SciFi Weekend: “Vincent and the Doctor” and “The Big Bang”

The season concluded for Doctor Who on the BBC with The Big Bang while BBC America aired Vincent and the Doctor. This review contains major spoilers for Vincent and the Doctor (which I previously wrote about here.). I have attempted to keep reviews of episodes which have not aired yet in the United States free of any significant spoilers–as frustrating as it is not to talk more about The Big Bang–but there are a few comments on upcoming events.

Vincent and the Doctor seems to be a stand alone episode which goes back to the original intent of the show to be educational for children, but it does fit well into the season’s overall arc. The educational aspects of the show include both Van Gogh and depression, with the BBC including a pubic service announcement on depression at the end.

The episode took Rory’s disappearance from time into account. The Doctor accidentally referred to Vincent as Rory. Amy questioned why the Doctor was being so nice to her, and even Vincent saw signs that Amy had suffered a major loss despite not remembering it, at least on a conscious level. The episode had the Doctor explaining that “bow ties are cool.” The Big Bang has the Doctor finding something else he considers cool. I did not notice the crack in the wall in this episode, but Vincent does play a role in the two part season finale, along with many other characters from earlier in the season.

The episode included pictures of the first two Doctors and the use of a species identifier, which seemed like a combination of the “Googles” or “Layers” programs on my Droid and a rear view mirror. The rear view mirror allowed the Doctor to see this episode’s invisible monster, who in many ways was just like Vincent. Both are outcasts from their society.

The story involving the monster concluded several minutes before the conclusion of the episode. The Doctor then brought Vincent to the present to see how his work was being appreciated at the Musée d’Orsay. After returning Vincent to his time Amy and the Doctor returned to the museum. Amy believed that having seen how he would be appreciated would make a difference, perhaps keeping him from committing suicide. She expected to see many new works from Vincent. Instead they found two changes. The monster was no longer in the window in the work which first led them to meet Vincent, and a picture of sun flowers now says “for Amy.”

The Big Bang was an excellent conclusion for the season. While it wraps up some of the aspects of the season’s arc, the episode leaves some mysteries open for future seasons, including the relationship between River Song and the Doctor. The episode is extremely “timey wimy” as Steven Moffat would describe it, and shows how Moffat is more interested in writing a fairy tale about the characters than hard science fiction. Steven Moffat discussed the season after watching The Big Bang in the above interview conducted by his son Joshua.

Those who do not want any spoilers might hold off on watching the above interview. Those who have watched The Big Bang and want more might enjoy this link--but hold off if you don’t want any spoilers as to the season finale.

Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were interviewed by BBC Newsbeat, answering questions from viewers in the video above.

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4 Comments

  1. 1
    Ron Chusid says:

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  2. 2
    Zardoz says:

    Zardoz: » SciFi Weekend: “Vincent and the Doctor” and “The Big Bang …: The episode is extremely “timey wimy” as … http://bit.ly/9bDGE3

  3. 3
    Ira Nayman says:

    Much as I love Dr. Who, the softness of the science fiction has often driven me nuts. The episode a couple of seasons ago where the TARDIS tows Earth from a distant point in space back into its proper orbit made me positively cringe!
    On the other hand, the science fiction I write isn’t always scientifically plausible, so perhaps I shouldn’t be saying this…

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