Reviews Doctor Who “Vincent and the Doctor”

Amy and the Doctor find a mystery in a Van Gogh painting
Amy and the Doctor find a mystery in a van Gogh painting.

I felt this episode was the most emotionally satisfying out of all the episodes this season. I love the historical character episodes. Both “The Unicorn and the Wasp” and “The Shakespeare Code” are two of my favorite Who episodes. (Okay, I can’t say I love all of them as the Churchill one was bad.)

The episode was dark and heavy, but in a good way. I thought the writers did a wonderful job at incorporating Vincent’s depression into the show without falling into many pitfalls concerning the way mental illnesses are portrayed on TV. It also played as a nice tribute to Rory and what Amy should remember about him.

I loved both the Doctor and Amy being so excited about meeting Vincent. In a way, it reminded me a lot of Ten and Donna. *sniffs* Clearly, the Doctor’s met a few more famous people in his time and isn’t as enamored as Amy. Amy who’s a huge fan. I loved her in Vincent’s home being shocked to see all the paintings and wanting to put them in a museum to protect them stat. And suggesting things to paint. And Vincent asking Amy to stay, be his wife, and then they could have the ‘ultimate ginger’ children. (Tiny tear for Rory when Amy told Vincent she wasn’t the marrying type.)

I particularly loved the scene where Vincent’s painting, Amy’s enthralled to see him working, and the Doctor’s bored.

Amy enjoys watching Vincent paint.
Amy enjoys watching Vincent paint.

I think it worked in nice contrast with the scene where Vincent shows Amy and the Doctor just what he sees. Even the Doctor becomes enthralled. Beautiful use of special effects here.

The monster was another only of its kind. Seems like the Doctor’s running into a lot of the last/only of a species. I thought it was very similar to the Star Whale. Only it was hard to say whether or not this week’s monster would’ve been evil had it not been so alone and scared. Especially when the Doctor pointed out that it didn’t eat its victims.

I loved the part with the mirror. Continuing the fairy tale. Again, we see the tribute backwards to the First and Second Doctors. Always a major contrast to see the First Doctor (the oldest actor) mirrored with Eleven (the youngest actor).

This week there was no crack, and I think that was okay. I think it was enough to see Amy and the Doctor bringing Vincent to the future, to the gallery to see everyone loving his work. And then to return on their own, Amy running into the gallery and hoping to see years more added to Vincent’s life, only to find he’d still killed himself only a year after their visit. No doctor, not even the Doctor, could save Vincent from himself/his fate. Amy’s streaming tears of sorrow were just what was missing at the end of the last episode, when she forgot about Rory.

0 Replies to “Reviews Doctor Who “Vincent and the Doctor””

    1. @Call of the Wendigo — This episode was really up the caliber I expect from Doctor Who in terms of writing. And this tale could be nothing but a story about Eleven.

      @A Boy Named Art — I do think it started to enter the problematic territory of mental illness = superpower. However, I saw Vincent being able to see the monster as part of his artistic talent, his ability to see the world differently, which is what drove his art. The gallery scenes also illustrated, especially with Amy’s enthusiasm over the “long life of Vincent van Gogh,” that Vincent could’ve made a lot more art — and brilliant art at that — had he not killed himself, or been mentally ill in general. In Western cultures, we do have a tendency to think you have to be mentally tortured in order to be an artist, but I think the gallery scenes (despite your distaste for them) do show that, no, in fact, Vincent’s mental problems were really bad for his art as he died early.

      Yes, I too was glad to see the BBC did that.

  1. While the show gets a lot of kudos from me for attempting to broach the subjects of depression and suicide, I thought it veered too far in the direction of making his condition look almost like “a superpower.” And the scene in the museum made me cringe; I found myself thinking, “Nine would never have done this.” The musical choice for that scene was way too over-the-top for what should’ve been a respite from the storm for Vincent.

    But I will say, when the BBC put up the number encouraging people to get help, it made me smile.

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