Review: Doctor Who – 6×11 – The God Complex

At last! One I liked!


In the UK: Saturday 17th September, 7.15pm, BBC1/BBC1 HD. Available on the iPlayer
In the US: Saturday 17th September, 9pm/8c ET/PT, BBC America

Now that’s more like it. I was worried for a minute that I wasn’t going to love any episodes of Who in this second half of the season. But good old Toby Whithouse (School Reunion, The Vampires of Venice and creator of Being Human) has saved the day. And who’d have thought he’d have done it with a story that referenced the good old Nimon?

You know, if it hadn’t been for Murray Gold’s bizarre scoring during the first half of the episode, a dodgy prosthetic for the monster and some oddly cliched supporting characters, this would have been pretty near perfect for me.

It was scary. It said something. It had pathos. It was funny. It kept you guessed. I liked Rory, who was barely a dick once and was actually quite good at times. I liked Amy, who was actually nice at times.

I liked the faux new companion who was pleasantly smart. I loved the direction, which managed to avoid most of the usual Shining conventions any scary thing set in a hotel typically appropriates while still using them when needed. The Doctor was good, Matt Smith was good. Even David Walliams worked, despite essentially being David Walliams in a mask. It had a great surprise (probably fake-out) write-out for Amy and Rory. There were probably a few guest appearances by the Silence, although we’ve all forgotten them by now. It even mentioned the Nimon. 

Hell, they ended up in Tron land. How could anything that ended up in Tron land not be great?

So I loved it. Proper loved it. 

But how about you?

  • benjitek

    I didn’t care for this one, or any that have aired so far. A cheap hotel, a cheap Halloween monster costume, and not much of a plot really shed light on the reported series budget cuts 🙁

  • I thought the dialogue really clobbered us over the head with Rita’s fate, which was a shame because I would have enjoyed seeing her as a new companion. But taking her along would have negated the reason why the Doctor was leaving Rory and Amy behind. Otherwise I enjoyed this one a lot…. Maybe even more so because I work in a creepy hotel.

  • Mark Carroll

    I liked Rita too. I don’t remember hotel decor clashing so horribly but maybe your hotel’s as awfully decorated. (-:

  • Mark Carroll

    Breathtaking sets and special effects are probably the costliest part of that collection. I think it should be possible to still have rather good episodes that demand rather less, so long as there is still good plotting and acting, which might be rather more affordable? After all, often with TV shows these days (er, maybe not BBC though) they often seem to me to be fairly unnecessarily very high quality visuals indeed, but it’s really only when the actual story is falling flat that I would start to notice bits of set wobble or whatever.
    I admit the monster costume wasn’t the best, though perhaps not quite as bad as the Zarg from Babylon 5.

  • Mark Carroll

    I think I must have blinked for the moment that the episode said something. Still, I liked it overall, though I thought the alien overdid the please-oppress-me thing.
    I did find it a bit strange that the monster had reluctance so easily drawn from it yet nobody had managed to make that go far enough on all the previous occasions it must have gobbled people’s whatever up; also, that it fell apart so rapidly after a brief delay in feeding, does it really have such a tiny faith-stomach? and I was rather surprised that such an advanced thing that can completely change one’s faith and beliefs, even among different species still needs a mechanism so basic as a monster having to come get you as part of the process. There was also a bit of a build-up to what might be in the rooms of people we know, that didn’t really get satisfied.
    Certainly worth watching, though, one of the better things on television these days. (And it looks great next to Torchwood. (-:) Unlike you, I think I did like last week’s more; I also think it said more.

  • I’m still feeling woozy from this DW episode: I don’t think I quite know where my head is at. I think the fact it made me feel so profoundly sad was a good thing. Really want to see the final two season episodes now though (I’ll be delayed with this coming one, but firmly sat with the nation watching the finale).
    You know what: I still love this programme even when it rips me to shreds.

  • Great review!
    I don’t think I was as positive about the episode as you though. I think the biggest problem in the episode was that it was too easy for the Doctor to take Amy’s faith away from her.
    But so many of the problems in the narrative of this episode stem directly from the writers having no idea of Amy as a character, as I discuss in more detail here:

  • julie paradox

    It wasn’t any easier than destroying Ace’s faith.

  • TemparJ

    Well, I thought it was a load of bull.
    Load of Bull!!! Get it?

  • “Well, I thought it was a load of bull.Load of Bull!!! Get it?(Sorry)”
    I’m not ashamed to say that I laughed at that.

  • Anna

    Lisa says woozy, I say queasy… I was disturbed during the first half and weeping in the second, pretty much. So I can’t really say I *enjoyed* it as such, but I think it certainly achieved what it set out to… Need to watch it a second time though for sure.
    One thing that doesn’t sit perfectly with me – and I’m not sure whether this is a spoiler so will stick on the safe side – I’ve always got the feeling that Amy’s *fundamental* faith is actually in Rory. So often the device has been used that we think that she’s talking about the Doctor, only for us to realise that she’s talking about Rory… /end

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