Review: Doctor Who Series 6 Ep 5 / 6: The Rebel Flesh / The Almost People

Series 6 Episodes 5/6

May 21/28 2011

SPOILERS FOR THE ALMOST PEOPLE

What appears to be almost a throwback to the classic series – a Troughton-esque “base under siege” story – becomes something quite radically different in its final five minutes, as clues that have been planted throughout the season to date lead to the shocking sight of Amy being disintegrated by the Doctor.

Matthew Graham’s last contribution to Doctor Who – the not-very-well regarded Fear Her – always seemed surprisingly weak, given his scripts for Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes, and this two-parter is far more what his track record would suggest he would produce. There’s a believable environment and backstory; well-written dialogue which allows the guest cast, as well as Matt Smith, to create two separate characters for each role; and a proper ethical question to debate. There are enough twists to keep the audience interested – after all, it was never in doubt that we were going to see a second Doctor, as revealed at the end of the first part, simply what role he would take.

The only thing that really lets it down at all is the effects work for the Jennifer-creature, both in the first part where it snakes out from the toilet stall, and in the final battle. It’s unfortunate that the Mill slightly punches above its weight for these sequences which are clearly emulating the similar moments from the John Carpenter version of The Thing – an influence on the whole story.

Verdict: It’ll be a little unfair if the revelation of Amy’s Ganger status is allowed to overshadow the very strong story that preceded it – one of the best two-parters the show has yet produced.

The Rebel Flesh 8/10  /  The Almost People 7/10

Paul Simpson

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