Doctor Who Recap & Review: The Almost People

Ganger Doctor

Written By: Matthew Graham
Directed By: Julian Simpson

A TCC RATING OF

This week sees the conclusion of the latest Doctor Who two-parter, unless of course you rely on BBC America for your Doctor Who needs. If that’s the case, you’ll probably want to wait until next week to read this as you’ll be a week behind. In fact, you’ll probably have to read the rest of these posts a week behind now. Sucks to be you, ha ha ha.

But seriously, there’s some interesting stuff here so let’s jump in without further ado.

The Almost People begins with the Doctor-Ganger struggling to reconcile with his previous regenerations. He eventually stabilizes and looks exactly like the Doctor except for the footwear. The Doctor and Doctor-Ganger decide that the best course of action is to restore power to the factory so that they can send a distress call to the mainland. Amy expresses distrust with the Doctor-Ganger as they escape the chapel.

Meanwhile, Jennifer-Ganger rallies the other gangers together to try and convince them to rise up against humanity. She points out that every time a ganger dies, the last question in their eyes is “Why?” The others take the bait but Cleaves-Ganger has some concerns. She’s also got a splitting headache.

Rory finally finds Jennifer, but another one appears and tries to convince him that she’s the real deal. Both Jennifers fight but one of them pushes the other into some acid, revealing her to be the ganger.

Amy And Crew
From left: Cleaves, Amy, Jimmy, Dicken and Buzzer

The Doctor and crew make it to the power control room. Suddenly sensing the other gangers in his head, the Doctor-Ganger runs outside. Amy follows him out to ask about the real Doctor’s death, but he doesn’t respond. Instead, the Doctor-Ganger repeats the “Why?” that Jennifer-Ganger brought up earlier and then pushes Amy up against the wall. She escapes back into the control room, scared. Cleaves separates the Doctor-Ganger from the group, saying that he can’t be trusted. In response, the real Doctor sends his ganger and Buzzer, one of the other crew members, off to find Rory and the real Jennifer. When everyone protests, he says that his screwdriver can tell the difference between human and flesh.

Jennifer and Rory reach the cooling vents, and she uses his hand print to shut everything down. This causes the acid to boil, forcing the crew and the Doctor to leave the control room. Jennifer leads Rory into a room where a bunch of gangers are slumped together. They’re discarded, but fully aware. Rory says that the world needs to know about this monstrosity, and Jennifer agrees. She gets him to lock the Doctor and crew into the crypt and then reveals herself to be Jennifer-Ganger.

Meanwhile, Buzzer has been killed and Doctor-Ganger awakes to find himself surrounded by the other gangers. They’ve sent word to the coming ship that there are no other survivors and that the flesh is taken care of; the plan of course being to let the human crew die. Wasting no time, Doctor-Ganger patches through a holographic phone call from Jimmy’s son. This sparks compassion from Cleaves-Ganger, who orders that the humans be released.

Jimmy-Ganger reaches the humans and breaks them free, but not before witnessing the death of the real Jimmy. Real Jimmy gives his blessing to Jimmy-Ganger to take his place. The Doctor welcomes him to parenthood.

Doctor And Screwdriver
derp

Meanwhile, unable to deal with the humanity of her ganger peers, Jennifer-Ganger goes off in a rage and turns herself into a monster intent on killing everyone. She chases the others throughout the factory, leading them right underneath the TARDIS, which crashes through thanks to the acid eating away from above. They barricade the door to the room, which won’t work for long.

Amy, thinking that the Doctor is going to stay behind, tries to convince him to get into the TARDIS. That’s when both Doctors fess up to having tricked Amy. They tell her that they needed to get perspective on the gangers through her eyes. Doctor-Ganger decides to stay behind to destroy Jennifer-Ganger, but not before giving Amy a bit of advice. “Push – but only when she tells you to.” Amy doesn’t have much time to be confused before being whisked away in the TARDIS. Doctor-Ganger and Cleaves-Ganger come face to face with Jennifer-Ganger and destroy her quickly.

The Doctor drops everyone off at their respective places: Jimmy with his family and Cleaves back at the corporation to try and stop treating the flesh like sub-humans. Once done, Amy suddenly doubles over in pain. Rory and the Doctor bring her back into the TARDIS, where it’s revealed that she’s in fact a ganger. The Doctor melts her with the screwdriver, telling her that he’ll find her shortly.

Amy wakes up in a white container, in a white gown and very pregnant. The Eye Patch Lady from before slides open a window in front of her and tells her to push. She screams as she goes into labour.

Jennifer Ganger
Jennifer-Ganger is an angry ganger!

Here’s what we at Technicolor Commentary thought of THE ALMOST PEOPLE:

Amber:

Dug the episode. Many of the issues I was having with pacing were cleared up. For some odd reason I have a feeling that there was heavy editing by the showrunner in this one to make up for the past lopsidedness.

Rory has been having sex with fleshAmy. Fodder for awesome vengeance right there. This brings up questions that I don’t feel are appropriate to bring up when discussing a “family show”.

I like the concept of fleshAmy and not her being somehow “extra special”, but the inference to her pregnancy producing a Time Lord bangs against my annoyance to almost all of the companions in the new series saving the day with their magical powers. I would be happy if it were Sexy’s doing, but it might not be.

I’m just glad that it doesn’t immediately come off as an ending we have already done. Might still turn out that way, but at least I get to be optimistic for an episode. That may be mostly attributed to the reappearance of River. While still part of a multi-episode arc, this episode sat better by itself than any of the other ones since the Moffat takeover.
FleshJenny was a bit much, but it made sense in the plotonium and foreshadowing department. At least fleshAmy was slightly different from the initial flesh beings in that she doesn’t seem to have been a copy, but more of a projection.

Part of me wants to see who River is in the next outing, but another part of me doesn’t. I would be content if The Doctor was made privy to River’s details without the audience being informed, but I don’t think I will get that satisfaction due to Moffat’s previously discussed stance on women. The equal footing I crave to be maintained will likely slip through the cracks.

Jon:

It makes sense that this is a vast improvement to the first part, since this is in fact a two-parter. But this is pretty much a direct response to complaints that the show hasn’t been taking a step back to deal with the characters or any of the implications of what’s gone on. Here, we get some good character moments and it’s interesting to see the gangers and the humans wrestle with who was real or if they could both be real. And the cliffhanger at the end? Wow.

PROS: Diplomacy gets more play in this outing and actually works. Jimmy and Cleaves accepting their gangers as real beings. Better pacing than previous episodes.

CONS: Jennifer as the CG-freakish-monster-thing.