Doctor Who 5×07, “Amy’s Choice”
Doctor Who does introspective, character studies, something usually reversed for the fan fiction halls, was dashes of Doctorish drama and hints of Hugh Grant Rom-Com!
A rather satisfying 4 stars for this latest episode from my humble viewing sofa.
Basic catch-up plot summary: Two worlds, two lifestyles, two choices, two men! One reality a romantic idyll of white picket fences, matrimony and burgeoning bellies and the other a TARDIS, a time travelling trio and technical difficulties. Both boast of deadly danger; both feel real and with time marching on a choice must be made before it runs out and the inevitability of doom distinguishes life in either.
I have often bemoaned that with the tight 43 minute running time that one of the most provocative and inspiring shows of the last 50 years (literally in 3 years time) can’t address the aftermath, emotional repercussions and personal development imbued by a multiverse of adventure, adrenalin, amazing discovery and intimate regret, remorse and loss. Luckily the insecurities of a 900 year old alien who talks without saying anything and runs without getting anywhere makes soap opera heart to hearts incongruous and unnecessary but for a man who loves so much, he holds all of time and space as home, those snippets of the man behind the sentient, sexy machine and manic quirks gravitate in their importance and meaning.
In this episode the bow-tie wearing, Tony & Guy gelled, bumbling, bookish, bombasticater of benevolence and sardonic sarcasm, the Doctor (played by Matt Smith) is bested by his own inner demons and rightly so these disorientating dreams are definitely better classified as nightmares.
When we dream, day dream at least where our conscious minds are at least mostly in control we visualise personal portraits of perfection, what we want, what we esteem to become and often what we can never have. These dreams states for our characters supposedly, through some psychic awareness, were composed of actual, private thoughts.
Now I think we can safely assume that “Upper Leadworth” was Rory’s ‘dream’, as the Doctor says, young Doctor, married to his dream girl who’s pregnant and living in a Beatrice Potter, hoity-toity town?
But what of the frosty ice burning star and the crippled TARDIS? I doubt this came from Amy, possibly some of Rory’s fear in trusting technology he doesn’t understand and a Doctor who’s as much of a liability as a leader but mainly surely this came from the Doctor himself. The last of the Timelords freezes when Gallifrey burned? The cold, disfunctioning heart of the TARDIS with a small, frightened Doctor inside?
Death by aliens or death by the elements even in innocuous, rustic Leadworth? Is this idea of choice and death also inspired by the Doctor? His fears of not being able to save his companions, of being cheated by time itself, a certain factor as we had this 24esque 40minute countdown in real, or should I say dream, time. And death, always lurking, always lying in wait in the end. Of course then there’s the final crux, that BOTH realities, both dreams demanded the own Doctor’s death. Is he dying to live or living to die?
The lack of input from Amy could symbolise her flighty but feisty indecision or maybe even just the Doctor’s own misunderstanding of women and humanity.
The idea of competition and self-respect and insecurity was also prevalent but by no means was this challenge a dreary dirge, oh no, it was a fun romp in majority; the Doc’s horror at domesticity, Amy the hefflelump, Rory ponytail from the land that time forgot and I loved the enemies in this.
One, old people! Normally ignored and considered of less value in the world, these frail, withering, wittering elders were secret assassins, the irony and amusement factor making the running from slow Zimmer frame folk purely precious. As Rory found it’s hard to bash a pensioner, the thought sick and sordid to our sensibilities and as Monty Python discovered, it’s bloody funny to bash a pensioner and see them bouncing about in the pavement!
Two, ‘Ice, Ice, Baby’! Natural elements, even the Lord of Time fears natural destructive phenomena that can be controlled, intellectualised, bested or beaten.
Three, the ‘Dream Lord’! I’m chuffed with myself that I did work this twist out from the Doctor’s admission that there’s no one else in the universe that hates him as much as you (he) does. This beautifully re-established the longevity, responsibility and alienness of Eleven and fed into the avenging tortured soul of the Doctor and his curse of the Timelords.
The only problem I had with this episode was its slightly Hollywood clichéd nature in the romantic realisation and simple man’s sacrifice. Also Amy deciding that she didn’t want to live in a world without Rory and would take the chance of death to get back to him was fairly out of character, I thought, and no analysis was given to the fact that she assumed the Doctor would join in her potential lover’s suicide plot or the consequences of Amy being wrong. Yeah she might wake up freezing next to a popsicle Rory but she might kill the Doctor and given the Timelord’s impact on the universe as a whole as a sensible and compassionate character a sacrifice of her life without Rory over the universe without their protector her choice should have been easy but burdened by selfless martyrdom, right?
Any way, all’s well that end’s well and what better an end than, “Just this once…everybody lives”!