Monday, October 3, 2011

Review: The God Complex

And finally here we are, The God Complex! Been looking forward to this episode for weeks. And let me just say right now, right here, before we go any further... it did not disappoint. It honestly didn't. Now, if by now you still haven't seen then you have two options: go watch it RIGHT NOW, or just leave and read another post that has nothing to do with how brilliant this episode of Doctor Who was. "Are you sitting comfortably? Then let us begin." (if you know what episode that's from then leave it in the comments and you'll win a virtual high five from me)

"Let's go to Raven Scala he says, the people are 600 feet tall you have to talk to them in hot air balloons and the tourist information center is made of one of their hats, he says." Oh, Amy, how you make me laugh. The fact that the Doctor promises his companions one destination and it seems they rarely end up where they intend to never gets old. Never. I'm not sure it ever will. Even if it's likely due to the fact that the Tardis is making up her own mind where it is going to take them. (Think back to "The Doctor's Wife")

Right from the start this episode had an essence of "The Shining" in terms of throwing a group of people into a super creeptastic 80s hotel. With "things in the rooms". Except "The Shining" wasn't all that scary. Not so with this episode. Between the clown, gorilla and the crazy cut scenes when people start to "praise him" this episode is seriously on drugs.

But I loved every second of it! And the thing was, the minotaur wasn't even the scariest part. The scariest part was definitely the rooms and the natural curiousity that comes with wanting to look inside of something even though you know that by doing so could very well get you killed. Every time one of them went near one of the doors I wanted to scream at the tv for them to get away, but there was still that little voice in the back of my head going "what's in there? what's inside? Just a quick peek can't hurt...".

Also, I think that whatever hotel they used to film was perfect. Absolutely perfect. Because everything is so similar that it's easy to imagine that if you wandered off you'd end up turned around and lost and never get back to where you started unless you ended up really really lucky.

I love the fact that throughout the episode the Doctor falls back on his old standby when people are scared. He tells Howie that "it's just a CIA thing" and to hold on to that thought. And he tells Rita to hold on to her faith. And Amy naturally clings to her belief that the Doctor will save him the way he always has and always will. The fact that it is those very beliefs that are getting them killed is really quite frightening. Especially because I think that anytime anyone is confronted with something unknown and scary that is usually the first thing they do; people pray or fall back on their rituals or superstitions for some kind of comfort. Even more clever is the fact that Rory sees a way out because he doesn't believe in a god, have any superstitions and doesn't have the same faith in the Doctor that Amy does. I think that this is the absolutely most clever thing the Doctor has ever had to fight because how do you fight someone's believes? The answer is, you can't. Think about it; the Doctor was able to cut off the food supply by sacrificing Amy's faith in him by telling her that he really is just a mad man with a box. If he had figured it out earlier, do you really think he would have been able to do the same thing with Rita or Howie? I think the answer is no because the instinct to fall back on your faith when your frightened is so strong it would have been nearly impossible to overcome. And the only reason he was able to do so with Amy was because they were in her room where her fear was staring them both in the face. Little Amelia Pond, waiting for the Doctor to save her. And there he is telling her he can't. Not this time. To top it off he even calls her "Amy Williams". Even I was a little shaken by that scene. Ok, a lot shaken. Because the Doctor always saves people. Maybe not everyone, but sometimes "everybody lives" and it was hard to accept that this time he couldn't do anything about it. If you think about it, though, by killing Amy's faith in him he's actually saving the 'minotaur' because the minotaur was so old it just wanted to be allowed to die. It was kept alive long after its time and only the Doctor could save it.

And yet by sacrificing Amy's faith in him he actually is able to save everyone. At least, mostly everyone. The fact that Gibbis the slimey, cowardly, annoying alien survives while everyone else doesn't. I guess that's just part of showing that sometimes the universe isn't fair. In fact most times it isn't. He got a nice ride back home in the Tardis while Rita, Howie and Joe were killed and their families will never know what happened to them. That seems really lousy.

The most heart-wrenching part of the episode for me was when the Doctor drops Amy and Rory off at their house. At first I was mad at him because his companions have always known what they were getting themselves into. But how can you say no to him? How can you say no to all of time and space? "That's why grownups were invented."

However, as the Tardis vanishes and Rory comes back out with glasses and a bottle of wine Amy realizes just what the Doctor was doing. "He's saving us." Yes, he absolutely is. Because that's what he does. The Doctor saves people whenever he can and sometimes tries to re-write time to do so. Of course, Amy and Rory's lives are already inexorably addled by the Doctor that there really isn't much he can do. Between Rory's multiple deaths, Amy's death, the child they had but never had the chance to raise and the fact that Rory has nearly 2,000 years of history and experience in his head their lives are changed forever. No getting around that fact.

But it still tore my heart out when he left. Because the Tardis is empty. Again. And as brave as the Doctor is I sometimes think he's only that brave because he has friends to be brave for.

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