Amy’s Choice. Spoilers, yada, we move on.
I have a problem with this post. See, I think Amy’s Choice along with Vincent and the Doctor (’cause I am now far ahead of my posting in terms of watching!) is one of the best episodes of the season. It’s just…really really impressive. And so I rather don’t have a lot to say about it: “It’s good. Go watch it.”
And I can only imagine how many times the title got changed on this one because about the only person who doesn’t make choices in this — at least of what I suspect are potentially the universe-shattering variety — is Rory, whose choice is already made. He’s picked Amy and he’s quite firm on his decision. Amy’s his bet and he’s going with it. For which I respect him immensely. He’s seen the universe — and he hasn’t wavered. And that’s something for which I really respect the character. I like Rory — he wasn’t one of those characters who walked on the screen and I was in love with him (hello, Captain Jack; hello, Donna) but his steadiness and integrity are really growing on me. He seems centered and solid and not all that fazed by the Doctor…which is nice because, lets face it, 11 is pretty damn faze-causing.
|The TARDIS crew in their dashing new outfits.|
But Rory’s about the only one here without serious existential problems.
The TARDIS is in trouble (maybe) and everyone keeps falling asleep (possibly) and Toby Jones is wandering about the place being deeply antisocial and creepy (factually.)
And, really, that’s the plot, folks: our crew falls asleep in one universe (the TARDIS) and wakes up in another (a quiet country village) only to go through a short bit of life there and fall asleep again and wake up in the TARDIS. And so on and so forth and so on. The problem is that the situation in either place gets more dire as time goes by: the TARDIS is being sucked towards a cold star and the country village is being taken over by crazed senior citizens.
And did I mention Toby Jones? There’s Toby Jones. And it isn’t quite clear what he is — or what he’s doing — or why he’s doing it — except that he is somehow responsible for when and where they fall asleep in both universes and he is, to some extent, in charge of it all. And it’s all down to choice: which universe is real? If they choose the wrong one — well, ‘oopsie’ will about describe it.
The more I think about it, the more I like this episode. It’s tight, it’s coherent, it’s neatly told, and it’s self-contained without too much explanation or elaboration on a plot that, really, could have fallen into chaos and over-complexity quite quickly. And Toby Jones’ character — unnamed to the last — has what you might call a “sequel-hunting” exit. I want him to come back; I don’t know about the rest of you!
|Back in the day.|
I’d like to point out right now that my first bet for the “who is he” stakes was totally wrong. Did anyone else think of the Celestial Toymaker? Please say at least one other person did. And I’m not entirely sure I buy — or 100% buy? — the “dark side of the Doctor” revelation. Not that I wouldn’t love to think the Doctor has a seriously twisted elfish dark side that runs around taunting not only him but also his companions and, oh, anyone else who happens to be passing. He seems to know where all the Doctor’s weak points are — “The old man enjoys the company of the young,” for example, seems particularly telling. But…I don’t know, I think I’d rather have the Toymaker back — or some new villainous character — than submit the Doctor to more split-personality angst. I have no wish to revisit the Doctor a la The Waters of Mars.
I would say, though, that whoever or whatever this turns out to be, this cannot be the Master. If The End of Time did nothing else, it established beyond the shadow of a doubt that the Doctor and the Master do not now, never have, and never will hate each other.
I think that the ‘choices’ in the episode are quite clever. Amy and the Doctor both choose not to believe in a universe where the thing that is most important to her and him does not exist or cannot exist. Each knows that the place where that thing or person is not cannot or should not be real. Reality is consensual and they refuse to consent: “Bugger this for a game of soldiers,” is more or less the attitude. Given what happens almost immediately afterwards in The Hungry Earth and Cold Blood, I’m starting to wonder who consented to end up in the wrong reality.