I've heard a lot of people raving about the most recent Doctor Who two-parter so it was a relief to realise I wasn't alone and others had also found "The Rebel Flesh"/"The Almost People" a very dull experience. I'm not going to do a particularly long review because with the exception of the big twist ending I found little to care about in the story. Least of all the guest characters - with the whole plot revolving around them and their doppelgangers you'd think they might have been very clearly defined but they were anything but. The characterisation was no more than "the one who fancies Rory," "Scottish dad," "her off Teachers," "Him off Ashes to Ashes" and, for crying out loud, "the one with a cold." Matthew Graham couldn't seem to make his mind up until the very last minute whether the Ganger Miranda or the Ganger Jennifer was the baddie. I'd say everyone's personality was determined by the plot but that was just one chase after another. Visually it was really monotonous as well - Confidential told us they'd matched a variety of locations, well they'd done it a bit too well, every shot looked the same for almost the whole 90 minutes. As for the two Doctors, the reveal that they'd swapped places might have meant more if the means of telling them apart was something other than their shoes - something, you know, in shot. As it is every time the Doctor appeared you had to take a split second to work out which one he was. If you've been confused about who was who even briefly, finding out you had it wrong all along doesn't have the impact on the viewer that it does on Amy. Oh, and one more thing that irritated me: The Doctor initially meeting the Gangers, and telling them to try and appear to the humans fully-formed as that'll be less frightening. Really? I mean the out-of-focus faces are creepy enough, but in the circumstances surely being able to instantly tell them apart from the originals is less scary than the prospect of not knowing which is which. Someone who looked like a melty version of me would scare the shit out of me, but someone who looked exactly like me and who I thought might want to kill me off and replace me without anyone noticing would be worse.
I mean, there's little bits that I liked, not least of all the return of "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow" and one of my favourite lines from Matt Smith's Doctor so far: "I've got to get to that cockerel before all hell breaks loose! I never thought I'd have to say that again."
Still, it all leaves us with stuff to get very excited about for next week's mid-series finale (too soon!) The ending is brilliant, with Amy turning out to be a more sophisticated version of the Flesh. It explains her occasional pregnancy (the body in the TARDIS isn't pregnant, but it contains the consciousness of a woman who is) and Frances Barber's dreamlike cameos are made clear earlier than I expected them to be. My theory is that Amy was abducted and replaced between episodes one and two - not just because of the gap in the story, but also because in "The Impossible Astronaut" she straightforwardly announced she was pregnant, while by "Day of the Moon" the mysterious pregnant/not pregnant scans had started.
Also, the Ganger Doctor has a sonic screwdriver when he melts, and makes some reference to possibly being able to put himself back together - which may provide an answer for how come we saw the Doctor die for good at the start of the series. Ah well, some answers on the way next week, a lot more we'll have to wait until Autumn for I suppose.