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Fandom / Television / Celebrities PopWrapped | Fandom

PopWrapped Celebrates Who-vember With A Boy And His Box, A TARDIS And Her Thief: "The Doctor's Wife"

PopWrapped | PopWrapped Author


11/23/2013 12:35 pm
PopWrapped | Fandom
PopWrapped Celebrates Who-vember With A Boy And His Box, A TARDIS And Her Thief:
Media Courtesy of the BBC

Jamie Harsip

Content Editor

It seems like everyone’s favorite episode of Doctor Who is “Blink.” It’s certainly one of mine. So when Whovember rolled around, and the opportunity to write about my favorite episode of Doctor Who came up, I instantly decided I had to write about “Blink.” But then I thought about it for a bit. If “Blink” is already such a beloved episode, why would I write about it? I would just be rehashing everyone’s feelings. We already know just how good it is. That’s why I decided to write about my other favorite episode: “The Doctor’s Wife.” People know it’s a good one, but it doesn’t get the same kind of love that “Blink” does. I think it deserves it. “The Doctor’s Wife” was written by the brilliant Neil Gaiman. Gaiman is best known for his unique brand of fantastical science fiction and fantasy, with “The Doctor’s Wife” being no exception. The episode gave fans both an exciting story to watch unravel and a lot of really fascinating development to world of Doctor Who. I already know it will be impossible to explain just why this is probably my favorite episode of the show, but I will do my best. First of all, the episode begins with the Doctor playing Muse’s song “Supermassive Black Hole.” That, in and of itself, is wonderful. Then, suddenly there’s a knock on the TARDIS door. Yeah, they’re in deep space, floating along in their space ship, and someone (or something) is knocking at the door. It’s a little glowing box with an ouroboros on it. He’s got mail! Apparently this is how time lords send emergency message to each other. Following the message, the Doctor takes the TARDIS outside the universe in search of its source. What he finds is a living planet inhabited by two “patchwork people,” a mute ood, and a “bitey mad lady.” He also finds that his TARDIS has died – the TARDIS matrix itself is just gone. What he finds out is that it has been ripped from the body of the TARDIS and squeezed into a human body – the bitey mad lady’s, that is.The TARDIS, aka Idris, aka Sexy, says she’s trying to find a word - a big, complicated, sad word. In the meantime, though, she has to help the Doctor save Rory and Amy from House. One of the things that makes this episode stand out so much for me is that we get to see a side of the Doctor we rarely see. He is lured outside the universe by the promise of having a fellow time lord waiting for him on the other side. Being the last of his species, and knowing he’s the reason he is the last of his species, is a lot to hold onto. As Amy points out, he wants to be forgiven. Of course he does. But the Doctor also has hope, for perhaps the first time ever, that he may not have wiped out his entire race. The key there is that he has hope. And then it gets snatched away from him in a second. The beacon he was responding to was one from a long-dead friend, and there were plenty more time lords who met the same end.
Image courtesy of the BBC Image courtesy of the BBC
Not only that, but he has the evidence standing right in front of him. Those two patchwork people are made up of the body parts of everyone who has been stranded on House. Auntie casually explains how she got the Corsair’s arm, while Uncle got the Corsair’s kidneys and spine. The Doctor goes directly from the knowledge that his friends were killed to the knowledge that their bodies were then butchered. I can’t even imagine the kind of agony he must have been feeling at that point. And as the Doctor says, “You gave me hope and then you took it away. That’s enough to make anyone dangerous. God knows what it’ll do to me.” And there it is. This is the Doctor the universe flees in fear of. This is the oncoming storm. This is the eleventh doctor angry as hell. And this is why it is a fortunate disaster that the TARDIS matrix was pulled out of its home and squeezed into a human form.
Image courtesy of the BBC Image courtesy of the BBC
When you think about it, the TARDIS is the Doctor’s oldest friend. They have been through everything together. She’s not just a ship; she’s alive, and she’s been there for everything. The banter between the two of them is brilliant. The TARDIS bemoans the fact that the Doctor always opens her doors inward, despite the sign on her front saying they open out the way. They bicker like an old married couple. And then this moment happens:
Images courtesy of the BBC Images courtesy of the BBC
Yes, she has always taken the Doctor where he's needed to go. No matter where (and when) the Doctor ends up, it's always because something is amiss and he can fix it. So maybe not always going where you would like to is inconvenient, but that's the Doctor thinking about the TARDIS like a machine. But she's not. She's a living being, and she's standing right in front of him, talking. It strikes him then that this is truly a once in a lifetime experience - or rather, once in a dozen or so lifetimes. It's basically a miracle. The TARDIS and the Doctor build a makeshift TARDIS out of all the scrap pieces House has left behind. When finally it's built, it still doesn't work. The Doctor is frustrated, saying they don't have what they need, when in fact they do. As the TARDIS herself says, "Oh, my beautiful idiot. You have what you've always had. You've got me." With that she touches her fingers to her lips and then to the TARDIS console, and they have power. It seems this time the Doctor forgot that in addition to being a living thing, the TARDIS is still his ship. The pair of them phase into the physical TARDIS and rescue Rory and Amy. Unfortunately, the Idris-body could only contain the Doctor's TARDIS for so long. It's dying. Of course, the matrix is now back in its home, and all is well. Except it's not, because this means it's the end of something amazing. And here reveals another side to the Doctor that we very rarely see: the lost and lonely child that he is.
Image courtesy of the BBC Image courtesy of the BBC
He knows the TARDIS has to go back to its home, he knows that keeping her in a state where they could talk would be disastrous to time and space, but he doesn't care. In this moment he's a little boy who just wants to keep his best friend around. It's not a surprise; he knew it would have to happen. But that doesn't mean it isn't devastating. As the TARDIS says, she'll always be there, but this was the time when they talked. That's something the Doctor will never have again. As for the word the TARDIS had been looking for? It was "alive." Alive isn't sad, no. But it's sad when it's over. And now it's over for her. And for her final words, the TARDIS chose to say what she hadn't gotten the chance to say earlier: Hello. There's a throw-away line in here that actually really stuck out to me. It's not terribly often, actually, that I think about how the current Doctor is still every Doctor who came before him. He had those experiences, too. So after Nephew is atomized, when the Doctor says, "Another ood I failed to save," it actually means something. The Doctor remembers every life he failed to save, from the time lords whose cried for help are immortalized in their little boxes to the ood on the "impossible planet." The weight of those memories is enormous. This is why it's so incredible that the Doctor is the way he is. He would never dream of giving up. As he said of Vincent Van Gogh, every life is made up of good things and bad things. For the Doctor, however many bad things there are in his, the good will always win out as long as he has anything to say about it. And this, in turn, is why I love "The Doctor's Wife" so much.
Image courtesy of the BBC


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