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Recap: Doctor Who 6.06 “The Almost People”

We’re back after a week off, when our British friends jumped a week ahead of us in which episode they’re viewing.  They got to see the mid-season finale on Saturday night, and I am painfully jealous.  Especially after the last ten minutes of “The Almost People.”

DON’T SPOIL ME, British and otherwise in-the-know commenters.  I’m going to try and wait for next Saturday, rather than avail myself of the opportunities to view it early in various Internet venues.  “Try” being the operative word.

Admittedly, I wasn’t as enthralled with most of this ep.  A commenter pointed out two weeks ago the similarities in this episode and previous “everyone’s doomed” scenarios like “42”, “Waters of Mars” and “The Impossible Planet,” and I kept drawing connections between those episodes and this one, until the very end when everything went wibbly-wobbly. All in all, the episode raised a bunch of questions, featured a monster I’m pretty sure we’ve seen in the Whoverse before, and then we swung around to the TIMEHEAD BABY.

As the episode opens, DoctorGanger is struggling with the memories of all his incarnations, and letting out a stream of cool references to previous Doctors along the way. (“Would you like a jelly baby?”) Meanwhile, the gangers are trying to get to the originals, and boy, are they pissed. The originals (rather, mostly originals) are barricaded in the Flesh vat room, which is starting to leak acid, and the Doctors are trying to come up with an escape plan, adorably.

GangerJennifer has gone right on over to full vengeance, and she’s continuing to try and sway the other gangers and Rory to her side.  She is not without a point, the gangers are treated as disposable tools, in spite of the feelings, memories and, well, humanity they were given by the originals.  GangerCleaves just wants to be left alone, she and the others don’t remember being decommissioned like Jennifer does.  Jennifer eventually gets them all on board.  Once everyone is on the revolution bus, Jennifer reveals that she has a plan to destroy all of the (mostly) originals.

The Doctors are trying to free the TARDIS from her acid peel, and both take the opportunity to call her by her name, Sexy.  (I can’t stop loving that. You can’t make me.)

Question: Do any of you think the Doctor made himself a Ganger on purpose? Is he working out some master plan of how to get around being shot in the future by a rogue astronaut slash Timehead Baby?

Amy (somewhat ironically, but in good storytelling fashion) doesn’t like the DoctorGanger, and doesn’t trust him.  He can call himself the Doctor all he wants, but she’s convinced he’s not her Doctor, so DoctorGanger is therefore less than. DoctorGanger is hurt by this, and he pouts. Say what you will about the Doctor(s), self-esteem has never been a problem.

OriginalCleaves contacts the mainland for a rescue, which is overheard by GangerCleaves, who compliments herself on her smarts at not saying the codeword out loud.

Amy sees Nanny Tighpatch poke through the wall again, and is freaked out.  She explains what’s happening to the Doctor, who tells her it’s a fluke of time, like a mirage.  Meanwhile DoctorGanger storms out into a corridor, claiming, “It’s in my head.”  Amy follows, apologizing for not loving him as much as she loves the Doctor, and spills the beans about seeing the Doctor’s death.  DoctorGanger attacks her, shoving her up against a wall and yelling about how the Gangers are treated. He apologizes, but she’s pretty convinced DoctorGanger is untrustworthy.  DoctorGanger explains that the Flesh wants revenge, because it’s in pain.

OriginalCleaves tells DoctorGanger to sit over there, where he can’t scare the gingers.

Meanwhile, Rory is wandering the factory when he overhears Jennifer calling for help.  He encounters two Jennifers, both claim to be the Original.  The joke’s on Rory, though, because they’re both Flesh, and GangerJennifer needs a real human to work the controls so she can drown everyone in acid.  When he discovers that he’s been duped, he’s understandably angry, but he’s swayed when Jennifer shows him a pile of abandoned Gangers, slowly melting away while fully sentient.

Amy is ready to search for Rory, since none of the factory’s equipment is able to find him.  The Doctor points out that the Sonic can find him, and can tell the subtle differences between human and Ganger.  Amy takes this as proof that DoctorGanger is different, and therefore sub-par to her doctor.  She’s in for a surprise or two later.

Original Doctor wants DoctorGanger to go rescue Amy and Jennifer, Amy is opposed.  He ends up putting his foot down, and goes, with the help of Original not-Blond Fellow with a Son.  Original Doctor tells Amy she needs to trust DoctorGanger.  She doesn’t, really, but goes along with the plan reluctantly.

Cleaves, who’s suffered from headaches throughout the two episodes, reveals that she’s waiting for test results. Original Doctor tells her it’s a blood clot in her parietal lobe.

GangerCleaves guesses OriginalCleaves’ password, and redirects the rescue team to the courtyard instead of the roof.

DoctorGanger finds Original Jennifer dead outside, which rapidly brings him to the realization that Rory is in trouble.

The Originals are headed down a corridor lined with Ganger eyes.  No, really, there are moving eyeballs embedded in the walls.  That’s an image that’s going to stick.

Original Not-Blonde Fellow finds GangerJennifer soothing the Flesh pile, and accuses her of killing her original.  She says it’s made her stronger, and that she can grow now, and she wasn’t kidding.

Alarms! Running!

The Gangers find DoctorGanger unconscious, and tell him he’s one of them.  He asks to be called John Smith.

Next, the Gangers have locked the Originals in a room, and they have Rory with them.  Original Cleaves smack talks Ganger Cleaves, chiding her about picking a human body with a clot.  This will eventually lead Ganger Cleaves to sacrifice herself since she’s going to die anyway, because that’s what happens in these stories.  I think it must be a rule, or something.

The shit is going down, the acid is eating the walls, and the DoctorGanger is saying “RING RING!” and shoving Rory.  But, of course, he has a plan.  He’s rung up Blond Fellow’s tiny cute son, so he can teach his fake dad about humanity while wearing bunny slippers.

That’s all it takes for Ganger Cleaves to call it off, and accuse GangerJennifer of becoming a monster, the stuff of nightmares.  GangerJennifer isn’t swayed, and turns into a giant bug monster.  (Where have I seen this creature before? GOT IT! The monster the scientist who wanted to become immortal turned into, before he ran Martha and Tish up the bell tower.)

Original Blond Fellow gets hit with a spurt of acid, and dies, after telling his Ganger to be a dad to their son, and gives him what I assume is his dead wife’s wedding ring, telling him to remember her.  Back to video moppet, who’s happy to see his dad.  Aw, humanity.

Now that the Gangers and Originals are on the same team (minus Jenhead Monster Thing) everyone is running, on their way to rescue.  They barricade themselves in a room where the TARDIS re-materializes, and everyone is ordered on board to GTFO.  GangerCleaves and DoctorGanger stay behind, after revealing that the Doctors switched places, and Amy’s been rejecting the real Doctor the whole time.  (So, what’s with the shoving and the yelling and the hurting?)  Music swells, there’s hugging, DoctorGanger tells her “Push, Amy, but only when she tells you to.”

Original Doctor tells DoctorGanger he can survive, and knows he will, since he’ll be inviting them all to his real death in the future. (AHA! It is the Doctor who dies, but not the ORIGINAL Doctor.)

Everyone else escapes, and DoctorGanger zaps MonsterJen with the Sonic, sending her, GangerCleaves and himself back to the gooey form from whence they came.

The TARDIS drops off GangerBlond with his son, and Original (and healed by a burnt onion tasting tincture) Cleaves and Not-Blond Fellow at the Ministry of Goo Matters to speak on behalf of the Flesh.

With no one but the team left on the TARDIS, Amy doubles over in pain.  She doesn’t understand what’s happening, and the Doctor says she’s in labor.  He explains that he needed to see the Flesh, to understand how it worked, and how to break the link between Original and avatar.  Rory is at her side, looking confused as hell, and the Doctor tells him to step away.  Rory resists, but eventually does what he asks.  Amy tells the Doctor she’s frightened.  He says they will do whatever it takes to find her.  She says “I’m right here.” He zaps her with the sonic and she turns to a puddle of Flesh.  He says she hasn’t been with them for a very long time.  She wakes up in a scary ass white room, in labor, with Nanny Tighpatch breathing over her like an obscene phone caller.

Oh, next week, you can’t come soon enough.

I’m all atwitter about this episode. I’m confused and torn and admittedly I was a little bored through parts of it, but boy, it took a dark turn there at the end.  Did the Doctor have to dissolve GangerAmy? After all his talk about how the Flesh is life, and sentient, and gifted with human memories and feelings?  Was Original Amy aware at all of where she was, other than the little glimpses of Nanny TighPatch?  If DoctorGanger can survive being gooified, can GangerCleaves and GangerAmy? Discuss.

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.

3 replies on “Recap: Doctor Who 6.06 “The Almost People””

I think the deal was that the gangers only became sentient and independent after the storm hit? Although the Flesh did seem to be alive when the Doctor checked it, so that mightn’t be the strongest argument. But I think that was the distinction he made, FleshAmy was just an avatar, it wasn’t actually another Amy.

Ohhhh boy, A Good Man Goes To War is so good. Can’t wait for the review so I can unleash all my questions. :D

Right, I agree – the gangers only became “independent” after the power surge in the storm, while FleshAmy was just an avatar for RealAmy (which is why she was both pregnant and not pregnant at the same time, because the FleshAmy was still connected to her).

Oh my gosh, A Good Man is awesome. I’m sad that we have to wait until September for more.

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