Sunday 16 May 2010

Amy's Choice

Is Amy pregnant and married to Rory, or is she back in the TARDIS?

This story has totally divided opinion among viewers. Some people think it is the best story of the season, while others are deeply disappointed. I am not sure which opinion is more representative of hardcore fandom, but I find myself among those who felt let down by this story.

It is not uncommon for English language teachers to warn their pupils not to write stories about dreams. It is far too easy to close a story with the deus ex machina of it having been a dream. This rule applies just as much in science fiction.

It is difficult for the viewer to really empathize with the dilemma confronting the TARDIS crew in this episode because it is all too obvious that the Earth scenario is false. We know they were in the TARDIS in the last episode. We know Amy has not left the TARDIS and the Doctor yet, so her life in Leadworth must be a dream.

Of course, scriptwriter Simon Nye could have been clever. He could have found a way to make the Leadworth scenario Amy and Rory's genuine future. This would make it a fascinating timeline jumping episode, unlike any other, except for Mawdryn Undead and Warrior's Gate. However, Nye decided to take the easy way out and just make it a pointless dream story.

Simon Nye seems to be using the Dream Lord plot as a clever way to explore the relationships between the Doctor, Amy and Rory. Its dramatic stuff, but is this what we want when watching Doctor Who? It has been clear for too long that the new series has become too much about relationships and lost track of good old stories about the Doctor doing things.

Given the aim of dealing with the realities of the TARDIS crew's relationships, it would have made sense to pitch the story pretty straight as drama. However, Simon Nye opted for a comedic pitch that rather detracts from the drama.

The scene with the alien old people storming Amy and Rory's house is taken straight out of a certain Father Ted episode. I also question the tact of having an army of murderous elderly folks. If the BBC gets lots of complaints about this, they deserve it.

As for the alien creatures within the elderly people, their appearance and brief back story gave me a big sense of deja vu.

Toby Jones puts in a good performance as the Dream Lord. While he is a little like Q in Star Trek: Next Generation, he has a real maleovolence in his bullyish tormenting of the Doctor. The idea that he is some part of the Doctor's subconscious makes sense given the dialogue in which he mocks the Doctor's weaknesses, but it is disappointing to know that he was simply brought on by parsitic 'psychic pollen.' I am sure I am among millions of obsessive fans who were desperately hoping that he would be from the Master of the Land of Fiction or even the Celestial Toymaker!

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