Once again I think I’ll be alone in preferring the action-packed second half of the “morality play” two-parter (i.e., this episode and “Cold Blood”) to the clumsy, uneventful, implausible setup of the first half (i.e., “The Rebel Flesh” and “The Hungry Earth”). I think it’s easier to make the case for this one, though: even if you get nothing out of the more genuinely moving moments, chiefly the bit where that one fellow’s ganger has to take over for him in the fathering department, you can still probably enjoy the terrific banter between the two Doctors and the competition between the two Cleves.
I hated Jen in the first half, so I had no regrets about seeing her turn monstrous in this half. I didn’t quite understand Amy’s lack of concern about Rory’s apparent affection (nursely concern, yeah right) for Jen, though the ultimate revelation about what was going on with Amy provided a half-explanation, I suppose. This was quite a long way to go to set up an impostor, though, so I assume the Flesh will continue to play a role beyond this in the arc story.
What else is there to say, really? Lots of urgent imminent explosions and deadly gases, some thoughtful cover-your-ass stuff with the wounded Jen (so yes, Amy can cut herself in that pirate episode), and most importantly a resolution that more or less makes sense given that these are not just evil duplicates of people but the people themselves, incarnated in false bodies. I guess if I’d thought more of the setup I might have been more disappointed by the outcome, but as it is I was just happy we got out with some measure of grace.
I try not to read other reviews or discussion of the episodes before I post mine, but I’ve broken that rule today and seen comments to the effect that Rory and Amy are really very stupid and unpleasant (to say the least) this time around. I’d agree. I really am not very fond of the two of them at all these days and it’s getting worse. I wouldn’t be shocked if this turned out to be their last season with the Doctor. I’ve also seen comments about how the Doctor’s action at the very end of this seems to undermine the morality tale, though I’ve also seen comments about how Amy’s ganger wasn’t the same as the others. Still, it raised a thought for me about this era. Was this bit, as the speculation goes, Moffat’s arc segment tacked onto the end of the regular episode? If so, what’s up with his conception of the Doctor as a guy who points guns (or gets excited when others do) and makes grandiose threats? See “The Eleventh Hour,” “Time of the Angels,” “The Pandorica Opens,” and “Day of the Moon,” and now this. I don’t like this trend.