As I’m too badly organised to have watched this week’s Doctor Who yet, I may as well talk a little about last week’s while I’m on the train.
It’s always gratifying to have an episode that tries to do something different. The old classic Who formula still works well in double part stories, but for the single stories, I start to think that trying to squeeze in a proper alien invasion or what have you is never going to be particularly satisfying. Squeezing an old school four parter into 45 minutes is always going to be painful; expanding something more like a short story to the same length is far more satisfying. I’d cite ‘Love & Monsters’, ‘The Girl in the Fireplace’ and ‘Blink’ as good examples.
‘Amy’s Choice’ has two other main strengths: the Dream Lord and Amy Pond.
The Dream Lord benefits from an excellent performance by Tony Jones, but equally from an inspired origin which manages to take a rather tired “dark side” idea and make it more playful and disturbing than cheesy. And to think, nerd that I am, I was near convinced that he was going to be revealed as a character from some obscure 1960s story!
Equally impressive is the scenario dreamed up by Simon Nye, which forces Amy to confront the dilemma she’s been facing all series: adventuring and running around with the Doctor versus her considerable fear of a ‘real’ life with Rory on Earth. Like any sensible human - especially like a sensible human with a time machine - she’s been committed to putting the decision off for as long as possible. And she probably still is, but she’s definitely been forced to learn something about herself.
People have complained about Amy not being emotional enough, not taking life seriously, being too scatterbrained. I say to them; I don’t want all the TV I watch to be about the same type of person, thanks very much. I love that Amy just gets cold and bitter when the worst happens, and I found it tremendously convincing. I do harbour some concern however that if Amy ever does properly cry, I’ll probably get a little something in my eye.
So, all that, AND violence against old age pensioners, which satisfied a desire first awakened in me watching Hot Fuzz. Did I say desire? I meant shock at how disgusting a thing it is. Tut tut. Shame. Tsk.