Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Review: The God Complex

Only, what, two more 'regular' episodes left to go for Series 6?  Where DOES the time fly?  Oh yeah, in an alien-built hotel made to look like one from 1980s Earth, which is the setting for "The God Complex".  It's basically a retelling of the Minotaur story from Greek mythology, and Toby Whitehouse's script makes it an enjoyable one indeed.

I won't give too much away from the episode, for the sake of people who haven't yet been able to see it.  Suffice to say that it's a great stand-alone episode and a real heartbreaker at the end.  The character of the Minotaur, actually an alien in the story from a race of beings who literally feed on the mental energy generated by a person's faith, could have been portrayed as an irredeemable monster.  But just as in the Series 5 episode "Vincent and the Doctor", he's really just a victim himself, and proves worthy of sympathy.

It is here I will give away the most spoilers, because I really want to focus on the Minotaur.  Imagine a race of beings who feed off of certain types of mental energy, who roam from world to world setting themselves up as gods to be worshiped, feeding on the faith of their followers.  On a planet with thousands, perhaps even millions of followers, it is easy to feed without necessarily killing, except for the odd sacrifice every now and then.  One imagines this is what the Nimons were perfectly content with.  Somehow, however, one of their relatives got himself imprisoned in a labyrinthine prison with no escape, and a steady stream of faithful people from all over the universe brought in to keep it alive.  With so few to feed from, the Minotaur is forced by his survival instinct to take all of the energy from its victims, killing them in the process, something it may very well never have wanted.  But it can't help itself, and eventually, after many thousands of years, it is at the point where it no longer even remembers its own name.  It simply is, and it cannot help but run on pure instinct, full of sorrow at what it must do to survive but unable to end its suffering on its own.  Sooner or later a hero comes and kills him, ending the barbaric ritual of sacrifice to the half-god bull.

Clearly, the writer intended this to be the basis for the Greek myth, or a continuation of it, or some combination of the two concepts.  Whitehouse could have done a lot worse with his handling of the Minotaur myth, but he pulled it off splendidly.

Okay, I was wrong.  I gave away a lot more than I intended.  If I'm able after this weekend, I'll write my review of "Closing Time".

No comments:

Post a Comment