“A solar tsunami sends the TARDIS hurtling towards a futuristic factory on Earth, where human doppelgangers are used to mine dangerous acid. A second wave hits and the “Gangers” separate. They can remember every second of their “original’s” life and feel every emotion they’ve ever experienced. But are these memories stolen or have they been bequeathed? Are the Gangers merely faulty machinery that must be shut down or are they living, breathing, sentient beings? Can the Doctor convince the terrified humans to accept these “almost people” and prevent an all-out civil war before the factory explodes?”
Doctor Who begins another two-parter with The Rebel Fish, an episode that is essentially about clones. But before I start talking about the episode, I want to share an observation about Series 6 so far:
It seems to be going back to the standalones with hints of the bigger picture that the Russel T. Davies era implemented. I’m not complaining, the episodes are still very good. But unlike Series 5 where the cracks in the universe played a major part in pushing many of the stories along, as well as answering many loopholes left from the era of the Tenth Doctor, I do find it a bit disconcerting that we’re going back to the less-serial Doctor Who.
Now, onto the episode itself.
The Rebel Fish is the episode that is most alike the older Doctor Who stories. Somewhere in the universe, and in time, something goes wrong—a something that pulls the TARDIS into its world and into its problem.
This time though, the Doctor and his companions are a bit better-received. That is, until the solar tsunami that brought them into the world in the first place, hits again—and brings to life the fleshy doppelgangers that the world has been using to mine acid.
I’ll leave my episode synopsis at that, to avoid unintentional spoilers. But Whovians should know what happens next. The curious Doctor and Amy go headfirst into the world to find out what it really is, and Rory is more reluctant—actually voicing out his concern about always being the one in the most peril.
And that brings me to what I like most about the episode: the growth of Rory.
We’ve met him in the same episode we first meet Amy. And while Amy has certainly achieved a certain amount of maturity, Rory has been mostly relegated to being the comic relief, or the emotional pull. That changes in this episode. For the first time, we don’t just get a glimpse of the stronger Rory like in The Big Bang finale last season. This time, Rory gets his chance to shine.
I just hope it doesn’t end with him almost dying again next week.
Speaking of next week, I am curious as to how Team TARDIS will face their newest dilemma next episode: on who to trust. And if we’ll finally get more answers about the eye-patch lady that keeps showing herself (unintentionally?) to Amy. There are speculations that say this two-parter actually gives the answers to a few questions brought up in the Series 6 opening. Well, I certainly hope so.
And with only two episodes remaining before Doctor Who goes on a hiatus (mid-Series! For the first time since 2005!), I do hope we get at least a few answers to tide us over.