This week’s episode of Doctor Who, Vincent and The Doctor, (the tenth of the current Doctor’s tenure) deals with depression, Vincent Van Gogh (which is pronounced Hock but they either didn’t know that or they didn’t want to confuse the kids at home) and a preposterous monster. Put this into an episode with continuity nods and genuine laugh-out-loud moments and you have the recipe for an excellent Doctor Who episode.
The titular Vincent Van Gogh was portrayed well, not showing only the ‘pretty pictures’ side of his personality, but also the side that had depression and self worth issues that led him to take his own life. It was interesting to see what happened at the end and showed for all that The Doctor and Amy help, there are some areas where they don’t do a bit of good and change hardly anything. Having said that, it would be pretty good to see The Doctor fake Gogh’s death and take him on as a companion throughout time and space.
Convention seems to be that Doctor Who is best when the monster goes unseen (case in point: Midnight), which gives it an element of mystery, and this episode is no exception. An invisible monster is a great concept for an episode (how much more terrifying would the Daleks be if they were invisible as well?) so naturally they had to show the monster at some point. As stylophone-enthusiast Rolf Harris says: “Can you guess what it is yet?”
Turns out it’s a Giant Invisible (except when it’s not) Killer Space Chicken From Space. Which may join the Ugly Space Fish Of Venice as one of the funniest sounding monsters in New Who.
I spoke earlier of continuity nods, the main one could’ve cleared up some confusion on the part of fanboy geeks. Basically, the confusion is that we have seen all of the Doctor’s known incarnations on screen, yet back in the 70’s we saw faces representing The Doctor’s numerous incarnations, which were more than he’d had at the time (8 faces at the time of the Fourth Doctor). Logically, the other four are the faces of the Time Lord he was Brain-Battling against at the time, but since when has logic stopped the fans from coming up with crazy explanations?
The writer for this episode is one Richard Curtis, who film geeks will recognise as the writer behind, well, quite a lot of everything Hugh Grant has ever done. He is known for his romantic comedies (Four Weddings and A Funeral, Bridget Jones, among others) and it shows here that he still can be funny when he wants to be. In a way, he has gone back to the Doctor’s roots here by giving us an educational historical story with a touch of the fantastic (yet stupid, because of the Preposterous Invisible Giant Killer Space Chicken). Just think how many kids will feel like they know much more than they did about Vincent Van Gogh.
This episode was one of the better ones in this series so far, only really let down by a monster that The Colonel could catch and deep-fry.