Doctor Who

Season 6 Episode 4

The Doctor's Wife

Aired Saturday 8:00 PM May 14, 2011 on BBC America

Episode Fan Reviews (15)

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out of 10
434 votes
  • The Doctor's Wife

    The Doctor's Wife was a perfect and very entertaining episode of Doctor Who. I really enjoyed watching because there was a lot of character and plot development. It was awesome to see The . soul inside a human host. The story was well written and very intriguing. I liked the action, drama, and the acting. The characters where phenomenal and it was awesome to see their development. I liked how every thing played out and look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
  • A great episode with a lot of pathos

    I think I just saw this episode for the second time on my DVR and found it to be a great episode. The plot line was very intriguing and the imagery was perfect for the plot. What was even better though was how Gaiman developed his idea and how he wrote the story for the Doctor and his TARDIS. It had a pathos about it and developed the idea of the two being more than just man and machine, the TARDIS is part of the Doctor and this story carries that idea further with it being a living machine. He also got a lot of emotion out of Matt Smith for this episode and the ending was perfectly bitter sweet.
  • In a plot that has good ideas but never quite gets off the ground, Neil Gaiman misunderstands Doctor Who.

    Neil Gaiman combines Doctor Who, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" into a story filled with unrealized potential.

    The Doctor, receiving a distress call, apparently from another Time Lord, rushes the TARDIS beyond the universe to a place almost, but not quite, entirely unlike a soap bubble on the edge of the universe. The TARDIS' matrix is captured by a "family" trio and stored in Helena Bonham Carter (played by Suranne Jones), which allows her (the TARDIS) to finally express to the Doctor how good it is to meet him. Unfortunately, the planetoid-junkyard they've landed on is actually a malevolent TARDIS-devouring space urchin called "The House." The House, upon learning that the Doctor and the TARDIS are the respective last of their kinds, hijacks the TARDIS for a joyride, with Amy and Rory inside.

    After two of the trio, "Auntie" and "Uncle", die for no particular reason, the Doctor and Helena attempt to construct a minimally-functional TARDIS from the half-digested remains strewn about, and the House entertains itself (at Rory's suggestion) by torturing the two humans and apparently killing Rory twice (but it's okay, he picked up some extra 1-Up mushrooms after that nasty bit with the Romans so he's safe). Now en route, the TARDIS and the Doctor telepathically guide Amy and Rory to an archived control room, where they land, and callously obliterate the ood that the House was controlling.

    Finally, the Doctor tricks the House into bringing them all to the main control room ("Don't throw me in the briar patch!"), Helena dies and the TARDIS' matrix regains control of the TARDIS. Everyone lives happily ever after, especially Amy and Rory, since they no longer have to sleep in bunk beds.

    Throughout the entire episode, I just can't shake the feeling that Gaiman doesn't *get* it. His attempts at humor are lame ("humans are bigger on the inside!"), the Amy/Rory chase sequence in the TARDIS is boring, and, while some of the ideas are cool, they just aren't well executed.

    Sadly, everyone else seemed to really enjoy this episode, so I'm sure we'll see more like it.
  • My, my...

    The TARDIS really loves the Doctor, even biting him. Weird... Well, what happens when the Doctor receives a hypercube that should even exist now that he's the last of the Time Lord's? He goes to the bubble unverse to investigate if he really isn't alone in the universe.

    What's weirder than a gree-eyed Ood? Patch-work people jig-sawed togetehr from the remains of dead Time Lords. Talk about making a House call, hahahahaha! Get it? House called the Doctor to his bubble universe. Oh! We get a bit of sneak preview for later in the season this time. The TARDIS tells Rory a secret before Idris dies, "The only water in the forest is the river." Oh, what oh what could it mean? You'll have to stay tuned to Doctor Who to find out.
  • Neil Gaiman delivers a triumph of imagination and character.

    Since its return Doctor Who has been a program where the writers have been stars as much as the actors. And Neil Gaiman turns out to be a perfect fit to the illustrious series. What's so striking is that Gaiman creates a story that is epic in scale and complexity with a cast of only eight characters (including a disembodied voice and a mute Ood). It's a triumph of imagination and character. Giving voice to the TARDIS is not a new idea, but Gaiman's examination of the relationship between the Doctor and his one constant companion is touching and poetic (and fun). It's easy to concentrate simply of the big ideas and acrobatic dialogue that sustain this episode, but there are also plenty of thrills and shocks as well. And let's not forget the attention given the oft-overlooked Rory. His heart to heart with the Doctor demonstrates that he is more than merely Mr. Pond. Would that more writers gave the character the same consideration. This is an episode that embodies all the best qulaities of Doctor Who, combining imagination and adventure with wimsy and personality. It's brilliant. And it's guaranteed that you will never look at the the TARDIS quite the same way again.
  • Getting to know the TARDIS


    This was probably the first episode of the "New Doctor" (Smith) I would rate as 9.5. I do not like the guy, I do not like his companion(s) too much - I think they all lack the charisma of the previously two doctors. But this episode was just plain great.

    I make a habbit of not reading a summary prior to watching the episode, I do not know a lot about writers, I just enjoy a good episode or dislike a boring / sensless one. So this one was a very nice surprise, giving a brilliant idea about the Doctor and his 'Wife'. I find the title very fitting.

    There is not much to say in addition to the folks who have given their opionion before me. Just one thing needs to be mentioned that was not made more prominent and which I find rather nice. As the Tardis starts to communicate with Amy and Rory she asks the Doctor "The pretty one?". And from there on it was clear that the Tardis would talk to Rory - we all suspected. Only the Doctor was surprised. So, finally, Rory gets his bit of attention from the one that matters, the Tardis. Thank you, author, for this pice of attention!

  • Bonkers and Brilliant! 95% spoiler free.

    Frankly if this episode was just the 30 second scene in which Idris tells him it says pull to open on the Tardis door and he always pushes! Sheer brilliance! As if so many of us never noticed!

    I won't lie, I hyped this episode up in my head so much I was a touched disappointed. But when I stood to the side it was clear that this is one of the finest episodes of the whole show.

    I'd actually give this episode 9.8 if TV dot com allowed it, as once again, as is the case with the Moffat, things go so fast you need a red bull to catch up, and maybe a too loud soundtrack is to blame as well, but it's so easy to miss all the best lines. But knocking .2 off the score, this is still a very small complaint, but it is a trait that could get tiresome very soon.

    But onto the episode...

    NO doubt one of its strengths was it's referencing so much from the past, it serves as the best bridge between new and old Who.

    And then theres the concept. I can say for sure I've never seen anything like this in either Doctor Who or any other show. It exposes just how much stuff in the Whoniverse remains underexploited and I hope it inspires other writers to explore it more. It was about time we got to see whats up those stairs, even if it was a few corridors. The story began as perplexing and totally bonkers, and perhaps it didn't make things clear enough fast enough, but when it did, it became a feast of ideas that were so welcomed. Much like Nintendo says about it's games, this episode isn't what the fans wanted, it's what the fans didn't know they wanted. You really dont want it to end.

    There's also little doubt that there's more great one liners in this than perhaps the last 5 seasons. That's probably not true, but it feels like it!

    Amy and Rory absolutely impressed and their chase in the Tardis was bloody fantastic. That scream! The relationship between Idris and the Doctor was obviously brilliant, I dont think I can add to the praise others have already loaded on them.

    CGI was almost perfect. The Odd cheap Tardis shot but then some absolutely amazing stuff.

    In relation to the other 5 series, this is standout episode because there is no other episode like it. Were all used to the historical episodes and how much the Doc loves the people he meets, and him going to the future and writing wrongs, or seeing the Earth in peril or classic Alien comeback episodes. Truth is it's a pattern that needs breaking and this episode so does this. I suppose he loses his Tardis often, but thats the only cliche I can think of...Well except for the junkyard or corridors, but these repeated themes helped, they didn't hinder or feel worn. Best of all this really felt like getting out there in space and seeing the unseen and doing the not yet done. It's hard to articulate!!!
  • The best episode - ever!

    **possible spoilers**
    Personally, I thought that this episode was the best Doctor Who episode I've ever seen, having watched every episode of the revived show and many from the old series. I mean we knew from previous episodes that the TARDIS was a living thing, only now her soul was extracted and put into a human! We finally learn what the TARDIS thinks of the Doctor and what the Doctor actually thinks about the TARDIS. I think this is like the climax of the first half of the season, which would make sense as I believe this is the middle episode of this half. Anyway, not much role for the Nephew, or the Ood guy, and we don't really get to see the actual house thing. Also, I remember from a previous episode, or I must have read it somewhere, that TARDISes are grown, and not made. Also they're bigger on the inside, so when previous TARDISes landed, they must have had the chameleon circuit on, which doesn't explain why we just see big ships when the Doctor wants to 'build' a TARDIS. Anyway, minor hitches, not worth bringing the rating down. Overall, a very smooth and intriguing episode. Best ever. I give it a 10.
  • Thief - i stole you! The Doctor gets mail, Pond is lost roaming the TARDIS while Rory is tortured. Thrilling, sinister and oddly charming.

    Thief - i stole you! The Doctor gets mail, Pond is lost roaming the TARDIS while Rory is tortured. Thrilling, sinister and oddly charming.

    !Spoilers ahead! So much more than a wish comes true as the story unravels - The living TARDIS dispensing nuggets of an absolute future - showing an immortality that is juxtaposed with the burial grounds of its own kind. With such a weighty motif at hand you might expect a laboured plot but instead we are treated with an utter joy-ride, complete with lots of new TARDIS facts along the way. This could have been called "Sexy and the Thief" with the chemistry between the Doctor and his "old girl" at just the right temperature.. Totally worth watching just to see the "naked" TARDIS fly through space / time. Sadly disappointing was the ease with which House descends from clever torturer to "oops, i forgot what i put in her". There is so much going on in this one - but the question i was left asking was more about the Doctors death in the first episode this year. The current creative DW team say the Doctor is not immortal - and tonight the soul of the TARDIS tells the Doctor she kidnapped him and she'll never let him go. I asked myself if it were possible that "she" cheats time to save her beloved thief.
  • :)

    Fan's eagerly awaited this season for Neil Gaiman's episode and boy did he deliver. There was madness, zaniness, sadness and love, to name but a few of the wonderful elements that made this episode awesome. Suranne Jones, I was so ready to hate her because I saw her in SJA and she was delightfully evil and I just didn't think I could like her, but her acting, perfect. The chemistry that she had with TEAM Tardis was ahhhh there are just too many gushy words i'll just leave it there. Steven Moffatt, you sir are a genius in your own right, but I bloody love you even more for getting this epsiode in. now off to watch it again.
  • Guess what, hiring good writers does pay off.

    So let me tell you a little story. Once upon a time there was this writer. He was a good writer. Perhaps not as good as others, but because he wrote about something very specific and very unusual in a very pleasant way, a lot of people got to know who he was.

    His name was Neil Gaiman, and that very unusual, specific something was the juxtaposition of magical thinking and the commonplace. He wrote of the logic of dream and the logic of magic and the logic of common sense and, in a somewhat unexpected twist, he understood what he was writing about. And then he wrote an episode of Doctor Who. And, you know what? Like almost everything he's ever done, we're making way too much of it. Gaiman is a very talented writer. Even better, he's a solid pro. The man cut his teeth on comic books and never fell into the auteur pitfalls of your Moores and your Millers. He is still a brilliant craftsman more than he is an artist. And that's a good thing, especially when he's writing a standalone episode for a serialized tv show.

    He does a magnificent job of it, for the record. If you know who he is, this is pure Gaiman. If you don't, it's damn good Doctor Who. It's funny and quirky and relatable and extraordinary all at the same time. And yes, if you're a really hardcore Gaiman fan, it *is* a blow for blow retread of The High Cost of Living, which Gaiman has been trying to adapt into a movie unsuccessfully for about a decade which, I won't lie, is kind of disappointing in that it takes away a little bit both from the episode and from the original material.

    But still, another high point in a season made almost entirely of high points (last week, which I didn't review because the cat ate my draft straight out of the Internet and, frankly, I don't like you guys enough to write two of these, was a bit of a low point and still really enjoyable).

    Seriously, what I would give to be twelve again. Sure, I got the original Sandman and a bunch of decent Doctor Who at that time, but then kids these days still have all that if they want it and... this! Good times.
  • Best episode so far in Eleventh Doctor's era!

    The last episodes that i consider as 10/10 was date back to Tenth doctor's Girl in the fire place and Blink. But this, this is simply great! It's a crazy, funny, romantic and yet make sense!

    The line about Tradis instructions on the front door makes me laugh until i almost fall off the sofa. The idea of humanising Tardis is great. Also love that the story is self-contained and complete (not like episode 1 and 2, exciting but doesn't tell us anything about the bigger plot), and it even fits in within the 1 hr time slot!

    Well done.
  • Quite possibly the best episode, thus far, of the Matt Smith era. Certainly that's my opinion. Possible spoilers ahead.

    On the surface level, "The Doctor's Wife" is the story of a sentient asteroid outside the universe called House that survives by eating TARDISes. But first, House must remove its matrix, which he puts into the body of a woman named Idris. Learning that the Doctor is the last of the Timelords, House hijacks his TARDIS and heads to the universe in search of more "food".

    What "The Doctor's Wife" truly is is a love story--a story about the love of a Doctor for his TARDIS and of a TARDIS for her Doctor. As written, the TARDIS is every bit as daft and delightful as the Doctor himself; they're a perfect match. We get some wonderful back and forth on how they met:

    Idris: Do you ever wonder why I chose you all those years ago?
    Doctor: I chose you. You were unlocked.
    Idris: Of course I was. I wanted to see the universe, so I stole a Time Lord and I ran away. And you were the only one mad enough.

    We also get the kind of arguing generally reserved for "old married couples":

    Doctor: You are not my mother.
    Idris: And you are not my child.
    Doctor: You know, since we're talking--with mouths--not really an opportunity that comes along very often, I just want to say you know YOU have never been very reliable.
    Idris: And you have?
    Doctor: You didn't always take me where I wanted to go.
    Idris: No, but I always took you where you NEEDED to go.
    Doctor: You did. Look at us, talking. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could always talk, even when you're stuck inside the box?
    Idris: But you know I'm not constructed that way. I exist across all space and time and And run around. And bring home strays.

    The dialogue is crisp like this throughout and there are so many lines that are likely to take their place among the best in Who lore, none more so than this brief exchange between House and Who:

    House: Fear me. I've killed hundreds of Timelords.
    Doctor: Fear me. I've killed all of them.

    How utterly delightful. And did you know the TARDIS has a name? But I'll leave you to discover that on your own.

    The ending is both heart breaking and triumphant. Matt Smith rises to the acting challenge, here, giving us much more emotional depth than in any episode I can recall, certainly more than in any of his encounters with River Song. But then, of course he would, for the TARDIS is his one true love, as he is her's; the TARDIS truly is The Doctor's Wife.

    "The Doctor's Wife" has the kind of magic and imagination that used to be a weekly feature of the revived Doctor Who. It's not yet to the level of Tennant's adventures, but its a far sight closer than any Smith episode since his debut. Let's hope there are many more like this one to come.
  • Neil Gaiman has written an episode that combines many of my favorite things about Doctor Who, and made me immediately rewind to watch again. Everything "Idris" says makes sense the second time. For anyone who loves the TARDIS, this is a must-see episode.

    First, the intriguing title and the suggestion that another Time Lord may be alive--would it be the tattooed, gender-changing Corsair, or perhaps someone like Romana? Then the malevolent living asteroid, hints about the Doctor's past and future, and one of my favorite Who aliens: the Ood.

    We see more of the interior of the TARDIS than we have in all of the new series, plus nostalgic bits of old TARDIS set pieces that have been used in past seasons, including Idris' cage and my favorite, the control room from the ninth and tenth Doctors' era. Amy and Rory running through repetitive hallways was the only part I skipped over on my second watching, but it was interesting to get an idea of what's beyond the control room. I loved the hexagonal walls and (disabled) anti-gravity shaft.

    Then we get to meet the soul of the TARDIS in human form, and she is adorable. Her relationship with the Doctor and her statement that she always took him where he needed to go are the things I love most about this episode. She is truly the Doctor's soulmate, and will always be there for him.
  • A distress signal supposedly from another Time Lord sees the Doctor take the TARDIS into another universe, where he, Amy and Rory are met by a band of strange characters, one of which is the seemingly insane Idris. Weird… but in a GOOD way...

    This review contains spoilers.

    Last week's episode, 'The Curse of the Black Spot' certainly split the vote. I seemed to be one of the few people in the country who didn't absolutely LOVE it, but over the course of the week, its rating has fallen, so maybe I wasn't alone.

    Either way, I thought that episode kinda let Season 6 down a little, but was more than made up for by 'The Doctor's Wife'. One word... wow.

    When I first saw the revealed episode titles for Season 6, part of me kind of thought "oh no". The Doctor's Wife – what would it be, some kind of fluffy nonsense story… would it be the next stage in the River Song saga? Thankfully, it was something far better.

    There's so much to this episode, it's hard to know where to start. I loved Suranne Jones as the seemingly insane Idris (who turns out to "be" the TARDIS); Jones played the part, in my view, as kind of a cross between Helena Bonham Carter, and Miranda Richardson's slightly nuts Queen Victoria in 'Blackadder II'.

    At first I thought the scrap yard planet set might be a bit cheap and limiting, but it served the story purpose perfectly. Although this episode was probably cheaper to produce than many, consisting of only the planet and TARDIS sets, it actually didn't need anything more.

    And then of course, there's the return to the old TARDIS console room. As Rory and Amy were trying to find it, part of me wondered / hoped if it would be one of the classic series' versions of the console room, but it turned out the be the Russell T. Davies-era version. Oh well, they probably still have that set knocking about, so I can forgive that.

    I seem to comment on the whole what-purpose-does-Rory-serve on just about every episode (y'know, well played by Arthur Darvill, but has no real dynamic and cramps Amy's character); but to get past that, I did initially feel it would have been creepier if Amy had been running around the "possessed" TARDIS by herself, but then we get the quite haunting scenes of her getting separated from Rory, finding him ancient, and then finally dead, having scrawled "Hate Amy" messages all over the walls. Turns out it is the evil House playing mind games, but this sequence is so haunting; it woulda scared the jelly babies out of me as a child!

    And then, there are some really good lines. I love when Amy finds the Doctor has the TARDIS in female form (so to speak), she asks "Did you wish REALLY hard?!"; and there's the classic exchange of (House): "Fear me, I've killed hundreds of Time Lords", to which the Doctor replies "Fear me, I've killed them all". The closing sequence mentioning how "cool" bunk beds are, was always well delivered.

    For those who are / were determined not to like the series simply because it's not Davies / Tennant (and all the better for it IMO), I challenge them not to at least admire what this episode pulls off. It's scope, its whole nature. (I could comment "Can you imagine RTD doing something like this without totally dumbing it down", but I don't wanna risk too many thumbs down ratings!)
    I know many people will watch 'The Doctor's Wife' and ask "What was THAT?" – but that's why it's so great!

    All-in-all… in the first few minutes, I thought this episode would rank at about a 9, for it's quirky setting. But with what it developed into... it gets a solid 10 for me, it is an episode that will leave me thinking about it for a long time (and rewatching it too, of course!). Great ep – though not one for newcomers to the series.