Post Game TV Recap: DOCTOR WHO S6E6 "The Almost People"

Post Game TV Recap: DOCTOR WHO S6E6

Who comes to me wearing my own face

As dull as ache with eyes of empty space

What is its name, why this restless haunt

What do you want?

--"Doppelganger" by filk performer Kathy Mar

Fighting the now sentient Gangers of the acid processing plant, the Doctor is surprised to come face to face with a Ganger of himself.  They team up to attempt to bring the Gangers and human sides of the fight together, which results in a resolution where some humans die, some gangers die, and the whole of fandom gets a right solid blow between the eyes.  Oh BOY are there spoilers...

THE ALMOST PEOPLE

by Matthew Graham

Directed by Julian Simpson

UNTIL YOU WALK A MILE IN THEIR BOOTS- The trick to the Doctors' switch is to figure out when the Doctors decided to do it.  Considering one Doctor was able to link to the Flesh and one only sensed it, it pretty much had to have happened after the scene where he's asked to sit on the barrel.  If not, Amy has told the REAL Doctor about seeing the moment of his death. And that would make things Very Interesting Indeed, wouldn't it?

Also, it's interesting that the Flesh is able to duplicate clothing and The Doctor's wristwatch, but not the Sonic Screwdriver.  So in other words it can duplicate manufactured objects, human being, but not very complex manufactured objects?  And, thought it can manufacture clothing, I guess, they can't just Flesh up more acid suits?  Maybe it'd just be too weird wearing something made of a living being.  Hey, wait...

THE MONSTER FILES The Gangers are a classic "misunderstood" monster. Ray Harryhausen once said that a monster is just a person taken out of his home.  Ymir was plucked from his home on Venus, and became a monster on Earth.  The Gangers are much the same - they're given sentience, and save for Jennifer, simply want to be left alone to live their lives.  The problem arises because "their" lives are actually other people's lives.  In two cases, they step into the originals' lives after their death - I'd have rather liked to see one of them start anew somewhere else, rather like the underappreciated clone-comedy Multiplicity.

BACKGROUND BITS AND BOBS - Trivia and production details

GO TO THE MIRROR, BOY - Showing twins, clones, duplicates and identical cousins on screen is an old trick.  The original method was to mask one half of the film, record the actor staring across the room, rewind it, mask the already-exposed side of the film, and record the actor on the other side of the room, reacting to his like-a-look. That, combined with some well-blocked work with stand-ins was enough to complete the illusion most of the time.

As matte work got more precise, they were able to have the characters interact on screen, as you saw in Back to the Future and even more so in the Eddie Murphy Nutty Professor films.  In The Social Network, they took another tack - they had a stand-in playing one of the Winklevoss twins, and CGI-replaced his face with that of Armie Hammer's, so he "played" both.

Your Humble Author's favorite double-act on screen is the lowest-tech one.  When the night guard meets up with his T-1000 double in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, they didn't have to spend a penny on effects - they were played by identical twins Don and Dan Stanton.

"One day we will get back...yes, one day" - we get a fast series of quotes from past Doctors, in the same way we get flashes of past incarnations after a regeneration. That line is a slightly (and, I believe, deliberately) altered version of the line he said to Susan as he locked her out of the TARDIS when she wrongly thought she had to forsake love to care for him at the end of The Dalek Invasion of Earth"Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" is a phrase associated with the third Doctor, tho like so many catchphrases like "Beam me up Scotty" or "Just the facts, Ma'am", while it was presumed to have been said many times, it never, or hardly ever was.  Pertwee used the line in the series exactly once, in The Sea Devils, and in other later episodes, made references to merely "reversing the polarity" He said it again in the anniversary special The Five Doctors, long after it had become an in-joke. The offer of a jelly baby is a nod to the Tom Baker Doctor, who was ever offering them to people as a way of putting them at ease.  Indeed, it's a sample of his voice, as is that of David Tennant immediately after.

"You might as well call me...John Smith" Many people did - it was The Doctor's assumed name when he worked on Earth with UNIT in the Pertwee years.  He's mentioned it a few times - it's the name he gave the people on the threatened tour bus in Midnight.

"The energy from the TARDIS will stabilize the Gangers, they're people now" - but after being in the TARDIS for so long, the Flesh Amy was still dissolvable?  It's presumed that the accidentally independent Gangers and the still under remote-control Ganger-Amy function differently.  It'd be a shame for one of the new boys to get to near the right sonic frequency and collapse into a batch of pudding.

BIG BAD REPORT / CLEVER THEORY DEPARTMENT -

"It was important, vital that we learn more about The Flesh, and we could only do that through your eyes" - Many folks thought that The Doctor knew all about The Flesh, but it appears it's the opposite.  His scans of Amy were misleading because the Flesh duplicate was that good, but the real Amy was actually pregnant at the time, and they were linked.  He wanted to find out more to see what could be done to save the real Amy.

"My death arrives, I suppose / But this one we're not invited to" - As I mentioned above, it's assumed that the Real Doctor was not the one Amy spoke to in the hall about his death. but this line suggests that he DOES know what's going on.

Go back to the info from last time about the person hiding behind the shed on the beach.  We're only assuming that "our" Doctor arrived late for his own funeral, or was given instructions slightly different than the rest of the team.  What if he wasn't?  What if the one hiding behind the shed is "our" Doctor, watching the events from a safe distance?  That would put a different take on his actions so far wouldn't it?

"Your molecular memory may survive this, it may not be the end" And there's more weight to the theory that one (or more?) of the Doctors at the beginning of the series was a Flesh duplicate. 

MORPETH JETSAN  is the name of the company that was running the acid factory.  Fans have been running it through anagram generators for a week or two now, and the one that sounds the most tantalizing is "Phantom Jester".  The new series has shown a love for anagrams, at least on the production side.  "Torchwood" is an anagram for "Doctor Who", and was used to disguise the film reels.  It only became a series quite a bit later.  When Karen Gillan came in for her audition, she had to give the code word "Panic Moon", an anagram for "Companion".  Back in the original series, Anthony Ainley's name was anagrammed in the closing credits of Castrovalva as "Neil Tyonay", to hide the fact that The Master was to be the bad guy

And if you like the company's logo, there's a fellow making Morpeth Jetsan T-Shirts. Though I wish we would get past this "Distressed look" - it's almost as silly as acid wash.

NEXT TIME ON DOCTOR WHO - Quite a bit.  Mothers and children.  Fighting and running away.  But nothing to lose your head over.  A Good Man Goes to War in seven days.

Vinnie Bartilucci has been unable to get vanity license plates with anything even CLOSE to a Doctor Who-related phrase cause they've all been taken. His blog The Forty Year-Old Fanboy is where he says things that often he should only have thought.

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