have been transmogrified to the ‘angry’ one. If the face could be changed, why bother rotating?
- If the space whale refused to eat children over the course of their 200+ year flight, why did they continue to feed the children to them? Wishful thinking?
- Having had the children not eaten, what do they do with them? Did they just collect the “zeroes” down in the tower?
- When the children were inside the whale, as the Doctor and Amy were, how could the whale tell that it had children in its mouth rather than adults?
- What was the point of having the recorded statement for the “protest/forget” voting booths? If you protested, you were killed, if you chose to forget, surely they would never let you see the recorded statement, otherwise, you could just tell yourself what you were about to forget.
All that said, all is forgiven for this story, a truly unique Doctor Who story.
Next week, the Daleks – I can already tell that I don’t like the idea of a phone-line to the TARDIS.