Doctor Who: 611 “The God Complex” Review
Coming straight after the superb The Girl Who Waited, this week’s episode of Doctor Who has to work a bit harder to impress. So how does The God Complex fair? Well, it’s good, but it doesn’t quite achieve the same level of greatness. There are some nice ideas here, but it feels like they’re not quite explored to their full potential.
The basic premise sees the Doctor, Amy and Rory stranded in a strange place that looks like an 1980’s hotel. It’s not long before they meet the other ‘residents’ including Gibbis (David Walliams), Howie (Dimitri Leonidas) and Rita (Amara Karan). They tell the Doctor that the hotel rooms contain your worst nightmares, so naturally he sets out to find out what’s really going on. There’s also a Minotaur stalking the corridors and slowly picking off the residents one by one. Of course, there’s a little more to it than that and a twist in the tale that turns things on its head, almost literally.
This is another episode that has been pegged as being really scary; however unlike Night Terrors, the scares here are more psychological in nature. It’s a collection of creepy and unsettling moments exploring people’s fears, faith and religion.
There are some more ‘traditional’ frights such as the ventriloquist’s dummy moments that prove very unnerving. The Minotaur is a fairly menacing presence up to a point, but he does become less of a threat as the episode goes on. The return of the Weeping Angels is usually reason to be fearful, but it’s just too brief this time. In fact, they are wasted really and might as well not have even been in it.
Praise goes to director Nick Hurran who once again does a great job in visually bringing to life a fairly mundane location. He really makes the hotel feel claustrophobic, unsettling and generally a nasty place to be stuck in. There are some clever sequences showing the occupants slowly losing their minds and even some subliminal messaging. Praise him indeed.
David Walliams is the big name guest star, though his role is actually pretty small. He plays the cowardly alien called Gibbis who looks a bit like a mole. He comes from the planet Tivoli whose population lives to be afraid and conquered. As you might expect, Walliams plays the role for laughs which puts his character at odds with the tone of episode somewhat. We suspect he was to provide some light relief in what is otherwise a dark episode.
The rest of the guest cast do decent enough jobs, but the most interesting of the bunch is Rita (Amara Karan), a nurse who proves herself early on and makes quite an impression on The Doctor. She shares some interesting scenes with the Time Lord later and you could easily see her as a potential companion.
Matt Smith and Karen Gillan get some of their best material towards the end of the episode. There’s a lovely throwback scene to The Eleventh Hour that examines the relationship between the pair and questions Amy’s faith in “the mad man with a box”. The final moments of the episode will ultimately be remembered the most. It’s an emotional conclusion that feels like the end of an era. But with two episodes left, it can’t be, can it?