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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ blogging: “The Almost People”

(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: “The Rebel Flesh”)
Holy shit, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? Amy’s been the one who’s been Flesh all along? Here we’ve been wondering about whether it’s the Doctor who’s been duplicated, and never in a million billion gazillion years did it cross my mind that it could be Amy — and, hell, why not Rory, too? — who was copied! Of course! It’s the perfect explanation for how she could be pregnant and not pregnant at the same time, the perfect explanation for how she could be seeing things others don’t see — particularly after everything we learned in the previous episode. It was staring us in the face after last week, and it never occurred to me that Flesh Amy was a solution to the problem. Not once.

Brilliant brilliant mind frak. I love it. I’m hardly every deeply, hugely surprised by fiction, but this might be the biggest shock I’ve ever gotten from Doctor Who. Enormous kudos to Steven Moffat for entertaining me so tremendously.

Though I am, of course, now left with the torture of unraveling it all and figuring out just how deep the rabbit hole goes.

How long has the Doctor suspected Amy wasn’t the real original Amy? “You haven’t been here for a long, long time,” he says — parameters, please! When was she replaced? Do we have to go back and watch the entire season so far to figure out when real Amy was swapped out for Flesh Amy? Or do we have to go back to last season? Could it be as far back as little Amelia waiting for the Doctor to return? Did perhaps something else come to snatch up little Amelia waiting in her garden for the TARDIS?

Wait, it gets worse.

When did the Doctor and the Flesh Doctor switch shoes? It must be after the Flesh Doctor notes that Amy feels more affection for the original Doctor (if he is the original!) than for the copy. (And we know he’s the Flesh Doctor because the other Doctor mentions the incident with the acid melting his shoes, which happened after he was scanned by the Flesh, so the Flesh Doctor could not have a memory of that. Of course, the Flesh Doctor would be smart enough to conclude that the only reason for the real Doctor to have changed his shoes in this environment would have been because of an acid accident. Argh!)

This is a key question, because we need to know: Was it before Amy told what she thought was the Flesh Doctor that she’d seen him die? Perhaps not, because it seems that the whom we think is the Flesh Doctor experiences a sort of psychic connection with all the Flesh, one that whom we think is the real Doctor experiences much less intensely… and they’re in different rooms, so they couldn’t have faked it. Unless it was something they cooked up previously…

Ugh. This is getting way too fleshy-weshy.

But no: Amy says, at this point, “You’re not the Doctor, you can’t ever be. You’re just a copy.” This must be what inspires the Doctors to try the switcheroo.

But wait! When they final reveal the shoe-swap, the Flesh Doctor — if he is the Flesh Doctor! — says “I haven’t been [the real Doctor] all along.” So when did they swap shoes?

Unless… what if they didn’t swap shoes at all! Which would mean they’ve both been Flesh all along.

Oh dear.

Which would mean the man we’ve thought was the real Doctor has been Flesh since some point before the beginning of the previous episode. Which we’d already been thinking about anyway.

(“You might as well call me” — the Flesh Doctor — “Smith! John Smith!” But we have been calling him John Smith for centuries, in his timeline. He has been calling himself John Smith, when convenient, since forever! Are we to take it that he could have been Flesh all along? Way to build in a reboot for the series! The Doctor’s life could get rewound to almost any point, where we would rejoin the real Doctor and his adventures.)

If that’s the case, where is the real Doctor? Is he stranded somewhere? Or is this TARDIS a Flesh TARDIS? Is such a thing even possible? We now know that the Flesh can, under the right conditions, reproduce something as complicated a living, sentient being… and we also now know, thanks to “The Doctor’s Wife,” that that applies to the TARDIS, as well.

In any case, these are “the early days of the Flesh.” Who knows what could be possible as the technogy advances?

Anyway, for now: we definitely need to rewind on Amy. And there’s definitely a baby:

Is Rory the father? Or was she impregnated in some alien lab for nefarious reasons we will discover?


Happy endings?

I don’t think so.

Random thoughts on “The Almost People”:

• Once again, Doctor Who is the stuff of all-new, all-original nightmares:

“One of my old ’gangers, left to rot fully conscious. Can you imagine what kind of hell they’re in?”

Why, yes. Yes, I can. Thank you so much, Steven Moffat and Matthew Graham.

• Is this meant to recall the stuff with Prisoner Zero?

Reminds me of the big eye that kept looking in on the happenings of that story. And hey! How did this lady

lose that eye, anyway? Yet again, there’s one eye that’s been, er, keeping an eye on things…

• So, the Flesh Doctor — the one we definitely know for sure is definitely a copy — experiences flashbacks to other regenerations. Interesting…

• The Doctor — if he is the real Doctor — makes reference to being invited to his own death. So he knows. He knows.

• Poor Rory: his kindness and willingness to help was taken such awful advantage of. It’s nothing compared to the nightmare of discovering that his wife has been a duplicate for a good long while and that the real Amy is being held prisoner somewhere as a baby incubator, but it’s gotta sting.

• We still didn’t learn what the deal was with the acid. Why mine acid? Where did the acid come from in the first place? And why did Jimmy call this place a “factory” that “mines”? A mine mines. A factory makes things. Am I overanalyzing this?

• Shouldn’t Jimmy’s ring have been duplicated by the Flesh, the way that clothing is? I get that it’s a nice gesture for the real Jimmy to hand his wedding ring over to the Flesh Jimmy, but still, this is odd:

• Great quotes:

“Am I crazy, Doctor?” –the Doctor
“Well, you did once plug your brain into the core of an entire planet just to halt its orbit and win a bet…” –the Flesh Doctor

“How long have we got?” –Cleaves
“An hour? Five seconds? Somewhere in between.” –the Doctor

“If you have a better plan, I’m all ears. In fact, if you have a better plan, I’ll take you to a planet where everyone is all ears.” –the Doctor

“Things happen, and there was stuff, and shenanigans.” –the Doctor

See also: ‘Doctor Who’ conundrum: Does the ending of “The Almost People” negate the rest of it?

(next: “A Good Man Goes to War”)

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