I don't usually write about my son here, but I just have to say that today was an amazing day with him. He is an autistic adult who has kind of a bit of a Disney thing. Usually on Saturdays we go to the Magic Kingdom and he takes pictures of Tinkerbell and visits a few other places, but doesn't get any more adventurous than going on the Pooh ride. Today, however, he asked to go on Pirates of the Caribbean, which is a little unusual but not by too much. Then he absolutely blew me away by asking to go on Splash Mountain. He calmly stood in line for ninety minutes, and although he tensed up for the big drop he never actually got upset. It is the first time in years that he has gone on that ride, and it totally made my day. Usually we are in the park for two or maybe three hours. Today we were there for a full eight hours and it was amazing. So, yeah, today has been a pretty dang good day.
Also today, I watched the Doctor Who homage to Kubrick's The Shining. So let's talk about that.
The God Complex
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
This story is set entirely inside a creepy 80's hotel with obvious nods to the Overlook, right down to the carpeting and wallpaper. Oh, and the scary rooms with disturbing things in them. Things like a sad clown, or a gorilla, or an overbearing father, or an aggressive P.E. teacher. Except, unlike the Overlook, it also continually reconfigures itself in order to deliberately trap and confuse people.
Oh, and one other thing: There is some kind of monster lurking there that somehow one-by-one gets people to start worshiping it before it kills them and devours their soul.
So, you know, just your average holiday vacation spot.
The Doctor and the Ponds arrive and find themselves trapped with a group of four other strangers, and the rest of the story is pretty much the Doctor trying to figure out what is really going on while secondary characters die off one-by-one. There is a whole thing were each person has a room that holds their greatest fear, and once they see it they begin to say "praise him" and eagerly await their death. Good times.
The Doctor eventually finds his room, but we aren't privy to what he sees in it (yet).
Ultimately it turns out that the monster is a Minotaur, who is feeding on the faith of the people who arrive at the hotel. The idea is that, once confronted with their greatest fear, they will then turn to their greatest faith in order to combat it. The Minotaur is able to turn that faith into some kind of energy that it devours.
And so the climax comes when Amy finds her room, and she turns to her greatest faith: the Doctor. The Doctor then forcefully disabuses her of that faith, which breaks the cycle and allows the ancient Minotaur (who turns out to have been a prisoner himself) to finally die.; Now, this is not the first time that the Doctor has crushed a companion's faith in him. Back in the very excellent Curse of Fenric the pivotal moment comes when the Doctor completely crushes Ace emotionally in a ploy that then allows the Ancient One to defeat Fenric. The interesting thing here is that, whereas in Fenric the Doctor was lying (Rule 1: The Doctor Lies) and afterward he sooths Ace by telling her exactly that, in the case of today's episode nothing he says is a lie.
I stole your childhood and now I've led you by the hand to your death. But the worst thing is, I knew. I knew this would happen. This is what always happens.
Forget your faith in me. I took you with me because I was vain. Because I wanted to be adored. Look at you. Glorious Pond, the girl who waited for me. I'm not a hero. I really am just a mad man in a box. And it's time we saw each other as we really are. Amy Williams, it's time to stop waiting.
Yes, he primarily says it in order to actually save Amy. Of course. But he also says it because he has recognized that he is dangerous to Amy and Rory, and really every companion. The episode ends with the Doctor bringing the married couple back to Earth, gifting them with a house, and even a brand new Jaguar hot rod for Rory. He says he will see them again (and of course he does), but this moment marks the end of having any permanent companion living full-time in the TARDIS.
From here on out, at least through the end of the Twelfth Doctor era, there is not a single companion who travels full time with the Doctor. They go on adventures, sure, but Clara? Nardole? Bill? They all maintain regular lives on Earth (well, as regular as life can be for Nardole, but we won't get to him for a bit yet) and the Doctor just kind of pops in and out. It's like Donna Noble broke him, he spent some time without companions, he tried again with Amy, and now he is unwilling to be broken like that again. I am very curious to see if that dynamic will change this fall when Thirteen takes over the TARDIS.
Tomorrow: Craig is back! And he's a dad! And my wife and I name our cat after Craig's son's real name!
Companion(s): Amy Pond, Rory Williams
Episode(s): The God Complex
Steps Walked: 7,281 today, 3,183,308 total
Distance Walked: 3.77 miles today, 1,662.52 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 100 today, 5,564 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 929 total
How Many Times has Rory Died?: 4
How Many Times has Amy Died?: 3
Is Anything Cool?: Geeky Howie thinks that the fact that the Minotaur is going to kill everyone is pretty cool
Weight: 251.02 lbs (five day moving average), net change -56.28 lbs