What I Watched Last Night: “Vincent and The Doctor”

Sara HabeinLadyGhosts of TV Past19 Comments

sploosh

Last time I wrote for this section, I talked about my nervousness regarding the regeneration of David Tennant to Matt Smith as the Doctor. Cranky dino fear change! Etc. Turns out, it took me longer to grow used to the opening theme changes (the font!) and remodeling the TARDIS interior to”¦ orange. Orange! I’m okay now. I’m still in it. Though my love for David Tennant as Doctor Ten is deep and unwavering, Eleven has his own shining moments.

“Vincent and the Doctor” is Adventure 210, according to this timeline I’ll forever reference, and Amy Pond is being unknowingly indulged by the Doctor, due to his guilt over her fiancee Rory being sucked into the time crack”¦ thing. She no longer remembers Rory, but she does love Vincent van Gogh, so he takes her to the Musée d’Orsay to see a large collection of the artwork. Of course, nothing with the Doctor is ever easy, so when they notice a monster in the fine detail of van Gogh’s “The Church In Auvers-Sur-Oise, View From The Chevet,” they head off to 1890.

The monster itself isn’t the point – the point here is the transformative power of art and our own longevity.

Eleven seems a little sillier than Doctors Nine and Ten, but he also carries a look that says, the longer he lives, the more he questions whether he can hold it all together. Does he know as much as he thinks he knows – and even if he does, is that even close to enough, faced with the vastness of the universe?

“I am really stupid and I am growing old,” he says, quietly.

But the real gem comes at the end, when a museum guide speaks of van Gogh, in a quote that mirrors the Doctor himself: “He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world? No one had ever done it before and maybe no one will ever do it again.”

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Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the editor of Electric City Creative.
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Sara HabeinWhat I Watched Last Night: “Vincent and The Doctor”

19 Comments on “What I Watched Last Night: “Vincent and The Doctor””

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  1. Avatar of Dr. Song
    Dr. Song

    I cried so hard, you guys. Like so, so hard.

    And he’s no Tom Baker, or Paul McGann even, but Matt Smith is quality. All the older British guys here (like our college porters, who are all in their fifties) say that the Eleventh Doctor’s era is the closest the new series has come to being like the original.

    1. Avatar of Sara Habein
      Sara Habein

      That’s good to know. I plan on watching the old episodes when I’ve blown through these new ones and need to scratch that itch.

  2. Avatar of CherriSpryte
    CherriSpryte

    This episode is one of the things I’d like to keep in a glass box with a hammer next to it, labelled “in case of emergency, break glass.” It is incredibly restorative for me.

    Also, Eleven is very much my favorite favorite, partially because of episodes like this, partially because of every other thing ever. Also his wardrobe.

  3. Avatar of freckle [M]
    freckle [M]

    Eleven leaves me pretty cold, ecxcept for the moments when -what you said- you can see the pain and the struggle. And Victor and the Doctor was simply put sooooo pretty.

    1. Avatar of laurensmash
      laurensmash

      I totally agree. Both Ten and Eleven have a childlike glee when they discover things about the universe. But, I think Ten is the one who really connects with his companions and acknowledges their talents. I feel like Rory and Amy (while awesome) are just along for the ride and I haven’t seen the level of connection between them that Ten had with say, Donna, which didn’t hinge on romance.

        1. Avatar of Opifex
          Opifex

          Bah. Jamie McCrimmon is the best companion as far as I’m concerned. Seconded by the first Romanna. Donna Nobel is one of the best though.

            1. Avatar of Opifex
              Opifex

              Yup, Jamie is pretty much Two’s bestie. He’s a Jacobite rebel who decides to travel time and space instead. He and Two are seriously adorable together. And if we are voting people off the TARDIS I want to get rid of Susan because all the, “Graaaaandfather, Graaaandfather,” crap gets old fast.

  4. Avatar of [E] Hillary
    [E] Hillary

    I too was iffy about the transition from Tennant to Smith (and hate the new opening and am not wildly fond of the new TARDIS). This episode was amazing; I was totally in tears by the end.

    1. Avatar of Sara Habein
      Sara Habein

      I’m not wild about the lightning in the opening, but I’m a former orchestra nerd and think it distracts from what is probably a really fun piece to play. Nice work if you can get it, being part of the BBC orchestra. And I kind of liked the semi-crappiness with the beat up foam padding on the rails of the old TARDIS, but I suppose it makes sense with the crash and all that the TARDIS could regenerate itself too…. I GUESS. I MEAN, FINE. WHATEVER. haha

      1. Avatar of Opifex
        Opifex

        This is one of those things that makes me feel like an old person fan again. Up until the 8th Doctor the TARDIS was always white inside. Vaugely glowy white.

        This is what the future looked like in the 70s

        All the new TARDIS interiors are strange to me.

    1. Avatar of the cats meowm
      the cats meowm

      This is the one episode that makes me do the ugly cry. Tony Curran (Van Gogh) is pitch perfect and his performance just grabbed my heart. I’ve watched the episode twice so far and cried both times.

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