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October 6, 2015

'Doctor Who' - 'The Lodger' Recap

by Brad Trechak, posted Jul 10th 2010 10:00PM
Doctor Who(S05E11) After the disappointing 'Vincent and the Doctor' two weeks ago, it was nice to see the show return to greatness (or at least goodness) with an episode written by Gareth Roberts, who has written 'Doctor Who' for several mediums including television, audio, novels and comics. This episode is an adaptation of one of his comics which originally starred the David Tennant Doctor with Rose and Mickey.

In fact, some of the best episodes of the new series have been adapted from 'Doctor Who' stories in other media. The first season 'Dalek' episode was adapted from one of the Big Finish audios (although the adaptation ending up being very different from its originator) and the stories 'Human Nature' and 'Family of Blood' from the third season were adapted from one of the Virgin New Adventures books.

But I digress ...
This episode represented one of those episodes that was intended to be "low cost" so the series could save some money for the season finale. As the "low cost" episode, it was better written then most of the ones from the Russell T. Davies era.

It was this episode more than any of the previous that gave insight into the character of Matt Smith's Doctor. The viewer gets to see how alien the character actually is. It was somewhat out of character for the Doctor to be unfamiliar with so many Earth customs given how many times he's visited the planet, but he's a new version and his brain did seem a bit frazzled since he took on the role. Of course, he still shows knowledge about the human condition with his mastery of Craig's job and his subtle encouragement of the Craig/Sophie relationship.

The plot itself was fairly simple. The Doctor has to pose as a human (without actually becoming human as in 'Human Nature') in order to investigate strange time-related shenanigans that is interfering with his TARDIS. To do this, he takes a room with a fellow named Craig in a flat in Colchester which is the source of the interference. Naturally, aliens are involved and the good guys win in the end. This episode was more about character than plot.

Craig himself was an interesting character that is easy to relate to. He reminded me a bit of the character of Elton from 'Love & Monsters.'

If memory serves, this is the first Doctor to appear naked on screen in quite some time. Jon Pertwee got caught in a shower in his premiere episode way back when and Christopher Eccleston was shirtless once, but it has been some time. Of course, the Doctor has never played football (or soccer, whatever you wish to call it) on screen before. Cricket, perhaps, but never football.

Naturally, there is a crack in time at the episode's end. Plus Amy discovers Rory's engagement ring. They must keep the season story arc going.

This was more of a fun, lighthearted episode than the ones previous. It also didn't have much shared screen time between the Doctor and Amy. But it did give us tremendous insight into the 11th Doctor's character, and that's a good thing.

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Dan Schaefer

Worst episode ever! Goofy and just plain bad writing. This story has no place in the Doctor Who universe.

July 14 2010 at 3:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

At the end, Amy gets distracted by Rory's ring. I haven't seen the finale, as I just watch on BBC America, but if they don't have Amy write that note at some point, that's a pretty big paradox.

July 13 2010 at 10:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment
SF Guy

I've seen the finale (great, by the way), and Amy never does write that note; presumably that happens between The Lodger and The Pandorica Opens. I hope you don't mind time travel paradoxes, Mike, because the ones coming up in The Big Bang make this one look insignificant by comparison; I've watched both episodes three times now and I'm still scratching my head.

July 16 2010 at 2:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There was nothing wrong with "Vincent and the Doctor!"

July 12 2010 at 1:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I stopped reading this after the first sentence started with "After the disappointing 'Vincent and the Doctor' two weeks ago..."

That was an amazing episode. The End.

July 12 2010 at 1:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

@Cleatta: Yes, I saw that at least twice, not sure if it was two different things on the refrigerator or two different angles of the same one -- one was the portrait, the other was the name of Van Gogh, in what looked like a publicity postcard for an exhibit. I wonder if there is significance to that, or if they're just messing with us?

It was an amusing episode, and I actually liked the Gallifreyan Mind Meld technique, but I was a little put off by the way the Doctor didn't seem to know anything about 21st century English culture. He has spent vastly too much of his life in this time period to be that much out of touch with it, and the Doctor has never had that level of problem before. Admittedly, in most of his other experiences he wasn't making much effort to blend in.

July 12 2010 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Did anyone catch the refrigerator magnet of Vincent Van Gogh's self portrait the first time we get a tour of the apartment?

July 12 2010 at 10:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zachary Pruckowski

Just FYI, David Tennant was naked after his half-human duplicate "regenerated" from his cut-off hand.

July 11 2010 at 9:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good episode. Poor Craig. The Doctor can't help if he appears to be the perfect man. I have to say the certain mania that Matt Smith brings to the role has won me over. You have to admit that was a creepy villain, shadow-y and tricky like that.

I hear somewhere that Matt Smith was all set to play football professionally, but had some sort of injury that turns him to acting. Don't know if that true or not.

July 11 2010 at 7:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Maybe Craig had a hard head. Didn't they do something similar a couple of episodes back?

And since it appeared in an official Doctor Who episode, doesn't that MAKE it canon?

July 11 2010 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Didn't anyone else have trouble with the Time Lord mind meld?? Generally, I liked this episode, but the head butt to share information was ridiculous (and completely non-cannon). The doctor is telepathic, (Doctors 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7 have shown this ability) so why did he need to give them a headache to share information?

July 11 2010 at 9:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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