Doctor Who, series 6.11: “The God Complex” by Toby Whithouse


**Warning! Here there be spoilers! DO NOT read ahead if you have not watched through Series 6, episode 11 of Doctor Who. If you have, or don’t care, read on, but don’t get mad…**

The first thing I thought of when I saw the trailer for “The God Complex” was that I was really exciting that Doctor Who was doing The Shining. While I wasn’t exactly spot on with that, I’m also not too far off. This is an interesting story which not only offers decent tension and general eeriness, it embodies one of the key themes running through the past five and a half series of Doctor Who: the Doctor is dangerous to those who travel with him.

From BBC One:

The Doctor, Amy and Rory investigate a hotel of horror where repeat business is low but the body count is high… A mighty monster stalks the corridors and the rooms hold visions of Angels, apes and creepy clowns. Who – or what – has brought them to this place? And can the Doctor solve the mystery before the residents check out in grisly style?

When the Doctor and company arrive in the hotel, they encounter a group of people slowly being hunted down by what turns out to be a minotaur-like creature, one apparently who feed on the fears of those trapped with him there. He dwells, much like in Greek mythology, in a constantly changing labyrinth which confuses his victims and allows him to more easily take them out. Each person has a room, designed especially to target that person.

As it turns out, he does not feed on fear, but faith. One character puts his stock in luck, another in Islam, another in conspiracy theories. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, Amy has placed her faith in the Doctor. In a very emotional scene, the Doctor acknowledges what we’ve seen time and time again–the Doctor travels all about the universe in the company of others, and one by one they are put in great danger, killed, or close to it. Amy’s child has been abducted and brainwashed in an attempt to kill him, Amy was kidnapped for nine months, Rory was forced to live for millennia guarding his wife, Captain Jack Harkness can die a million deaths and never remain dead, Rose is trapped forever without him on the other side of an impenetrable void, and Donna will never know the man who made her a better person.

Therefore, the Doctor must try to break Amy’s faith in him, or at least to put a chink in it. He succeeds, releasing Amy from being the scared little girl who waited for him all those years ago, commissioning her to move on without him. He leaves her and Rory on earth (reminiscent of when he left Sarah Jane Smith in “The Hand of Fear“), ready to begin a new life together–safe without him attracting trouble all the time. It’s a bittersweet sequence. The Ponds (or the Williams…) have a future together now, seemingly safe, while the Doctor remains a mad man in a blue box, alone as he is wont to be. However, as the trailer for next week shows: he won’t be alone for long.

Now, I don’t believe that we’ve seen the last of Amy and Rory. I suspect that they’ll be back for the season finale at the very least. However, I do wonder about next season. We’ve heard rumors all over the place, and I was rather sure that Matt Smith was the only one of the trio confirmed. As always, I’ve a big fan of Amy and Rory, though I do appreciate new talent opposite the Doctor. Either way, I trust my Doctor, and I’m quite excited about next week’s return of Craig Owens (James Cordan).

Memorable Quotes:

“People being snatched from their lives and dropped into an endless shifting maze that looks like a 1980s hotel with bad dreams in the bedrooms. Well, apart from anything else that’s just rude.”

“Here comes a candle to light you to bed. Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.”

The Doctor: “This is a cup of tea!”

Rita: “Of course, I’m British. It’s how we cope with trauma. That and tutting.”

P.S. This is a “The God Complex” trailer a la The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo:

Previous episode: “The Girl Who Waited

Next Episode: “Closing Time

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6 thoughts on “Doctor Who, series 6.11: “The God Complex” by Toby Whithouse

  1. Great review!

    I don’t think I was as positive about the episode as you though. I think the biggest problem in the episode was that it was too easy for the Doctor to take Amy’s faith away from her.

    But so many of the problems in the narrative of this episode stem directly from the writers having no idea of Amy as a character, as I discuss in more detail here:

    http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/09/doctor-who-god-complex-aka-characters.html

    • I don’t think he actually took her faith away. I think he just made her doubt him long enough to break the Minotaur’s power. I do agree though that we’ve got a few big gaps this season. Namely the fact that Amy isn’t a broken, weeping mess over the loss of her child.

  2. Pingback: Doctor Who, Series 6.10: “The Girl Who Waited” by Tom MacRae « Elementary, My Dear Reader

  3. I enjoyed this episode better than last week’s episode, but it still bothers me how nonplussed the William are that their baby was stolen from them and raised as an assassin by an alien religious sect.

    Seriously.

    Why isn’t that a bigger deal!?

    Not that I wasn’t happy to see them go, mind you. Bring on the new companion:-)

    P.S. I noticed you left out Martha from the “side effects of the Doctor” section. Aside from stringing her along as the rebound girl for an entire season, she then basically has to see the destruction of the entire world and risk the deaths of her family only to save the Doctor. Ultimately, Martha then gives up her career as an actual doctor and instead becomes a vigilante with Mickey is an alternate dimension. Just sayin’.

  4. I actually intentionally left out Martha, as she’s the only one who really didn’t end up the worse for wear after her time. She’s not forced to leave due to dimensional disparity, death, doom, or dimensia (see what I did there?). She’s the exception to the rule, but she got out before her life was ruined by him.

  5. Pingback: Doctor Who, series 6.12: “Closing Time” by Gareth Roberts « Elementary, My Dear Reader

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