The Doctor's Wife

You know how I always say "This is the worst episode ever"? Well, they've outdone themselves, this time I really mean it, this is the worst fucking episode ever.

The Doctor, Amy and Rory are in the TARDIS, just floating around in space, when they get a distress message from another Time Lord. This message comes, not as a signal or broadcast but as a little cube that flies around. Through space. Just hoping to run into another Time Lord, I guess? I guess once you factor time travel into the equation, it doesn't really matter if it takes a billion years for your message to get to someone, but still, that's the best method you had for sending it? Really?

The message apparently has been sent from a place the Doctor has never been before... outside of the universe! Wait a minute, never been outside the universe before? What about E-space? What about the anitmatter universe? Or the place that the celestial toymaker took him? Or that parellel universe he went to? He's been outside the universe tons of times.

OK, whatever, they've never been to this specific part of outside of the universe, I guess. That's a minor point when you consider that the main thing driving the plot for this episode is an alien that takes the TARDIS's soul out and puts it into a woman. So the TARDIS has a soul now, and it can just be taken out and transferred into a person's body? Souls exist, and also machines have souls? And you can swap them from body to body? Is there any part of this that is not the stupidest thing ever?

So the TARDIS stops working, because it doesn't work without its soul, obviously (what the fuck?). So they get out and take a look around, and the woman the TARDIS soul is in, let's call her TardGirl, comes running up and acting all weird, 'cause hey, she's not used to being a human, and also she can see the future for some reason. I get it, the TARDIS is a time machine. So its soul can see the future. Why not. Once you put the words "the TARDIS's soul" into the script you may as well just go "Fuck it, anything goes now."

So they chat to the locals for a bit and it turns out the planet they're on, who I shall call Greg, is alive and sentient and also controls the people. Well, three of the people. Not TardGirl. So the Doctor figures that something bad is going on here (what, really, a mind controlling planet that made the TARDIS stop working? That seems sinister to you?) and sends Amy and Rory back to the TARDIS and locks them in, before discovering that the distress message was just a trap, there are no Time Lords here, this planet eats TARDISes.

But oh no! Greg has taken over the TARDIS by putting his own soul in in place of the TARDIS's soul! So he flies off with Amy, Rory, and one of his minions. And then the remaining locals die, leaving the Doctor there with TardGirl.

By now he's figured out that TardGirl has the TARDIS's soul, so they go find the remains of some of the eaten TARDISes to build a new one. TardGirl seems to think this is impossible for some reason, but they do it anyway, only it doesn't start, because it's got no soul. Fortunately they have a TARDIS soul handy so why they even acted like this was going to be a problem is a mystery.

Meanwhile on the TARDIS, Greg is planning to kill Amy and Rory, but they run away. HE IS THE TARDIS NOW, YOU FUCKWITS! WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU RUNNING TO? So they run around like idiots for a bit while Greg fucks with them like a cheap AM ripoff. Then TardGirl sends a psychic message to Rory telling them how to get to a secondary control room, which Greg doesn't know about even though at this point he essentially is the TARDIS.

They eventually get there and disable the shields so the Doctor and TardGirl can land their makeshift TARDIS inside the TARDIS, and in doing so they accidentally materialise on Greg's remaining minion, disintegrating him just as he was about to kill Amy and Rory.

Greg still wants to kill them all, but before he does he needs the Doctor to tell him how to jettison rooms so he can use the energy to get back inside the universe. The Doctor does so, and Greg promptly jettisons the room they're standing in. Now, last time there was a possibility of jettisoning the room the Doctor and friends were standing in, it was considered a serious danger. This time, however, it just dumps them back into the main control room, at which point TardGirl is able to vomit her soul back into the TARDIS somehow, killing Greg.

But I guess the soul isn't fully back in the TARDIS yet, because it has time to have a a painfully mawkish conversation about how they'll never get to talk again. God I hope that's true. Then Rory delivers this week's line of dialogue reminding us that there's a season-long plot arc that's going to be addressed eventually and at last the nightmare is over.

Also, they still don't seem to remember that Rory is a robot.


  1. "a place the Doctor has never been before... outside of the universe!"

    Yeah, I'm a bit happier with this if it says:

    "a place the Doctor has never been before, outside of the universe!"

    I'm okay with TARDISes being kind of intelligent. I mean, from http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/TARDIS#Organic_machines :
    "Due to conflicting evidence from various sources, such as other Time Lords and the Doctor himself, it is unclear to what extent the average TARDIS is alive, and whether that life extends beyond artificial sapience and into a biological existence. Some more-advanced TARDISes, such as Compassion, have been fully-sapient beings in their own right."

    OTOH, the whole "people's minds are like software the brain runs, so you can just move them around" thing, I find annoying. Even in Stargate Universe, when they manage to pretty much convert someone's intelligent mind process into a computer program, no one thinks this is in any way remarkable or demonstrative of any odd property. Gnnnng.

    As for this bit:
    I kind of assumed they were just dancing for Greg's entertainment while they waited for the Doctor to show up and save them, like companions often do.

    "Now, last time there was a possibility of jettisoning the room the Doctor and friends were standing in, it was considered a serious danger."

    Maybe he added the safety because that happened previously? Eh.

    And finally:
    "a painfully mawkish conversation about how they'll never get to talk again."
    Oh my yes.

  2. I don't know anything about this fully sapient TARDIS; I don't pay any attention to Expanded Universes, beyond playing some Star Wars videogames and watching the Clone Wars cartoon, but going by evidence presented in the show, the TARDIS does possess some measure of artificial intelligence, but is neither alive, nor a person in any sense. That is, evidence presented before this week's episode.

    Tom Baker's Doctor in particular made some comments about the TARDIS being "almost" or "sort of" alive "in a way", and several incarnations seem to have regarded the TARDIS in the same way that some people regard cars, that is, anthropomorphising it, but not actually believing it's a person.

    As to moving minds around, I have no problem with that, as a concept. But the way it was executed in this episode just annoyed me, both because of the whole concept of the TARDIS even having a mind of this sort, and because this show is still pretending it's supposed to be science fiction, so mind-swapping by moving souls around is just fucking ridiculous. Even more so when you add the fact that the soul in question was that of a machine.

    It's kind of insulting to those who do believe in souls too, I'd imagine, as the obvious implication is that you can manufacture souls. The Time Lords made the TARDISes, they're constructed machines. And they have souls?

    Worst episode ever.

  3. "As to moving minds around, I have no problem with that, as a concept."

    Seriously? You have no problem with pulling out a dynamic process that isn't so much software running on a machine (in the human case) as an emergent property of billions of individual units arranged in bundles that happen to produce something we call consciousness and somehow "transferring" it (side note: this is like Star Trek teleportation - when you delete the original you're actually killing someone) into a new substrate which you will then somehow arrange to be the same?

  4. It depends on the execution. For example, in Richard Morgan's books people transfer minds between bodies and the way they do it makes sense. Just zapping someone from one body to another is pretty stupid though.