Being Human creator Toby Whithouse returns to Doctor Who once more with a nightmare hotel, David Walliams as a mole and a couple of shocks up his sleeve. But does it continue the fine run of episodes?
Team TARDIS are on a vacation of sorts again and find themselves in a replica of a 1980s Earth hotel, but quickly find there are only a few guests residing; all in fear of a rampant Minotaur and rooms which contain their darkest fears.
One of the remaining inhabitants is Gibbis, a submissive mole-like alien played by comedian/swimmer David Walliams. Sadly, his performance is definitely in the vein of his characters from Little Britain or Come Fly With Me, detracting from the drama of the situation. Whilst not in the realms of Peter Kay exuberance (as seen in 2006’s ‘Love and Monsters’), he should have perhaps been asked for a different portrayal, as the script is versatile enough for a more nuanced role.
Faring better are the rest of the cast. Newcomer Dimitri Leonidas plays Howie, an internet conspirator who likes to blog but is scared of girls (a rather over-baked cliché, to be utterly frank). Best of all is Rita, played by Amara Karan (The Darjeeling Limited), who catches the eye of The Doctor with her wit and smarts proclaiming, “I like you. You’re a right clever clogs!”
The pair even get round to discussing religion (she’s a Muslim) in a very unusual (for Doctor Who anyway), but welcome, conversation about faith. Karan would make for an excellent companion for the Time Lord and their instant chemistry will enthrall.
Other relationships are also explored. In particular The Doctor and Amy, who share an intensely revealing scene towards the end – leading on to the rather surprising denouement. The final ten minutes or so will be the main point of discussion, we imagine, as ‘The God Complex’ seems to solely serve the purpose of this moment.
It’s a pity that the preceding thirty minutes or so take a back seat, by the time the episode is over, as there are some eye-popping visuals from Nick Hurran for the second week in row (after doing such a great job on ‘The Girl Who Waited’). The director creates a truly unpleasant atmosphere (especially toward the end), delivering scares and jumps whilst also framing the Minotaur admirably, giving it menace at every turn.
On the negative side, there are a number of repetitions present (heavy use of phones and screens for communications, old and young Amy) and it completes a trilogy of stories where the resolution is slightly esoteric (love, memory, etc.).
‘The God Complex’, despite the scares, is also a very funny story. Whithouse has packed a lot in (and those with a keen eye may want to study the walls) whilst Matt Smith and Arthur Darvill share some amusing moments together. Though there is a darker side as we witness some EastEnders-style physical anger from the Doctor and Rory’s line, “Not all victories are about saving the universe,” is telling, hinting at what’s to come.
Airs at 7.10pm on Saturday 17th September 2011 on BBC One.