Doctor Who is finally on a roll this season. The past few episodes have been stellar and I found “The God Complex” not to be an exception. It’s a reminder of why we love this show so much and why we keep watching.
The episode begins with the Doctor, Amy and Rory landing in what appears to be a 1980’s earth hotel. It’s shabby and ridiculously decorated and has extremely cheesy and annoying elevator music playing in the lobby. They leave the TARDIS there to explore the hotel, but instead bump into some other beings (two human, one alien) who have been trapped in the hotel for awhile. And once they arrive back in the lobby? The TARDIS is gone.
It turns out this is the hotel from hell. The rooms are constantly changing and moving and none of the exits are actually that. The windows and doors open onto walls and somewhere, each person (or creature) trapped there has a room with its greatest fear waiting in it for them. And once that fear is realized, it is believed that it results in death. By something akin to a minotaur.
Of course, the Doctor investigates further and realizes that the minotaur would prefer NOT to be a death machine and has just managed to get stuck in the groove due to base instinct. It doesn’t really want to kill. Unfortunately, though, the hotel has other plans. And soon enough, two humans have surrendered themselves to the beast with the words “Praise him” on their lips.
Of course, we already know that Amy is going to do exactly what the Doctor tells her not to and open the door to her room and sees her fear. However, the Doctor suddenly figures out that it’s faith, not fear, that the hotel and beastie fead upon. And Amy’s faith in him is so strong that she’s next on the list to die.
But the Doctor is smart and he tells Amy that he is not the man she thinks he is and that he only took her with him, thanks to his own vanity. That he knew she would die under his wing and that he was really just the mad man in the blue box. Amy’s faith in the Doctor is shattered and her life is saved. And in the end, the Doctor takes her and Rory to earth, gives them the key to a new house and car and leaves them there because he knows that what he’s said to Amy is true.
This was another strong episode from this season. What I loved the most was that this featured the Doctor and what he does best: solve alien mysteries. I take such delight in watching the Doctor zooming around the hotel trying to figure things out, pointing his sonic screwdriver at things and talking to himself. This is the Doctor we all know and love and this is when he is most in his element.
The honesty with which Matt Smith uses in the final scenes with Amy is emotional. I’ll admit, I had tears in my eyes when he admits to not being the man on the pedestal Amy has put him on. And it was even more heart-wrenching when he told her he was leaving her and Rory behind because it was better than standing over her grave or that of Rory’s. This is now a man who has realized that everything he touches is spoiled and he doesn’t want those consequences to affect the people he loves most in the world.
I love seeing this side of the Doctor and this episode really gave us a glimpse of that. At times, during this episode, he was more little lost boy than very old alien, and it just goes to show what great writing and Smith’s talent can do.
Rory, again, is played beautifully by Arthur Darvill. I do not think I could possibly love that character more. In this episode, we learn that he’s the one without faith, although I would argue that he has faith in Amy. However, maybe he doesn’t? Perhaps love and faith aren’t entirely interchangeable.
Karen Gillian has grown on me as Amy, thanks to last week’s episode. And in this one, she seemed to be bumped back down to being the general companion in distress. Which I’m fine with, because the truth is that the Doctor owns this show. Even if he is accused of having a god complex by one of the characters in this episode (hence, the title). It is true that he always thinks that HE is the one to save everyone, after all. But in the end, the looming question is: Who will save the Doctor? We know that his demise is on its way, thanks to an earlier episode. So how will it all work out?
Next week? The Doctor visits some old friends from “The Lodger” episode. And there are cybermen. Which scare the heck out of me. I’ll be duly prepared with a blanket to throw over my head during the scary bits.