Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Amy: "Okay, well I'm glad you solved the problem of confusing."

I guess the saddest comment regarding a story about doppelgängers must ironically be how many times it's been done before.

Consequently I'm afraid that I didn't find very much about this two-parter to hook my interest. Yes, it's even got two episodes. Eurghh.

I suppose a story grounded in a theme so familiar, really needed to do the journey in a new way. Fairly early on I gave up trying to figure out which originals would turn out to be copies, and which copies originals, because I knew what a lottery it was.

The cliffhanger to episode one is a good example. From the earlier moment when the Doctor awoke from unconsciousness, the revelation that he had a clone running around, and indeed might himself be the clone, was a foregone conclusion. Likewise, when they're distinguished for us by the different shoes that they're wearing, there's again only one possible plot-twist there. Or would the double-twist be that 'our' Doctor actually was the original? Well, if it can't affect which one of them survives at the end, then does it really matter?

Racquel Cassidy is excellent as Foreman Miranda Cleaves.

Giving Amy's husband Rory someone who looks like a love-interest… uh, is this a rewrite?

I liked the ramifications of a world where clones are an underclass, as well as seeing characters attempting to outwit themselves.

Episode two's notion of the clone Doctor struggling to cope with his earlier incarnations seemed like an irrelevant detour, and didn't work for me for three reasons:

1. Most of his earlier bodies are dead. (good job they didn't reassert and promptly collapse then)

2. Quoting (or misquoting) famous lines isn't what any of those well-loved characters would do or say.

3. In the event, none of them actually did come back. For just a moment there I was hoping for an episode-long showdown between the eleventh and fourth Doctors, but no. Ach, why dangle that carrot and then give us nothing?

The story's also weighed-down by the old curse-of-the-character-who's-never-been-in-it-before-and-has-a-kid millstone. When the kid is rung up, he is just left hanging on the line.

At the end, there is just no way that the Doctor and Cleaves' gängers have to stay behind to hold that static door shut to give the TARDIS time to dematerialise. The Doctor and Cleaves' gangers take two and half minutes to say goodbye. During this the gänger-monster leaves two pauses of 42 seconds between attempts at hitting the door, followed by another one of 36. By contrast, the TARDIS' actual dematerialisation takes 10 seconds. Absolutely terrible.

The following throwaway explanation in the TARDIS of why everything is happy endings is apathetic too.

Doctor: "The energy from the TARDIS will stabilise the gängers for good - they're people now."

Cleaves: "And what happens to me? I still have this." [her blood clot]

Doctor: "Ah! That's not a problem - I have something for that!"

Sheesh, why had we all just bothered?

Capping it off is how the Doctor, after all his moralising about the gängers' right to life, proceeds to immediately kill Amy's one. This was the worst script editing I've seen in a long time, which in this show is sadly saying something.

A much better ending would have seen Amy's gänger compelled to remain behind to continue the fight for gängers' rights. After her earlier dismissal of the Doctor's supposed gänger, there would have been a painful sense of justice there, not to mention the angst of a goodbye for all three regulars. Instead the Doctor murders her. I guess he may have to change his name from 'Doctor' after all. (so much for his line above about the energy of the TARDIS stabilising gängers for good)

It is entirely possible to turn your brain off and enjoy this story, but for me the appeal of watching Doctor Who has always been turning one's brain on.

For a story about sub-standard copies of people to itself turn out to be a sub-standard copy of other stories was I'm afraid not an entirely unexpected twist.

Hopefully it's not a mistake that will be repeated.

And after all that - most terrifying cliffhanger ending ever.

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