S6(32)E06 – The Almost People – Broadcast Discussion

28th May 2011 • Blog Post by Seb Patrick •

 

Part One was QUITE GOOD. Will Part Two be QUITE GOOD as well? Time to find out. It’s got a cracking title, anyway.

Oh, and apparently there’s a BIG CLIFFHANGER at the end, or something.

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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17 Responses

  1. Tce

    Jennie – your complaint about the Doctor “murdering” the Ganger Amy is slightly misaimed.

    The Doctor was adamant about helping the workers’ Gangers because the solar storm had given them independence. That is to say, before the storm the Gangers were literally just vehicles for the original’s consciousness. Hence Cleaves’ likening of them to forklift trucks, and hence why no-one got upset when Buzzer’s ganger fell into the acid. But after the storm hit they separated and became people of their own.

    Ganger Amy had not undergone that change. She was not independent. Amy, asleep in her little tube, was remotely controlling her.

    However, the Flesh, if it is indeed one collective conscious entity, would have felt Ganger Amy dissolving. Hence why the Doctor said he would be as humane as possible.

  2. Why do vicious shape-shifting monsters always morph into lumbering special effects forms that have the drawback of being slower than their human disguises?

    It was a bit of a messy episode in some ways, and I didn’t think much of some plot contrivances: Rory locking the door on Amy and co; everyone spending ages talking with the castle about to explode and Gangermonster-Jennifer trying to kill them; the convenience of only one version of each character being left alive at the end. But it was entertaining, the two Doctors’ interactions were as much fun as expected, and the cliffhanger at the end was great.

    I’ve no objection to Hologram Phone Call Kid being the reason for the Gangers mellowing out. Problem was that he came across like a combination of this and this!

    Towards the end of the episode, when the door is being held shut against Gangermonster-Jennifer, there was the following conversation:

    Ganger-Doctor: “Well, my death arrives, I suppose.”
    Doctor: “But this one we’re not invited to.”
    GD: “Pardon?”

    That exchange, combined with the talk of the Flesh’s molecules possibly surviving the vaporisation, suggests that the Doctor’s observed this Ganger’s death before. (…Or is that what Moffat wants us to think?)

    I didn’t hear those lines properly when I watched the episode, I had to go back and check them on iPlayer. I’ve had a real problem hearing the dialogue in these last two episodes – much more so than in past series, when everyone except me was complaining about the volume of the music. The fact that so much of this two-parter was filmed on location in echoey stone castles shouldn’t make that much difference to the sound quality.

    Tce:

    That is to say, before the storm the Gangers were literally just vehicles for the original’s consciousness.

    But the “their eyes asked [i]why[/i]” conversations and the whole scene with the abandoned Gangers thrown into a pile implied that they always had individual identities and memories, even when they just seemed to be remote-controlled puppets before the storm hit.

  3. Ganger Amy wasn’t a sentient Ganger – she was a Ganger in the same way the Ganger that dissolved in acid at the start of part one was a Ganger.

    Am I allowed to say “called it”, by the way? Because I kind-of sort-of did.

  4. Ganger-Doctor: “Well, my death arrives, I suppose.”
    Doctor: “But this one we’re not invited to.”
    GD: “Pardon?”

    That exchange, combined with the talk of the Flesh’s molecules possibly surviving the vaporisation, suggests that the Doctor’s observed this Ganger’s death before. (…Or is that what Moffat wants us to think?)

    Amy had earlier told the Doctor, thinking he was the Ganger-Doctor, that she had seen the Doctor die – because he’d invited them to see it.

    Of course, since “what we thought was Ganger-Doctor” was actually the “real Doctor”, the Doctor now knows why he was invited to Utah/Nevada/Arizona (one of those places with an ‘a’) – if he didn’t already.

  5. Hendiadys

    Ganger Amy had not undergone that change. She was not independent. Amy, asleep in her little tube, was remotely controlling her.

    However, the Flesh, if it is indeed one collective conscious entity, would have felt Ganger Amy dissolving. Hence why the Doctor said he would be as humane as possible.

    Is the correct answer.

  6. ChrisM

    It’s not quite as simple as that though. This latest episode suggested that indeed the Flesh did feel before the sun-storm shenanigans. I.e. the gangers were not autonomous, but the pain when they were destroyed or dissolved was real. The crazy girl who turned into a monster mentioned that she remembered each time she had been dissolved. And then there was the multi-faced blob she and Rory found which was very much alive, albeit I doubt it had any human consciousness.

    Then there was that feeling of underlying pain that the Flesh felt which the Doctors picked up on. That seemed a separate thing to the individual consciousnesses of the autonomous gangers.

    TCE’s comment…

    However, the Flesh, if it is indeed one collective conscious entity, would have felt Ganger Amy dissolving. Hence why the Doctor said he would be as humane as possible.

    … covers that to some extent. I’m sure that what The Doctor did wasn’t AS bad as the way the miners treated their gangers, but it still seemed to go against the moral message of the story, especially taking into account that the humans and gangers teamed up at the end to campaign against what was going on. I don’t think they only did that because of the possibility that more gangers might become autonomous, but rather because the whole process was rather cruel.

    Of course it seems likely that the Amy duplicate’s Flesh came from a later time period where the moral issues were dealt with. Maybe her flesh really was just a shape for a consciousness with no feelings of itself at all. That wasn’t the impression that the Doctor gave though, hence his statement that he would be ‘as humane as possible’.

    I’d have also thought that it would have been advisable to keep the ganger around. They want to track the signal to source so that they can find Amy after all. I suppose it’s possible that it might take those holding Amy a while to figure out that her avatar is destroyed, so they may continue broadcasting for a while, but I doubt it. No doubt the Tardis could have stored the signal source before the duplicate was destroyed, but I’d imagine Amy could have been moved later.

    Despite all this, I did enjoy the episode, and I liked the twist.

  7. ChrisM

    Amy had earlier told the Doctor, thinking he was the Ganger-Doctor, that she had seen the Doctor die – because he’d invited them to see it.

    I don’t think they had swapped at that point. Remember how he reacts when feeling the pain and anger of The Flesh. The other Doctor said he felt it too, but not as strong, which suggests that was the human version. (Of course he might have lied.)

  8. Hendiadys

    I think that the Doctors are swapping shoes when they’re ducking behind the console, talking about the TARDIS being sexy and so on.

    I also think that the flesh is like a hive consciousness usually, so while breaking the signal to Amy’s source would have somehow “hurt” it as a whole, there’s no question of this being anything like “murdering an Amy ganger”. The question of why the Doctor had to break the link NOW remains open, but I am presuming that Amy could be killed if she gives birth whilst still inside her avatar.

    And finally, a structural observation, for those remembering that The Curse of the Black Spot was initially episode 9. I think we can now assume that the phantom pregnancy and “don’t tell him he dies” recaps were not harking back several weeks after all, but newly shot for the new ordering. It’d be interesting to find out what else was changed.

  9. Reboot

    > I don’t think they had swapped at that point.

    Remember the “this one we’re not invited to” line from The Doctor to the Doctorganger at the end? It was The Doctor pretending to be the Doctorganger by that point, and he knows.

    > And finally, a structural observation, for those remembering that The Curse of the Black Spot was initially episode 9. I think we can now assume that the phantom pregnancy and “don’t tell him he dies” recaps were not harking back several weeks after all, but newly shot for the new ordering. It’d be interesting to find out what else was changed.

    Must be something removed, I suppose.

    And, of course, it means that episode 8 (S6b ep1) is going to have to end with some sort of reset button, since Amy was jumping about like billyo (are we going to get a time jump? Otherwise she’d have been doing that very soon after having a baby. Is she even going to remember having a kid?)

    Not to mention that the kid is going to have to go into the time loop implied by the picture Amyganger found in ep 2…

  10. Reboot

    And am I the only one who thinks they’ve been making Amy too much of a victim so far this series? There’s been her whimpering over the commlink in Day of the Moon, “DIE AMY DIE” in Doctor’s Wife, and now THIS, whose only “New Series” rival is Doctor & Jack’s treatment in the ever-crap “Last of the Time Lords”. Only Black Spot bucks that trend to any significant extent.

  11. Amy’s experienced a lot of strife this series so far, Reboot, but then so has everybody else. Lest w forget that Rory and River both saw the Doctor die. Rory has “died” three times in the last six episodes. The Doctor’s been imprisoned, cloned, had his TARDIS stolen from him, and had a companion kidnapped and replaced with a Ganger without his knowledge. I’d say things have been a bit grim for everybody so far, all told.

    But anyway.

    In many ways what happened in “Day of the Moon” foreshadows what we’ve learned in the latest episode (or epishadows, given she was apparently Ganger’d before the start of the series).

  12. Hm. Well, obviously I forgot to close that em tag properly.

  13. Reboot

    > Amy’s experienced a lot of strife this series so far, Reboot, but then so has everybody else. Lest w forget that Rory and River both saw the Doctor die. Rory has “died” three times in the last six episodes. The Doctor’s been imprisoned, cloned, had his TARDIS stolen from him, and had a companion kidnapped and replaced with a Ganger without his knowledge. I’d say things have been a bit grim for everybody so far, all told.

    I’ve spent a while trying to figure out what I was thinking of, and the word is “Prolonged”. We’ve now had two examples in five episodes of Amy being in a position of prolonged, tortured helplessness; plus one of the most “adult” scenes in the history of the show (not in the sense of sex’n’gore, but just the sheer horror of it that would maybe fly over younger kids’ heads) in the “Rory appears to die cursing Amy with hate and bile”, visibly breaking her before the ‘gotcha’ scene, which has no counterpart in the treatment the real Rory gets in the same episode. Which is why I’m likening it to Jack & the Doctor’s captive year of hell as the only counterpart

    Ultimately, to me her treatment feels, and apologies for the RTDism, more painfully “real” than some of the treatment the other two have got. I didn’t bring up the shared stuff (which River should know about the resolution to anyway if we believe the reverse-order bit); Rory’s “death” in Black Spot was bizarre – why couldn’t he cough the water out while he was on the lung machine? – which undercut any tension, while he wasn’t actually involved in his “death” in Doctor’s Wife at all. And as for the Doctor – you can hardly call the Doctor being cloned something bad when he did it deliberately, while he & Idris/Tardis get themselves out of what happened in Doctor’s Wife, which is something Amy couldn’t do in ep 2 and doesn’t look like being able to do in ep 7 (it would strain credulity if she COULD, what with months in a de-facto coma combined with the aftermath of childbirth!).

  14. And as for the Doctor – you can hardly call the Doctor being cloned something bad when he did it deliberately

    No he didn’t. Where are you getting that idea from?

  15. Hendiadys

    I thought he did it deliberately. It seemed to be part of the “knows more than he’s letting on” strand of the first episode where he’s with the vat of flesh for the first time, and letting it scan him. Then later he darts into the vat room, zaps the flesh with his sonic screwdriver, and leaves again. As if deliberately giving it a boost, or something. It’s only after that (and immediately after that, too) that the rubbery lips start poking out, saying “trust me”.

  16. Reboot

    Exactly, making that second visit sneakily. And he/they then say at the end about how duplicating himself and watching Amy’s reaction was “the only way” to get info on the Flesh. ‘Tweren’t an accident.

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