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25 March 2015

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 814: The Almost People

Dear diary,

Yesterday, I praised Matthew Graham’s ability to create a very ‘real’ world, and to populate it with character who felt true to life. We’re given lots of lovely little moments and comments which can feel like nothing, but all add to the overall texture of this story, and make the characters and the situation all the richer. That trend continues through into today’s episode, and you realise just how important all of that is, because it helps to strengthen the battle at the heart of the story - the dislike for the unlike, while also having the trouble of that ‘unlike’ being so incredibly close to home.

Something that I’m finding a bit distracting lately is waiting for moments that I know are coming. Because I’ve not seen any of these episodes since their initial broadcast, I can vaguely recall a few key bits and pieces, but not everything. More and more, I’m finding myself just waiting for these things, and that’s sort of distracting me from enjoying the episodes as much as I should. I spent most of yesterday and much of today, for example, waiting for Jennifer to turn into the giant Flesh monster which only turns up at the climax of today’s episode, and that’s had a detrimental effect on all of her scenes throughout the story - because I keep wondering when she’s going to turn into a monster.

It’s also been the case today with the two Doctors. I knew that they’d swapped shoes, but kept waiting for the moment when they revealed this. In my mind, it was almost as soon as they’d done it, and was presented in the form of ‘how do you know which of us is which? We could have swapped our shoes’ leaving some confusion even to the viewer as to which Doctor was the ‘real’ version and which was his Ganger duplicate? I certainly remember some speculation at the time that the real Doctor is the one who got left behind here (even though we see the Ganger version dissolve), meaning that the Ganger went off to face the death at Lake Silencio… Once again, it just proved a little distracting to me, and I’m hoping I can kick this habit before long and just get back to enjoying the episodes ‘as new’ again - it’s only something that’s started happening in the last week or two.

Still, in spite of that, knowing the ending to this episode doesn’t do anything to weaken its impact. Back in the TARDIS, safe and sound… and then it turns out that Amy is a Ganger, too! Not only that, but she’s been a Ganger for the majority of this season (the Doctor suggests that she was taken just before ‘America’, but it was terribly clear, watching that two-parter back, that she was taken during the three months between episodes). As cliff-hangers go, it’s not bad, is it? I’m not entirely sure it all feels right yet (I’m sure I’ll touch on this more tomorrow, once this line of plot has been resolved), but it certainly made for an interesting and unexpected development!


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