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Doctor Who Episode 6.11: The God Complex

by on September 20, 2011

Busy weekends means delayed reviews of Doctor Who. I finally caught the episode last night, remained spoiler free for a few days, so that was good. I thought it was a rather good episode of Doctor Who, and started to wrap up one chapter of the current saga.

So, let’s talk about a nicely titled episode, The God Complex.

Synopsis

  • Doctor, Amy, and Rory arrive at a 1980s earth model hotel, with endless rooms and hallways.
  • They meet four people who are trapped there: Rita, Howie, Joe and Gibbis. Each one of them has their greatest fear in one of the rooms of the hotel, as does everyone who arrives there.
  • The trapped people tell the Doctor and the companions that when a person realizes their true fear, a monster comes hunting them, and you give in and start worshiping the monster.
  • The TARDIS gets lost and they go through the hotel looking for it, as each of the residents realizes their true fears, the monster comes to take them.
  • Joe, Howie, and Rita all get taken by the creature. When Howie is being hunted, The Doctor is able to confront the creature (that looks like a Minotaur) and learn about it. But Gibbis releases Howie, and the Minotaur breaks free to hunt him.
  • Rita’s death disturbs The Doctor greatly, as he thought of her as a potential companion.
  • The Doctor first thinks that the creature feeds of off fear, but then realizes that it feeds off of faith. The people turn to their faith, and the Minotaur takes over their faith making them praise him.
  • Amy succumbs next, as the Minotaur takes over her faith in The Doctor. The Doctor has to break her faith in him to ‘starve’ the Minotaur. When he does, the creature dies, and the illusion of the hotel fades away.
  • After returning Gibbis to his home, The Doctor drops off Amy and Rory allowing them to go on with their lives without him. Unable to chance losing either one of them.

Quotes

The Doctor: Things? Hello! What kind of things? Interesting things? I love things. Ask anyone.
Rita: Bad dreams.
The Doctor: Well that killed the mood.

Gibbs: I was at work. I’m in town planning. We’re lining all the highways with trees so invading forces can march in the shade.

Gibbs: Personally I think you have the right idea. At times like this I think of my old school motto. “Resistance is exhausting.”

Amy: Whatever that is, it’s not real. Yeah?
The Doctor: No. No. I’m sure it isn’t. But just in case let’s run away and hide anyway.

Rory: Every time the Doctor gets pal-y with someone I have this overwhelming urge to notify their next-of-kin.

Rita: You are a medical doctor, aren’t you? You haven’t just got a degree in cheesemaking or something?
The Doctor: No! Well both actually.

Rita: How’s it going?
Amy: Don’t talk to the clown!

The Doctor: How are you? Not panicking are you? Good good. Cause I’m literally an otters toenail away from getting us out of here.

Rita: Why
The Doctor: Excellent question… Excellent question… why what?
Rita: Why is it up to you to save us? That’s quite a God Complex you have there.
The Doctor: I brought them here. They say it was their choice, but offer a child a suitcase full of sweets and they’ll take it. Offer someone all of time and space and they’ll take that too. Which is why you shouldn’t. Which is why grown-ups were invented.

Rita: I don’t know what you’re talking about, but whatever it was I have a feeling you just did it again.

Amy: Look, he’ll work it out. He always does. Just let him riff and move anything expensive out of his way.

The Doctor: I stole your childhood and now I’ve led you by the hand to your death. But the worst thing is I knew. I knew this would happen. This is what always happens. Forget your faith in me. I took you with me because I was vain. Because I wanted to be adored. Look at you, glorious Pond. The Girl Who Waited for me. I’m not a hero. I really am just a madman in a box. And it’s time we say each other as we really are. Amy Williams. It’s time to stop waiting.

Rory: The car too? But that’s my favorite car. How did you know that was my favorite car?
The Doctor: You showed me a picture once, said “That’s my favorite car.”

The Doctor: You haven’t seen the last of me. Bad penny is my middle name. Seriously, the looks I get when I fill in a form.

The Doctor: There’s still heaps of stuff out there to look at. Did you know, there’s a planet who’s name literally translates as “volatile sex.”

Questions

  1. What was The Doctor’s fear? We hear the cloister bell, but we have no clue what it is.
  2. Is The Doctor dropping off Amy and Rory, the last real time that they are going to travel with him?

Thoughts and Asides

  • I really liked this episode. I love creepy that isn’t scary, and this fit the bill. The imagery of long hotel corridors reminds me of The Shining to begin with, and then the potential of your own personal fear behind each door, and a Minotaur chasing you through the hallways. Just worked for me very well.
  • It is very tough to establish new characters in a single hour-long program, but I felt that Rita, Gibbis, and Howie were all very well done. Howie was a cliché, but came off well. Gibbis was really funny, and was a nice take on a new species we haven’t seen before. And Rita was the star of the show, very well acted and written. She was smart and clever and interesting (and pretty) all in one really well done package.
  • I love a good quotable episode, and sooo many people had great quotes in this one. Not just The Doctor, Amy, and Rory, but also Rita, Gibbis, and even Howie had good lines.
  • It’s always amusing when Doctor Who bumps against religion. Science Fiction usually takes an atheist spin, because the hardcore fans would rebel. But The Doctor takes a delightful turn when he finds out that Rita is a Muslim. Well done.
  • The Doctor breaking Amy’s faith in him was well done. If it was done for real, Amy would be left broken and not wanting to travel with him anymore (or at least for a while). So it felt like it was just a forced bruise.
  • The Doctor dropped off the companions, because he was worried about putting them in peril. But I also took it to mean, that because he had to break Amy’s faith, that he couldn’t stand to have her not look at him in the same way again. That he only likes it when the companions have a look of wonderment on their face, and that Amy would never have that again.
  • Loved the Horns of Nimon reference, even though I don’t remember the episode (probably was 13 when I saw it).

Review

I liked this episode quite much. Creepy but not too scary. Good character development, and a fun tight little story.

B+

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