‘THE REBEL FLESH’/’THE ALMOST PEOPLE’
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‘THE REBEL FLESH’ (Part 1)
This is a two-part story by Matthew Graham. It is also the last two-part story of the Matt Smith era!
Matthew Graham previously wrote the ‘Doctor Who’ episode, ‘Fear Her’, with David Tennant’s Doctor. It was nice to have him write a two-part story for the TV series here, and a scary one at that.
This story is set on Earth in the 22nd century, at a monastery converted into a factory. I’m impressed with location work done at Caerphilly Castle in Cardiff, despite the heavy snowfall during the filming.
The Doctor, Amy and Rory crash-land in the TARDIS at this monastery/factory after getting caught in a solar storm. Another solar storm is on its way, and it’s going to get disastrous for the people there.
The focus of the story is on the monsters called the Gangers. These are like flesh avatars based on five humans who are working at the factory. The Gangers go out of control as they gain individuality.
I found the concept of the Gangers pretty frightening. The theme of doubles had been done before in ‘Doctor Who’, but this is on another level as it addresses the themes of identity theft in this story.
There is an element of the movie ‘Avatar’ in this story, which was released not so soon before this two-parter. The dark corridors and creepy atmosphere helped me to appreciate the complexities that are in this.
Matt Smith is good as the Doctor in this. Matt’s Doctor seems to know all about the flesh and about what the gangers are. It was interesting how he knew so much before he, Amy and Rory came here.
Karen Gillan is equally good as Amy here. Amy senses that the Doctor’s hiding something when they come to this factory island on the Earth. She gets on edge especially when the Gangers go walk about.
Arthur Darvill is great as Rory in this. I liked how Rory shows concern for Jennifer in this, as his kindness gets tested here. It was interesting to see how Amy responds to Rory’s concern for Jennifer.
The Gangers are very scary when they reveal themselves in their gloopy form. You can’t help sympathise with them, as they want an identity. But at the same time, they can be very dangerous.
The crew of the factory are led by Raquel Cassidy as Cleaves. She’s a strong personality who takes no-nonsense and wants to be in charge. She refuses to hear the Doctor’s advice when at the factory.
Sarah Smart stands out for me as Jennifer in this story. I like Sarah’s performance as Jennifer, who takes a shine to Rory and rather fancies him. The Ganger version of Jennifer is rather scary and angry.
The guest cast also includes Mark Bonnar as Jimmy; Marshall Lancaster as Buzzer and Leon Vickers as Dicken. Everyone at the factory has a Ganger looking like them, and it’s hard to tell the difference.
There is conflict between the human versions of the factory crew and the Gangers. Eventually one Ganger gets killed by Cleeves and soon the Gangers are on the warpath to kill off their counterparts. Soon, the episode ends on a shocking cliff-hanger. A Ganger version of the Doctor reveals himself!
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 3 of ‘The Complete Series 6’ of ‘Doctor Who’, there’s a commentary with Mark Bonnar, Marshall Lancaster and director Julian Simpson. On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode, ‘Double Trouble’.
‘THE ALMOST PEOPLE’ (Part 2)
The second episode begins with an intense opening where the Ganger Doctor is getting his memories.
I liked those moments when the Ganger Doctor is saying familiar words from previous Doctors and even sounding like Tom Baker. It was intriguing how the Ganger Doctor and the real Doctor interact.
Matt Smith gets to play double role as the Doctor and the Ganger Doctor in this episode. Both seem to be complimenting each other and finishing off each other’s sentences during some scenes in this.
There is a sense of uneasiness from the surviving human crew and Amy, as they’re unsure which Doctor’s which and whether to trust the Ganger Doctor. It makes it far uneasy for the two Doctors.
I had a job trying to figure out who was who in terms of which Doctor was real and which one was the Ganger. It was pretty confusing and there’s a twist when one of the Doctors switches their shoes.
However, the Ganger Doctor seems to help the real Doctor; Amy and real human crew when dealing with the Ganger revolt. There are moments though when the Ganger Doctor can be pretty unstable.
I liked how Rory’s kindness gets tested in this episode when goes out looking for Jennifer. There’s a tense moment when there are two Jennifers. One gets killed and Rory believes it is the Ganger one.
But it turns out that the Ganger Jennifer has made two versions of herself from the flesh. This means that the Ganger Jennifer lied to Rory. He realises it when she says something the real Jennifer didn’t.
Rory gets very angry and I liked it when he berates Jennifer for lying to him after he abandoned his friends. But Ganger Jennifer doesn’t seem to care as all that matters to her is destroying humanity.
I liked it when the Ganger versions of Cleaves, Jimmy and Dicken refuse to continue in their revolt of Jennifer’s. They don’t want to be the monster she’s become and it’s one of my favourite moments.
Jennifer, out of all the Gangers, turns out to be the monster and she literally transforms into something horrible and nasty. The CGI effects for this monster aren’t great, but they are very scary.
I liked those moments when Jimmy talks to her son and eventually sees him after surviving this nightmare. The real Jimmy died and the Ganger Jimmy gets to be the father which he most deserves.
The episode ends on a very shocking cliff-hanger. Amy is about to go into labour as she’s pregnant. But she’s not the real Amy at all and the Doctor demands Rory to stand back from her in the TARDIS.
The Doctor promises to Amy that he and Rory will find and rescue her, whatever it takes. Soon, the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver on Amy. She’s revealed to be a flesh Avatar and quickly dissolves.
Then Amy wakes up to find herself in a cubicle, about to give birth. She’s watched by the Eye-Patch Lady who’s been watching her in previous episodes. Amy gives birth and it’s pretty horrifying for her.
The DVD special features on this episode are as follows. On Disc 2 of ‘Series 6 – Part 1’, there’s ‘Monster File: The Gangers’, which looks into the creation and development of these new monsters.
On Disc 3 of ‘The Complete Series 6’ of ‘Doctor Who’, the ‘Monster File: The Gangers’ can also be found on there. On Disc 6, there’s the ‘Doctor Who Confidential’ episode ‘Take Two’.
‘The Rebel Flesh’/’The Almost People’ rating – 8/10
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