But this episode touched on two ideas that Torchwood has previously explored - in greater depth and subtlety I think.
Towards the beginning, Liz 10 says, "There's a darkness in the heart of this space ship - it threatens every one of us."
Oh ho, says the viewer. Evil Monster Defeating Time with the doctor's mega brains. But no!
Because the darkness isn't "the beast below" as is implied by both the language and the dialogue, but it's the people. All the people in their little voting booths blithely pushing the forget button when they have to confront their darker history. It's like what we've been talking about in mythology, the shadow self, the beast in the center of the space ship labyrinth.
And, what's worse than the mind wipe ("democracy in action" as the Doctor called it) is that people don't talk about it. They don't question. They're not curious. And Amy calls them on it.
"And because you're not supposed to [talk about it] you don't?"
In this episode, we have people exploiting, torturing, and inflicting pain on sentient aliens for their own purpose or survival. The few who did protest or who were "citizens of limited value" were thrown into the belly of the whale. That's pretty dark in my book. But, I think even more than those two horrible things, is the idea that people would choose to forget, silent collaborators in a vicious atrocity. The idea that people would just automatically resort to exploitation.
The emotions on the Doctor's face were so overpowering and so - alien, even while being human. I loved Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, but he was too human. Matt Smith was...amazing. He was human and he was alien and he was terrifying.
"Nobody talk to me, nobody human has anything to say to me today!"
I love it.
I really love the lullaby theme they composed for Amy. It's adultish and childish - and just so...Amy. I love how flippant she is with the Doctor, so different from the other companions. Even though Donna called him out more than the other two (probably because she didn't want to get into his lovely pin striped trousers), Amy has a different vibe than Donna. Very child-like without being immature. Whereas Donna, of course, was middle aged.
The Doctor: "sorry, checking all the water in this area. There's an escaped fish." [taps nose]
The Doctor: [on what he is going to do] Stay out of trouble. Badly
Mischief managed, anybody?
Amy: "Is this how it works, Doctor? You never interfere in the affairs of peoples or planets...unless there's children crying."
Dawww. When this idea was revisted at the end of the episode, my soul got a little weepy. I admit it.
Amy: "Oh don't mind me! Never could resist a keep out sign."
I LOVE AMY POND! Look at this girl go! She's so curious - and she saves the day!
Amy: [on her upcoming wedding] "A long time ago tomorrow morning."
That language is so so beautiful. So...so...timeworthy.
Doctor: "The computer won't accept me as human."
Amy: Why not? You look human."
Doctor: No. You look timelord. We came first."
Amy: So there are other timelords?
Doctor: No, there were, but there aren't...just me now. Long story...it was a bad day, bad stuff happened.
There was a similar scene when the 10th Doctor explained it to Martha. This, to me, hits me more deeply in the heart. The simplicity of it reveals the tragedy of it. Heartbreaking.
Doctor: "Hold tight. We're bringing down the government" [slams the protest button]
I'm sensing lots of social commentary here. And I love it.
Amy: "It came because it couldn't stand to watch your children cry. If you were that old, and that kind, and the very last of your kind, you couldn't just stand there and watch children cry."
The Doctor's face while Amy saves the day and explains - oh gods. Especially when juxtaposed to all of the humans and adults who just did nothing but ignore the tears, ignore everything but their own survival, no matter the cost.
Doctor: You could have killed everyone on this ship.
Amy: You could have killed a starwhale.
I just...I just...want to hug them both, and then they hug each other, and it's so sweet, and you can tell the Doctor's is just...overwhelmed with emotion, it's almost exhausting to watch because you can feel it too.
And a little lullaby:
In bed above where deep asleep
while greater love lies further deep
this dream must end, this world must know
we all depend upon the beast below.