Episode: Doctor Who 6.04 – “The Doctor’s Wife”
Original Air Date: May 14, 2011
Screencaps by enchantedfleur.
“Fear me, I’ve killed hundreds of Time Lords.”
“Fear me, I’ve killed all of them.”
A knock at the door in “very, very deep” space signals that the Doctor has mail — from another Time Lord. Seems Time Lords have a way of sending psychic messages in little boxes to each other, and this one comes from one of the Doctor’s friends named The Corsair. Believing at least one of his kind might still be alive, the Doctor takes off for a location outside of time and space.
However, on landing, the TARDIS Matrix completely disappears at the same time a woman comes out of a machine glowing with regeneration energy. She runs out onto the strange planet and encounters the TARDIS crew, attacking the Doctor and calling him a thief. Her apparent family, consisting of two strange people called “Aunt” and “Uncle” and an Ood named “Nephew”, come to claim her. The Doctor repairs the Ood’s broken brain sphere and suddenly the Doctor hears not just one, but multiple emergency messages from other Time Lords.
Descending into the planet, he discovers that “House”, as “Aunt” and “Uncle” call it, is actually sentient. While he goes to investigate the source of the emergency messages, he sends Rory and Amy back to the TARDIS to search for his screwdriver (which is actually in his jacket). The doors promptly shut on the married couple and the Doctor discovers the distress messages are all little mail boxes like the one the Doctor received. The truth is revealed — this is a trap, and the Doctor has fallen right into it.
The Doctor goes straight to the mad woman when he remembers that she had said “the boxes will make you mad.” More questions prove that the woman is, in reality, the TARDIS Matrix, her essence put into the body of the woman. House did this so that it could take the Matrix’s place and travel to our universe so it can feed more. This realization comes too late for Amy and Rory as House takes possession of the TARDIS and threatens to kill the couple, but wants to have fun with them first.
House sends Amy and Rory running through the TARDIS, using the ship’s psychic abilities and control over the doors to cut Amy off from Rory and play with her mind, making her believe that Rory has aged and then died while waiting for her to find him. Meanwhile, the Doctor and the Matrix decide to get back to the TARDIS by constructing another console out of the spare parts on House’s surface. As they do so, the Matrix reveals that, while the Doctor believes that he stole the TARDIS, she actually wanted to be stolen so that she could see the universe instead of sit in a museum.
With the construction finished, it looks like there’s no hope without the power to start the console — that is, until the Matrix offers her own power and off they go. The Matrix beams a message into Rory’s head to get him into a secondary control room so the shields will lower and the Doctor can land the console in the TARDIS. On the way, they run into Nephew, but get away and find the secondary control room — which is the Ninth and Tenth Doctors’ console. They reach it and manage to lower the shields just as Nephew enters to kill them, but are saved when the makeshift console lands right on top of Nephew and atomizes him.
The Doctor then tricks House into activating a subroutine that lets the Matrix back in where it drives out House’s consciousness and firmly reasserts herself back into the driver’s seat. As the last remnants of the Matrix’s body begins to fade, she and the Doctor share a final conversation where she expresses her gratitude. Lastly, alone in the console room, the Doctor wonders aloud if the TARDIS can still hear him, and as he mentions the Eye of Orion, a lever flips itself and the journey continues.
Thus, we get the long-awaited Neil Gaiman episode of Doctor Who, and it doesn’t disappoint. In fact, Neil offers some intriguing thoughts about the Doctor’s relationship with the TARDIS, namely that she allowed him to steal her, and also that it is possible for Time Lords to switch genders when they regenerate (as the Doctor mentions about the Corsair). As far as the weirdness that Gaiman’s stories can have, this one is fairly tame, but I suppose it had to be for a children’s television show. He does a fantastic job with the characters, showing a true understanding of each individual.
This episode also continues to explore the relationship between Amy and Rory as House manipulates Amy’s mind with horrible visions of Rory aging and blaming Amy for leaving him. It’s really creepy when she encounters his corpse in the corridors with “Hate Amy” and “Kill Amy” scratched into the walls. Seems strange that she’d fall for that when she knows he waited 2,000 years for her before.
At any rate, the hits keep on coming this series, but with only two episodes left until the break, will our questions be answered, or will be find ourselves frustrated until the fall?
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars