Visiting a museum, the Doctor and Amy are especially excited with the gallery for Vincent van Gogh. Many of van Gogh pieces are displayed, including "The Church at Auvers (1890)". However there is something irregular discovered on the painting - a small alien image within a window pane. The Doctor quickly takes Amy back to 1890 where they locate the troubled artist that upsets the locals, cannot pay his bills, and is able to see an invisible monster that no one else is able to see.Written by
Richard Curtis' daughter Scarlett suggested that the Krafayis (originally spelt "Crafayis") could be spotted by the Doctor in van Gogh's 1890 painting The Church At Auvers. See more »
As they are leaving the TARDIS, Vincent says that he cannot believe that one of the haystacks was in the museum. The only painting that fits this description is in the Netherlands not France. However, van Gogh did quite a few paintings of wheat. See more »
Vincent Van Gogh:
It seems to me there's so much more to the world than the average eye is allowed to see. I believe, if you look hard, there are more wonders in this universe than you could ever have dreamt of.
You don't have to tell me
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Wow. Few things on TV move me like this episode has. Incredible stuff. The Doctor giving Van Gogh a glimpse of his legacy was just emotionally jarring in a good way. A friend of mine suffered much the same condition as Van Gogh. He had been able to pull out of his sways, which initially were just mood sways, but then as he sought treatment, became real emotions about real abuse he was suffering at the hands of the very doctors trying to help him. His tale is yet to end.
But here the Doctor and his Scottish companion visit the legendary painter and tackle a giant outer space turkey bent on wreaking havoc in the rural country painting getaway that is Van Gogh's home. I have to say, as far as monsters go, I think the production team didn't go the whole nine yards for this episode. They had a budget to meet, so probably grabbed the first thing that came into their head and said "that's our monster" (I'll bet one of the writers was eating a chicken sandwich at the time they were brainstorming the plot).
The space-turkey/chicken (I say it's a turkey, but the guys on the BBS call it a chicken...whatever) never really gives us his motives for being a malefactor. He is in fact a stock villain for this entry in Who-ness, and runs amuck with vengeful thoughts on his mind sparked by fear of being stranded on Earth. Van Gogh helps resolve the plot.
But even though the plot is brought to an end, it's the story of Van Gogh himself that is the focus of this episode. How did a man who was so renown as a painter succumb to the dark recesses of his own self generated despair? We don't know. We will never know. That's one of the mysteries of severe depression. We're given a glimmer of hope in this episode for those suffering this condition, and it is indeed a very real hope. But depression by itself, is not always fueled by logic, and therefore things can go wrong.
It's a nice intimate episode. There are no major alien invasions here. The Earth itself is not on the precipise of disaster. The universe is not in danger of collapsing. There's a giant raptor like aggressor present, but otherwise this is one of the more intimate Who episodes. Think of the few "good" episodes of Season Three original Trek, and you'll know what I mean.
The important thing about this episode is that the historic figure here, Van Gosh, was not mad. He knew the difference between right and wrong, but his personal outlook and inability to keep himself fueled was an interior war that no amount of the Doctor's Tardis nor Sonic-Screwdriver could address.
A good watch.
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