“You haven’t been here for some time.” - The Doctor.
Two-part stories can be tricky beasts. They have a 50/50 chance of upping the stakes, resolving things set up last time around or spectacularly falling flat like many deflated sequels. "The Almost People" pivots in both directions throughout its 45 minute duration. Plus points: Matt Smith really performs here, twice; playing two Doctors with subtle character nuances that have to make you think hard about which one is the Ganger and which is the original. Even the obligatory visual idea of wearing different colored boots to help you keep track of who’s Who becomes a crucial plot element.
The ending throws away my conspiracy theory that Ganger Doctor was the one that gets shot! However, standing out is the “I’m the Doctor - I‘m cool” scene. It shows that at heart, The Doctor is one of the vainest people alive; no wonder he looks in a mirror every time he regenerates! This story also reminds us that ultimately The Doctor isn’t human. He maybe heroic, saving the day like any spandex superhero, but there are times when we get glimpses of his true inhuman Galifreyan nature.
There’s a harrowing scene where he and Amy have some very harsh words - and by time you get to that “shock twist ending” you’ll feel sorry for how Machiavellian Time Lords can be. Poor Rory. He’s becoming the “Kenny” of Doctor Who, and this episode builds that reputation up when he learns Amy’s fate! He doesn’t die I might add, but after this…well things between him and the Doc aren’t going to be rosy. Incidentally, if you like “Classic Who,” you’ll love the post credit scene as Ganger Doc assimilates his previous selves memories. We get a snippet of past Doctors’ breaking through, from Pertwee, Tennant, Hartnell, and the first modern series mention of “Would you like a Jelly Baby?“ by the legend that is Tom Baker. Minus points: the Ganger/Human war that held so much promise fizzles out. One minute its "Kill the Humans!" Next its "Save the Humans!" Make your das’t mind up!
Jenifier Ganger morphs into one of the worst CGI monsters I‘ve ever seen for no reason. And when did the Doctors swap shoes??? The scene with the discarded Gangers was truly disturbing. Brings a whole new meaning to "throwing out the trash," as you Americans would say! Human leader Cleeves makes a predictable noble sacrifice, while the rest return home. Jimmy Ganger becomes a father after the original dies, with the rest visiting Morpeth Jetsan to stake their claim to obtaining Ganger civil rights. But wait a sec - that company logo? Doesn’t it look familiar? Go back to "Time of Angels" and have a look at what the Cleric soldiers were wearing.
And so, to the big twist. Amy in the Tardis isn’t Amy!
She’s an Advanced Ganger! Yep! That’s right! But it begins to make some sort of coherent sense. You’ll be rewinding back to the beginning to again watch as Amy who tells the Doctor she’s pregnant was the "real deal," while the “one” whose seen Eye Patch Lady pop up in the Orphanage, on the pirate ship, on House and twice in the latest romp has - all the time - been dream controlled by the Real Amy, nine months pregnant, preparing to give birth in one of the most disturbing hospital beds I’ve ever seen.
Next week, we finally get to see Moffat’s hyped up mid-season finale, "A Good Man Goes To War." What’s going to happen? Who’s the Father? Will we be really find out who River Song is? And it’ll get even more tense when the Alliance return!