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"I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing." - Flannery O'Connor
The Doctor's Wife 
15th-May-2011 01:00 am
DoctorTardis
"Oh my beautiful idiot, you have what you've always had. You've got me."

Watched 'The Doctor's Wife' tonight, and I'll just say it -- this is destined to be a classic story. It was, as Gaiman said, a love letter to the fans, but also a love letter to the show itself.

The idea of the Tardis taking form is such a simple, brilliant conceit that it's surprising it hasn't been done more often then the couple of times it's been attempted. In the end, if you stripped the Doctor of his companions, he would still have the Tardis. Tonight we learned that the reverse is also true: she has him as well, and by her design, too. Has there ever been a more romantic line than "Then you stole me. And I stole you"?

So many interesting avenues to explore in this episode, but one stand out is the way the Doctor averts his eyes, or turns his head away when he's speaking of emotional issues like the Time Lords with Amy and Rory. Close as he is to them, there's a line separating them from the intimacy he has with th e Tardis. He looks at her, really looks into her eyes when he's speaking from the heart.

She already knows him - she's been anticipating his needs and looking after him for 700 years, but this is the first time he can fully interact with her on his level and once the preliminary pent up from 700 years bickering is over, the truth can come out: "Look at her! She's a woman and she's the TARDIS!" Far from the sad Lonely God from the past, this Doctor is never really alone. Companions may come and go, but he always has his fellow runaway to protect him from the vastness of space, a fitting metaphor for his loneliness. It occurs to me that it's equally fitting she's not there when he dies in TIA - how could she have endured seeing her 'Thief' taken from her?

And, the more I think about it, the more that the Doctor's relationship with the Tardis and River shares so much in common. "Look at my girl..." "This is my friend River..." The Doctor is proud of their power, and is fine with them taking care of some really bad characters. Then, there's the married couple bickering between couples who know each other very, very well, or even the protective nature of River and the Tardis. So much there to think about from the dying Tardis needing water to telling Rory repeatedly that the only water in the forest is the river.

So much to think about...

Yeah, I loved it. Thank you, Neil Gaiman, for making this fan's heart beat a little faster tonight.
Comments 
18th-May-2011 12:00 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah.

It's an episode so good that it really is incredibly difficult to sort out the ideas and reactions.....

Don't mean to be negative, but.....something that's been on my mind is Rose's sniggering with Sarah Jane in the excreable "School Reunion" (actually--I think that's what it's called: I can't really remember; all I know is that I HATED that sexist shit episode)--when she and Sarah Jane mock the Doctor's apparent devotion to/attraction to the TARDIS.

Contrast "The Doctor's Wife." There's nothing of that smarminess. It could have happened, with Eleven's repeated line of "She's the TARDIS--and she's a woman!" But it doesn't happen. Most of it is due to Smith's masterful performance; some of it is due to the rest of the writing, which makes it clear that the TARDIS and the Doctor have always been a match made in heaven--the pair of adventurous thieves.


18th-May-2011 04:48 pm (UTC)
It was a sublime episode, not one false note.

When people complain about River being too strong a character, that she takes away from the Doctor, that particular scene comes to mind where Rose and Sarah Jane neatly reduce the Doctor to a cute lil boyz will be boyz silly man/boy with a crush on his transportation. That's one, and the other is the obvious vying over the Doctor's attention by teh wimminfolk who, naturally, have to compete.

Utter crapola, but it's Rusty at his finest.

Gaiman gave us a true alien in the TARDIS - she isn't humanoid until she inhabits Idris, and we really can't understand what she is, existing as she does outside time and space. What he's given us is a lovely, lovely romance between two aliens, with that 'happily ever after' most fairy tales enjoy. In this case, 'happily ever after' is something to
cherish as it points to two equals enjoying the adventure of a limitless universe.

And Amy's "Did you wish really hard is hilarious. Not a putdown, or condescending but the words of someone who really knows her Doctor.
18th-May-2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
"Did you wish really hard?" made me laugh aloud--Gillan inflects Amy's response with just the right amount of suspicion and assumption. And it's just made even funnier by the Doctor's reaction.

Under the humor, there's also the continuation of the fairy tale motif, plus the development of the Doctor's character....Idris gives the audience an insight into how the Doctor must think: when she stumbles over tenses and talks about what hasn't yet happened, there's an indication of how the universe appears to a Time Lord.

What an episode! I think I might end up with it on repeat, ad infinitum.
19th-May-2011 02:07 am (UTC)
I confess I've watched it more than a few times myself, it's that good.

Contrasting Amy and the Tardis (Sexy), there's none of that sniggering condescension you see with Rose and even Sarah Jane, sadly. I loved the way 'Sexy' and the Doctor bickered like an old married couple, but then the Doctor, and this was sooo brilliantly done, had an epiphany that he was talking to the Tardis, and he just riffed on it, happy as could be. You could say this was one of his dreams come true, even if he didn't realize it until it actually happened.

And, oh my God, 'I love you' at the end, and his happy, twirly dance when he realized she was still there. Words fail, but I'm not ashamed to admit my eyes welled up. Rory and Amy - both so concerned for him because they love him, and Rory asking him if he had a room, a loaded question if ever there was one. But he does, and it's in the console room where the soul of his 'Sexy Thing' lives.

Oh yeah, when the DVD arrives, I'll be wearing out this episode. I am sooo hoping there's commentary.
19th-May-2011 10:09 am (UTC)
"Oh, my beautiful idiot--you have what you've always had....Me."

The question about the room was certainly loaded....But it also echoed ideas from "The Lodger." When Craig gave the Doctor keys to his own room, the Doctor was inordinately pleased. To Craig, just more weirdness from his weird roommate. However, it's the Doctor--getting one's own room in the TARDIS and getting a key to the TARDIS is a big deal; it means that someone has been accepted by the Doctor as a companion.
20th-May-2011 02:24 am (UTC)
I think that line is one of the greatest in all 47 years of the Doctor. It was a simple line, but true for every single one of the various regenerations. The story is a simple one: an old man stole a box (and she stole him) and set out on an adventure.

It gives me chills to think about it, or about how much they would come to know and rely on each other over hundreds of years.

This is the part of the Doctor's room that I find so very appealing. He does want to try out life as a human, and so it's a delight to him when Craig offers him the keys when he rents the room, and when he offers them again, it's even bigger a deal. He belongs and it makes him light up with happiness.

He does have intimacy in his life, apart from the speculation about his relationship with River. He can't speak to the TARDIS, but when he does, his suspicions are shown to be true: she does take him where he needs to be, and she does love him. His room, the console room, is 'his' place where he can let his hair down, and even dance, or sulk, or question his companions and always, 'she's there, and unseen but very important part of his life.
20th-May-2011 10:37 am (UTC)
There's just something really cool about the confirmation, via Gaiman and Moffat, that the TARDIS is sentient and aware, and that there's a loving relationship between her and the Doctor. The TARDIS is, officially, another character on the show.
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