(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 Curse of the Black Spot”)
Okay, so the Doctor’s wife is not — at least here — River Song. And not some being that has only just now popped into existence the way the Doctor’s daughter did. The Doctor’s wife is his TARDIS. We knew he was in love with his car. And I knew the TARDIS has been in love with him all along.
So it’s cool that Doctor Who finally explored this. But did it have to be so wonderful? Did it have to be so heartbreaky? Thank you. Thank you so much, Neil Gaiman. Like I need this achy void in my gut on a Sunday afternoon. Like I need to be all weepy over a police box and a crazy lonely Time Lord. Fantastic. I’ve got problems of my own, you know. But noooo: You couldn’t just leave it all alone as a silly kiddie show about a madman with a box. You had to give us something that changes everything we’ve thought about the show. Thank you. Like I needed more reasons to obsess over Doctor Who.
Okay, not everything’s changed. As I said, I, too — like Gaiman, obviously — have felt all along, since my early days as a fan who can’t stop thinking about this stupid show from a million different angles, that the TARDIS is alive, in some way. That it has some sort of volition and some kind of emotions. That it loves the Doctor, as much as a multidimensional semisentient time and space machine can be said to love anything. That it takes care of the Doctor by getting him into the trouble he loves so much.
You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go. –the Doctor
No, but I always took you where you needed to go. –Idris
I so called that!
You stole me and I stole you… What makes you think I would ever give you back?
I wanted to see the universe, so I stole a Time Lord and I ran away. And you were the only one mad enough.
Never in a million years had it crossed my mind that the TARDIS wanted to escape! Never had I imagined that it wanted adventure! All of a sudden, the entirety of Doctor Who — 50 years of TV show and 700 years of the Doctor’s travels — needs to be considered from the TARDIS’s perspective!
And perhaps the Doctor is going to be forced to reconsider his own life, too, yes?
This was all just heartrending torture to watch, right up to this:
I just wanted to say hello. Hello, Doctor. It’s so very very nice to meet you.
Because this wasn’t pitiful enough, apparently:
For just the briefest of moments, the Doctor was hopeful for an end to his loneliness — “Somewhere close by there are lots and lots of Time Lords” — and then that hope is ripped away, and his aloneness is only amplied. Gah!
The Doctor has always been pretty much a madman, but he does get pushed beyond a bend in this episode. Look at the look on his face when he’s decided to built a console room from scraps and fly away:
And then just a resigned, forlorn bittersweetness, by the end:
Stupid Doctor Who…
Random thoughts on “The Doctor’s Wife”:
• And there’s the other dark, insane-making stuff here, between Rory and Amy in the House-occupied TARDIS:
Two thousand years I waited for you and you did it to me again!
Here’s the question: Does the behavior of Rory in these bits represent genuine bitterness on Rory’s part, or merely Amy’s guilt over how she imagines he feels? Or both?
• The junkyard at the end of the universe? Nice to nod to both Doctor Who’s own beginnings, with that very first episode set partly in the junkyard in Totter’s Lane, and the influence of Douglas Adams on the show, certainly in the spirit of the new series.
• In just those few lines about the Time Lord called the Corsair, we get a lot of game-changey stuff, too. Like the fact that Time Lords can change sex when they regenerate: fans have always speculated about that, but now it’s canon. More implicit in the stuff about the Corsair, however, is that he is just one of many renegades. We’ve never had a lot of confirmation that there were others like the Doctor himself. There’s been the Master and the Rani, of course, but now we know there are other “good ones” — by which we can presume, I think, that “good ones” means not just “not evil” like the Master and the Rani but “not stuffy and hidebound” like the stay-at-home Gallifreyans. We’d only previously met Drax and Romana… though even she did not start out as anything other than one of the stuffy, hidebound ones.
• They burned up the swimming pool. No more swimming pool jokes. Unless the Doctor adds another swimming pool. He could do that.
• “Pull to Open”? But that refers to the little door behind which is the phone, doesn’t it?
• Is it wrong or weird that when Idris mentioned an old console room, I was expecting to see this:
or maybe this:
but never this?
• “The only water in the forest is the river.” Surely this refers to River Song in the “forest of the dead,” the dead Library, right?
• Great quotes:
“Oh, it’s the warning lights! I’m getting rid of those, they never stop.” –the Doctor
“Welcome, strangers. Lovely. Sorry about the mad person.” –Uncle
“Biting’s excellent. It’s like kissing. Only there’s a winner.” –Idris
“You want to be forgiven.” –Amy
“Don’t we all?” –the Doctor
“He’ll be fine. He’s a Time Lord.” –Rory
“It’s just what they’re called. It doesn’t mean he actually knows what he’s doing.” –Amy
“You gave me hope and then you took it away. That’s enough to make anyone dangerous. God knows what it will do to me.” –the Doctor (though that God makes me cringe: the Doctor wouldn’t say that, I don’t think)
“Are all people like this? So much bigger on the inside?” –Idris
“I really don’t know what to do… That’s a new feeling.” –the Doctor
“Oh, my beautiful idiot. You have what you’ve always had. You’ve got me. –Idris
“Another Ood I failed to save.” –the Doctor
“Fear me: I’ve killed hundreds of Time Lords.” –House
“Fear me: I’ve killed all of them.” –the Doctor
“She’s a woman, and she’s the TARDIS.” –the Doctor
“Did you wish really hard?” –Amy
“Shut up, not like that.” –the Doctor
(next: “The Rebel Flesh”)