December 6, 2023

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “The Doctor’s Wife”

The Doctor has to deal with the second oldest character in the history of the series.

So, let’s see.  Got a recognizable actor playing a pirate last time.  Any other famous faces on display here?  None I can see.  Wait, who wrote this episode?  And who is the voice of that asteroid?

To answer those last two questions in order:  Neil Gaiman wrote this episode and Michael Sheen voiced an asteroid.  If you’re wondering how an asteroid can talk…well, technically I don’t suppose we find out, but here we are.

So, if an asteroid can talk, it must have a reason to do so.  And there is.  See, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory are flying through space when something knocks on the TARDIS’s door.  It’s some kind of floating cube sending a message from one Time Lord to another.  The message came from a Time Lord called the Corsair.  Lovely fellow apparently.  Always got a tattoo of a snake swallowing its own tail so people know it’s him no matter what incarnation.  He’s asking for help from somewhere just outside the universe, so off the Doctor goes.

Yes, Rory wants to know how that works if the universe is everything how there can be something outside the universe, but Rory is just the guy who asks questions while Amy is the one who just goes with it.  Then again, she was there for a lot of weird stuff before he came along.

Alright, so there’s a rift, the TARDIS lands…and promptly loses power.  That’s weird.  But there are some people in what looks like a cosmic junkyard.  There’s a misshapen elderly couple calling themselves Uncle and Auntie.  There’s an Ood with a broken communicator and some glowing green eyes.  And there’s some young woman named Idris who acts like she knows the Doctor very well, but he says he’s never seen her before.  There’s also House.  That’s where they’re standing.  He’s an intelligence of some kind connected to what I called an asteroid.  He seems polite.

At first.

The Doctor, not liking something, locks Amy and Rory in the TARDIS, and there’s a good reason for that.  See, House collects Time Lords.  They show up, he takes them out, and used spare parts to make Uncle and Auntie.  The Ood, called “Nephew,” is in cahoots from the looks of things, and learning that the Time War killed all the Time Lords and the Doctor is the last one, well…House wants out.

And that’s where the real treat comes.  Who is the Doctor’s wife?  Well, it’s the TARDIS.  The TARDIS lost all power when whatever makes it run was shifted into Idris.  That’s why she knew the Doctor.  And this is not a particularly romantic relationship as Idris and the Doctor mostly argue over things as House takes over the TARDIS and flies away with Amy and Rory inside, determined to get out of the rift since there won’t be more Time Lords coming to see him.

You know, I gotta wonder about that.  If Time Lords can travel throughout time and space, shouldn’t there be, like, more around?  They’d just have to be off Gallifrey when the place went ka-boom and all.  Or, you know, they left before it went boom, did some traveling throughout time and space, and then went back when it went boom.  Just sayin’.

Regardless, the Doctor is mad the TARDIS never takes him where he wants to go, and Idris responds she actually took him everywhere he needed to be.  And she never said anything before because who could ever get a word in edgewise with the Doctor?

But with House gone, what’s the Doctor and Idris to do before House kills Amy and Rory as they try to hide deep within the bowels of the ship?  Well, the junk all over are crashed TARDISes.  Surely the pair can jury-rig a console and go to where Amy and Rory are?  Sure.  And Idris can send telepathic messages to one of them.  The Doctor asks it be Amy.  He’s traveled with her longer.  Idris doesn’t know which one that is and asks if it is the attractive one.  The Doctor says yes…and Idris sends the messages to Rory.

That’s a nice moment.

Regardless, Uncle and Auntie are dead because House doesn’t need them anymore, and the Doctor and Idris land the console on top of poor Nephew, so he’s gone.  All that’s left is House.  Idris was dying anyway, so if the Doctor can distract House away from the main control center by focusing attention on the secondary one, Idris can flush the TARDIS’s whatever back into the ship and take down House.  Yes, she disintegrates in the process, but her last word is “Hello,” so…she’s probably still in the TARDIS.

You know, the TARDIS is, in a sense, the second oldest character on the show behind only the Doctor, and that’s only if you count the interior and not the exterior since I think the first thing you see in the first episode is the outside of the TARDIS.  Why can’t it have a personality of its own?  And since it has traveled with the Doctor for all this time, it can be seen as the Doctor’s wife.  Or spouse as the case may be.  This is very much a Neil Gaiman sort of episode, one that goes for a bit of dark whimsey and largely succeeds as a result.  Besides, if we can get some familiar faces in front of the camera, I am all for getting some familiar names behind it.

Let me know if Alan Moore writes one of these though.  That’ll be trippy as hell.