Cloonan's "Punisher" Is A "Violent, Bullet-Riddled, Bleeding" Good Time
After watching last night’s episode of Doctor Who, suddenly the Hotel California has been replaced in my heart as the least attractive place to stay in anyone’s imagination. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t five questions needing answering about “The God Complex”.
What Does The Show Have Against Faith?
This season in particular, Doctor Who has seemed to have had a strange fascination with religion and faith; not only have we seen the Order of the Headless Monks, but the Silence were ultimately revealed to be a religious order based around an unknown question – and now we have a monster that feeds on faith, and also causes its victims to worship it. Weird subconscious repetition or some kind of larger point being made? Based on this episode, I’m tempted to say it’s more the latter than the former – There was an implied argument that faith can be used to replace self-determination and self-reliance, which has always seemed to be at the core of the Who universe. But, at the same time… Aren’t viewers, like Amy, supposed to have an unshakable faith that the Doctor will save the day?
Whose Room Was Little Amelia In?
It makes a lot of sense for Amelia to have been in the Doctor’s room, representing his fear that everyone who comes with him are, essentially, stolen from their lives and doomed as a result (Think of what he said to Rita, on the stairs; this is a self-loathing Doctor we’re seeing now, unlike any we’ve seen before). But what if it was Amy’s room, and the fear was that the Doctor never came back – That he was abandoning her, once and for all? The ambiguity works really well, but also leaves questions that feels like they need to be answered before the season is done: If that was Amy’s room, then who was in the Doctor’s room (He didn’t seem that surprised – or even that scared – when he saw who it was)? And if it was the Doctor’s room, then what was in Amy’s?
(Bonus question: Why didn’t Rory find his room? Was it because he didn’t have any faith in anything – To be honest, I really don’t believe that in the slightest, because I think Rory has an unshakable faith in the inherent goodness in people. Look at his actions in the Ganger two-parter, or the way he was last week: Rory wants happy endings for everyone, he believes in them – or, much more fascinatingly to me, that he really doesn’t have anything he’s that scared of anymore?)
What Does The Doctor Believe In?
The asked, but not explicitly answered, question of the week: Amy pointed out that the Doctor has faith as well, but he neither admits it or shares what that faith is in. I think his faith is in Amy, and Rory, and all of his companions. He’s an optimist, and he has faith in the human spirit (or whatever that translates into for aliens). But then, I’m an optimist, so maybe I’m reading into things that aren’t there.
(Bonus question 2: How much of this season is all about fear? The more general fears of death, of losing someone close to you – Amy and Rory lose Melody – or losing yourself – the Gangers – or the very specific fears of both this episode and “Night Terrors” two weeks ago. Again, I can’t tell if this is intentional or just coincidental, but it’s kind of interesting, isn’t it?)
Does The Doctor Want To Die?
Was the Alien Minotaur really talking about the Doctor when he talked about death as something that would be embraced? Possibly – We’ve seen the Doctor slowly become convinced that he is as dangerous as others would have him believe over the last couple of years, as his speech to Rita demonstrates. He also knows that he has a specific date on which he will die. What if he’s not been working on ways to get around that – Time can be rewritten if someone wants it enough, as we’ve been told numerous times – but instead working towards… well, towards dying? It’s an interesting reminder of David Tennant’s final episode, where his Doctor said that he didn’t want to go; this particular Doctor seems to be realizing that, even if he doesn’t want to go, maybe it’d be better for everyone if he did. Or is this another double bluff? The teaser for next week suggests that we’ll see the Doctor try and stop being the Doctor as we know him… Would he rather rewrite time by becoming someone else and letting the Doctor die in a metaphorical sense? Change is a kind of death, after all.
Is The Earth Really Going To Collide With Another Planet?
It was an utterly throwaway line by Howard, but I can’t help but feel that there’s more there than immediately meets the eye. A hint at a future plot? An in-joke that I didn’t recognize? Maybe we’ll have the Earth collide with something else in “The Wedding of River Song” at the end of the season…?