May 29, 2011

Season Six Sundays: The Almost People

(Slight spoilers present)

Last week, when I talked about "The Rebel Flesh" (part one of this two-parter), I stated

But the last fifteen minutes? Things were a little too rushed, and I could see the ending coming long before it happened. It's the first half of a two-parter, so I can forgive it that....but it seems off to a pretty good start.
At the risk of, well, being "unmutual" (in Prisoner speak), "The Almost People" didn't quite work for m.

In terms of pacing, Julian Simpson did a great job in increasing the tension. In fact, there's nothing from a direction standpoint that is wrong with this episode - it moves at a pretty fast face. And when it needs to, it slows down the pace with at least one genuine human moment. (Or two, if you count the duplicate Doctor's "remembering" to past incarnations...)

However, from a writing standpoint, there are some obviously familiar story beats, so much so that I found myself engaging in Radio Free Skaro-esque levels of pedantry while watching. Granted, there isn't much to a plot like this, which is a basic staple, and Graham throws in a few nice touches (including a Cloverfield-esque monster), but these same story beats could have been handled slightly more creatively.

And then, without spoiling too much, there is a major deus ex machina that leads into the arc for this "mini-season" which seems....well, forced. Too much of the script seems like it was rushed through in order to get to the lead-in for "A Good Man Goes to War". Admittedly, breaking up a season allows for building excitement and for a change in pacing and narrative. However, much like the McCoy/McGann regeneration in the TV Movie, perhaps season six/seven of new Who demonstrates possibly why that is not such a good idea.

I'm not hating this episode, just extremely disappointed....and my enthusiasm for the mid-season closer slightly dampened.

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