This review contains a punny title and spoilers, as usual.
Why, oh why do I surf the internet before watching Doctor Who? I went on one of my favourite websites (people on Facebook have gotten better at not letting stuff leak in their statuses…I wonder if I have anything to do with that?) and immediately learned what happened at the end of the episode. This, coupled with the opening narration, made actually watching the episode itself unnecessary for me.
In a way, this episode reminded me of a farce, such as Fawlty Towers. Many elements were planted throughout the episode so they could come back later to bite the main characters in their collective arses. Fawlty Towers uses much the same formula for comedic effect, and this two-parter conclusion for The Doctor, Amy and Rory does the same. Every element that makes the ‘stinking apes’ (which The Doctor calls them indirectly; Homo Reptilia would imply they evolved from apes like we did*) look bad comes into play at the worst possible time.
I will say this in the writer’s favour though: the characterisation for the episode was top notch. One of them was written to be the Resident Idiot (how do you say that in Welsh?) but the thing is, I think that any one of us could easily see ourselves in her situation. All she was doing was trying to help her family…in absolutely the worst way possible. Just when things are looking up, Drigiannydd Idiot (yes, I looked it up…what of it?) comes blundering in and sounding like the most racist human imaginable (I would say Hitler is the most racist human imaginable, but he didn’t know about the Underground Space Reptiles From Space).
I don’t like any story where the characters are forced to be stupid for the sake of the story, but sometimes (as appears to be the case here) it is unavoidable. I just wish it wasn’t, but it is hard to see how the writer could have done it any better when the characters were firing on all cylinders mentally. As it is, this show made me want to punch the gung-ho lizards (good name for a rock band) through the screen.
All in all, this was an okay episode. Nothing particularly spectacular, but it was an interesting piece on how reasonable people can go to pieces in an unfortunate set of circumstances. If I might draw on my vast nerdish leanings, I’d almost say that this episode was meant to share something with The Killing Joke (I bet that’s a comparison that you don’t hear every day), as it proves the point that the Joker was trying to make in that publication. And the ending was pretty surprising and effective (I can’t think of a more horrible fate for anyone to suffer, it’s literally a fate worse than death). Or it would have been if I could take my own advice and not spoil myself before I see the actual episode.