|Day Mode. Whoa-oh. Fighter of the Night Mode.|
It was so exciting that, at the point of the episode where the Doctor looks at the ghosts and says "What are you?" I caught myself literally saying the same thing as the Doctor at the exact same time. He owes me a coke.
|I only accept Mexican Coke, Doctor. Fuck corn syrup.|
Whithouse is already building his own trademarks, though, as this episode actually sees the return of a species he created for one of his previous episodes. Remember the Tivolian from "The God Complex"? The most invaded race in the galaxy? The one who surrenders so easily that their planet's anthem is called "Glory to <Insert Name Here>"?
|It's like having an entire planet full of Adrics!|
I keep trying to think up some way that this episode is going to link into larger plot arcs in the greater series, and I keep coming up with nothing. I get the feeling this two parter is probably going to be self-contained, but then again, you never know. Remember how much "The Rebel Flesh"/"The Almost People" felt like a self contained episode until about 30 seconds before the ending? I keep wanting the coordinates that the ghosts are shouting out to be the coordinates to Gallifrey, but try as I might, I can't quite get that scenario to make sense in my head, and I don't think we're going there in the next episode.
|In the next episode, the Doctor blindly follows the coordinates like an idiot following a GPS.|
I also have to give Whithouse some real credit for his diversity of characters. In "The God Complex," I was very impressed not only that he included a Muslim woman as a character, but that in an episode about religion, Islam was the only major, real-life religion actually referenced. Whithouse gave a lot of dignity to a religious and ethnic minority that is often maligned in media, and I thought it was very refreshing. He does that again, this time for the hearing impaired, as Cass is not only a strong and capable deaf woman, but one that the Doctor refers to as the smartest person in the room. She's a powerful leader, and a loyal one to her people, too. I think Whithouse should be applauded for that characterization.
I'm really curious to see what these ghosts are. They aren't just going to be ghosts. As the Doctor already figured out, these are not a naturally occurring phenomenon. Someone has created this situation, and trapped these souls somehow to be used as communication tools. The Doctor is tremendously curious right now, and his curiosity is infectious. But, in the end, they're not going to be significantly different than other types of "ghosts" we've seen in Doctor Who, from the digitally saved consciousnesses in "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" or even in "Dark Water"/"Death in Heaven," to the psychic impressions left behind in Amy's house in "The Pandorica Opens," to the woman trapped in time in "Hide." The Doctor is thrilled about finally having found real "ghosts, but ultimately, these souls are somehow trapped in something that's specifically linked to this ship, and that's going to turn out to be very technological, not otherworldly. In Doctor Who, the explanations are almost always scientific and never otherworldly (with the ambiguous exception of "The Impossible Planet"/"The Satan Pit"), although, as we were reminded back in "The Shakespeare Code," there's a thin line between science and fantasy in the Doctor Who universe.
A theme that Whithouse is playing with here, and one that I don't think is seized on enough, is the idea of the Doctor as an adrenaline junkie. Clara's catching it, too, and it's starting to scare the Doctor, as witnessed by his little speech in the TARDIS. But clearly, there's a sense that the Doctor is too invested in his own thrill seeking right now, and the ghost of his future self that appears at the very end of the episode suggests a Doctor that inevitably lets his addiction to adventure take him down a dark and dangerous path. In a way, he lost his last set of companions, and I don't think he's going to take it very well if he and Clara are separated, not by choice, but by force. The Doctor might be learning by the end of part two that he needs to slow down a little. But while he may have to, the pace of this two-part episode doesn't have to slow down at all, and I'm excited to see where it goes from here.
When I first heard the "I want to kiss it to death" line in the trailer, it really bugged me, but I like it in context. So in honor, here's a little X!: