Episode Review: Doctor Who:"Vincent and the Doctor"

sysadmin 2.0
sysadmin 2.0's picture

Starry Starry Night
Paint your palette blue and grey...."

Or not.
Don McLean songs aside, (And thank goodness they are set aside tonight), very few artistic figures garner the attention that Vincent Van Gogh does 120 years after his death. Obscure in his lifetime, inescapable after his death, Vincent stands as one of the biggest enigmas of all time.

And if anything is an enigma throughout time, it stands to reason ("Why must I stand to reason? I'd rather lie down to reason, more comfortable") that The Doctor will be involved.

Go here for the increasingly inadequate recap Oh, they get most of it right, but they leave out a device that's pretty essential to the plot, as it makes the Doctor literally look over his own shoulder for a good chunk of the episode.

AAAnyway. I really liked this episode. Not only did it move well, the acting was heartfelt and the two Gingers with Scots accents had a wonderful chemistry- a pairing of those who had lost so much, and either couldn't bear to remember or time itself had forgotten why...
(The joke about Amy having a Dutch accent was priceless)

And Easter Eggs? My goodness, the Art Director did an amazing job on this one. From the canvasses that play a part in the plot to the scenes and set pieces that feature subjects that figured largely in VanGogh's work... it was genuinely a movable feast for the eyes.

My big complaint with the episode was the monster. Thank goodness it was invisible, because had it been visible for most of the episode, I would've sung the 'Chicken Boo' theme song. That's not a monster! It's a giant chicken (Ba-GAWK!!!!)

The idea that Vincent perceived reality differently from everyone else is a rather popular theory- whether it was diabetes,syphilis, bipolar disorder,paint poisoning (don't swallow it kiddos), temporal lobe epilepsy... the Doctor just sees him as different and special. (This is a very romanticised view of VanGogh, as most who met him during this period were repulsed by the coughing, smelly drunk and dirty weirdo that Vincent presented during this time)

That said, there is a curious and poignant beauty in this episode, expressed best by the expert in the Musee d'Orsay, played by Bill Nighy in an uncredited cameo.

With this episode, I'm glad that David Tennant is no longer the Doctor. Although he is a great actor, I don't think that the episode would've worked nearly as well with Tennant's over emotional delivery. Matt Smith's gentle understatement, absent mindedness and gift for the physical bits- the sequences with his unamed critter identifying device are priceless-- and I don't think that Tennant could've carried them off.

Next week: The Doctor Plays Soccer and works in a call center!

Tags: