May 22, 2011

Season Six Sundays: The Rebel Flesh

(Although I will try to avoid spoilers, there may be some minor ones. Proceed with caution...)
One of the things that I like to do when I watch anything is to try to find something of worth - and to reevaluate a person's work on a regular basis.

Matthew Graham is one of those writers - I loved Life on Mars, and I personally thought that Fear Her wasn't that bad. (Had Russell T. Davies not thrown in some overtly sentimental material about the Olympics, the underlying premise would have definitely been a corker). So I had high hopes for The Rebel Flesh....

...and there's a lot to like, but being the first part of a two-parter, there's a lot that leaves to be desired.

Thankfully, this episode is equal parts Troughton base-under-siege and Phillip Hinchcliffe-style atmospherics. There's a great sense of dramatic tension, a kind of appropriately creepy premise, and quite frankly, the first two thirds of this episode are good at building a sense of dread. I'm also granting kudos to Arthur Darvill as Rory, who seems to be the "reluctant companion" - a character who may be played for laughs at times, but who also can bring a strong sense of humanity to the proceedings.

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.

It's not an "instant classic", but it's a pretty solid effort. And much, much better than "Fear Her".

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