Review: Doctor Who – 6×5 – The Rebel Flesh

Oh good. Running up and down corridors. How I've missed that

The Rebel Flash

In the UK: Saturday 21st May, 6.45pm, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday 21st May, 9pm/8c, BBC America

Erm, yes. Doctor Who. It’s running up and down corridors, while threatened by a bad special effects enemy generated through odd science and with poor motivation, isn’t it?

Sigh. I wasn’t expecting much from Matthew Graham after Fear Her, and given the last non-Moffat Moffat-years two-parter was the dreadful The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood, I wasn’t expecting too much from this either. And there were some nicely creepy bits, some decent direction, some decent acting and some good ideas underneath it all. Unsurprisingly, given this was Matthew Graham (co-creator of Life On Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus So I Won’t Have Any Good Ones In My Show), Rory actually came out of this quite well and didn’t come across as a total sponge for once – he didn’t even die once – while Amy got precisely bugger all to do except scream.

But largely, this was an extremely boring episode where not much happened except people running up and down corridors in a slight homage to The Thing/The Clonus Horror. Worse still, come 20 minutes, I’m not just looking at the clock thinking "Oh, God, we’ve got another 25 minutes of this", I’m looking at it thinking "Oh, God, we’ve got another one of these next week as well."

Expectations: met.

However, your mileage may vary, so leave a comment or a link to a review on your own blog.

PS Is it just me or if you’re going to have a story arc that runs across an entire season, it doesn’t count having the same reference in every single week: yes, Amy is both pregnant and not pregnant; there’s a woman with an eye-patch behind every wall; and the Doctor’s going to die and Rory and Amy are wondering whether to tell him. We remember that from episodes 2, 3 and 4. Is anything else going to happen?




  • [Rob, you’re right!] Boooooooooooorrrrrrrrrring. So very boring.

  • Rory didn’t die. That was a plus.
    Otherwise I generally agree with you, though I did like Rory standing up to everyone & the understanding he showed Jennifer. And the end was quite fun. WHY did they let Matthew Graham write a two parter? I think Fear Her is my least favourite NuWho story. Maybe next week might be better? She says forlornly…

  • Rory didn’t die. That was a plus.
    Otherwise I generally agree with you, though I did like Rory standing up to everyone & the understanding he showed Jennifer. And the end was quite fun. WHY did they let Matthew Graham write a two parter? I think Fear Her is my least favourite NuWho story. Maybe next week might be better? She says forlornly…

  • Marie

    I really enjoyed it. It’s the Cat Nuns all over again – I was the sole cheerleader for that one too. At first I thought it was a bit ropey but after a while I started to find it proper creepy and then I got really into it. I like the characters and I want to know what’s going to happen to them. I like the doppelganger dilemma though I’m sure it’s been done before. All the acid everywhere was a nice touch and I’ve always dug a scary castle. And Rory grew a pair! Fear a sappy ending next week though.
    I also wonder if this one might end up being more significant than it looks – particularly I thought that the control stations were quite similar to the technology inside the space suit in ep 2. And I started to think we might have a doppelganger rock up later in the series. Doctor replaces himself and fake Doctor gets killed in ep 1, something like that. There was time for either Rory or Amy to have been replaced while they were all unconscious as well. Just a thought.
    You’re not wrong about the repetition of ‘story arc’ details. And when is River Song coming back?
    (My blog is down, by the way.)

  • Marie

    I really enjoyed it. It’s the Cat Nuns all over again – I was the sole cheerleader for that one too. At first I thought it was a bit ropey but after a while I started to find it proper creepy and then I got really into it. I like the characters and I want to know what’s going to happen to them. I like the doppelganger dilemma though I’m sure it’s been done before. All the acid everywhere was a nice touch and I’ve always dug a scary castle. And Rory grew a pair! Fear a sappy ending next week though.
    I also wonder if this one might end up being more significant than it looks – particularly I thought that the control stations were quite similar to the technology inside the space suit in ep 2. And I started to think we might have a doppelganger rock up later in the series. Doctor replaces himself and fake Doctor gets killed in ep 1, something like that. There was time for either Rory or Amy to have been replaced while they were all unconscious as well. Just a thought.
    You’re not wrong about the repetition of ‘story arc’ details. And when is River Song coming back?
    (My blog is down, by the way.)

  • I thought that too Marie, about the doppelgangers – it seems to good an opportunity to miss. And I feel sure that Rory having not been human/remembering it all is going to be significant. I do wish they’d give Amy something to do other then scream though.

  • I thought that too Marie, about the doppelgangers – it seems to good an opportunity to miss. And I feel sure that Rory having not been human/remembering it all is going to be significant. I do wish they’d give Amy something to do other then scream though.

  • SK

    ‘And when is River Song coming back?’
    I would hope that the answer is ‘never’, except that that would be too soon.

  • SK

    ‘And when is River Song coming back?’
    I would hope that the answer is ‘never’, except that that would be too soon.

  • You say Cat Nuns all over again, I say Lazarus Experiment (mysterious technology that will turn out to be important later in the series). And yes, every episode without River Song in it somehow feels incomplete. Might be because Amy and Rory have become so bland – well Rory was bland to begin with, but what’s happened to Amy?

  • You say Cat Nuns all over again, I say Lazarus Experiment (mysterious technology that will turn out to be important later in the series). And yes, every episode without River Song in it somehow feels incomplete. Might be because Amy and Rory have become so bland – well Rory was bland to begin with, but what’s happened to Amy?

  • As you said, the only great thing I can say about it (and I fell asleep the first time, though that just may be a process of aging) is it made me think more of the Rory character and of Darvill, who I have not been keen on previously.

  • Wow! Marie – I salute you. I watched this late at night (11.30pm) after getting back from watching David Tennant and Catherine Tate on stage in London (*cough* – just drawing attention to my gratuitous squeeing at that treat).
    I thought ‘The Rebel Flesh’ was actually rather good: it certainly creeped me out sufficiently to plead with Neil not to leave me alone on the sofa watching it. Mind, I have always had a thing about transformation type stories. Not sure how I feel about the end of this two-parter but its a better two-parter than I’d expected given Graham’s previous NuWho effort.

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