“The Lodger” Review

Matt Smith is already one of the most obviously alien incarnations of the Doctor.  Sticking him in a flat with James Cordon not only emphasises this but also proves his something of a comedy genius.  After all the angst and loneliness, this episode proves that when the Doctor has fun, we have fun.

Giving the Doctor a flatmate seems such a wonderful idea, it€™s strange it hasn€™t been done before, and it has of course: author Gareth Roberts adapted his own comic strip for the 10th Doctor.  But this episode is quintessentially Eleven; it€™s hard to imagine getting half of the comedy value of from Ten, whose easy charisma and charm would have helped him settle into life on Earth.

Matt Smith€™s delicious enthusiasm for almost everything he does in this had me chortline, whether handing over several grand in cash in a paper bag, sneaking a shopping trolley full of junk into his room or putting a caller on hold while he ate a biscuit (was that a slotted spoon rotating on his desk?)  And after all the gangly alien movements it was a stroke of genius to portray Eleven€™s graceful and coordinated command of the ball in the pub league football game.  Perhaps he is entering a football phase to rival the cricket phase of his earlier youth…  Sticking Amy in the TARDIS was essential to make this a solo escapade into the social life of humans.

The only real flaw was the ending which raised new questions without answering the old.  What caused the damp patch on the ceiling?  And more importantly, who was trying to build a TARDIS?  The Rani?  Following its implosion, the fairly implausible bungalow reflected this ill-fitting bolted-on conclusion (although it did tie up the Craig/Sophie storyline nicely).

Lots of comments seem to have been made concerning James Cordon.  I have to admit I had no idea who he was, but then I haven€™t seen Gaving and Stacy and I don€™t remember him from either Starter for Ten or The History Boys.  What I will say was I liked him in this, so in my book that makes it good casting.

Another question: why do we keep seeing past Doctors?  I can understand it in the Eleventh Hour, but although I think we’ve only seen the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors once we€™ve now seen the Third, Fourth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth and Tenth Doctors twice, the Second Doctor three times, and the First Doctor four times.

Again, it€™s the Eighth Doctor I was reminded of most in this episode, by the Eleven€™s continual delightful childlike sense of pleasure in the simplest and most mundane human social interactions.  When the Doctor has fun, I has fun.  More please.

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See simonwood.info for more...

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