WARNING: This review contains CRITICAL ANALYSIS and SPOILERS!
As if all the dangling little tidbits from a grossly complicated overarching plot wasn’t enough, the strangeness in Doctor Who cranked up to 11 with Amy’s Choice. This is excluding the alien menaces, cold suns, and disturbing ponytails. Out of all the episodes this series, I think this is the weakest one, for several reasons.
In the interest of full disclosure before I start ranting, I’m a big fan of the romantic relationship between Rose Tyler and the Doctor; I was also happy with the way they ended things on that score. It’s very probable that my (*Ahem*) Rose-colored glasses are tinting how I view the Doctor and Amy’s relationship, but, god, would somebody please put romantic subplot between Eleven and Ms. Pond out of its damn misery? I’m secretly a sucker for the mushy stuff, but there’s no chemistry and the attempts to force it fall startlingly flat for me. Flatline, even. I enjoy Amy as a companion when she’s acting more like Donna Noble–a spunky friend who won’t take the Doctor’s crap. She’s phenomenal in all the episodes from The Eleventh Hour to The Time of Angels and then, when she decides to jump the Doctor’s bones in Flesh and Stone everything starts to get weird. I was going to let it go, though, since it seemed like the Doctor was horrified at the idea, and immediately ran off to get her fiance. Except now it seems he did that to erect a barrier between his companion and himself, or that’s the impression I got from Amy’s Choice which was a whole episode of saying “Hey, Amy, you’ve got these two guys after you. Pick the one you’re gonna stick with.”
Didn’t we resolve this whole ridiculous subplot in The Vampires of Venice? Rory acted all heroic and Amy was happy with him–especially since the Doctor was an ass on purpose. Did we really need such an excessive setup as two dreamworlds, one of which represented the Doctor’s life (in the TARDIS) and one which represented Rory’s (in their homely little village)? Yes, Amy FINALLY decides she loves Rory, but in doing so she decided Homely Little Village world was a dream/not real and what does THAT say? She wasn’t happy in that dream; she makes it very clear that she doesn’t want to leave the TARDIS anytime soon.
Now, the Dream Lord. I’m certain that most old time Who fans probably caught on to who he was a lot faster than I did, because of the costume changes he begins once the Doctor says “I know who you are.” I assume the outfits were throwback to older episodes–please let me know if I’m right on that score. When I was finally enlightened via the oddly drab Big Reveal my reaction was along the lines of “WTF, mate?” It’s a neat idea to have the Doctor’s Self-Loathing as an enemy, but consider this: we’re told that if you die in the dream you wake up in reality. Both potential realities turn out to be dreams. Therefore, this was a no-lose situation. Making the whole sinister threat rather un-sinister. Making the Dream Lord essentially impotent. Then again, maybe that’s the comment on the Doctor’s psyche we’re supposed to come away with?
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a bit tired of Eleven’s slow spiral into emo, which I hope has finally culminated in this episode and gets booted off, stage right. Yes, it’s a natural extension of where Ten was going following that mad “Time Lord Triumphant” bit in Waters of Mars but let’s steer a bit more towards the bright side of life, okay Moffet? Dark and moody is all well and dandy in small doses, such as the Ninth Doctor, but we’re teetering on the edge of too much here.
Since this all was one big dream sequence, there were no cracks in space time or overarching plot clues that could easily be seen. I’m re-watching everything so far, and sometime before the first part of the finale airs in Britain I hope to have a comprehensive list of everything that might be related to whatever is actually going on, which will probably be heavy on the red herrings, but what are you going to do?
(P.S. Apologies for the late review this week, but Memorial Day weekend was jam-packed for me; I hope you all had a good one!)