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Jun 2, 2011

"The Almost People" is the sixth episode of the sixth series of the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, and was first broadcast on BBC One on 28 May 2011. It is the second episode of a two-part story which began with "The Rebel Flesh".



[edit] Plot

[edit] Synopsis

The ganger of the Doctor struggles to reconcile his old regenerations, quoting from them, before he stabilises. Both Doctors look the same but can be told apart by their different shoes. The two Doctors determine that they need to restore power to the factory in order to send a distress call to the mainland. Amy becomes distrustful of the ganger Doctor and asks him not to call her "Pond", his sobriquet for her.

While the group escapes from the chapel, the Jennifer ganger explains that every time a ganger dies, the last question in their eyes is "Why?". She convinces the other gangers to rise up against humanity. Rory, still looking for Jennifer, eventually finds two Jennifers, each insisting they are the 'real' Jennifer. They fight each other; one finally pushes the other into an acid pool, where she melts and is revealed to be a ganger.

The humans and the Doctors arrive at the power control room. Sensing the Flesh in his head, the ganger Doctor runs outside, and Amy runs after him. She confronts him about the death she witnessed, but the ganger Doctor does not respond. He echoes the Jennifer ganger's question: "'Why?' It's all the eyes say. 'Why?'"

He pushes Amy up against the wall, and she runs back into the control room, scared. Cleaves separates the Doctors, saying they cannot trust the ganger. The Doctor sends his ganger and Buzzer off to find Rory and Jennifer, explaining that the sonic screwdriver can distinguish between humans and the Flesh.

Jennifer leads Rory to a room and asks him to initiate a power system, but this instead turns off the factory's cooling system and the acid begins to boil. The Doctor and the humans are forced to flee the communications room as acid pipes start to explode. Jennifer and Rory come across a pile of discarded gangers, left to rot but fully aware. Rory says they have to show the world what they have found: to this end, Jennifer tricks Rory into locking the humans and the Doctor into the crypt, and Jennifer reveals herself to be in fact another Jennifer ganger.

This episode features the 'Eye Patch Lady'.

Meanwhile, Jennifer has killed Buzzer and the Doctor ganger is recruited by the other gangers. With the help of a holographic phone call to Jimmy's son, the Doctor ganger convinces them that they share the same compassion as the humans. Ganger Cleaves orders the humans released. This enrages Jennifer, who transforms into a monster intent on killing them all.

The group runs through the factory and find the TARDIS, which falls through the ceiling. The Cleaves ganger and the Doctor say they will remain to hold back the Jennifer ganger. Amy tries to get the Doctor into the TARDIS, but he reveals that they switched boots; the ganger Doctor and the original have been pretending to be each other all along. Amy apologises for mistrusting them, and the ganger Doctor tells Amy, "Push - but only when she tells you to." The Doctor and Cleaves gangers stay behind as the others leave, sacrificing themselves to destroy Jennifer.

The Doctor drops Cleaves and the Jimmy ganger off at their company headquarters. Amy suddenly begins to feel pain in her abdomen, and The Doctor tells her she is having contractions. In the TARDIS, the Doctor tells Amy she is a ganger, and has not actually been with them for a long time. He explains they visited the factory so he could scan the Flesh in its early stages. He promises to find the real Amy, and blocks her connection to the ganger. The ganger disintegrates.

Amy wakes up in a white room. The Eye Patch Lady slides back a window and looks down on her, telling her to push. Amy looks down to see that she is pregnant, and screams as she goes into labour.

[edit] Continuity

While struggling with his past regenerations, the Doctor's ganger alludes to several previous Doctors' words. He misquotes the First Doctor's line "one day we shall get back... yes, one day" from An Unearthly Child as "one day we will get back", speaks the Third Doctor's famous line "reverse the polarity of the neutron flow", and speaks with the voices of the Fourth and Tenth Doctors (Tom Baker and David Tennant respectively), the former expressing that Doctor's fondness for jelly babies.[1]

The Eye Patch Lady previously made brief appearances in "Day of the Moon", "The Curse of the Black Spot" and "The Rebel Flesh".

According to Executive Producer Beth Willis, the Amy Pond ganger has been acting in place of the original Amy Pond since the beginning of series 6.[1] The original Amy is shown to be in labour; the Doctor has performed several inconclusive pregnancy tests on Amy since "Day of the Moon".

Believing she is talking to the Doctor's ganger, Amy informs the original Doctor of his future self's death as seen in "The Impossible Astronaut".

[edit] Production

[edit] Cast notes

Raquel Cassidy previously appeared in the Fifth Doctor audio drama The Judgement of Isskar where she played Mesca.[2] Cassidy also previously starred in the BBC TV series Party Animals alongside Matt Smith.

Marshall Lancaster, who played Buzzer, has also starred Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes, which were written by Matthew Graham, who wrote this episode and also "The Rebel Flesh".

[edit] Broadcast and reception

Dan Martin of The Guardian said of the episode, "The Almost People feels a bit uneven, though it's worth saying that it's one of those where everything makes more sense on second viewing",[3] but went on to describe the gangers as "an exercise in moral dilemmas", and "memorable Almost Villains".[3] Gavin Fuller of The Telegraph described it as a "taut, claustrophobic, sci-fi thriller", and as an "impressive episode with its neatly realised psychological and body horror"[4]. A largely positive review also came from Neela Debnath of The Independent, who states that Matt Smith "excels in his acting, managing to be reassuring and threatening, hilarious and sinister all within the same few scenes".[5].

Both Martin and Fuller were less generous of Jennifer's monster transformation. Martin commented "this dark, thoughtful story is restored to camp running-for-your-life-around-some-corridors"[3], and Fuller called it "something of a pity".[4]

[edit] International broadcast

BBC America plans to show this episode on 4 June, one week later than it is aired in the UK, due to expected low numbers of TV viewers during the Memorial Day weekend.[6]