**Warning! Here there be spoilers! DO NOT read ahead if you have not watched through Series 5, episode 2 of Doctor Who. If you have, or don’t care, read on, but don’t get mad…**
A horse and a man, above, below,
One has a plan but two must go.
Mile after mile, above, beneath,
One has a smile, one has teeth.
Though the man above might say hello,
Expect no love from the beast below
After the excellent beginning to the series, we have an episode reminiscent of “New New York”–but with England. All of the world has moved out to space, each nation on a ship (Scotland is NOT with England!). However, the ship has no engine power, but is driven, somehow, by the ominous “Beast Below.” Before we get to that, however, we need to address the excellently frightening automaton-authority figures (Smilers) which are placed throughout the ship. We first meet them as a teacher (pictured above) gives his students passing grades for the day (with a happy face), except for Tommy, who is failed for the day (with an angry face) and sent down to the beast below, accompanied by a terrifying poem (Above). Eventually, as we move throughout the ship, Starship UK, we come across more of these creepy carnival-esque automatons who are very much allusions to Big Brother.
The Doctor tells Amy that he can’t interfere, until he sees a crying child. He sums up his character well when he says that a crying child is what will make him do something. Amy them goes off on her own to poke around (demonstrating that she very much can handle herself without the Doctor). She steps inside a voting booth with a TV Screen and two buttons: “Protest” and “Forget.” Every few years, all the secrets of the ship are revealed, and the citizens can choose to protest or forget what they just saw. No one protests. Everyone forgets.
Now comes Liz 10 (Queen Elizabeth 10!), the reigning monarch of the Starship UK, and she’s suspicious of everything around her, as she’s absolutely sure that her people are lying to her and must roam the ship in disguise, trying to discover the secret of the ship’s lack of propulsion.
The Doctor must make a choice about what to do with that information–who lives, and who dies. This decision is horrible, and his new companion does her job. While the Doctor shows off and does much of the “saving of the day,” but in the end, she must make him consider his choices keep him in check–she does exactly what he needs.
Matt Smith’s Doctor carries on David Tennant’s capacity for wonder in the midst of disgusting, frightening events. We have a combination of the 9th and 10th Doctors with a new twist. I forgot, in the last few times we’ve seen the Doctor, he was companion-less. He went to a very dark place, especially in Waters of Mars, and we’re still seeing remnants of that Doctor–and even Christopher Eccleston’s 9th Doctor. He needs a companion to keep him in check, to anchor him to humanity.
Amy is spunky and strong. She’s independent, though certainly in love with The Doctor. However, it’s the love of a little girl. However, she goes with The Doctor on the eve of her wedding. I’m worried that she’ll leave at the end of the series, because I really like her, and she’s good for the Doctor. Will she grow up, leave him, and get married (maybe to new-Mickey?), or go with the man she’s loved her entire life? She’s obviously torn about the wedding, because she seems to be rationalizing it, and my bet is that, in the years when the Doctor had left her, she decided to settle. At least, that’s what I hope…
“You look human.
No, You look Time Lord. We came first.”