(MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD)
“You die in the dream, you wake up in reality. Ask me what happens if you die in reality”
‘Amy’s Choice’ was an odd episode. I liked it, but I’m not sure why! Now, that’s fairly important for a review. But maybe, like The Doctor, Amy and Rory, who couldn’t decide whether they were living in a dream or reality, I cannot decide whether I really liked Amy’s Choice or not. It left me not knowing whether I’d just experienced a sweet dream, or a beautiful nightmare…And I suppose that was the point, just over halfway through the series. Of course, the ‘is this a dream?’ scenario is conjured up a lot in science fiction, and even in horror (see A Nightmare on Elm Street, THE ORIGINAL!). So did ‘Amy’s Choice’ provide a decent spin on the old trope?
In ‘Amy’s Choice,’ an enemy called The Dreamlord creates the dilemma of the ‘real world’ and the ‘dream world’ for The Doctor, Amy and Rory. They will face dangers in both, and if they die in the dream they wake up in reality…yet if they die in reality, they die, stupid, that’s why it’s called reality! And what this interesting, if slightly unoriginal plot served up was a good episode. It was pretty obvious that the ‘five years on’ situation was the dream; it was signposted very well, almost too bluntly in fact. It had the centre point of the Castle (Skenfrith Castle, where I have placed my feet!), a reminder of The Doctor himself; something old and ancient, a time traveller of sorts who is slowly crumbling and fading away. The ‘Invasion of the Bodysnatchers’ enemy of the old people flashed back to zombie films, and also serves up the always humorous shots of old people being hit with blunt objects. And it had a few homages to the old zombie films. The hiding in the closed confines of butchery’s freezer was one of them.
“There’s only one person in the universe who can hate me as much as you do”
‘Amy’s Choice’ had its importance at this point in Doctor Who; it finished off the ‘seduction, sex, pregnancy’ story arc that started off at the end of ‘Flesh and Stone.’ What better way to wake up to reality than a pregnancy? Everything in this episode was built to seal the deal between Amy and Rory, the other story arc also created in ‘Flesh and Stone’; the quaint little village, the attack of the old people, the pregnancy…everything that she couldn’t have with The Doctor. And The Dreamlord’s words are vital here: ‘They all leave you when they grow up, Doctor…the old prefer the company of the young.’ The running theme of the ‘fairytale’ is especially relevant here. Amy loves her fairytales (a running theme in this series), yet this fairytale with The Doctor will end soon, as she’s grown up.
The script was top-notch, with the expected low-key and subtle humour (The Doctor, Amy and Rory now have great chemistry; could Rory be a worthy third companion?). Nothing really happened, if you think about it. The Doctor didn’t save a planet or a race, there wasn’t an impending doom averted. This is why I’m still unsure about this episode; it felt inconsequential because the audience have been reared to expect something on the line. And yet this separated it from the pack; a great character piece that solved The Doctor’s puzzle. He had no idea how to reunite Amy and Rory, yet subconsciously he knew a situation like this would make Amy choose. He couldn’t bring himself to do it in reality.
VERDICT: 7/10. A strange one, ‘Amy’s Choice.’ Not a lot actually happened. But it was more of a character piece than anything else, and a successful one at that.
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(Click here for my review of Doctor Who, Series 5, Episode 6: The Vampires of Venice)