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30 July 2015 @ 08:51 pm
NuWho Rewatch: The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People  
The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People is an odd sort of story. It's position in the season running order frames it as almost, but not quite, a big dumb two-parter and maybe that is the best description for it. It is certainly the last of the form, Moffat opting for a far higher proportion of single episodes in his next two series. The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People is a tale of dubious ethics, personal identity and human failings. It also involves a fair amount of running around though, I think, it is less focused on delivering spectacle than the "big dumb two-parter" generally is.

To be honest, I don't like it much, but I'm aware that is because I, in general, dislike stories in which the Doctor's efforts are continually undermined by the human failings of those about him even though, arguably, these are stories that try to deliver a bit more than monster of the week.

Interestingly NLSS Child, having struggled somewhat to follow the plot and ideas in The Doctor's Wife was quickly and easily able to grasp the details of the ethical and philosophical questions being explored here and maintained a fairly constant commentary upon things like the appropriate use of language (why you shouldn't refer to the original versions of the characters as the "real" versions), and how you might resolve issues around personal relationships. This suggests the story was doing pretty well in communicating its ideas to a younger audience. She was puzzled by why it was eventually the Rebecca ganger that went psychotic while the others reached an accommodation with the humans, but to be honest I felt that was fairly poorly motivated (it seemed to devolve down to "she was always a bit timid so obviously she's the weak link that goes mad") and was largely there to provide a villain/monster and drive the final chase.

She was also very disturbed by the Doctor's destruction of Amy's ganger at the end. I told her that that particular ganger was still directly controlled by Amy and did not have a separate consciousness like the ones in the factory. I'm fairly sure that is the reading that the story intends, but I don't think it is actually the message the story conveys - particularly in its portrayal of discarded gangers which are still conscious and its suggested that ? and ? at the end will be lobbying for all gangers (not just those given separate existence by freak solar events) to be given rights. It is one of those cases where, I think, the story the writer wants to tell does not mesh as well as it might with the overall arc plot into which it fits.

I still don't really like this story but while I'm not convinced it really warrants being spread over two episodes, I think it holds together pretty well on a second viewing and avoids a lot of the problems that afflicted previous stories of the same kind.




metanews coding (LJ): <a href=http://louisedennis.livejournal.com/305336.html>NuWho Rewatch: The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People</a> (LJ) <i>Discussion of the sixth series episodes</i>

metanews coding (DW): <a href=http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/166323.html>NuWho Rewatch: The Rebel Flesh/The Almost People</a> (DW) <i>Discussion of the sixth series episodes</i>


This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/166323.html.
 
 
 
daniel_saunders: Leekleydaniel_saunders on July 31st, 2015 02:27 pm (UTC)
I'd broadly agree with this. It's a story that easier to admire, at least a bit, than to love. In many ways it was undermined by the previous year's Silurian two-parter exploring similar territory less successfully. I'm glad they didn't go for the easy option of killing all the gangers, though. And I share NLSS child's upset at Amy's ganger's death. I do think the idea of substituting a companion for several stories is a bold and mostly successful one, although the fall-out from the situation in the second half of the season is handled badly.

Big Dumb Two-Parters may be making a comeback sooner than you think...
louisedennis: Doctor Wholouisedennis on August 1st, 2015 10:40 am (UTC)
I think it was a little convenient that at most one, from each human/ganger pair survived.

I agree that the substitute Amy situation works well up to around this point. I think subsequent confusions about the actual timeline of River's childhood don't help with understanding what follows.