S6(32)E05 – The Rebel Flesh – Post-Broadcast Discussion

22nd May 2011 • Blog Post by Seb Patrick •

Okay, whoops, I was out again last night and forgot to cue up this beforehand. I’m presuming most of you have seen last night’s ep by now, but if you haven’t already talked it out on Twitter or anywhere elsewhere, feel free to get some discussion going while you wait for Ben to show up with his review later in the week.

Seb Patrick once met Paul McGann, who immediately pretended to be Mark McGann. He writes for Den of Geek, BBC America, Film4 and the official Red Dwarf website, among others. He owns over thirty toy Daleks and wishes the Dapol factory tour was still open.

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11 Responses

  1. ChrisM

    Ok. Might as well set the ball rolling. In case it’s just me in which it didn’t roll very far, but..

    Spoilers. Of course.

    I liked this episode a lot. A more standard Doctor Who episode compared to the others we’ve had (The Black Spot being an exception) but that’s no bad thing. I loved the mind bending time related stuff of the first two Moff-episodes, and I liked the quirky character and historical stuff of Gaiman’s episode, but we don’t want that all the time. (More are still very much welcome though.)

    The Gangers were suitably creepy yet not without dimension, nor even monsters in the way I understand the word. And that bit at the end…. I wonder if this episode will relate to the Moff-time-arch plot after all. Can The Flesh copy the ability to regenerate along with everything else? (Bearing in mind the Future Doctor starts to regenerate before being finished off.)

    Oh and it was good that Rory has a nice thread of his own this episode(s).

    Hopefully they’ll keep up the quality for the second half!

  2. ChrisM

    Oh ignore the second sentence. Reading it back I realise I left out a couple of words and it makes little sense. I was starting to waffle anyway.

  3. Reboot

    > I was out again last night and forgot to cue up this beforehand.

    Might I suggest you cue up posts for The Almost People and A Good Man Goes To War right now, before you forget again? :p

  4. Hendiadys

    I have to watch this episode again. I think I missed the part that explained why Rory was so protective of the female ganger whose name I’ve forgotten. It seemed like they were old friends from years ago, or something.

    Other than that I was quite happy with the episode, but it all depends how the second part unfolds. The Doctor seemed to create the clone of himself intentionally, so I’m thinking he knows more about what’s going on than we’re aware. I like that when he’s alone the Doctor’s thoughts aren’t always being told to us for the sake of exposition.

  5. Hendiadys

    Also, when the camera is swooping behind the stairs in the TARDIS as the “produced by Marcus Wilson” credit is on the screen, there appears to be a Pot Noodle on one of the steps, its logo facing the camera.

    Can somebody with a higher resolution version of this episode than me confirm what it is please? It’s so odd; that’s exactly what it looks like but I can’t for the life of me fathom why there would be one in the TARDIS console room, at all. Maybe it’s to go along with the “pub culture” element of them playing darts in there, or something. It’s so deliberately placed that I’d assume it was product placement if it wasn’t the BBC.

  6. A solid, decent episode; I really enjoyed it.

    It was very reminiscent of last year’s Hungry Earth/Cold Blood two-parter (a familiar setup also used in the likes of The Impossible Planet/Satan Pit: the Doctor and co arrive at an isolated outpost where for some time a small group of workers in an extreme environment have been Messing With Things Man Should Never Know…). In some ways it felt like an attempt at doing The Hungry Earth’s story again, but right this time!

    I liked the matter-of-fact way the characters treated the deaths of Gangers in the pre-title sequence. And I thought parts later in the episode were surprisingly mature and understated on the nature of the clones’ identities and the ethics of their treatment.

    … But unfortunately, that promise disappointingly degenerated into a standard villainous “WE MUST WIPE THEM ALL OUT” speech. Obviously I dunno how next week’s will develop, but maybe forcing both groups to team up against a common threat would allow for interesting tension and mistrust without the need for it to become a completely murderous “us or them” conflict?

    Should be fun next week, seeing how the two Doctors interact! Will the presence of the duplicate Doctor push our Doctor’s views on Gangers’ Rights And Identity Ethics to the limit? Will Ganger-Doctor share Original Doctor’s pacifism?

    I hope the Doctor’s death in episode 1 isn’t resolved by it being merely a Ganger. In the first episode, doesn’t Amy says something like “it’s got to be a clone or a robot or something” and River confirms it’s the original? Now obviously River could be fooled by a clone that’s absolutely indistinguishable (right down to the regeneration cycle effect), but I mainly took that as Steven Moffat providing a shorthand dismissal of that line of thinking: “You should speculate about other theories, fans!” So after that, for me it’d be a bit of a cop-out if the eventual solution does turn out to be merely a clone rather than a more creative explanation.

    At one point in the episode, Ganger-Jennifer says that she remembers every one of her childhood illnesses. To which I thought: Hey, I don’t remember literally every time I was ill as a kid! And that triggered an idea, not specifically Who-related: someone should write a sci-fi story about cloning where each clone has a more perfect recall of the original’s life than the original does. That’d be an interesting twist to add to the old “is a clone or AI mind backup really me?” debate in science fiction. It’s almost certainly already been done, though!

    I think I missed the part that explained why Rory was so protective of the female ganger whose name I’ve forgotten. It seemed like they were old friends from years ago, or something.

    I found Rory’s protectiveness of Jennifer one of the most interesting elements of the story. In Confidential they said the reason he connected with her was that he’s known bossy Amy since they were both kids, so this is the first time (outside his job as a nurse) he’s really had someone looking to him for protection. But what they didn’t say is that the subtext is that his empathy for her must be linked to his time as an Auton. Maybe that’ll be explicitly mentioned next episode?

  7. Hendiadys

    I found Rory’s protectiveness of Jennifer one of the most interesting elements of the story. In Confidential they said the reason he connected with her was that he’s known bossy Amy since they were both kids, so this is the first time (outside his job as a nurse) he’s really had someone looking to him for protection. But what they didn’t say is that the subtext is that his empathy for her must be linked to his time as an Auton. Maybe that’ll be explicitly mentioned next episode?

    After two viewings I still found this part of the episode really jarring. A couple of odd lines probably compounded this: the one where he says “welcome to my world”, and the other where he says something like “I’ve got you back now; you’re safe now”. I really don’t know what the subtext could be for these sentences, but I found the whole ‘looking after Jennifer’ sub-plot quite difficult in any case – I didn’t follow why he thought she needed to be protected, particularly. His energies just seemed a little patronising to me.

  8. Mammalian Verisimilitude

    Wasn’t “Welcome to my world” a reference to Rory’s habit of dying?

  9. Hendiadys

    Was it?

  10. Wasn’t “Welcome to my world” a reference to Rory’s habit of dying?

    I thought so.

    Also, when the camera is swooping behind the stairs in the TARDIS as the “produced by Marcus Wilson” credit is on the screen, there appears to be a Pot Noodle on one of the steps, its logo facing the camera.

    Can somebody with a higher resolution version of this episode than me confirm what it is please?

    Not in HD, but the FlickFilosopher has a screengrab of that shot in her blog post on the episode. Lots of speculation there: that the borrowed shoes might turn out to be a useful way to tell the two Doctors apart, that there might already be more than one Jennifer Ganger running round… even a mad theory that the Eleventh Doctor might have been a Ganger all along, right back to The Eleventh Hour! (If we’re speculating to that extent, what about this one by me: WHAT IF “the early stages of the technology” refers to the early stages of Time Lord Regeneration technology?)

  11. I’ve got you back now; you’re safe now

    It was, I’m sure, “I’ve got your back; you’re safe now”. The first part being a common idiom for “I’ll guard the door [whilst parts of your flesh fall off and you realise you’re a duplicate]”

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