Doctor Who: Mid-Series Six Review
Written By: Liam Walters
So with Series 6 of Doctor Who now in it’s mid-series break, I can cover the first 7 episodes as well as individual components. For a reminder, we started off with ‘The Impossible Astronaut’, moving onto ‘Day of the Moon’, ‘Cure of the Black Spot’, ‘The Doctor’s Wife’, ‘The Rebel Flesh’, ‘The Almost People’ and the mid-series finale ‘A Good Man Goes to War’. [Click on the title to go to the review of the episode]. Over 7 weeks, we’ve had a fantastic opening episode, and an equally fantastic closing episode. As for what came in-between, we’ve had the good, the bad, the brilliant and the downright awful.
Warning: From This Point Onwards, I Will Be Talking Spoilers.
Even though we are only half way through Series 6, I have to say, I have enjoyed the episodes a lot more than I did series 5. My normal complaint about Series 5 was that it was just to… light hearted in a way. Yes, there were dramatic moments, but you never really saw it effect the Doctor. ‘Amy’s Choice’ in Series 5, showed us that The Doctor has this great darkness in him, although we never really get to see that in The Doctor himself. Apart from one scene in ‘The Beast Below’ (which, although a lot of fans don’t like, I believe is quite a great episode), most of the time we just see The Doctor as some zany mad man.
Right from the first episode, we get to see this darker side of The Doctor, which I think is fundamental to the character. The first TARDIS scene of Series 6 brings a lot of drama and gravity, as The Doctor interrogates the companions on what they are keeping from him. Steven Moffat allows us to see the darker parts of The Doctor, without doing what Russell T Davies did now and then and made the character too dark, and too melancholy. David Tennant is still my favourite actor, but even I think they made parts of the series’ he was in, unnecessarily grim.
We also get to see more of the emotional side of The Doctor. We saw this very briefly in Series 5, such as when Rory died and got wiped from existence (Cold Blood), or when he was having to say goodbye to Amy (The Big Bang), and even then we don’t get to see much of it. This series has given us two large examples of seeing The Doctor’s more emotional side. The first, is from Neil Gaiman’s fantastic episode ‘The Doctor’s Wife’. Near the end, when the TARDIS/Idris is dying, their last conversation with each other not only brings a tear to the audiences eyes, but also The Doctor himself.
“I just wanted to say, Hello. Hello Doctor. It’s so very very nice to meet you”
Now obviously, we can’t have The Doctor breaking down and crying each and every episode, otherwise he wouldn’t make for a very good hero and lead character. But with the way they do it in this episode, you can really feel as though that this is a truely desistating thing for The Doctor. After fianlly being able to talk with his TARDIS, to be able to properly communicate with his oldest and closest love, and then having to lose that and say goodbye (Whilst all the TARDIS wants to do was to be able to say ‘Hello’). You really get a sense of what the relationship is.
The next example is in the mid-series finale ‘A Good Man Goes to War’. There three main points in this where you see The Doctor get emotional. The first is when he orders Colonel Manton to tell his troops to “run away”, so that from that point onwards, he will be known as Colonel Runaway, for trying to get to The Doctor through his friends. The next is when he ask’s why use a Timelord as a weapon, and is responded with ‘Well, they’ve seen you’. You can see how much of a blow this really is to The Doctor, as he realises how much he has done. This is delved into further in the third point, where River Song appears, making The Doctor realise that he is actually the cause behind everything that had happened, and how far he had come when he first started, just wanting to see the universe, to what he is now, the enemy to so many alien races, and able to devastate lives and armys all by himself.
“Good men don’t need rules”
One character that has definitely come in to his own is Rory, played by Arthur Darvill. For most of the last series, we didn’t really see him. He was either on earth, unaware that his fiancée was travelling with another man (well, alien), or he was dead/dying/or non-existent. Even when he came back near the end he was plastic. Albeit now seemingly becoming the Kenny of the show, having supposedly died on at least 3 different occasions (though only one of those times he was actually dying for real), Rory has become a great Doctor Who companion. We see this now and then throughout the episodes, such as in The Impossible Astronaut, with his conversation with River, which is made all the more special when you find out he is her father.
Another great moment is during ‘A Good Man Goes to War’, which you could be forgiven for mistaking the ‘Good Man’ being Rory, and not The Doctor, when you hear the phrase ‘Demons Run When a Good Man Goes to War’. Even from the very start of this episode, Rory manages to infiltrate the 12th Cyber Legion, which as the name would suggest, is swarming with Cybermen. From here, Rory goes on to help raise an army with The Doctor, before going on to reclaim his child (or so he thought), getting reunited with his wife, before going leading The Doctor’s Army into battle against The Headless Monk to protect his wife and child.
“Would you like me to repeat the question”
Out of them all though, ‘The Rebel Flesh’ and ‘The Almost People’ are the episodes in which Rory becomes a true Doctor Who companion, having been separated from The Doctor and Amy for most of the episode, he is used by, although is ultimately trying to help The Gangers, much in the same way The Doctor is trying to do with. Whilst ‘The Almost People’, has a focus on how Amy does not believe that The Gangers are truly real, with The Doctor having to make her understand that she actually can’t tell them apart, Rory doesn’t seem to share this view. Rory actually never once shows anything but kindness towards The Gangers, only wanting to help them and stop the humans from trying to kill them, along with actually going against The Doctor and co at one point, because of the awful ways the humans treat the flesh.
The revelations throughout the series are quite good as well. With having started off, diverting away from last series’ finale, by the end of the series opening story we are left with a whole new set of mysteries, such as who is River Song? Who killed The Doctor? How will The Doctor prevent his death, when he can’t know about it? Why is Amy pregnant and not pregnant? And just who is the regenerating little girl, and how can she be regenerating? Most of those were answered by the end of A Good Man Goes to War, although we are still left with who killed The Doctor (surely it can’t be River Song in the space suit), and now we have the question of whether The Doctor actually knows about his own death, or whether Amy did really tell the Ganger Doctor. We also have the burning question from last series, of who is the voice saying ‘Silence Will Fall’, and who took control of the TARDIS, and why did they want to make the cracks in the universe?
Hopefully, all this and more will be revealed in Autumn when Doctor Who returns with the fantastically jovial named ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’. With a series that, at the mid way point, is much better than the full series before it, lets just hope that the 2nd half of the series can keep up the quality.