Doctor Who 6.4 – The Doctor’s Wife

“And then you stole me… and I stole you.”

I was talking with a friend a few days after this was first shown in 2011. I had enjoyed the first series of Sherlock, which aired here on PBS’s Mystery! (or Masterpiece Mystery or whatever it was called then) in October and November 2010. That show, of course, was also spearheaded by Steven Moffat, with Mark Gatiss. And after “The Doctor’s Wife,” as far as I was concerned, the episode’s writer, Neil Gaiman, should be Who‘s showrunner, and Moffat and Gatiss could be left to work on as much Sherlock as they’d like. Everyone would win.

So yes, I absolutely adore this story. It’s a clever and sweet love letter to the series, wrapped in just as many horrific ideas and scary bits as it needs to have a good creepy undercurrent to it. The kid figured it out incredibly quickly and watched it all with a big grin, even if he did mishear the actress Suranne Jones as saying “Thing” when she was really shouting “Thief!”

Just in case the next few weeks of Who posts get too grouchy or grumbling as we hit a long patch that I don’t enjoy, this hour was magical. I’ll probably always love Doctor Who even when it doesn’t thrill me, because from out of nowhere, they’ll pull out something wonderful like this. Things I love completely: the grim discovery of the Corsair’s arm, confirming the death of this unseen character, the Ood, the remarkably malevolent sound of Michael Sheen’s voice, the TARDIS identifying all the Doctor’s companions as strays, and of course its amazing little ending.

About which… one of the saddest and most perfect moments in any comic book is Alan Moore and Curt Swan’s farewell to the classic, Silver Age Superman. It’s called Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? and it features a beautiful scene where Bizarro dies. His final word, of course, is “Hello.” Gaiman certainly wrote his fair share of funnybooks. That simply had to be there somewhere in the back of his mind when he wrote this scene. And he betters it.

“I just wanted to say hello… hello, Doctor. It’s so very, very nice to meet you.”

The Sarah Jane Adventures 3.9-10 Mona Lisa’s Revenge (parts one and two)

And then there was that time that the Mona Lisa came to life and started stomping around a gallery with a Sontaran blaster, trapping people in paintings. Is this the silliest, most wonderfully ridiculous story ever? Yes.

“Mona Lisa’s Revenge” is one of my favorite stories from the series. It’s written by Phil Ford and features Suranne Jones, most recently the star of Gentleman Jack, as a pissed-off painting come to life, looking for her “brother,” another living work of art. Jones plays her as a Batvillain with a northern accent, full of appropriate puns like putting people in the picture.

To help in her scheme, she releases a highwayman from his centuries-old painting. Clyde tries a little small talk with him, asking whether he knows Dick Turpin. The highwayman can’t answer; he was painted with only a mask, and no mouth underneath. I giggled through the whole story because it’s hilarious and huggable, especially cackled at the Dick Turpin gag and our son joined in, despite having no idea who Dick Turpin is. Afraid he was a little lost by this one, complaining between episodes that it was very confusing.

Of course, it might also have hit a little close to home for him. Sarah Jane and Luke are still on the outs after an argument about his untidy bedroom. Today’s actually the big cleaning day for us; the kid’s always had a much larger material world than any child needs, and it really is long past time he let go of some of his preschool-age toys. It’s a tough one, because he donated his Thomas the Tank Engine trains and tracks, which he cared for and loved and treated so incredibly gently for years, to the afterschool program for the littler ones, and watched with horror as the five year-olds went at them like that bit in Toy Story 3 where the smallest daycare kids beat the daylights out of Woody and his crew. He may be too old for Bob the Builder, but if he keeps his big Scoop under the bed, nobody smaller than him can destroy it.