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Doctor Who Season 6: 5 Questions About “The Rebel Flesh”

We always knew that clones would end up being trouble in the end, but last night’s episode of Doctor Who nonetheless raised all manner of new questions to ask about “The Rebel Flesh.” Here are five of them.

Wasn’t Moon A Great Movie?
As atmospheric as it was, “The Rebel Flesh” felt very, very familiar. “Copies” of people working menial jobs in science fiction settings that are convinced they are the originals? Yeah, I really liked Duncan Jones’ Moon, as well – but even within the last few years of Who, there were echoes of “The Waters of Mars” and “The Impossible Planet”/”The Satan Pit” from the David Tennant era. You’d think that, by this point, the Doctor wouldn’t be able to meet teams of low-grade workers without expecting life-threatening disaster to strike within twenty minutes or so.

What Is The Future Of The Flesh?
The Doctor clearly knows more about the Flesh than he’s saying – but what? Presumably, considering his reaction to them, at some point in the future they’ll be officially recognized as their own, distinct, lifeform… but is that in reaction to what happens in this particular event, and in which case, does the Doctor actually know exactly what’s going to happen to everyone else on the base (Actually, that’d make it way too like “The Waters of Mars,” come to think of it, so probably not)? My potentially off-base prediction: The Flesh go on, somehow, to evolve into some alien race that we already know about. Maybe the Autons, from (amongst other episodes), “Rose,” the story that started out the whole revival of the show? Mind you…

Why Doesn’t Anyone Point Out That Rory Knows Exactly What It’s Like For The Flesh (Including Rory)?
A ridiculously important part of the finale last year was that Rory died, and was then recreated as a Nestene Duplicate… which, surely, makes him know what it’s like for the Flesh, considering he was (at least temporarily) also “just” an artificial duplicate of a human being, with downloaded memories, feelings and “soul”? I can’t work out if the fact that no-one has mentioned this is because (a) all of that was wiped from everyone’s memories as a result of the Big Bang II at the end of “The Big Bang,” (b) it’s being saved up for next episode, or (c) the writer just plain forgot that happened. I’m hoping it’s option b, because it makes Rory’s sudden bravery a lot more understandable.

What’s With The Sneezing?
Seriously, am I the only person that thinks that the one worker who keeps sneezing is going to end up being important for some reason? Like, he’ll end up being revealed as a Ganger who’s permanently replaced his original human without knowing it, and he’s slowly falling apart, or something similar? If it ends up to be just that he has a cold, I can’t tell if I’ll be depressed or happy that I didn’t know where the story was going…

Is a Ganger Time Lord Still A Time Lord?
So, the Doctor has been Fleshed, and according to the trailer for the next episode – Two weeks away, BBC America? Really? – he’ll end up fighting the original Doctor for survival. But I can’t help but wonder if there’s some importance to seeing a “second” Doctor like this. Almost every episode so far this season, there’s been more than one Time Lord or something very, very similar, have you noticed? Two Doctors in “The Impossible Astronaut,” the potential daughter of Amy/Small girl who’s regenerating at the end of “Day of The Moon,” and then the Tardis’ human form last week. Only “The Curse of The Black Spot” stands out by having just one Doctor. Is this a weird coincidence, or a tease of something in store for future episodes? I have to admit, the more episodes we see this year, the more I’m expecting a full-on Time Lord revival by the end of this season.

…Not that that’ll explain how the Doctor apparently died at the start of it, mind you. And what does any of this have to do with the Silence/Silents? Only two more episodes until the mid-season break and, I hope, some answers.


  • Anonymous

    “am I the only person that thinks that the one worker who keeps sneezing is going to end up being important for some reason?”

    Go rent a copy of the original “The taking of Pelham One Two Three” 

  • Whitworthian

    “Why Doesn’t Anyone Point Out That Rory Knows Exactly What It’s Like For The Flesh (Including Rory)?”

    Because Amy doesn’t know that Rory remembers, and the Doctor was too busy to bother about Rory’s all-too-explainable empathy?

  • Anonymous

    Rory does acknowledge something about the whole thing in a throw away line to “Jenny” when he finds “her” after she attacked him in the bathroom. Also, we know that the memories of the pre-big bang 2 Universe of River, Amy and Rory are intact from the first episode when they are talking about warning the Doctor and it could destroy the Universe, Rory says in all fairness it DID destroy the Universe.

    First thing I thought when we saw the vat was that these are remnants of the Nestene Conscience and Autons. If you listen to the voice from the vat after the Doctor touches it, it sounds very similar to that used by the Nestene.

    This season seems to be focusing on the option of birth/rebirth, so it wouldn’t surprise me that this is the “birth” of the Autons, and if we don’t see at least some other Timelords by seasons end….

  • Michael Sacal

    “how the Doctor apparently died at the start of it,”

    There’s two Doctors now. Who says that the one that died isn’t the Ganger?

    No, wait, the Meta-Crisis Doctor regenerated into a Meta-Crisis 11th Doctor and he’s the one that dies, lol. 

  • Sugar Free

    My guess is that the technology is Sontaran. Compare it to the vat they cloned Martha with back in season 4. 

  • cyberdood

     It could`nt be autons really because if they were created at that time then how come they invaded in the 70s and 2005 and the roman era?

  • Rob

     I can’t see the Doctor who died being the Ganger Doctor? Surely thats too obvious – much like the ‘cliffhanger’ that came at the end of the episode.

    I genuinely expected it to be some sort of Sontaran technology rather than Auton – especially considering how worried The Doctor was by it all. The Nestene has always been a C-list baddie, never anything on the scale of the Daleks, Cybermen or Sontarans. Check out the Gangers Acid protection uniforms, does anyone else think they echo Sontaran Battle gear? Check out the domed helmet.

    I do see the Timelords coming back. I think its about time but I do think the episodes suffer without River Song.

  • Matt D

     Wasn’t there a big pool of goop in Rose?

  • Michael Sacal

    Yeah, that is kindda weird. They would need time  travel technology to go back in time. It coulde be that the Doctor himself sends them back through time. 

  • Anonymous

    maybe the gangers are remnants of autons created by humans out of remnant auton technology

  • T_Jay78

     so here is my guess:

    The Doctor that died in the first episode is indeed a Ganger but by season end we will also see the Time Lords return though also in the form of Time Lord Gangers. I think the Ganger Doctor will retrieve the message cubes from the doctor’s wife and use the consciousness to recreate as many of time lords as possible. The doctor will be forced once again to kill off his race. 

  • cyberdood

    Sontarans would be too obvious though would`nt it as would autons and timelords 

  • Hub

     I stopped watching Doctor Who around the middle of series 4, and whenever I read reviews or write-ups of new episodes I am just incredibly happy that I’m no longer following it.

  • DoubleWide

    Rory is supposed to be a nurse, why didn’t he at least try and help the person that was electrocuted? He doesn’t have to succeed, but just try.

  • Sean McLaughlin

    also notice the anti acid armour is very much like Sontaran armour

  • Anonymous

    I’m glad you’re happy just be careful not to upset yourself by reading reviews and writing utterly pointless comments. We wouldn’t want that to happen :) 

  • Jacob

    They could just develop the technology later.

  • Brianuhe

     The Meta-Crisis Doctor can’t regenerate because he’s half-human with one heart among other things.

  • Brianuhe

    Is there any indication that these people are humans or a humanoid alien race?

    If humanoid alien race, then this could be the distant past.

  • Brianuhe

     And I mean the “originals” when I say that.

  • Jacob

    Haha, I don’t have to wait two weeks.

    In order:
    Still haven’t seen Moon. Becoming increasingly unlikely that I won’t.

    I think the Flesh is/are the Autons. I think the Doctor was reacting to how he knew they’d be treated.

    Does it really need to be stated? The Doctor knows why. Rory knows why. Amy wouldn’t understand.

    It’s called allergies, man.

    We do seem poised for a full return of the Time-Lords, I just hope they’re the real ones. Not copies. And that Timothy Dalton comes back as Rassilon, and the Time War is actually dealt with.

  • Floris from Holland

    The Doctor was hit by lightning, with his normal shoes on. 
    And then was unconscious for about an hour.
    Was het ‘copied’ then and there?After that, his doppelganger started forming.
    The original Doctor then saw his sunken TARDIS and his shoes melted away, causing him to lend other shoes. The only way to keep a distinction between the two.
    And what with Rory having tummy aches again in the beginning with the solar flare?!

  • Lindsey

    This episode is confusing.  All I know is that they really need to resolve this whole Amy pregnant or not pregnant thing 

  • Shawn

     I’m definitely not waiting 2 weeks :)

    I don’t think the Time Lords will come back, it would be great if they did, but I don’t see it happening. 

    Does anyone know what the Doctor meant when he said “I never thought I’d say that again” when he was talking about the cockerel or something? Or was it just a throwaway line?

    The eyepatch lady was back this week and seems like she will be again next week, u think she’ll at least be referred to next week?

    Did you catch the new Easter egg in the ARG thing at the website? It said: “Message interrupted.” 

  • Mark

     ” Two Doctors in “The Impossible Astronaut,” the potential daughter of Amy/Small girl who’s regenerating at the end of “Day of The Moon,” and then the Tardis’ human form last week. Only “The Curse of The Black Spot” stands out by having just one Doctor. ” 

    Actually, the mermaid in “The Curse of the Black Spot” was a Doctor, just one who had no idea of how to take care of human beings.

  • Jacob

    22nd Century. Doctor says so in the episode. Also, if this was the distant past, it kinda contradicts with what we know about the history of humans. Mainly in that we developed from another species. These duplicates would be the same species as we are now.

  • Jacob

    I disagree. I think it’s time. They’re such a large part of the show’s mythology, and there’s still a lot we don’t know about the Time War. Newer fans have only encountered two other Time-Lords, the Master and Rassilon. Add in why they were sealed away and they come off as villains. I know several fans who don’t even know that the Doctor has had multiple Time-Lords as companions.

    I’m starting to think that Amy’s memories of the eyepatch woman fade after she disappears. Otherwise, it’s odd that she hasn’t asked the Doctor.

    And the transmission of the Doctor does get cut short, or interrupted.

  • Shawn

    Well now that I think more about, it seems to foreshadow their return. I just didn’t feel it happening, I felt like the story arcs were pointing in a different direction. But thinking about the little regenerating girl, and the boxes in the Doctor’s Wife, maybe it could be foreshadowing it.
    Besides, the Daleks always get to return.

  • Simon

     What I’ve read on another site mentions “New Earth” which also had people made who where also called “The Flesh” so thats probably what the doctor meant. 

  • demoncat_4

    given how now that the doctor has a dupe seems the ground work is being layed for the time lords to return again and also proalby mean once  and for all the doctor has to see he is no longer alone either that or the time lords are coming back as part of a plan by the master back again. and think the writers decided to forgot rory got cloned to save them a head ache to keep track of.

  • Robert Duncan

     Someone beat me to it, but yeah, Rory mentioned he knows exactly what it’s like.

  • Coniks

     Remember New Earth and the Cat nun/nurses? Flesh was there. Any chance of them being the same clone race progenitors?

  • Darrinlc

    Ganger Doctor can’t be the one from the Astronaut episode.  It tried to regenerate remember. 

    Acid.   Acid is the most important thing in this episode.  Where did it come from, and why do people in the city need so much. 

    Doctor’s killer.   Duh.  It’s a second River Song.  Doctor sees her death, she has to see his.  TimeTraveler’s wife.     Also why she is in jail of course.

    Amy’s kiddo.   Amy brings the Silence… remember it. Important.  

  • Jacob

    Who says the Ganger Doctor can’t regenerate? The other gangers are all human, why wouldn’t he be all Time-Lord?

  • Charles Smith

     “Always with the Rory”

  • Lalo Martins

     The Doctor: Ganger Doctor, Meta-crisis Doctor, Jenny. You rascal, you. Bringing back the time lords all on your own.

  • Brandon Cyphered

    Hmm. Good point!

  • Brandon Cyphered

    “There’s two Doctors now. Who says that the one that died isn’t the Ganger?”


  • Mybad

    Here’s some food for thought.. The time lord clone of the Doctor might be the one that gets killed by the spaceman! The real doctor remains in hiding. 

  • Jayz

     So this is really not sounding like a show a newbie could get into?

  • maths

    Sure – from the start of the series. I don’t see why not. Granted, the continuity is a big draw, but it’s not a barrier by any means.

  • Jacob

    Typically, the changing of the Doctor’s is a great starting point. If you start with the Eleventh (ignore that, it can be very intimidating if you think about there being eleven doctors so far) Doctor, there’s really only one prior story you’d need to see, which would be “Silence in the Library”/”Forest of the Dead” in Series 4, because it introduces a recurring character, and it’s worth seeing how the Doctor met her. You can start with the beginning of Series 5, see if you like the show, go watch that story (it’s probably going to be very important as we get closer to figuring out who River Song is), and then realize your life before Who was shallow and barren and utterly devoid of anything resembling joy.

  • Shawn

    What he said ^^

  • Anonymous

    A few folks have drawn a link between the Flesh and the Nestene, but I don’t think that’s it. The Nestene is a disembodied intelligence that animates plastic to make extensions of itself; the Flesh is an intelligent _substance_ that can animate itself, and said animates are independent.

    Also, remember this takes place two centuries AFTER the three (onscreen) appearances of the Nestene on earth, so it has already been in existence. There’s no information thet the Nestene have access to time travel.

    I do think it’s going to tie into the Doctor, possibly during his UNIT days, but not from an existing adventure, or at least not likely.  

  • Anonymous

    The goop in Rose was plastic, into which the Nestene Consciousness had placed itself, which is why The Doctor was trying to drop a vial of anti-plastic solvent into it. 

  • Guest

    The latest season is not something anyone would really want to get into watching! It really is the worst show on TV at the moment.
    It has never been the greatest series, but the last five episodes of the new season have been truly awful.

  • LightningBug

    I completely disagree!

  • Anonymous

     Isn’t it fairly obvious that the”Doctor” who was 1100 in the opening of series 6 (and died) was the ganger, and the person who shot him in the space suit was the real Doctor?

  • guest

    Just speculation here, but perhaps the timelord we see die at the season opening is the flesh duplicate and not the real doctor? Also, maybe the Silence are agents of the Master and this is another attempt at him to return to this space/time? Do the Flesh catch colds? Perhaps the sneezing will allow the doctor to later determine the real one from the fake. Flesh does not a time lord make, a time lord absorbes temporal radiation to regenerate and I guess the Ganger will know this. 

  • Jeremyo22

    The curse of the black spot had two doctors. Just not two time lords.