Wow. I -- I just have no words. Well, obviously, I'll find some, but nothing that I can say can do this episode justice. I was enjoying the first 38 minutes or so very much. The story, dialogue, pacing, direction, all were wonderful. Tony Curran was brilliant, funny, vulnerable and so very real as Vincent Van Gogh. Amy was adorable. The Doctor was his usual, wonderful, fantastic self. Seriously, every time I think I've reached the upper limit of my love for Matt Smith and Eleven, he goes and charms anew to even greater heights. I absolutely adore him. I'm sorry, David Tennant and Ten, I do love you. I do, I do, I do, but Matt Smith and Eleven have officially become my second favorite Doctor. And, lord help me, if Matt keeps up this high level of adorable-ness and mad talent, he might (eek!) surpass Nine. I KNOW! But I love him SO MUCH! And I knew I would.
I said all along that I was bummed about not watching this series because Matt Smith just appeared so adorable. I knew he would win my heart. I just didn't realize to what degree he would win it. But, boy, has he ever. LOVE HIM SO MUCH. And, yeah, I'm pretty much at the point where I will watch this series no matter how annoying Moffat gets (because seriously, other than "The Eleventh Hour," so far my favorite episodes are non-Moffat episodes, and the only two that I actually love -- and would put alongside RTD's era -- were not written by Moffat and don't feel Moffat-y at all) ... I love Matt Smith/Eleven that much. I'm sold, hook, line and sinker. And this episode pretty much solidified that.
I can not rave about it enough. The little touches --
- Amy being sad, but only Vincent seeing it because of how much he sees.
- The Doctor accidentally saying Rory's name. Stab me in the heart, why don't you!?! RORY!
- Amy's constant joy at seeing Van Gogh's work.
- The Doctor fighting with the monster in the wrong area, but really giving it a good go!
- The Doctor's scream when he turned the corner and Amy was there, followed by his remonstration to not do that again. And then when she did it again, beginning to tell her to not do it again, before deciding to shelve the conversation. (Trust me, it was just the awesome way that Matt Smith played it.)
- The Doctor's "No, don't!" when Vincent casually painted over a painting, and then how he (the Doctor) tried to nonchalantly cover the pain of that painting now gone forever. Again, Matt Smith is awesome.
- The Doctor so bored with real time. Hah!
- When the Doctor clasped Amy's hand while the three were lying on the ground. Ah! Chemistry. Yes, I'm going there. As fantastic as the Eccleston/Piper chemistry was, as great as the Tennant/Piper chemistry was, I do think that Smith/Gillian have the best chemistry I've seen on this show. Damnit, why can't they be romantic?! (Yes, I'm a complete chemistry whore. Besides, Rose would totally love Amy. TOTALLY! Besides, she's got TenII.) Don't get me wrong, I love Rory/Amy, but my God, the Smith/Gillian chemistry is to die for!
- And on display again in the final scene in the museum when he comforted her over nothing having changed, the way they hugged, the looks, the words, the voice. Guh! Just, I am gutted.
- The three of them lying on the ground, holding hands while Vincent showed them how he sees colors. And how the sky transformed into Van Gogh's "Starry Night" painting was sheer, directorial and story-telling wonder. From the regular night sky to this ...
It was simply breathtaking.
- Hee! Vincent sticking his head out of the TARDIS was hilarious.
- The flyers mostly gone and in flames outside the TARDIS after they landed in 2010 with Vincent, nice little touch.
- Bill Nighy in the small, but beautifully acted role of the museum dude. :)
Then there were the big things. The madness/depression of Van Gogh was so perfectly illustrated with quirks of dialogue, performance and mood. Excellent job by writer Richard Curtis (bless you, you are a genius!), director Jonny Campbell, and of course, our trio of actors, the magnificent Matt Smith, Karen Gillian -- doing a lovely job, and the brilliant, afore-mentioned Curran as Vincent. Also, the quiet, heartbreaking beauty of the creature's death scene. How the Doctor tried to soothe it, how Vincent felt such sorrow and shame, and was able to empathize with this monster's existence, finding common ground with his own. Just so much utter brilliance encapsulated into 38 minutes.
Then came minute 39 and from that point on, I was pretty much an emotionally-wrecked basket case of gooey OMG! I went from being broken-hearted as Vincent told the Doctor that he wasn't sure he'd manage as well without him and Amy, to hope that the Doctor was going to show Vincent his future reputation, to laughing at Vincent's reaction to the TARDIS, to being an uncontrollable sobbing mess once he got to his section of the museum. When the museum guy was describing what Vincent had achieved as an artist, it was overwhelming. Such beauty, such eloquence, such heart and soul. It was just, gah! Words seriously can not do it justice. I haven't cried this hard at an episode since "Doomsday," and "The Parting of the Ways" before that. And then the tears calmed down, and I was able to just relax, and then Amy was devastated that showing Vincent this hadn't changed the course of his life, and the Doctor took her in his arms, cupped her head in his hands, rested his forehead against hers and gave his speech, well, the tears started again. Then Amy turned and saw the sunflowers, "For Amy" and I was a sobbing mess again. Oh my.
This is one of THE finest episodes of television I've ever seen. Period.