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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ blogging: “Vincent and the Doctor”

(all spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode! this is a love fest only — all complaints and bitching must come from a place of love / previous: “Cold Blood”)
More like this, please.

This is, far and away, the best Matt Smith episode yet, and is among the very best Doctor Whos ever. Maybe only “Blink” and “Midnight” are in the same league.

I hope I’m wrong about this entire season being just a nightmare of the Doctor’s, or a bit of undigested beef troubling him, or whatever. Because I don’t want to see this story get erased — I don’t want to think that this story never happened. I can’t stop sobbing over lots of little things here, but mostly over this big thing:

Vincent listening to Dr. Black gush over his work might well be the most powerful moment ever in the history of Doctor Who… and there have certainly been many powerful moments in the rebooted show. The writing — by Richard Curtis! — is absolutely exquisite, but this scene is just plain marvelous for how Bill Nighy and Tony Curran sell it: it’s so beautifully understated. Black, of course, has no idea Vincent Van Gogh is listening to him (and might say very different things if he did know! would anyone say “He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty” to the tormented person?), and Vincent is too overwhelmed to say anything. But there’s a palpable spiritual energy between these two characters — and between the two actors… and they’re not even looking at each other!

And the moment is so powerful, too, because we’ve been spending time, as quality-time as fictional-time gets, with Vincent and in his world. It’s hard to imagine someone who hasn’t heard of Van Gogh — though perhaps it will inspire young children to seek out his work! — but it’s easy to see how that imaginary art naif would still feel the power of this story. Because it so immerses us in Vincent’s perception. When this episode doesn’t look like an actual Van Gogh canvas:

it still looks like a Van Gogh canvas, it’s so luminous and luscious:

And it all becomes doubly affecting — if, like me, you’re finding yourself falling even more madly in love with the Doctor (and with Matt Smith as the Doctor) with each passing episode — because everything the Doctor does here to help Vincent appears to be some sort of attempt to help himself, as well.

I don’t think it’s an accident that this episode is called “Vincent and the Doctor” (it could have been called, simply, “Vincent”). It didn’t start out this way, but I think that the Doctor begins to see himself in Vincent, and he doesn’t want to think that he — the Doctor — could be traveling along the same path. Meeting Vincent is all very exciting, at first, of course. It’s really nice, in fact, to see the Doctor so excited about meeting someone like Van Gogh:

because he’s usually so blasé about these kinds of things. But soon enough comes another sorta shocking side of the Time Lord we thought we knew so well: Vincent is too intense even for the Doctor, who’s pretty darn intense himself.

Or perhaps this is when it strikes the Doctor that his own intensity is too much like Vincent’s, and that makes him uncomfortable. Certainly, it’s so unlike the Doctor to do what he does to Amy and Vincent, jumping back into the room to startle them just after he has left. The Doctor must be really rattled to do that.

And then, the next morning, when the Doctor tries to get through Vincent’s despair — which was brought on by the Doctor saying casually that he and Amy would be out of Vincent’s hair as soon as possible — Vincent says something that the Doctor himself could well have said on many occasions:

When you leave, and everyone always leaves, I will be left once more with an empty heart and no hope.

The Doctor almost sounds like he’s trying to convince himself of how he responds:

My experience is that there is, you know, surprisingly, always hope.

Doctor Who has never gone anywhere like this with such realism before:

And the Doctor has rarely been so deeply affected:

and so much at a loss about what to do.

By the time it’s time to leave, though, it’s all become something close to a platonic romance between Vincent and the Doctor:

Which is another thing that deeply moved me. Because for me there is a romance to Doctor Who that is about seeing the universe and all of history, and about intellectual exploration. This right here — these events, meeting someone like Vincent Van Gogh and being able to talk to him about his life and his work — would be the most thrilling part of traveling with the Doctor (if we really could do so — *sigh*).

Even the subplot about the Krafayis being lost and alone, not really evil as such, and afraid as it dies… that, too, would surely be much more a part of the Doctor’s day-to-day life than fighting Daleks and so on. I mean, sure, “the bits in between” — as David Tennant’s Doctor characterized the exciting stuff that makes up the stories we usually see — are where the drama and, you know, the stories are to be found. Doctor Who wouldn’t be Doctor Who if it were always just about sitting around and chatting with Plato or whoever (that’s where fan fiction comes in; and this is a really fanfic-y story). But it’s refreshing to, once in a while, get a story that works almost purely on a personal scale, even down to the Doctor having to admit that “sometimes winning is no fun at all.”

I sort of feel like the Doctor’s jokey comment about his own “overconfidence” is a little hint that he’s extra tuned in to himself in a way that maybe he hasn’t really been before. (Which could be a hint, also, that there is another level of self-awareness and introspection at work, such as would be involved if this all were a dream or a nightmare or a construct of the Doctor’s imagination.) Now we know for sure that the Doctor remembers Rory — he calls his name, and Amy responds with a puzzled “Who?” — and we see that he’s being especially solicitous of Amy, taking her to lovely places such as “Arcadia, the Trojan gardens,” and the Musee d’Orsay in 2010 Paris. Is he being “nice” to her in some sort of attempt to make up for Rory’s loss (even if she can’t remember it)? Or is he trying to create pleasant memories for himself, because he suspects that she will soon cease to exist, too, either by getting sucked into the crack in the universe, or by getting rewound by the crack in the universe, or by evaporating into nothingness because she is the crack in the universe (and not just a victim of it; another theory of mine), or that she will simply disappear when he wakes up?

Random thoughts on “Vincent and the Doctor”:

• So many awesome moments:

= “Ministry of Art and Artiness”
= the Doctor and Dr. Black complimenting each other’s bowties
= Vincent thinks Amy is cute
= the Doctor uncomfortable listening to Amy and Vincent flirt
= the “clutter” in Vincent’s house
= sunflowers aren’t Vincent’s favorite
= the Doctor and Amy horrified to see Vincent gesso over an iris painting
= the Doctor serving orange juice in Vincent’s yard
= the TARDIS papered over with advertisements, which then get burned off in the Vortex
= watching the sky swirl into Vincent’s “Starry Night” perception

• Why is the Krafayis making me think about a monster that you can only see out of the corner of your eye? Is there such a thing? The Krafayis is a bit Jabberwocky-esque, a bit Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal-esque, even a bit Predator-esque. What else esque am I forgetting?

• Oh my goodness: there is a lost Van Gogh sketch of a Krafayis cluttering up the TARDIS:

• “He seemed to rather enjoy it,” Vincent says about the Krafayis’s reaction to being sonicked. Well, surely there are certain settings on the sonic screwdriver that would be quite, er, pleasurable when, um, used in just the right way…

• I love the Thing That Sees What’s Really There:

even if the operator cannot. It’s my favorite Doctor Who gadget ever, I think, even better than the timey whimey detector that goes ding when there’s stuff. And I want to know the story behind this:

I though you were just a useless gadget, I thought you were just an embarrassing present from a dull godmother with two heads and bad breath twice.

Was Zaphod Beeblebrox the Doctor’s godmother?

I bet the Thing That Sees What’s Really There shows up again…

• Monsters in mirror may be closer than they appear:

• On the other hand, an invisible monster is very easy on an FX budget.

• Magpie spotting:

• No crack in the universe in this episode, unless this counts:

That big tree branch in the foreground is a bit crack-in-the-universe-ish, don’tcha think?

• Great quotes:

“It seems to me there’s so much more to the world than the average eye is allowed to see. I believe that if you look hard, there are more wonders in this universe than you could ever have dreamed of.” –Vincent

“You do have a plan, don’t you?” –Amy
“No. It’s a thing. It’s like a plan, but with more greatness gray bits.” –the Doctor

“I remember watching Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel. Wow, what a whinger. I kept saying to him, ‘Look, if you’re scared of heights, you shouldn’t have taken the job.’” –the Doctor

“Is this how time normally passes: really slowly, in the right order?” –the Doctor

“If there’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s an unpunctual alien attack.” –the Doctor

“One simple instruction. Don’t follow me under any circumstances.” –the Doctor, to Amy
“I won’t.” –Amy
“Will you follow him?” –Vincent, to Amy, after the Doctor’s gone
“Of course.” –Amy
“I love you.” –Vincent

(next: Episode 11: “The Lodger”)


MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb
  • Vincent thinks Amy is cute.

    Well, Amy is cute.

    Plus I love the scene where Amy tries to inspire one of Van Gogh’s most famous works with a subtlety that makes poor Rose Dawson’s famous pose seem shamefully underplayed…

  • RyanT

    I went from having low expectations about this episode to absolutely falling in love with it after I had actually seen it. And it shocked me too, how this may be my favorite episode this season has offered to date! Props to Tony Curran especially for delivering a powerful and singular performance as Van Gogh. It’s as if he was born to play this role at this time. Just perfect.

    If you haven’t seen this, you must check out this photo spam of Van Gogh’s works that were featured in this episode: http://infinitejoys.livejournal.com/241902.html

  • Martin

    Bill Nighy, and a reference to two headed aliens? After using Stephen Moore as the old Silurian, there’s something of a Hitchhiker’s love fest going on.
    Even if it’s not intentional.

    Although I think the Stephen Moore one has to be.

    An absolutely brilliant episode. And I love it even more for two little things.
    One, no reference to ear chopping. I think it would’ve been clichéd to have the Krayfais be the thing that cut his ear off (and it would’ve cheapened the real reason why he did it).
    Two, I think it’s one of the few TV shows that deals with a side of depression/bi-polar disorder that I don’t think many people realise; just because you make them smile, just because you give them one good day, it doesn’t fix the larger problem, it just gives them one good day.

    Oh, and an interesting bit of trivia, A while back for UK comedy fundraiser Comic Relief, Richard Curtis was an executive producer and the writer was a young Steven Moffat.
    Wibbley Wobbley, Timey Wimey stuff or what?
    I can’t find the video of it but it had a pretty decent cast including Doctor’s 9-13 (trust me, it makes sense) Rowan Atkinson, Richard E. Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Joanna Lumley.

  • Martin

    Oh and my absolute favourite quote from the ep.

    The way I see it, life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.

    I’ve never heard that explained so beautifully.

  • MaryAnn

    I can’t find the video of it but it had a pretty decent cast including Doctor’s 9-13 (trust me, it makes sense) Rowan Atkinson, Richard E. Grant, Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant and Joanna Lumley.

    That’s “The Curse of Fatal Death.” And it is indeed hilarious. I featured it a while back, but it seems to have been removed from YouTube. Too bad.

    One, no reference to ear chopping. I think it would’ve been clichéd to have the Krayfais be the thing that cut his ear off (and it would’ve cheapened the real reason why he did it).

    Oh, god, that would have been awful…

  • Adam

    One of your great quotes is actually greater than you quoted…

    “No. It’s a thing. It’s like a plan, but with more greatness.” –the Doctor

    – I’m sure was

    No. It’s a thing. It’s like a plan, but with more grey bits.” –the Doctor – and I love the Doctor’s grey bits.

  • Another Hitchhiker’s bit: “Prisoner Zero will vacate the human residence”, sounding exactly like the Vogons, and using human broadcasting equipment, like the Vogons did in the book.

    This episode had many virtues, but especially the “good bits and bad bits” speech – as a chronic depressive, I felt understood. Eyes pricking just typing that.

  • Matthew

    That’s “The Curse of Fatal Death.” And it is indeed hilarious. I featured it a while back, but it seems to have been removed from YouTube. Too bad.

    There are still other version on YouTube, this seems to be an official one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Do-wDPoC6GM

  • christine
  • The crack could be below Amy’s name on the vase of sunflowers at the end. What do you think?

  • Magess

    I wanted to cry more with Vincent in this episode than for Rory in the last one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that actor before, but I’m sold.

    There was more of a romance between him and the Doctor than… christ, I can’t even remember. Certainly more than anything Amy’s got going on. I guess it’d have to be Rose.

  • Pat Mustard

    Off-topic, but this is the latest Who-related article, so..

    Seen this?

    The BBC has announced that Torchwood is to return for a fourth series.

    The sci-fi drama, which is a spinoff to Doctor Who, will air a ten-part run following an international partnership between the corporation and US premium network Starz Entertainment.

    Russell T Davies will continue to write the series. It has also been revealed that plots are to go beyond Cardiff to locations worldwide.

    Digital Spy, Monday, June 7 2010

    Not too sure about the ‘locations worldwide’ bit; Starz’s president also goes on to mention ‘the new concept for Torchwood’..

    It also doesn’t explicitly say that any of the same characters will be returning, but hi ho, look on the lovefest side – at least it’s out of limbo.

  • Dylan

    It also doesn’t explicitly say that any of the same characters will be returning, but hi ho, look on the lovefest side – at least it’s out of limbo.

    The official BBC announcement says that John Barrowman and Eve Myles are definitely back as Jack and Gwen.

  • Matthew

    Digital Spy is generally the worst news source for anything, they just fillet other people’s new reports, often with some sensationalist spin.

    Effectively, this is the same people who made the series up to this point, now working for BBC Worldwide productions in the US, with Starz coming onboard, which means a much bigger budget. It’ll be something like a 10 part version of Children of Earth but with a more global perspective (and probably a bit less intense since it’ll be weekly rather than daily and twice as long). Locations will be in the UK and the US and elsewhere.

    John Barrowman and Eve Miles will be returning as series regulars and will be joined by two new regulars and a number of recurring characters. It’ll pick up at some point after Children of Earth but be designed as a starting point for new viewers.

    There’s a copy of the full press release here and an interesting interview here.

  • RogerBW

    Best for a long time, I thought, and much closer to a Classic Who episode than to most of the NuWho we’ve been seeing this series. The monster is a bit “monster happens here” but to me this shows just what a huge difference it makes to have a real scriptwriter instead of someone who’s only done TV sci-fi and sitcoms.

  • holly

    What a wonderful review. The episode is my favourite ever and I cried like a baby watching it. It was full of heart.

  • Pat Mustard

    Digital Spy is generally the worst news source for anything, they just fillet other people’s new reports, often with some sensationalist spin

    Whoa back! No need to have a go at my browsing habits; just the first place I saw the news, that’s all..(joke)!

    Nothing wrong with a spot of sensationalism every now & then, anyway.

    The interview doesn’t reassure much – it gives the impression there’ll be a strong US slant to it (characters and feel); to my mind there’s enough US Sci-Fi shows (good and bad) around at the moment. The slightly quirky ‘Britishness’ of the Whouniverse, it’s provincialism – if it’s still possible to use that word in a positive context – is one of the defining characteristics for me. I fear this may be lost or diluted in this incarnation (Doctor Who Movie, anyone?).

    Also the distancing from & slight distrust of the regular military which all the series/characters display may well go out the window – I bet we won’t have a dick-swinging US General to boo & hiss at in Series 4 (the one in C of E was a particularly fine example of the type!).

    Oh, yes – Vincent & the Doctor:

    Best. TV. This. Year.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    Torchwood doesn’t strike me as being as specifically British as Doctor Who – it does have an American lead, after all, and it’s got quite a transatlantic range of influences – yes Quatermass, but also The X-Files. So it could well survive the expansion.

    Why is the Krafayis making me think about a monster that you can only see out of the corner of your eye? Is there such a thing? The Krafayis is a bit Jabberwocky-esque, a bit Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal-esque, even a bit Predator-esque. What else esque am I forgetting?

    Not sure whether this question is rhetorical or not, so apologies if I’m being patronising; the extra door in Amelia Pond’s house?

    Most people have already beaten me to the obvious reaction – namely, crying and crying and crying – so I’ll content myself with two minor observations: I love the Doctor’s line about time passing “slowly, and in the right order”, and watching the start of the episode I realised that one great thing about the crack in time is that it allows you to have an end-of-story reset button without cheating the audience.

  • Matthew

    Whoa back! No need to have a go at my browsing habits; just the first place I saw the news, that’s all..(joke)!

    I wasn’t meaning to have a go, Digital Spy just wind me up, that’s all. I’m glad you’re seeing some humour, anyway.

    Another source with some information beyond the press release:

    http://weblogs.variety.com/on_the_air/2010/06/torchwood.html

  • Ricki

    I totally agree with you about the greatness of the episode- it was a wonderful, poignant, memorable, fantastic, brilliant 43 minutes. I was impressed by all of the acting (particularly the man who played Van Gogh), the writing, and the story. But to say:

    This is, far and away, the best Matt Smith episode yet, and is among the very best Doctor Whos ever. Maybe only “Blink” and “Midnight” are in the same league.

    seems a little bit much to me. Sure, it was a GREAT episode, but I don’t think it was the strongest of the season. “The Eleventh Hour,” “The Time of Angels,” and “Flesh and Stone,” in my opinion are superior. And to call “Blink” and “Midnight” the best DW episodes?? I absolutely love Blink, and agree with your assessment on that episode, but Midnight?? I enjoyed Midnight and thought that it was well-written and acted, but I definitely wouldn’t put in in the category of “Best DW Ever.” This episode, TEH, Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, Girl in the Fireplace, are just a few off the top of my head that trump Midnight. Just my opinion, of course. I think I will go read your Midnight review to find out exactly what you found that made it so amazing.

  • MaryAnn

    Torchwood doesn’t strike me as being as specifically British as Doctor Who – it does have an American lead, after all,

    John Barrowman is Scottish, actually. (The American accent is a result of attending high school in Chicago.) And we’re talking about *Torchwood* here, so please comment over there.

    No. It’s a thing. It’s like a plan, but with more grey bits.” –the Doctor – and I love the Doctor’s grey bits.

    Yes, I think you’re right about that…

    Not sure whether this question is rhetorical or not, so apologies if I’m being patronising; the extra door in Amelia Pond’s house?

    No, I was specifically thinking about a monster, and not something from DW. But perhaps I’ve invented that completely in my head influenced by the door in Amy’s house.

  • VT

    I loved this episode. The crankypantsness that people on some Other Sites are displaying about it baffles me, especially accusations of the Doctor taking Vincent to the d’Orsay to be emotionally manipulative. For my money, it was one of the most genuinely affecting scenes I’ve seen in Dr Who, tied with the Remembrance Day coda of Family of Blood. I think anyone who loves an artist, like Van Gogh, who was un- or underappreciated in his or her lifetime has fantasized about how amazing it would be if you could somehow let them know that they would someday be appreciated and that their work would live on for centuries. Richard Curtis (and the Doctor of course) clearly gets this.

    Anyway, nice review, MaryAnn.

  • I’m curious about why you’re so convinced that this is all a dream somehow in the Doctor’s head? Have you heard rumours to that effect, or is it a personal theory?

    (Personally, I am not convinced, especially since we have already had an episode that was entirely spent in someone’s head, and it would be weird if it was a dream in a dream in a dream. It’s a possibility, but I don’t think Moffat would pull out the old Dallas ending. At least I hope not, because it would cheapen everything about this season.)

    This episode was absolutely beautiful and magical, and I am so glad that the scene in the museum happened. There was a similar scene filmed for The Unicorn and the Wasp where the Doctor and Donna visit Agatha Christie in a nursing home, and I think it was a shame that they cut it, because I think Agatha would have been thrilled to know that her stories lived on. Also, they cut out the joke about The Man in the Brown Suit, which would have made the episode for me.

  • MaryAnn

    I’m curious about why you’re so convinced that this is all a dream somehow in the Doctor’s head? Have you heard rumours to that effect, or is it a personal theory?

    It’s just my theory, and I’ve been explaining all through my blogging for this season where it’s coming from. If you haven’t read my comments on previous episodes, that’s probably a good place to start.

    But I’m not *convinced* this is all a dream: I think it’s just one possibility. I won’t be at all surprised if I’m not right about that. I think it may be more likely that Amy is going to get rewound to being a little kid, and her adventures with the Doctor will start all over (from her perspective). That is, he’ll have memories of this year, but she won’t. And she won’t end up with Rory again, either.

  • Lisa

    Corner of your eye in a DW context, the little girl in Human Nature/ Family of Blood was imprisoned in all mirrors so that she would be the movement behind you that you can see out of the corner of your eye. Or Something.

    Medusa is Clash of the Titans, otherwise.

  • Dave

    “No. It’s a thing. It’s like a plan, but with more greatness.”

    I’m pretty sure that’s “more greyness/grayness”

    Fantastic and moving episode

  • Alli

    I wanted to cry more with Vincent in this episode than for Rory in the last one.

    Agreed. I didn’t cry for Rory for a couple reasons. One, I never felt there was much chemistry between Rory and Amy (though I felt better about their relationship after “Amy’s Choice”). Two, I really think he’ll be back in the final episode. How can you cry for someone when the crack may be a reset button? With Vincent though, you can see how much this means to him, and then to find out that it still didn’t help, just ripped my gut out.

    I’m glad Amy was back to her awesome ways this episode after disappointing me last episode. I really think it was Chibnall who dropped the ball that episode.

  • I_Sell_Books

    I love all the things you love, except I found a lot of this ep, erm, well, it seemed like The Funny Episode, if you know what I mean? I guess I’m going to have to rewatch it.

    Totally agree with you on Bill NIghy (!) and the invisible cord between him and Tony Curran. And who ever realized TC looked so much like Van Gogh? Also, how is it really pronounced – GO or GOFF? Dutch folks, help a sistah out!

  • It’s actually pronounced “Fan Hoch”, I believe.

  • Liked this. A lot.

    There was an ear cutting allusion of a sort (albeit very subtle) when Vincent mentioned he could hear the colors and implied he had Synesthesia. I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone mention this, because knowing this tells you that view of the night sky wasn’t artistic license but what VVG actually perceived.

    I also can’t believe people on various parts of the internet think the Doctor was trying to change history, when he knew VVG was a fixed point, and gave the pile speech at the end. He was doing what he could for a great man, and not going off the res to make things worse like the Tenth.

    I think Rory stays dead. That chick from Love & Monsters didn’t get fixed and the time displaced love interest from Blink got screwed, etc. Bad things happen, this show isn’t afraid to teach the kids that. (Also RTD’s big reset button is gone! Hopefully)

  • Dave

    I also liked the fact that it was part of the over-reaching arc of the season without slapping us in the face with another crack.

    Not only did Vincent in the museum choke me up but his talking to Amy about how he could feel her loss when even she couldn’t and then he asks her why she’s crying really got to me as much as it seemed to disturb the Doctor. It also means that the memory of Rory is in her head somewhere.

  • Robert

    And who ever realized TC looked so much like Van Gogh? Also, how is it really pronounced – GO or GOFF? Dutch folks, help a sistah out!

    Dutchie here – Van Gogh is pronounced with both the G and the GH as a guttural ‘G’, a bit like the one in the Yiddish ‘l’chaim’ or in ‘Johann Sebastian Bach’.

    Because this G is very hard to do for native English speakers, Van Gogh is usually pronounced as ‘Fan Go’. Nye gets it almost right on the last ‘G-sound’, Matt Smith’s sounds more like a ‘Fan Goth’.

    It probably wasn’t feasible to have them pronounce it right, as it would take a lot of pronunciation coaching. Most English-speaking immigrants can’t get it right, not even after years of speaking the Dutch language.

    Also: the English audience would probably laugh their ass off at the Doctor making such strange noises while he’s trying to be so very, very serious.

  • Barb

    Tony Curran (and Bill Nighy’s brief moment) owned this episode big time and the last ten minutes of the show were the best of the series since the restart years ago. No mention about the annoying crack and Amy was bearable for a change (still cannot stand the character though). In the end, this point in history is fixed and cannot be altered and Vincent still dies the tortured soul that he was (but at least he had the chance to see just how great he becomes in the future).

  • MaryAnn

    There was an ear cutting allusion of a sort (albeit very subtle) when Vincent mentioned he could hear the colors and implied he had Synesthesia. I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone mention this, because knowing this tells you that view of the night sky wasn’t artistic license but what VVG actually perceived.

    That seemed so obvious to me that it didn’t seem worth mentioning. Though there did have to be more going on with Vincent, since he could see the Krafayis and that was *actually* there.

  • Lisa

    Am I crazy – I thought I remembered seeing Rory dressed as a soldier in one of the trailers – that hasn’t happened yet, has it?

  • Why is the Krafayis making me think about a monster that you can only see out of the corner of your eye?

    There was such a creature in an old Anthony Boucher short story called “They Bite” but that was set in the American Southwest so I doubt that’s the thing you’re thinking about.

    And yes, the Gorgon’s another possibility but wouldn’t just seeing it out of the corner of the eye turn you to stone as much as if you saw it head-on?

  • I think Rory has to be coming back in some way – they made such an obvious point of putting the engagement ring on the Tardis with big arrows pointing at it, and it didn’t disappear when Amy forgot. That’s a plot point.

  • Pat Mustard

    I’m curious about why you’re so convinced that this is all a dream somehow in the Doctor’s head? Have you heard rumours to that effect, or is it a personal theory

    Just a small point against this theory – we know the new Tardis set is the one they’re going to stick with; so if the Doctor’s unconscious & all this is in his head, how does he know what new format/style the Tardis has regenerated itself into?

    I guess it could be via the telepathic connection he has with it, but still..

  • Pat Mustard

    ..especially since we have already had an episode that was entirely spent in someone’s head, and it would be weird if it was a dream in a dream in a dream.

    Perhaps Moffat’s been reading a bit of Sandman, in preperation for the Great God Gaiman’s episode next year, and got a few ideas..

  • Matthew

    Dutchie here – Van Gogh is pronounced with both the G and the GH as a guttural ‘G’, a bit like the one in the Yiddish ‘l’chaim’ or in ‘Johann Sebastian Bach’.

    Because this G is very hard to do for native English speakers, Van Gogh is usually pronounced as ‘Fan Go’. Nye gets it almost right on the last ‘G-sound’, Matt Smith’s sounds more like a ‘Fan Goth’.

    The “Go” version tends to be in the US, the UK mispronunciation is closest to “Goff”, I think, due to nearness in spelling to such surnames as Clough (as in Brian, the football manager).

    There’s a very amusing segment of a recent QI on the subject, which includes a Dutch person correctly pronouncing the name:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLTQv8RH1TE

    On the whole though, you have to remember that the TARDIS is translating, so the pronunciations come out in English. Probably, they are all actually speaking French which is why Vincent sound Scottish and thinks that Amy is Dutch. It also probably explains why Vincent asks her if she is from Holland, rather than The Netherlands.

  • Lisa

    And yes, the Gorgon’s another possibility but wouldn’t just seeing it out of the corner of the eye turn you to stone as much as if you saw it head-on?

    yeah I think it was just the dr’s gizmo device that made me think of it – him looking in it reminded me of Perseus looking at the reflection of the Medusa in his shield

  • I_Sell_Books

    OT @ Pat Mustard: Have you been delivering more than comments and dairy products?

  • BBQ Platypus

    I though you were just a useless gadget, I thought you were just an embarrassing present from a dull godmother with two heads and bad breath twice.

    I loved this quote – it reminded me of the thing your aunt gave you that you don’t know what it is from the H2G2 text adventure.

    Anyway, what I liked most about this episode is that it was actually ABOUT Van Gogh (unlike, say, the Shakespeare Code, which had too many other things going on to really focus on Shakespeare – not that it wasn’t still a decent episode).

  • Ricki

    Just wanted to put this out there- in a Q&A session which I just watched, Karen Gillan is asked to reveal any teaser/tidbit she can about the final three episodes and she says

    “Time loops.”

    This seems to support the idea of the crack as a reset button of some sort-maybe? To be honest, I don’t know what to make of this statement, though it does not put me in mind of a dream scenario.

  • Pat Mustard

    OT @ Pat Mustard: Have you been delivering more than comments and dairy products?

    No, but I did forget me ‘ficking trousers this morning..

    Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to ride Mrs O’Reilly.

  • Mimi

    OK, this episode was fine but somewhat disappointing for me, and I think it was because, while not technically spoiled, I was told in person and via ff comments that IT WAS SO GREAT IT WOULD MAKE ME CRY. Somehow that ruined the actual effect. So that’s it! Radio silence! There will be no reading of DW comments henceforth! Life is too unkind to those of us who have to wait for the iTunes downloads here in the US… Enjoy, all ye who are 2+ weeks ahead of me…

  • It’s not hard to pronounce Van Gogh properly.  That’s for you, Robert.  Even without twenty years of speaking that abortion of German and Navahoe you call a language.

  • Jeanie

    This will always be one of the great Doctor Who episodes.  It is to Eleven what The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances and Blink were to Nine and Ten respectively.  

    It makes me happy to think that during some of his spare time off, The Doctor went to visit Nick Drake and John Keats and treated both of them to similar glimpses into the future….

  • Doctor Who super )

  • Radek Piskorski

    You must have watched a different episode than me. This is the opposite of understated. I felt like I was being whacked with a hammer on the head.

  • Laurie Eno

    I am new to the fandom. Just discovering Matt Smith’s Doctor (a revelation!) Saw this episode last night and was blown away. Shattered by the truth and beauty of it. I will never again have the experience of seeing it again for the first time, not ohhhh it was WONDERFUL.

    You have deftly summed up here why it is magnificent. Thank you.

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