At first, I was in disbelief that they were actually titling an episode of Doctor Who “The Doctor’s Wife” (so obvious!) — and then that River Song wasn’t in it! There’s been this big question of River Song’s identity, and whether she’s married to the Doctor. It’s been an ongoing mystery since the fourth season — even the revelation last week of who River Song is doesn’t really answer the question of whether she and the Doctor are married. I just couldn’t see how they would make this episode work.
I should not, however, have doubted Doctor Who. The TARDIS makes perfect sense as the Doctor’s wife.
There was so much to love about this episode. I thought Matt Smith was fantastic. I thought his reaction to the little glowing box was adorable: “Come here, you scrumptious little beauty” and “I’ve got mail” — as though it’s the most wondrous thing ever.
Sometimes I can see clearly why the Doctor is called the Oncoming Storm: “You gave me hope and then you took it away. That’s enough to make anyone dangerous. God knows what it will do to me.” And that exchange between House and the Doctor: “Fear me. I’ve killed hundreds of Time Lords.” “Fear me. I’ve killed all of them.” Granted, the Eleventh Doctor does have a tendency to rely on past victories (with the Atraxi in “The Eleventh Hour” and everyone in “The Pandorica Opens,” but he’s still not someone to anger.
I loved seeing the relationship between the Doctor and the TARDIS. She’s so central to who he is. It’s interesting to see that the TARDIS is not just the blue box and to watch the Doctor come to understand that as well. When the TARDIS first disappears, the Doctor doesn’t quite know what to do: “I’m a mad man with a box without a box!” And when he says, “”I’ve got nothing,” the TARDIS’s response is kind of wonderful: “Oh, my beautiful idiot. You have what you’ve always had. You’ve got me.”
I just liked everything about the Doctor/TARDIS interactions. The bickering: “You’re like a nine-year-old trying to rebuild a motor bike in his bedroom. And you never read the instructions.” “I always read the instructions!” The TARDIS’s summary of what the Doctor does: “You talk, and run around, and . . . bring home strays.”
I liked how the TARDIS is her own entity, not just the Doctor’s machine. When he argued, “You didn’t always take me where I wanted to go,” her response was, “No, but I always took you where you needed to go.” It makes it feel as though the Doctor isn’t quite so alone; the weight of the world is shared by the TARDIS instead of being solely on the Doctor’s shoulders. She looks out for him, and she looks out for the world. And I thoroughly enjoyed her reversal of how she and the Doctor ran off together: “I wanted to see the universe, so I stole a Time Lord and ran away. And you were the only one mad enough.”
I liked the allusion to the first thing the Doctor ever said upon seeing the TARIDS’s newest desktop theme: “Look at you. Oh, you sexy thing.”The TARDIS: “You call me sexy.” The Doctor: “Only when we’re alone!” The TARDIS: “We are alone.” The Doctor: “Oh. Come along, sexy.” The Doctor: “You’re doing it, you sexy thing.” The TARDIS: “See, you do call me that. Is it my name?” The Doctor: “You bet it’s your name!”
When House says, “And you think I should mourn her, the Doctor’s response shows such faith in the TARDIS:
No, I think you should be very, very careful about what you let back into this control room. You took her from her home, and now she’s back in her box again, and she’s free. . . . Look at my girl, look at her go.
I just love the dynamics on the TARDIS, even after the TARDIS has stopped being a woman — the way the Doctor talks to her: “What do you think, dear, huh? Where should we take the kids this time?” The way Amy recognizes the bond between the Doctor and the TARDIS — “Look at you pair. It’s always you and her, isn’t it? Long after the rest of us have gone. Boy and his box, off to see the universe” — and the Doctor’s response, “The way you say that is as if it’s a bad thing. But honestly, it’s the best thing there is.”
Amy and Rory were also excellent, though. When they were on the not-TARDIS, and House was playing tricks with their minds, I once again really felt how important Rory is to Amy. We learned it in “Amy’s Choice” and “Day of the Moon” and here again.
One of my favorite parts was when Amy asked, “Okay, um, Doctor, this time, could we lose the bunk beds?” and the Doctor replied, “No, bunk beds are cool! A bed — with a ladder! You can’t beat that” and then sort of gave up and continued, “It’s your room. Up those stairs, keep walking ’til you find it. Off you pop.” I find the idea that they were using bunk beds so funny . . . and I really begin to question the Doctor’s idea of “cool,” although I think it’s really cute how excited he is about the idea of a bed with a ladder.
And that password of images? Excellent. “Crimson. Eleven. Delight. The smell of dust after rain.” Love it.
“Are you there? Can you hear me? . . . No, I’m a silly old — ” And the look on his face, when the handle turns, as though answering him — as though she can hear him, the glee with which he slides around the console. The cheer and the last spin. I love the connection the Doctor and the TARDIS have.
Honestly, I just love Doctor Who. I was so pleased with this episode and how it turned out. And if anyone is the Doctor’s wife (other than River Song because I want them to be together), it is absolutely the TARDIS.