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Recap: Doctor Who 6.04 “The Doctor’s Wife”

If you’ll pardon my hyperbole, that was the BEST THING TO EVER BE ON TV. Selena here, filling in for Devina because the ArchAngel Network blew up her computer. It may have been the Daleks. When she’s back on her digital feet, she’ll be back at the helm, but until then, you’re stuck with me.

While I’m bummed for Devina’s computer issues, and really curious to hear her take on this episode, I’m also kind of tickled I get to write about “The Doctor’s Wife.” I haven’t read anything by Neil Gaiman, although I’m pretty sure I’ll be a fan when I do, so I don’t know if he’s always this brilliant. He stepped right up to the plate, inserted himself into the mythology of the show, and told us an incredibly complex and nuanced story.

Let’s take a moment to talk about Matt Smith, shall we? How does he do this? He’s not even 30 years old, how does he have so much inside of him? In this episode alone he bounced back and forth from looking around 14 to convincing us all he’s a 900 year old being who is suffering the effects of 900 years of loneliness. Matt Smith is the Doctor, and he is fantastic. Any lingering doubts I had about him standing on the same pedestal as Eccleston or Tennant are gone.

Loneliness has always been a huge theme in Doctor Who, and it’s always presented as a scarier monster than a cyberman or a Dalek. It’s the cost the Doctor pays for being the Doctor, and it’s probably the one thing that scares we mere mortal humans more than anything else. We’ll face demons and dragons and serial killers and spiders, but faced with being completely and totally alone, we’re all reduced to a quivering pile of Jell-o.

In this episode, we meet the TARDIS for real, and we learn more about the Doctor and what happens in his head in these 42 minutes than we’ve learned in the entire run of Nu-Who. He calls the TARDIS “Sexy” when they’re alone. He’s secretly wished the TARDIS would be a real woman for quite some time. He can build a TARDIS from scratch and fly it across space and time in 18 minutes. He wants more than anything to love someone back, the way that Rose and Martha and Amy have loved him. Oh, Doctor, you delight me and break my heart, just like that boy in high school.

How fun would it have been to have Hugh Laurie as the voice of House? Michael Sheen is fine, too, and does SCARY CRIMINAL MINDS STYLE SERIAL KILLER VOICE very, very well. Hugh Laurie might have given House a bit more attitude and that slick, sick humor that makes all the best villains really shine. (See: Alan Rickman in anything.) Plus, you know, the obvious gag.

We’ve also learned where the Silence are finding their spare TARDIS parts, as seen in “The Impossible Astronaut” and “The Lodger.” Apparently the Silence aren’t so impressive as they want us to think, if they’ve spent eternity between the spaces in time trying to build one, and the Doctor and Idris-TARDIS did it in the time it takes me to put on my shoes and make coffee in the morning.

This piece is quickly sliding away from recap into commentary, but we’re going to run with it because I’m running out of time.

How amazing was it to see Ten’s TARDIS console again? And the flashes through all of the old TARDIS consoles? I’m a relatively new Who geek, and I squealed just a little. I can only imagine how much fun that scene was for the hardcores.

The TARDIS and the Doctor stole each other away from the horrors of the Time War and ran away to see the universe together. She kept him safe and always took him where he needed to be, he kept her company and told her all his secrets. She archived everything that ever happened and hasn’t happened yet (including 30 TARDIS consoles, so we know Smith isn’t the last Doctor, as he is the 11th.) He wanted her to talk back, and he didn’t want to let go of the time when they talked. She just wanted to say, “Hello.”

To revisit my theory about River being Amy and Rory’s timehead baby made of bits and pieces of the Doctor’s life, I think I’m even more certain now that when Idris-TARDIS turned into vortex energy and re-entered the heart of the TARDIS, a bit broke off and made it into Amy (or maybe Rory, the pretty one. “Hello, pretty!” I died.)  It would explain why River can drive the TARDIS, as well as her catchphrase, “Hello, Sweetie!”

I think it was extremely clever or a giant red herring that BBC America ran “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead” on Saturday. “The only water in the forest is the river.”

River Song has left the library. River Song has been saved.

By [E] Selena MacIntosh*

Selena MacIntosh is the owner and editor of Persephone Magazine. She also fixes it when it breaks. She is fueled by Diet Coke, coffee with a lot of cream in it, and cat hair.

4 replies on “Recap: Doctor Who 6.04 “The Doctor’s Wife””

My favorite parts of Doctor Who are those moments where you get a glimpse of the inner workings of the Doctor. The exchange between him and Amy about seeking out timelords was brilliant.
“You want to be forgiven.”
“Don’t we all?”

This episode made me all kinds of happy. Though now I feel more perplexed about River than ever.

I really would have loved to see River interact with Idris. I am aware this would probably tear the fabric of the universe or whatever, but seeing them be awesome together would make me happy. I suppose this is why people write fanfic?

But anyway. READ NEIL GAIMAN. So much of his stuff is incredibly brilliant. Good Omens and Anansi Boys are both hilarious, Neverwhere is a bit like Doctor Who, after a fashion, Stardust is very sweet and American Gods is pretty much the best book out there. (I have not yet read Sandman. I know, I need to.)

Also, about “the only water in the forest is the river” ….. somewhere on the internet I read “the river, not the pond” which very much has me wondering about LOTS of things.

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