The Almost People
The Almost People was the sixth story in the sixth series of Doctor Who. This episode saw the Doctor team up with a duplicate of himself. It also marked the moment he was made aware of his eventual death at Lake Silencio.
In a major plot twist, it is revealed that Amy Pond had been replaced by a Ganger some time before The Impossible Astronaut. It also revealed the true nature of the “Eye Patch Lady” whom Ganger Amy has been seeing.
The ganger Doctor begins screaming in pain, prompting the original the Eleventh Doctor to ascertain what is wrong with his clone. Ganger Doctor begins quoting some of the Doctor’s past incarnations. This makes the Doctor realize the Flesh is having a difficult time dealing with his past regenerations, which is causing his Ganger a great deal of difficulty in stabilizing into his current one (which is eleven bodies after the original). The Doctor encourages his Ganger to calm down, as the process is nearly over; Amy looks on in bewilderment as the voice of the Doctor’s Ganger changes a few times to match the incarnation he is quoting.
The Ganger stops screaming and is now in the Doctor’s form. Amy helps the factory workers barricade the door. The Doctor asks his Ganger to describe Cybermats to prove that he is actually him. Amy then asks the workers if there are any weapons the Gangers could get their hands on; they’re a factory, so there’s no need for weapons. Smoke begins seeping through the door — the gangers are trying to force their way inside by using acid.
The two Doctors discuss the situation, amused that they can tell what the other is thinking; getting everyone’s attention, they establish protocol — simultaneously warning Amy to “breathe” — and deduce that they will be able to escape through an air-duct. They quickly climb into the vent, escaping just as the gangers succeed in breaking into the room.
They run into the hall to discover that the acid leaking from the pipes is interacting with the stone, creating a highly potent miasma or “chokey gas”. Cleaves informs them they can get to higher ground in the evac tower and radio for help. They enter and the Doctors begin working together to get the power back online. Once they have power, they can radio for help and track down Rory and Jennifer.
Amy wonders which is the real Doctor and they tell her their shoes are different — the Doctor changed his after the Flesh scanned him. The Ganger asks “Pond” if she’s satisfied and she tells him not to call her that, saying that he’s almost the Doctor “which is pretty damn impressive”. The Ganger takes offence to this and suggests being called “John Smith” as almost being the Doctor is like not being the Doctor. They get the power back on and Cleaves begins working the controls.
Meanwhile, Gangers Cleaves, Dicken, and Jimmy go to the factory control room, where they are able to listen to Cleaves send a transmission to the mainland from the evac tower; Cleaves requests immediate evacuation for herself, the Doctor, and the humans, and orders the gangers’ decommission. Ganger Cleaves tries to intercept the transmission, but the real Cleaves cuts off this line of approach, typing and sending a password that she explains must be used in all future transmissions so that the mainland may be able to verify that it is her and not her ganger. Ganger Cleaves comments on how clever she is, joking it’s why she gets paid the most out of all of them.
The Doctor’s group tries to track Rory and Jennifer on the factory computer, but fail. Amy continues doubting both Doctors are real, saying, “There can only be one.” At the same time, the Doctor has booked a phone call for the morning; he does not explain why. Abruptly, the woman with the eyepatch appears again; Amy finally confesses the woman’s presence to the Doctor, who insists she’s nothing more than a “mirage,” and encourages her to breathe again. The Doctor’s ganger leaves, muttering that something is in his head. Cleaves yells for him to come back, but Amy says she will go after him.
Outside, Amy apologizes for her earlier comments but says she’s been through a lot with the Doctor, having even seen his death, which she admits to him. She then asks if the ganger could have been the Doctor who was killed at the lakeside when, suddenly, he shoves her up against a wall and repeats what each ganger says when it’s decommissioned (or, rather, executed): “Why?” Frightened, Amy returns to the control room and orders the ganger to be kept away from her.
The now-calm Ganger follows, apologizing to Amy for his behavior. Ganger Doctor asks the original if he heard the telepathic “Why” as well, The Doctor confirms he did, but not as strongly as his twin did. The Ganger Doctor explains the Flesh is growing and wants revenge for all the Gangers that have been decommissioned. Amy thinks the Ganger is acting on behalf of the Flesh and says he’s not the Doctor. Cleaves tells Ganger Doctor to sit down and he does so without an argument, hoping to make Amy feel safe.
Meanwhile, Rory has tracked down two different Jennifers, both of whom claim to be the human Jennifer; one shows off a wound on her leg that she claims the Flesh is unable to replicate. Despite Rory explaining that the Doctor will help get both Gangers and humans off the island, one of the Jennifers explains that the Flesh wants to kill them now. Ultimately, the two fight, with one Jennifer dissolving the other by pushing her into a puddle of acid. Trusting Jennifer (who is actually the original Ganger that created the now-melted copy of herself), Rory rushes off to the thermostatic control room with her, where Jennifer insists they will be able to deal with the deadly choking gas that is filling the corridors.
The factory computer picks up a visual of Rory and Jennifer on their way to the thermostatic room, which greatly confuses Cleaves; there is no way to clear out the air there, it controls the temperature gauge for the acid. The Doctor deduces from the headaches Cleaves is experiencing that a blood clot in her brain is slowly killing her; she then realizes the Doctor is an alien when he mentions it’s operable off Earth. Knowing Rory and Jennifer need to be rescued and brought to the evac tower, the Doctor gives the sonic screwdriver to his ganger and sends him off to accomplish this mission with Buzzer’s supervision. Cleaves and Amy ask the Doctor if he’s crazy; the Doctor and his Ganger retort that the original once plugged his brain into the core of a planet to both hold its orbit and win a bet, so possibly.
In the thermostatic chamber, as she previously failed to shut off the thermostatic regulators due to not being a human, the Ganger Jennifer tricks Rory into doing so in her place. She seems fond of Rory despite wanting to kill humans. With the underground cooling vents shut off, the acid will boil and incinerate the factory; the lives of everyone there, human, Ganger and Time Lord, are in danger. They next find a pile of discarded, faulty Gangers that are fully conscious in a previously sealed-off room. Rory is now completely convinced that the Gangers have an equal right to live just as much as humans do; they have to make the public aware of the Gangers’ suffering.
Exploring the monastery, the Doctor’s ganger and Buzzer discover the real Jennifer’s body, deducing that she’d died shortly before their arrival. Both Ganger Doctor and Buzzer realise that the Jennifer with Rory is a Ganger, meaning he’s in trouble. However, while Ganger Doctor has his back to Buzzer, he is whacked on the head with a lamp, knocking him out. Buzzer apologizes, saying it’s Cleaves’ orders. Buzzer is subsequently killed by Jennifer’s ganger when he discovers her comforting the pile of discarded Flesh. Rory, however, is not there.
In the evac tower, the computer registers a rise in temperature, forcing Cleaves to change the rescue spot. However, before she can give the password to confirm her request, the computer explodes. Amy hears something break behind one of the walls, forcing them to leave the evac tower and turn the regulators back on. In the meantime, Ganger Cleaves, who has deduced the password, calls the transport and reroutes it to the courtyard; she and the original are the same person, so it wouldn’t be that hard to guess the password.
Meanwhile, the other gangers discover the unconscious ganger Doctor, who awakens at that moment and asks for something for the pain the blow to his head is giving him. Ganger Cleaves explains that Gangers will always be treated poorly by humanity. Putting away his sonic screwdriver, Ganger Doctor tells them to call him “John Smith”.
Elsewhere, the Doctor’s group arrives in the thermostatic regulator room. The Doctor and Cleaves try getting the machine to turn back on, but it’s too late; a chemical chain reaction has started and they have less than an hour before the factory is reduced to nothing but a puddle of acid. With the machine exploding, they are forced to run away and to seek the rescue shuttle.
The Doctor’s group reunites with Rory, who informs them that Jennifer has discovered a secret tunnel beneath the crypt — which also doubles as the acid room — which they can use to escape to the TARDIS. When they reach the acid room, however, Rory and Jennifer’s ganger lock the group inside; Rory is oblivious to Jennifer’s true intentions, merely hoping to convince the group of the gangers’ right to live. As Rory becomes more uncertain of what they’re doing, Jennifer reveals herself to be a ganger and drags him away before he can release the others.
In the dining hall, Rory yells at Jennifer; she’s completely changed from the sweet and kind woman she was before to a revenge-crazed lunatic, going as far as creating a second Ganger of herself to win his trust and make him think she was the original Jennifer. Jennifer explains that the humans (and the Doctor) will be melted as they deserve and once they get to the mainland, they’ll start a revolution to free the other Gangers; she tells Ganger Doctor to join up. Rory then wonders about the real Jennifer and the Ganger Doctor tells him that she is indeed dead.
In the acid room, they have lowered a lid on the boiling liquid to buy time. Jimmy is less than willing to believe it will work as the acid will eventually eat its way out. Snapping at Jimmy, the Doctor says that if he has a better plan, he’s all ears — “In fact I’ll take you to a planet where everyone is all ears.”
Back in the dining hall, Rory tries to leave to help the others; however, he is ordered by the Doctor’s ganger to stay as the holographic phone rings; its the call the Doctor booked earlier. Jimmy’s young son, Adam, is calling to speak to his father. Ganger Doctor speaks to Adam and then asks Ganger Jimmy to speak to his Adam; he’s just as much as Adam’s father as the real Jimmy. Emotional, the Ganger runs off to release everyone. Jennifer snarls at Ganger Doctor, telling him he tricked Jimmy into an act of weakness. When the Doctor explains that this was only an “act” of humanity, Jennifer flees; the other gangers also experience a change of heart.
Jimmy’s ganger is too late, however; unlocking the door of the crypt, he is horrified to see Jimmy get hit in the chest by acid spitting out from beneath the lid of the tank. The Doctor scans Jimmy with the sonic screwdriver and sadly informs the group that the acid has already reached his heart. As Jimmy dies, he asks his ganger to answer his son’s call and be his father now. The Doctor and the remaining group follow Jimmy’s ganger back to the dining hall, where he wishes Adam a happy birthday; he is also delighted when the Doctor informs Adam that Jimmy will be coming home that day.
The group takes off running through the monastery as the roof begins to cave in; they are pursued by a deranged and mutated Jennifer, who has taken the form of an elastic Flesh monster. Though they manage to find a safe chamber, the door at the end of the passage will not shut, and so Dicken sacrifices himself to close it. The Doctor and Cleaves’s ganger use their bodies to barricade the second door as the TARDIS crashes through the ceiling behind them. Cleaves, Jimmy’s ganger, and Dicken’s ganger are ushered into the TARDIS by Rory.
Amy calls for the Doctor to return to the TARDIS, with his ganger suggesting perhaps Amy thinks he should stay instead; the Doctor maintains he’s staying to keep the door shut and reveals he’s the ganger — he and the Doctor switched shoes to prove the two races are not so different. Unfortunately, it also means he is now aware that he will be killed at Lake Silencio, and his earlier reaction in front of Amy was genuine terror. The Doctor gives the sonic to his ganger, who exchanges an emotional farewell with an apologetic Amy. He whispers to Amy, saying to push, but “only when she tells you to”. They enter the TARDIS and leave. The Gangers realise using the sonic to destabilize the Flesh will kill them too; however, the Doctor optimistically hopes to return. Opening the door, they activate the sonic and all three Flesh beings collapse.
Elsewhere, the Doctor explains exposure to the TARDIS engines permanently stabilized the gangers of Jimmy and Dicken, turning them into true human beings while giving Cleaves medicine (that tastes like burnt onions) to cure the blood clot. Jimmy is dropped off at home, where he reunites with his son; the Doctor, having given Jimmy balloons for Adam, watches from the distance. He next drops Cleaves and Dicken off at an Army press conference about the incident; he encourages her to spread the word about the gangers and not to let their deaths be in vain. Amy worries about what will happen to them, but the Doctor merely tells her to breathe.
She is confused, but suddenly doubles over in pain; Rory and the Doctor bring her back to the TARDIS where the Doctor informs the couple that she is going into labor. The Doctor orders Rory to step away from her, which he reluctantly does. Amy looks on, terrified. The Doctor explains that their trip to the factory was not unintentional: he needed to see the Flesh in its early stages so he could learn how to stop the signal — to Amy. He says no matter where she is, they’ll find her. Rory watches in horror as the Doctor points the sonic at Amy and she dissolves into a puddle of Flesh.
Amy wakes up to find herself imprisoned in a medical capsule, dressed in a white hospital gown. A panel in the ceiling slides away, revealing the woman with the eyepatch, seen by her Ganger, who informs Amy that she is nearly ready to pop and that the “little one” is on its way. Looking down, Amy is horrified to see that she is heavily pregnant and due to give birth at any minute. The woman cruelly instructs her to push as Amy screams, going into labor.