Friday, 22 April 2011

Doctor Who: Amy's Choice

“If we’re going to die, let’s die looking like a Peruvian folk band.”

We begin with idyllic yet dull English (well, Welsh countryside) at its most miserable and autumnal, the picture no doubt having been treated to exaggerate the effects. There’s a cottage. A cock crows (what time is it?!), and we see Amy, in a rather dull looking kitchen. She’s up the duff, and married to a mulleted Dr. Rory.

Oh, and as a man with flowing yet manly tresses, maintained with the girliest hair products known to humanity, I’m not sure what I feel about the blatant ponytail-ism here. I suppose I should let it go; I mostly wear my hair loose, being a real man, and I accept that mullets really should be banned. Still, I feel a slight “pah!” is probably in order.

Er, anyway, here comes the Doctor, and he’s faced with a foe greater than any he’s yet encountered; ennui. The Doctor’s clearly on course to eventually do a Reggie Perrin. Except it’s all just a dream. Or is it?

This is a great, conceptual, fast-paced, witty script from Simon Nye, responsible for a number of sitcoms I’ve never particularly watched. It’s absolutely first class stuff, and really shows the merit of getting talented writers from outside the Who comfort zone. Not that we’re entirely free of fan references, mind: “jumped a time track”, indeed!

We have two realities, each containing a deadly threat; deadly cold in one, and a few old people in the other. Dying in the dream will mean they wake up in reality, but dying for real will mean… dying for real. Nice. Toby Jones is great as the Dream Lord. It helps that he gets such great dialogue, of course.

Is it just me who noticed the old peoples’ home is called Sarn? The things in their mouths are a bit Fury from the Deep, too.

There’s a lot of great interaction between our regulars here, including a fair amount of Amy / Rory friction. But the heart of the episode (and a big moment of the season) is Amy’s decision that she doesn’t want to live in the reality with a dead Rory. Karen Gillan is fantastic here, and this is where we realise that she does love him and does want to marry him. Shame he has to cut off his hair first. Grr.

The Dream Lord makes some telling points. We get more about the Doctor’s dalliance with Elizabeth I as part of a discourse on his habit of hanging around attractive young ladies, and we get a very interesting bit about his not keeping in touch with the “people he collects” after they’ve stopped travelling with him.

Superb, certainly the best of the season so far. A very new angle on the series, this: an action packed psychological study. A very good 5/5.

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