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
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  • 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.