Doctor Who – Amy’s Choice review

A potential turning point in Doctor Who this week, as Amy Pond must finally decide where her heart lies: thrilling adventures with the Doctor, or a quiet life with Rory – a man who would be sensible and dependable if he could only stop falling over.

Rather than a whole episode of Amy listing pros and cons at the kitchen table, they’ve dramatised the dilemma as a lengthy dream sequence. Fortunate, as I’m not sure the TARDIS has a kitchen table. Or a kitchen.

This Amy-centred plotline, happily, means lots of time with Karen Gillan. She does a great job with her inner conflict, defiant in defence of both worlds until forced to choose. At this halfway point in the series, I hope Amy Pond doesn’t abandon ship at the first available finale episode, as she’s made this new era work just as much as Matt Smith. (He’s good this week too.)

Devoting entire episodes to dreams can risk seeming undramatic and inconsequential, but this is circumvented by presenting a ‘real life’ danger and giving great weight to Amy’s titular choice. Even if huge chunks of this story were a dream, she doesn’t know that. A theme, by the way, which is nicely built throughout.

And now Amy has made said decision, and Rory is going to be  sticking around, hopefully he will stop harping on about his jealousy. In fairness to Rory-actor Arthur Darvill, the above is not his fault and his portrayal of the pleasant, yet never suave, chap is very endearing. You may recall I said something similar last week, but they didn’t take note. Next time: BLOCK CAPS, IN BOLD!

This week’s writer is Simon Nye, of Men Behaving Badly fame, and it’s a good debut, I think. In fact, considering his comedy roots, this was straight-faced even by Who standards. And it’s not the first time a writer has successfully come to Doctor Who from a background of sex-obsessed sitcoms: Current Who-premo Steven Moffat was best known for the brilliant Coupling before he started typing about Time Lords.

Also in for one week only is Toby Jones, as the Dream Lord. He’s an archetypal mischief-maker, causing trouble because he can, and it could have been a thin part, but Jones deftly marries the fun and the sinister here. Not to mention the revelation about his true identity, which almost made this reviewer re-watch the episode to see what the knowledge added.

So, in my unimportant opinion, Team Who have successfully navigated the dream sequence minefield without it seeming meaningless or, worse still, turning into a rubbish Holodeck episode of Star Trek. Good for them.

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Nick Bryan

Nick learned to read and write at an early age. This has developed into an unhealthy need to either write stories or consume them for later dissection. He reviews film and TV on Dork Adore and The Digital Fix, lives in London and enjoys a nice white beer.

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Comments

  1. says

    I have to say, this is the first episode of this series that I didn’t really enjoy. To me, it seemed obvious from the start that they’d choose the Tardis dream over the pregnant dream (although the twist at the end was a surprise) and I found it completely unconvincing that Amy would choose Rory and change her mind completely on their future based on a one minute scene.

    • Rich says

      Yeah, but that one minute scene was his death scene. It’d seem out of place if she changed her mind during a scene when he was making some toast or something mundane, but it seemed OK in the context. Of course if they had more than 45 minutes to tell the story they could have added some more angsting but this is the nature of the new show, everything cut back to the bone. It was less stupid than getting three spitfires spaceworthy in less than 30 seconds, at any rate.

      • says

        Yeah, the prospect of Rory’s death making Amy change her mind worked for me. Although her decision to kill herself whilst heavily pregnant when she wasn’t 100% sure it was a dream (even if we were) felt a little off.

        • says

          I was thinking about that today. Being ready to kill the baby you’ve been lugging around for 9 months is highly unlikely. Presumably, she’d be able to remember carrying it and having scans etc. That in itself would be enough to make her want to go on living.

          • Rich says

            True, but then if you’ve also decided that that reality was the false one, all bets are off. I suppose. As with all Who, the closer you look, the less sense it makes.

            Still, next week it’s This Year’s Returning Monsters That Aren’t Daleks!

  2. says

    (Hmm, apparently the last comment-thread is now too long for me to reply within. Never mind. I’m still replying to Rich’s comment above.)

    True, but during the sequence with Amy crashing the van, I was close to actually thinking “Is this a good message for the kids?”, which isn’t a problem I usually have during Doctor Who. I normally operate the uber-liberal policy about it being good to get it out there. Ho-hum.

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