Friday, May 20, 2011

Jayne Gudkov Review: The Doctor's Wife

Doctor Who – 6.4 – The Doctor's Wife

Wow, where to start on this one? I had my misgivings when I had heard that Neil Gaiman was writing an episode of “Doctor Who”, I always have misgivings when established television series have episodes written by people better known for their novel writing skills than their TV skills. I call it “Stunt Writing”, a way to boost the show's ratings for an episode. It's like fan-fiction by established writers who happen to be fans of the show they wrote the episode for. Granted, it would be better written, grammar wise at least, but fan fiction nonetheless.

That's what I was expecting with “The Doctor's Wife”, but I was , if I am being totally honest, when I really shouldn't have. This is Neil Gaiman we're talking about, someone who is weird enough to treat “Doctor Who” with the reverence that it deserves and still write a story that abounds, at times, with total silliness, while being totally scary in some sections.

This was, to use an American-ism, fan fiction on steroids and I loved it. The only down point is that you can tell that this story just didn't fit into the current overall story arc, with the Crazy Eye Patch Lady popping up, but they had to throw that line in about the river in the forest, which, to me, harkens back to River Song in the Forest of the Dead. Was Idris/The TARDIS reminding him of River's death for some reason? It's interesting that both the Doctor and River both know how each other will die but, quite obviously, can't tell each other.

What I Loved:

That this was obviously a love story, the love between the TARDIS and The Doctor and that love, of course, triumphs over all, even maniacal disembodied former asteroid sized spirit known as “House”. Hmmmm, I wonder if that's some sort of reference to fellow Brit Hugh Laurie's character on American TV.

Yeah I got kind of teary eyed near the end as the Doctor said his “good-bye” to Idris/TARDIS

Sexy! Only Neil Gaiman would have that as the Doctor' secret name for the old girl. Dare I hope that there will be an episode where the Doctor brings Sexy back??? (sorry - just had to).

Bunk Beds!!!!! That was too funny and totally believable that the Doctor would give a married couple a room with bunk beds because, of course, they are cool. I had them as a kid for when my cousin would come for sleepovers.

That the TARDIS chose the Doctor as much as the Doctor chose the TARDIS

Type 40's were museum pieces 700 years ago, meaning that the Doctor was about 200 years old when he “borrowed” the TARDIS.

The last, we assume, appearance of the “Eccleston/Tennant Era” console room. It was VERY cool to see that again. It would have been an old series fan's wet dream if Idris/TARDIS had directed “the cute one” (evidently the TARDIS is a heterosexual lady LOL) to maybe the Sylvester Mc Coy console room (no, not the one from
the movie, though that evidently laid the groundwork for a non-white, full of roundels, console room)

The reference to “Time Crash” and the “desktop themes” of the TARDIS console rooms, knowing that even the concept of a “desktop theme” when the original series ran would make almost no sense to the audience at that time.

“I take you where you're needed.”

Almost coming full circle, he landed in a junk yard, granted a TARDIS junk yard, but there is a poetic sort of symmetry there.

I saw a comment on the message boards today that some one was disappointed that the
TARDIS halls all looked the same. I'll grant you that I was a little disappointed that we didn't see the now legendary TARDIS swimming pool, but the TARDIS hallways have always had that “sameness” about them. Go look at Peter Davison stumbling around in the halls of the TARDIS, letting out the famous 23 foot long Tom Baker scarf as he stumbled around trying to get his head together after his regeneration in “Castrovalva” while roaming halls that all looked exactly the same.

The Doctor tricking “House” into getting them all back
into the Console Room and then sicking Idris/TARDIS on him, showing that he still has a bit of a mean streak in him.

There's not much more I can say about this episode other than:

What I hated:

Actually, there was nothing I hated in this episode, other than it was too short and we have to wait another week for more

I didn't see any kind of trailer for next week's episode, “The Rebel Flesh” another 2 parter.

See you next week,


  1. From what i've seen of the Rebel Flesh trailers and sneak peeks on various sites i think The Doctors Wife is going to be my favourite episode of the first half of the series (going off past episodes and the future sypnosis of the last lot of epis from 6a).
    Definitely a well writtin episode and my only problem like you was it was far to short for the story that was being told.
    Nice review Gudkov :)