Review: Doctor Who 6.06: The Almost People

By Heather S. Vina

[spoilers ahead]

Written by: Matthew Graham

Previously: The Doctor, Rory and Amy arrived at a factory set in a monastery on Earth. There, a group of factory workers are using something called “the Flesh” to create doppelganger puppets of themselves that they can use as they mine an acidic substance. Solar flares hit the factory, causing the doppelgangers to come to life, with the same memories and feelings as the humans they were based on. The Doctor tries to broker a peace between the Gangers and the humans, but one of the humans, Cleaves, shoots one of the Gangers and blows that plan to hell. The Gangers and humans team up separately, with the Doctor and Amy with the humans, while Rory goes running off to try and find one of the missing humans, Jenn. The humans barricade themselves in the citadel, only to find that the Flesh has created a copy of the Doctor.

Recap: Ganger Doctor is struggling to stabilize and deal with his past lives. He keeps cycling through different regeneration moments, most especially Tom Baker’s Four. I have to say, Matt Smith does an excellent impression of Tom Baker here with his “Would you like a Jelly Baby?” line. When I first saw this episode, I actually thought that was Tom Baker’s voice! On second hearing, it’s just an impression. But a really good one!

Anyways, the real Doctor is urging the Ganger Doctor to hold on, that he can stabilize, but the Ganger Doctor is having a difficult time processing it all. He keeps screaming, “Why?!” While the Doctor deals with his doppelganger, the others continue to barricade the door against the Gangers, who are trying to break it down. Amy quizzes the others about any guns or weapons, but Jimmy tells her they’re a factory; they have no need of weapons. You know, until you go to war against your doppelganger that has come to life, that is! There may be no guns, but the Gangers do find a weapon to use against the door: acid.

Meanwhile, the Ganger Doctor has stabilized, and both Doctors are enjoying talking to each other on the same “wavelength”. Cuteness ensues as they finish each other’s sentences and discuss a plan, since Rory and Amy might not trust both of them. Of course, because they know each other’s thoughts, they don’t actually verbalize the entire plan for the viewers! But it’s cute to see the Doctor so pleased at getting to interact with himself.

Amy calls the Doctor over and both come up, telling her they had to establish a few “ground rules”. She looks down and notices the shoes that they are wearing. One Doctor has on his regular shoes; the other has the shoes the real Doctor borrowed after he burned his by standing in acid. She sarcastically remarks on them trying to make everything less confusing and both Doctors tell her to “breathe”. They explain to her that they need to get both humans and Gangers topside, but Cleaves remarks that it will be hard to do, since the Gangers are trying to kill them. Because Cleaves, you know, killed one of them! Nobody points that out to her, but Amy does point out to the Doctors that they are trapped.

Not so fast, though, as between the Doctors, they discover an escape route: a hatch that they can crawl through. Just in the nick of time, as the Gangers break through the door. Alas, they arrive just as Cleaves and the Doctor are sealing up the grate and escaping through the tunnel.

Meanwhile, Ganger Jenn is in a hallway, having a mini little breakdown by seeing Flesh in the walls. Shaking herself out of it, she determinedly strides down the hall, completely missing Rory spying on her from a corner.

The Doctor and the humans have made it out into a hallway, themselves, and are discussing trying to reach the mainland so that they can send help. Unfortunately, the acid leaking into the hallways has interacted with the stone, creating a noxious atmosphere that is starting to affect everyone. They need to get above the gas, so Cleaves leads them to the evac tower.

Gangers Cleaves, Dirken and Jimmy are back in the room, sitting there. Cleaves is complaining about a headache. Jimmy complains that the others could be anywhere, but Cleaves points out that, with the gas out there, her counterpart would have led everyone to the evac tower, to get away from the gas. Jimmy wants to go after them, but she points out that it’s an easily defensible position for the humans.

The humans make it to the room and Amy doubles over in pain, telling the Doctor she will be all right; she just must have coughed so hard she pulled a muscle, or something. As Cleaves is trying to get the communications panel up and running, Jimmy hears the bells toll and remarks that it’s midnight. It’s his son Adam’s fifth birthday.

Ganger Jimmy hears them, too, and wishes his son a happy birthday. He tells the others how excited Adam would be, up at the crack of dawn, doing this little dance he does when he’s excited. The others smile sadly, when Jenn bursts in, telling them that she has remembered. The eyes are the last to go when the humans destroy the Gangers and they always have the same question in them as they die: “Why?” Dirken and Jenn talk about reaching out to other Gangers and trying to incite a revolution. Cleaves tells them that she just wants to live in peace, but Jenn is adamant: It’s us or them. Jenn holds out her hands to them and each Ganger joins her, though Cleaves does so reluctantly. Jenn tells them that she has a plan and it will destroy them all.

Back at the evac tower, the Doctors are trying to get the power back to the computers. Amy is weirded out by the fact that there are now two Doctors and makes it clear that she feels that the Ganger Doctor is “almost” the Doctor but not the real one. The Ganger Doctor seems upset by it and calls her on it, telling her that an “almost” Doctor is not any Doctor at all. She might as well call him “John Smith”. Which is a nice callback to the fact that the Doctor (Three and Four) went by the name “John Smith” when they were stuck on Earth, working with U.N.I.T.

Anyhoo, the Doctor manages to get the power back to the computers and Amy urges Cleaves to get the tracking online so that they can try and find Rory. The Gangers see that the power is up and
Ganger Cleaves crows that she knows her own mind: The other Cleaves will be trying to communicate with the mainland. Which, in fact, Human Cleaves does. Ganger Cleaves manages to hack into the
communications, so that they can hear Cleaves’ conversation with the mainland. Human Cleaves tells the mainland that they need an evac and that their Gangers need to be destroyed, much to both Doctors’ horror. Mainland agrees with her, and tells them that they’re to reach the roof, where they will send transport. Cleaves gives them a code word, typed in, so that they will know it’s her. Ganger Cleaves preens a little at her counterpart’s intelligence, before agreeing with Jenn that they have to fight if they want to survive.

Ganger Jenn tries to access a computer panel to try and override the “thermostatic override”, but the computer won’t recognize her handprint.

Back at the evac tower, Amy asks the Doctor what he’s doing. Seems he’s making a phone call, but it’s on delay. Will we find out about this phone call in this episode? You know, I can’t remember it coming back up…Anyhow, the Ganger Doctor watches the Amy/Doctor byplay with a seriously solemn and kind of upset look on his face. When the Doctor and Amy banter a bit, she turns to look at the Ganger Doctor, with an almost smug look on her face. I like Amy as a character, but her attitude here kind of annoys me, as it seems a bit cruel, especially when she tells the Doctor that “there can be only one,” with the Ganger Doctor looking on. Interestingly enough, though, this POV of hers is gonna bite her in the butt at the end.

But back to the scene…Amy tells the Doctor to “be amazing,” but is then distracted by something in the wall. She gets up and goes to look, but is startled when the lady with the eye patch slides open the wall, looks at her, and then slides it back. The Doctor notices and calls her on it. She finally, FINALLY tells the Doctor about these appearances. Despite his concerned look, he tells her not to worry about it, that it’s a time mirage. Sure, Doctor, sure. Before she can ask him any more questions, the Ganger Doctor starts muttering, “It’s in my head” and dashes out of the room. Amy reassures the others over his disappearance and follows him.

Out in the hallway, Amy comes up to the Ganger Doctor, who has his back towards her, and apologizes for saying he’s an “Almost Doctor” and tells him that it’s just that she and the Doctor have been through so much together. She starts to admit that she’s even seen his death, but stops herself by asking this Doctor if he can die. She tells him that she might have seen that happen, when he asks again, “Why?” She tells him angrily that he invited them to see it, his death. The Doctor whirls around and grabs her, pushing her up against the wall, scaring the crap out of her. Surprised the heck out of me too! He starts rambling on about “why”, that he can feel “them” as they work each day, knowing the time was coming for them to be thrown away again. They can feel their deaths and all they can say is: “Why?” He finally lets go of her. Terrified, she runs back into the room.

Back in the evac room, the Doctor seems to have gotten a hint of this whole thing, because he puzzedly whispers, “Why?” himself, as Amy rushes in, telling him to keep the Ganger Doctor away from her. The Ganger Doctor follows and asks the Doctor if he sensed it. The Doctor tells him, “Briefly,” but not as strongly as he did. The Ganger Doctor apologizes to Amy, but she’s ticked off, telling him that they can’t trust him. He starts telling them that he can connect to the Flesh and sense what it wants. Amy keeps correcting him – rather nastily, too – that he is the Flesh. He tells them that it is much more powerful than they thought, that it can grow. Cleaves tells him that its cells can divide. The Ganger Doctor comes up to her and tells her that now it wants to do that at will. Seems the Flesh is in pain and wants revenge.

Hearing this, Amy tells him that she was right. He can’t be the Doctor; he’s just a copy. The Doctor looks a little dismayed, while the Ganger Doctor just stares at her. Cleaves tells the Ganger Doctor that it’s time for him to sit down. When the Doctor tries to protests that they are the same, Cleaves tells him that they have no problem with him, but that when it comes to his Ganger, they have do have problems. They force the Ganger Doctor to sit on a barrel. Timeout for a Ganger? Um, okay. Ganger Doctor looks at Amy and asks if this is what she really wants. She just crosses her arms over her chest and joins in the prejudice.

Back with Rory, who is still searching for Jenn. He hears her voice and follows, finding two Jenns confronting each other. Both are insisting that they are the real person and the other is the Flesh. Unfortunately, Rory has no way to tell.

At the evac center, the rescue group is telling them that they can’t get low enough to rescue them, that they have to try something else. The Doctor scans Cleaves and, when Amy tells him she wants to go out and look for Rory, he tells her that they can use the Sonic Screwdriver to track him, as Gangers and Humans give off slightly different signals. Amy calls him on it, saying that if the Sonic Screwdriver knows that Gangers are different, then he’s admitting that the Ganger Doctor is not the Doctor. The Doctor tells her the Ganger Doctor IS the Doctor, but she says, not to her. The Doctor wonders if she’s prejudiced, but Amy denies it, saying that they’ve been through too much and she can tell which one is real. Oh, Amy. Don’t you know remarks like that always come back to bite you in the end?

Rory is still trying to figure out what to do with his two Jenns. He tells them to just tell him the truth. The Doctor wants them all to live and he is with the Doctor all the way. Oh, Rory. You’re the only human in the place that agrees completely with the Doctor about the Gangers! One of the Jenns says that that’s not possible; the Flesh wants to kill them now. Rory notices that she’s limping. He asks about it, but the Jenns start fighting until one of them is pushed into a puddle of acid and melts into Flesh. The surviving Jenn tells him that she’s the real one and that they have to trust each other now. Rory sadly agrees and they head off.

In the evac center, the others see Rory and Jenn on the monitors, heading towards the thermostatic room. Amy wants to go after them, but the Doctor throws the Sonic Screwdriver towards the Ganger Doctor. The others protest, saying that they can’t let the Ganger Doctor go after them, but the Doctor stands up and tells them that he’s “rather adamant” that the Ganger Doctor go. Buzz volunteers to go with him and shares a look with Cleaves. Frankly, not a very nice look, either. The two head off and the Doctor tells Amy that he needs her to trust him. But Amy asks, “What if he’s wrong?”

At the thermostatic chamber, Jenn tells Rory that they can stir the oxygen and fix the atmosphere. She tries to start the machines, but then whimpers to Rory that she can’t turn the wheel. It’s too tight. He will have to do it. But first, she puts his hand on the panel to get it started and the computer tweets, “Human source recognized.” Considering that this is the same machine that Ganger Jenn failed to start up in an earlier scene when it didn’t recognize her, I get the bad feeling that Rory just did a very foolish thing. That bad feeling is further compounded by the creepy eyes that Jenn gives Rory as he’s spinning the wheel. Oy, Rory.

The Doctor and humans watch as the machines start up, and Cleaves tells them that Rory and Jenn just turned off the cooling vents to the acid underneath the factory. It will blow very soon. Cleaves tries to communicate with the rescue shuttle, when she grimaces and grips her head. She admits that she’s waiting for the results from her medical tests, but the Doctor tells her that she has a blood clot. Cleaves looks at him in surprise, even more so when she realizes that he’s not from Earth. Unfortunately, the evac tower starts getting hit by explosions as Cleaves is trying to give the shuttle the code word to reroute them. The computers lose power and they have to leave the room as it starts to explode.

Ganger Cleaves takes advantage of this and contacts the shuttle, telling them to meet them at the courtyard. Since she is Cleaves with all of her memories and feelings, she is able to guess the code word that the human Cleaves gave the shuttle crew.

Jenn and Rory continue on, and end up in a hallway, where they find a pile of discarded Flesh. They’re in a melted kind of form of all of the crew and Rory is shocked to see one of them open its eyes. Jenn explains that they are old forms of the crew, left to rot, yet still conscious of it. Rory is horrified and tells her that they have to let people know. Jenn plays on his sympathies, telling him that she has a plan and he has to trust her. Rory agrees.

The Ganger Doctor and Buzz are following the Sonic Screwdriver’s signal of a human outside, but the Doctor is worried because it’s fading. Alas, it fades completely as they find Jenn crumpled over, having just died. They both realize at the same time that the Jenn with Rory is a Ganger, when Buzz hits the Doctor over the head with the flashlight, knocking him out, on Cleaves’ orders. Nice, Buzz, real nice. I swear, humans aren’t looking very good in this episode. The only ones who are coming off as having any kind of decency are the Doctors and Rory, and the Doctors aren’t even human!

Meanwhile, the Doctor and the humans are heading towards the thermostatic chamber when they get to a hallway that has a bunch of eyes planted in it, staring at them. When Amy asks the Doctor why they are there, he says it’s to “accuse…us.” Frankly, it’s more than a bit creepy. The one thing I couldn’t figure out, and they don’t quite ever answer, is how the eyes got there. They don’t seem to be just coming out of the walls. Could Ganger Jenn have put them there in an effort to be morbid and accusatory? We never do find out, but I’m still curious.

Buzz is trying to get back to the others, when he gets distracted hearing Jenn’s voice. Jenn is back at the pile of discarded Flesh suits that she and Rory found, trying to comfort one of the versions of herself. Buzz comes up and accuses her of having killed “their” Jenn. Ganger Jenn tells him she’s stronger now – she can grow. And then proceeds to show him by stretching out her mouth, and attacking and killing him. Yikes!

The gang finally makes it to the thermostatic chamber, but the chain reaction has gone too far for the Doctor to be able to stop it. It’s going to blow, and soon. Alarms start going off and they rush out of the room, only to find Rory there. Amy and Rory hug. Rory tells them that Jenn found a way out. There’s a tunnel that runs under the factory from the crypt that they can use to escape from. They all rush off, but the Doctor looks a little suspicious before he follows. Hmmm….

The Ganger Doctor wakes up, and finds Ganger Cleaves, Dirken and Jimmy over him. Cleaves tells him that this is the way they will always be treated. He’s one of them. The Doctor tells them to call him “Smith, John Smith.”

The humans and the Doctor make it to the crypt, only to end up being locked in there by Jenn. Rory, na├»ve lad that he is, doesn’t understand that he’s been tricked until Jenn admits that she’s the Flesh Jenn he had talked to way back when, when she told him the story about her red boots and being lost. Rory is horrified and tries to let the others out, but is dragged away by the Gangers.

The Doctor scans the well in the room. He announces that it’s going to overheat and fill the room with acid. Unfortunately, there’s no way for them to stop it.

The Gangers and Rory have gone back to the main living area, where Rory is ranting about Jenn having tricked him by sacrificing a Flesh Jenn, and the Doctor sits on a table and stares. When the Doctor is quiet, you know he’s up to something!

The rescue group announces that they are about to arrive in the courtyard. Jenn crows that they will be rescued, the humans will be melted as they deserve, and the Factory will be destroyed. She tells the Doctor that he’s one of them, to “join the revolution.” Rory tries to rush off to go rescue the others, but the Doctor stops him.

Back at the crypt, the others are putting the lid on the well and trying to seal it in. Jimmy doesn’t believe it will hold up.

Rory is shocked that the Doctor is stopping him from saving the others. The Doctor’s reply is “ring, ring.”

Back at the crypt, Cleaves remarks that the acid is starting to eat through the lid on the well.

Rory tries again to get by the Doctor, but the Doctor yells at him to stay. I have to say, he’s rather menacing in this part. A phone rings and the Doctor snaps out of his menacing pose and back to his charming, erratic self. He tells Jimmy to answer the phone then changes his mind and says he will. It’s Jimmy’s son. Seems that was the call that the Doctor placed! I guess we got that answer, after all.

Jimmy’s son is excited and happy about his birthday, and the Doctor urges Jimmy to talk to him. But seeing his son causes Ganger Jimmy to have an epiphany, and he runs off to try and rescue the others. Ganger Jenn is angry. She tells the Doctor that he tricked Jimmy into an act of weakness. The Doctor counters that it was an “act of humanity.” Inspired, Cleaves orders Dicken to drain the acid well and he hops to it. Cleaves tells Jenn that she’s had it; there’s no point in “this ridiculous war.” She used to be a sweet kid, but now, she’s a monster and Cleaves doesn’t want her world populated by monsters. Jenn refuses to listen and rushes off, crying that she will get her revenge on humanity by herself.

In the crypt, Ganger Jimmy arrives just in time to see Human Jimmy, who had been trying to keep the lid on the acid well, die. Jimmy gives the Ganger Jimmy his wedding ring, and his dying wish is for him to be a dad to their son.

Everyone converges back on the main living area, where Jimmy finally starts talking to his son, and Rory and Amy are reunited. When Adam asks when his dad is coming home, the Doctor tells him, “Today.”

They all take off and try and seal themselves into a room, but the door won’t lock. Human Dickens runs off to lock a door farther down the corridor, but ends up being killed by Jenn, who has turned herself into a monstrous creature.

The TARDIS finally makes an appearance (She had been trapped in the ground, having fallen through due to some acid), falling through the rest of the way to the room where they are. The Doctor urges everyone to get into the TARDIS, but Monster Jenn is banging on the door and someone has to hold it closed while the others escape. One of the Doctors volunteers. Amy asks him what is going to happen to him. He tells her that since the factory is about to explode, he will die, but he has to give them time to escape. Amy is refusing when the other Doctor comes up and asks her if perhaps she thinks that he should stay, instead, being “Mr Smith.” Amy tells him, no, of course not. But this is her Doctor and she’s flown with him. Yes, she misjudged the Ganger Doctor, but he’s not her Doctor. Ah, but is he? The Doctor she thinks is the real one, the one against the door, tells her that he is the Flesh Doctor. The two Doctors swapped shoes. The one she and the others have thought was the Ganger was the real Doctor all along. The real Doctor had to know if they would be treated differently. It was important for them to learn about the Flesh and they could only do it through her eyes. Ha! You know, I had wondered if they had changed shoes at some point, but when the Doctor turned on Amy, I thought I was wrong. Turns out my first thought was right, after all. Clever Doctor. I mean, Doctors.

Anyways, Amy is horrified, now, and chastised about how she had treated the Doctors. She even has tears in her eyes, which is nice, since I really wasn’t enjoying the way she was behaving over the Doctors in this episode. She turns to the Ganger Doctor and hugs him tight, telling him that she never thought it was possible, that twice in her life…but she cuts it off. The Doctor whispers in her ear, “Push, Amy. But only when she tells you to.” Another explosion rocks the place and the Doctor goes back to holding the door as Rory urges Amy to come on.

The Doctors do a little back-and-forth between themselves. Ganger Doctor says that his death has arrived, but Real Doctor says that “this one we’re not invited to.” (Hmm. Could Real Doctor be hinting that the Doctor who died in the first episode of this season was a Flesh version?) Real Doctor tells Ganger Doctor that his molecular memory could survive and then throws him a sonic screwdriver. At this point, I’ve lost track of who has which sonic, but I’m guessing that this final throw switches them both back to their original owners. I guess.

While the others escape off into the TARDIS, Cleaves stays with the Doctor and they face Monster Jenn together, falling into Flesh when the Doctor uses the Sonic Screwdriver to dissolve them all.

In the TARDIS, Amy tries to comfort the Doctor, but he doesn’t seem very open to it. He tells the others that the TARDIS will stabilize the Gangers (Jimmy and Dirken) for good, now. They’re human. He also gives Cleaves a cure for her blood clot.

The Doctor drops Jimmy off to happily reunite with his son. He next drops Cleaves and Dirken at a press conference, with the mission to make everyone see that what they are doing with the Flesh is wrong. Cleaves and Dirken walk in, side by side, determined to do just that. Watching them go, Amy asks the Doctor if he’s okay. He tells her that he told her to breathe, as she doubles over in pain. Rory asks him what is wrong with her, but the Doctor just tells him to get her into the TARDIS.

In the TARDIS, Rory demands that the Doctor tell them what is going on with Amy. The Doctor drops the bombshell on them that Amy is having a contraction: She’s in labour. Amy and Rory are, of course, flabbergasted and in denial, since Amy doesn’t look at all pregnant. But Amy is still in pain and the Doctor is adamant and, well, this scene is much too hard to just summarize, so I’m just going to post the transcription.

Rory: You’re going to have to start explaining some of this to me, Doctor.
Doctor: What, the birds and the bees? She’s having a baby. I needed to see the Flesh in its early days. That’s why I scanned it. That’s why we were there in the first place. I was going to drop you off for fish and chips, first, but things happened, and there was stuff and shenanigans. Beautiful word. “Shenanigans”.
Amy: Hurts.
Rory: You’re okay. Breathe.
Doctor: I needed enough information to block the signals from the Flesh.
Amy: What signal?
Doctor: The signal to you.
Amy: Doctor…Doctor.
Doctor: Stand away from her, Rory.
Rory: Why? No, and why?
Doctor: Given what we’ve learned, I’ll be as humane as I can, but I need to do this and you need to stand away!
(Rory reluctantly moves away)
Amy:
Doctor, I am frightened. I am properly, properly scared.
Doctor: Don’t be. Hold on. We’re coming for you. I swear it. Whatever happens, however hard, however far, we will find you.
Amy: I’m right here.
Doctor: No, you’re not. You haven’t been here for a long, long time.

The Doctor aims the Sonic Screwdriver at Amy, who falls to Flesh and then suddenly wakes somewhere else. She’s lying in a tube-like thing, in a hospital gown, when the lady with the eyepatch appears above her and tells her it looks like the “little one” is about to arrive. Amy looks down at herself and sees her pregnant belly. The woman tells her to push and Amy starts to scream.

Review: Damn. Well, it’s funny because, when I saw the first episode in this two-parter, I was less-than-impressed. It just left me with a strange and unsettled feeling. When I saw this one, it left me blown away again how awesome this season is and how well everything has fit in so far. I think the reason the first one left me so unsettled was that it was so incomplete. Sometimes, it really is so much better to see “to be continued” episodes in one, fell swoop!

There really was so much going on in this episode. Not only for its main plot itself, but for the ongoing storyline of this season. We not only had the Humans and Gangers and surviving the factory. But we also dealt with the Doctor’s death from “The Impossible Astronaut” and answered several pesky little questions that have been going on since the first episode.

Was Amy pregnant? Yep. Real Amy was. The reason that the scan the Doctor did on Amy kept flashing between “positive” and “negative” was because the Amy he was scanning was the Flesh version, and the Flesh version wasn’t pregnant. But the real version that was connected to it was.

Does the Doctor know about his so-called “death”? Going by this episode, I would say, most definitely yes. I do like how this shows that you should never bet against the Doctor. Amy, Rory and River were trying so hard to keep the truth from him, but the Doctor hasn’t survived 900 years, so many almost-apocalyptic moments, and the death of his entire race, by being easily kept in the dark. All of those little hints all through the season so far have coalesced into one big “Yes, the Doctor knows something is going on and he’s not nearly as in-the-dark as his companions would like think he is.”

I do think it is really interesting that the Doctor himself was hinting that he already knows that the version of him that died in front of the others was a Flesh version. He seemed to come right out and say it when he was saying goodbye to the Flesh version in the Factory. One of my theories has been that the Doctor who died was not a ‘real’ Doctor and that it was the ‘real’ Doctor who shot him, to balance out the scales of timelines. But that theory keeps changing. Could be River, too. Or the little girl from the first episode. Or…I don’t know. My theory keeps switching between different ones as fast as the scan on Amy kept switching between “positive” and “negative”!

The only things we didn’t get a for-sure answer on (well, other than: Who has Amy? What’s up with her baby? And everything else to do with that) was “When did the Doctor find out?” When did he find out about the replacement Amy? When did he figure out she was Flesh? When did he realize that the others were hiding that he had “died” in front of them? Hopefully, those will come out further down the road, as we find out the answers to the mysteries of this season.

Regardless, it was nice to get some answers on those mysteries, and I’m so pleased to see that the Doctor was not as in-the-dark as everyone thought he was.

As to the Ganger storyline, that was a sad one. What is real and what is not? Are memories what make you real? Do having all of the memories and feelings of someone, yet not having actually experienced it yourself, make you as real as the person who did? Regardless of whether or not the Gangers were really who they had been patterned on, I think there was no denying that they had become real people, with feelings and thoughts of their own. This showed most clearly in the Gangers Cleaves and Jenn. Human Jenn seemed to be fairly timid and unsure. Definitely not someone who would become vengeful and vicious in her desire for revenge. Ganger Jenn even went so far as to sacrifice one of her Flesh sisters to trick Rory. For as much as she claimed that she was fighting for their survival, she was quite willing to sacrifice one of her own for her cause.

And Ganger Cleaves was a much-less-hardened version of Cleaves. Human Cleaves was almost the equivalent of Ganger Jenn, in her desire to go to war against the other group. Ganger Cleaves was the one most reluctant to fight, the one who just wanted peace. By having Cleaves and Jenn start to morph into people so different from those they were patterned on, it proved that these beings had become people in and of themselves. Well done.

I have to say that it was quite nice to see some people actually survive in this episode. If this had been an episode during the time of Three, or even Four or Five, everyone but the Doctor and his companions would have been killed. Yet, here, we actually had a few people make it out alive. Progress!

Finally, I’ve seen some question the Doctor’s actions in the final scene, where he returns Ganger Amy to her Flesh state. For me, there is no controversy in this. This version of Amy was not like the factory worker Gangers. Because of the solar storms, those had been brought to life, had become actual sentient beings, in and of themselves. This hadn’t happened with Amy’s version. She wasn’t “real”. She was as much a puppet as those Flesh suits had been at the beginning of the episode. Something to keep Amy’s mind occupied while she was being held prisoner and to keep the Doctor from discovering that his companion was trapped somewhere. The Flesh Amy was a puppet of Real Amy’s mind and always had been. Thus, why she kept seeing the woman with the eyepatch: flashes of what was really happening to her. Thus, why the scan kept going between positive and negative. Thus, why Ganger Amy felt the real Amy going into labour. Thus, why the Doctor kept telling her to breathe and gave her that speech at the end about how they were coming for her. Thus, why the TARDIS never stabilized her form, as it did the other Gangers. The Doctor didn’t dissolve a Ganger who could have lived on her own. He disconnected the Flesh puppet from Amy’s mind and, when he did, the Flesh lost its form and Amy woke up.

And really, there was nothing else he could have done.

Quotes:

Doctor #1: Rory and Amy may not trust the both of us.
Doctor #2: You thinking what I’m thinking?
Doctor #1: Inevitably.
Doctor #2: You see, I’m glad we’re on the same…
Doctor #1: …wavelength! See, great minds –
Doctor #2: Exactly!
Doctor #1: Is that what you were thinking?
Doctor #2: Yes, it’s just so inspiring to hear me say it!
Doctor #1 (laughs): I know!

Amy: Okay, well, I’m glad you solved the problem of confusing.
Doctor #1: That’s sarcasm.
Doctor #2: She’s very good at sarcasm.
Doctors both: Breathe!

Doctor #1 (who has just found an escape route and said “Yowza”): You know, I’m starting to get a sense of just how impressive it is to hang out with me.
Doctor #2: Do we tend to say, “Yowza?”
Doctor #1: That’s enough. Let it go, okay? We’re under stress.

Doctor #1: Am I crazy, Doctor?
Doctor #2: Well, you did once plug your brain into the core of an entire planet, just to hold its orbit and to win a bet.

Cleaves: Exactly how long do we got?
Doctor: An hour. Five Seconds. Uh, somewhere in between.

Doctor: This is going to overheat and fill the room with acid. Just as a point of interest.
Cleaves: And we can’t stop it?
Doctor: Just as a point of interest, no.

Doctor: If you have a better plan, I’m all ears. In fact, if you have a better plan, I’ll take you to a planet where everyone is all ears.

Doctor: I expect chocolate for breakfast. And if you’re not feeling sick about mid-morning, you’re not doing it right.

Ganger Doctor: My death arrives, I suppose.
Real Doctor: But this one we’re not invited to.
Ganger Doctor: Pardon?
Real Doctor: Nothing. Your molecular memory could survive this, you know. It may not be “the end”.
Ganger Doctor: Well, if I turn up to nick all of your biscuits, then you’ll know you were right, won’t you?

Rory: You’re going to have to start explaining some of this to me, Doctor.
Doctor: What, the birds and the bees? She’s having a baby. I needed to see the Flesh in its early days. That’s why I scanned it. That’s why we were there in the first place. I was going to drop you off for fish and chips, first, but things happened, and there was stuff and shenanigans. Beautiful word. “Shenanigans”.
Amy: Hurts.
Rory: You’re okay. Breathe.
Doctor: I needed enough information to block the signals from the Flesh.
Amy: What signal?
Doctor: The signal to you.
Amy: Doctor…Doctor.
Doctor: Stand away from her, Rory.
Rory: Why? No, and why?
Doctor: Given what we’ve learned, I’ll be as humane as I can, but I need to do this and you need to stand away!
(Rory reluctantly moves away)
Amy:
Doctor, I am frightened. I am properly, properly scared.
Doctor: Don’t be. Hold on. We’re coming for you. I swear it. Whatever happens, however hard, however far, we will find you.
Amy: I’m right here.
Doctor: No, you’re not. You haven’t been here for a long, long time.

You can watch this episode, and the rest of season six of Doctor Who, on Amazon.com.

About Heather S. Vina

Heather's been a fan of science fiction since she was five years old and developed a crush on Captain Kirk, while watching reruns of Star Trek: The Original Series. A huge Anglophile, she loves reading and watching (and mocking!) TV, but hasn't figured out a way to make a living doing either, yet. But she lives in hope!

Heather S. VinaReview: Doctor Who 6.06: The Almost People