Doctor Who 6.11: “The God Complex” Review

By Courtney Rowan

Contains SPOILERS. 

As far as double meanings go, I think The God Complex pretty much nails it. Not only do you have the introduction of the newest creepy Who phrase, “Praise Him”  (still nowhere near as creepy as both,  “Are you my mummy” or “Who turned out the Lights”), but The Doctor pushes Amy to believe that having faith in him as some sort of God is wrong. And in that, saving her life…  again.

Fanboys and fangirls, I bring you The God Complex.  Yet another great installment of Who.  I know you may be sick of me saying how much I love all the episodes, but I just simply do.  This episode was written by Toby Whitehouse (Being Human writer, and Who episodes School Reunion and The Vampires of Venice), which may explain some of its inherent genius.   The Doctor and companions arrive in what seems like a classic 1980’s Hotel full with cassette tape recorders and clear homages to The Shining.  Red Rum, anyone? The concept of every room actually housing your deepest darkest fears, though?  Yeah, that goes beyond anything I’ve ever found lurking in the corners of a hotel room.

Then we meet our Hotel visitors and find out what’s really going on.  And, Rita, brilliant, could definitely be a future companion, Rita.  There’s nerdy guy  – I can’t remember his name, and Gibbis, who I remember because he was introduced in one of the best ways Who does.  I absolutely love it when The Doctor so casually calls out another alien race and their background with no real significance.  Again, this reminds us of how vast the Whoniverse is and how little we actually know about it.  The fact that Gibbis is from Tivoli, a planet that is the most conquered in the Universe and a species that really could have come right out of Douglas Adam’s own mind, is brilliant.  Even funnier is that he works in town planning, where he was in charge of a project to line the streets with trees so invading armies would have shade.  Nice.

But I digress, let’s get back to the meat of the epi.  First we meet Joe (?) who is surrounded by a roomful of dummies.  This elevated the creep factor for me. When they walked into that ballroom and every single dummy stopped and turned at them.  (shivers).  But then Joe is off about how he’s found enlightenment and starts saying “Praise Him”, the story starts to unfold.

As it turns out, they’ve been brought to Hotel Creepy As Hell to face their worst fears, which drives them to rely on their faith, which then leaves people worshiping ‘him’, then be ultimately ‘eaten’ by ‘him’ before leaving them in a worst state than they started…  namely, dead.  So it all comes down to faith.  And in order for The Doctor to save Amy, he has to break her faith in him.  (The Curse of Fenric, anyone?) This speech with Amy, again brings up the emotion that the last few episodes have been driven to and it breaks your heart.  Especially with the shadow of Little Amy in the background.

Forget your faith in me. I took you with me because I was vain. Because I wanted to be adored. Look at you. Glorious Pond. The girl who waited for me. I’m not a hero. I really am just a madman in a box. It’s time we saw each other as we really are. Amy Williams, it’s time to stop waiting.

Ultimately, The Doctor figures out the controls of this hotel in space that is basically a prison.  This poor minotaur has been trapped there and thus just trying to survive and feed, which unfortunately is on our faith.  A great quote again and some foreshadowing from the ancient minotaur,

An ancient creature, drenched in blood of the innocent. Drifting in space through an endless shifting maze. For such a creature, death would be a gift.” Then accept it and sleep well.  (the Doctor starts to walk away) “I wasn’t talking about myself.”

And then we get the end that I honestly was not expecting.  It seems that all his talk to Amy about losing faith in him reminds him that he wants to protect her and so he drops them off at their new home with a new car for Rory and says his goodbyes.  Yeah right…. like that’s going to end it.  I will say that I can see The Doctor’s point of view, but after all that emotion, the drop off was a let down of sorts, no?  Clearly this is where we leave them until they receive the blue postcards in the first episode?  Theory. Well, fact, I think.

I give this episode an 8 out of 10.  It had creepiness, emotion, pushed the story along a bit and well, a bit of homage on several levels.

Two episodes left until the wedding of the year and we get the answers we’ve been waiting for.  Cannot wait.

Doctor Who returns on Saturday September 24th with Closing Time at 9:00 PM on  BBC America.

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