Posts Tagged ‘The Rebel Flesh’

Before launching into some comments on The Rebel Flesh and The Almost People which are not really unreservedly positive, I think it is important to remember a few things: this is a piece of relatively hard SF, dealing with some very thoughtful philosophical themes, with quite a high horror content, all made to an extremely high standard. And the BBC broadcast it on Saturday night in the middle of prime time. Only someone with the blackest heart imaginable could really lay into it.

Nor would I really want to, for all that I have a few issues with it. The story did one of the great Doctor Who things very well, namely establishing an atmospheric and surprisingly textured world with only a few broad strokes, all of the guest performances were good and a couple of them were very special indeed (thinking here of Sarah Smart and Raquel Cassidy).

However, in some ways the story seemed to hearken back to the days of Rusty, with some slightly overdone emotional bits and some elements which just seemed… I don’t know, but does anyone else find the concept of an acid mine slightly implausible? Particularly on 22nd century Earth.

And in other ways it seemed to look back still further (and I’m not just referring to the Dalek Invasion of Earth, Sea Devils and Robots of Death references) – in many ways this story was a corridor-jogger in the classic style, admittedly a very clever one, but mainly just characters dashing from one place to another in a bit of a panic. Lots of things were going on, but most of the important ones were internal – concerned with relationships and ideas and the overall series plot.

Having said that, one of my complaints about last year’s two-parters was that to some degree they concluded by finishing a different story from the one they started. The way in which the central concept of this story flows into the overall arc of the series was very satisfyingly done and the startling scenes at the very end of the second episode didn’t overpower the conclusion of the main story at all.

I feel I should take a moment to praise Matt Smith here. He is, obviously, terrific week-in, week-out, but in this story he was particularly good. His dual role performance was delightful but I was even more impressed with his approach to the final scenes, finding a coldness and an implacable strength in his Doctor that’s… well, it’s been there on occasion in the past, but we appear to be seeing it more and more these days. It looks like there are dark days ahead for everyone in the series, but at least we can look forward to a few answers (finally).

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