Doctor Who: Amy's Choice – series 31, episode seven

Some viewers may be less than impressed – and the episode is certain light on FX – but there's plenty to like in this cunning character piece

Doctor Who: Amy's Choice

Doctor Who: Amy's Choice - now children will also be scared of waking up. Photograph: Adrian Rogers/BBC

SPOILER ALERT: This weekly blog is for those who have been watching Doctor Who on BBC1. Don't read ahead if you haven't seen episode seven

Dan Martin's episode six blog

"No no no, ice can burn, sofas can read, it's a big universe, we have to decide which battle to lose."

Amy's Choice is what's known as "the cheap one". Every year, either because they've spent all the budget or are saving it up to splurge on the finale, there's an episode light on sets and FX, and big on ideas. The process can result in howlers like Boom Town, or tour de forces such as Turn Left. And this Simon Nye-penned curio is at least partially successful. Not everyone will like it, I'm sure, but for me the episode stands up as a cunning little character piece.

So we find two worlds: one in the Tardis with the crew approaching death by freezing star, one five years further forward with Amy and Rory expecting their first child. The result is by no means perfect. Where most Doctor Who episodes feel like the 45-minute running time is overflowing with ideas and storylines, Amy's Choice feels as if it could be over and done with in half an hour. Then there's the dialogue – so sitcom stylised that this time it begins to grate. And while it can't be easy to act falling-asleep-on-the-spot, much of the time those (many) sequences look silly.

But here's the thing to remember: if Doctor Who is silly anyway, these two realities both turn out to be dreams, and the magic-realist state of a dream can support even dafter images. Both an army of marauding pensioners, and Amy donning a poncho and telling her boys "if we're going to die, let's die looking like a Peruvian folk band" can be completely plausible.

"I don't know what you're doing in here, but there's only one person in the universe who hates me as much as you do"

Where most episodes stand up to repeated viewing, rewatching this week's instalment would be absolutely necessary. For the most part, it feels like a fun Shaun Of The Dead-style romp, all murderous pensioners and lashings of jolly innuendo. Then you get the sting in the tail and the more accurate reference is Fight Club – the revelation that the Dreamlord is actually the Doctor's own self-loathing seems obvious once it's revealed, but also creates the kind of "whoosh" moment that gives a story new gravitas. And the Dreamlord really is deliciously mean, calling him out on his every character flaw; his love of showing off, his clothes, the way he turns people into weapons (to quote Davros), the way he leaves people behind. It's pretty heavy stuff and, at the mid-season point, gives us the first instance of the character opening up and beginning to unravel. Then there's the merciless teasing of Rory … well, that says a lot for this increasingly tangled set of relationships.

"If you can't save him, then what is the point of you?"

Amy's Choice of course is between her two men, the feckless fiancé and the heroic adventurer. It takes Rory's "death" in Leadworth to make her realise what she really wants. Earlier this week we were discussing how Amy hasn't had much in the way of emotional storylines, but the climax here finally proves that Gillan is capable of more than one-liners and physical comedy – and brings something to your eye, too. The comedy's still good though – pregnant-Amy's waddle as she tries to run is a brilliant echo of The Eleventh Hour, when she couldn't run properly because of her skirt.

This kind of resolution, though, is the kind of thing that would normally happen at the end of a series as the character is waved off. Now we're only halfway through and they've sorted out the love triangle. But surely there's no way they're going to just have a happy couple together in the Tardis, and in any case I'm not sure I want Rory there the whole time. So where are they going with this? And shouldn't there have been a line where Amy expressed some kind of grief over the child she thought she was having?

Fear factor

It pays to think of watching this as a child. Not only has the series freaked them out over cracks in walls, monsters under the bed, the dark, statues and blinking, this introduces the notion that your dreams might actually be real. So now a generation of children are going to be scared of waking up. Horrendous!

Timey trivia

This was the final episode to be filmed and editing on it finished this week. That means that nobody who wrote previews got to see the finished episode.

Next week!

In the two-part story The Hungry Earth we get the annual return of a classic villain. This year, Earth's original inhabitants, the Silurians.


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  • kawerau kawerau

    15 May 2010, 7:23PM

    In my humble opinion, this was the best Dr Who episode ever. No moronic breaking of the laws of physics, a brilliant and unforeseen (at least by me) twist at the end. Totally engrossing and quite emotional. Beautifully photographed and totally consistent.

  • manicart manicart

    15 May 2010, 7:24PM

    This was the best episode yet of season 5. I've enjoyed all the others so far, but none of them have gripped me quite as much as this one. It has everything a great episode of Doctor Who should have-- tenision, a macabre atmosphere, a genuinely compelling mystery and some mordant humour. Not to mention a great villain! Keeping the audience guessing about the true nature of the Dream Lord right up until the last few minutes was genius. Is he the Master? The Trickster? The Celestial Toymaker? In the end you could reasonably say it was the Valeyard I suppose-- but not having him turn out to be an old enemy was fine.

    This would have been a great story to finish off the season with, especially given the story's main flaw-- we know pregnant Amy's world has to be the fake because there are still six more episodes to go.

  • davidabsalom davidabsalom

    15 May 2010, 7:25PM

    I was less keen on this than some of the others, but I take your point that it might be a grower. The trouble is I'm not interested in Amy's choice, any more than I was in Martha or Rose's crush on the Doctor.

  • AlexLeTrend AlexLeTrend

    15 May 2010, 7:26PM

    The old people need to a regular in the new Doctor Who. The Daleks and Weeping Angels have had their day. Nothing will scare kids, and 20 year old me, than an army of old people with eyes that kill you in their mouths.

  • AlexLeTrend AlexLeTrend

    15 May 2010, 7:29PM

    The only down note on this episode is that it showed no time scale on when we can get rid of Rory. Hes ruining the double act between Amy and the Doctor which was playing out in a far more interesting way than Rose and Chris Ecc's Doctor. The boyfriend/family character/s drag Who down and lower the pace on the episodes, this one excluded.

  • cunextwednesday cunextwednesday

    15 May 2010, 7:30PM

    If you take the feelings of despair at the demise of Dr Who episode 2 and 3 generated along with the "why can't the weeping angels just send people back in time anymore" angst and multiply that negativity by 10 this episode made up for all of it. Well done Mr Nye.

  • AnneDon AnneDon

    15 May 2010, 7:40PM

    I enjoyed this, as I have been enjoying the whole season. Just at the end of the episode, we saw Rory with more confidence, so hopefully he won't be such a drip for the rest of the series.

  • galentine galentine

    15 May 2010, 7:43PM

    I can't understand how anyone could find this episode anything other than outstanding.

    On a first viewing, my favourite ep of this series so far.

    Granny bashing at teatime!

  • Dan19812 Dan19812

    15 May 2010, 8:04PM

    I also thought it was excellent. In previous series the Doctor has always seemed a bit of a cipher compared to the companions, so it was really nice to see some of the man (timelord) behind the bowtie.

  • nicola23 nicola23

    15 May 2010, 8:12PM

    That was cool, good storytelling and excellent dialogue... I thought anyway.

    Plus, I laughed out loud at the Doctor knocking that elderly woman off the roof with a lamp and had to shut-up sharpish when Rory turned to dust. Comedy and pathos, it's all I ask for.

    Peruvian folk band? Who wouldn't want to die in one of them?

  • johno329 johno329

    15 May 2010, 8:14PM

    i didnt enjoy this ep as much as the others rory is beginning to bug me now his character doesnt do much but look scared and idiotic. this season is very good so far i was hoping for more backstory into the time war etc etc but im sure that'll come.
    Matt smith is a terrific doctor in my opinion and i hope the majority of the rest of the seasons episodes are written by stephen moffat because the guest writers arent really cutting it so far.

  • Thetwelfthdoctor Thetwelfthdoctor

    15 May 2010, 8:28PM

    It was nice to see the re-invention of the Valeyard for nu-Who which made, seemingly, a whole load more sense than any explanation given from The Trial of a Timelord.

    Though psychic pollen be damned: Almost as space-gibberish as the Isolus from Fear Her or that darned Space-Whale.

    However, I don't believe Amy Pond could have killed those pensioners travelling at thirty miles an hour in the camper van. Although, as every fan of British public information films would know, if she'd been travelling at forty...

  • mccaffepj mccaffepj

    15 May 2010, 8:40PM

    "Tonight on BBC1 a sinister Lord attempts to manipulate and mislead a group of people into believing in a tantalising glimpe of an unrealistic happy future.....but before Over the Rainbow its time for another episode of Doctor Who..........."

    Joking aside (and I use the word "joking " loosely), 2 quick points :

    On the plus side Toby Jones stole the show with a great guest star performance. Given how playfully evil the Master, Valeyard and other timelords are I think Toby Jones got it right.

    On the minus side I think having pensioners as (cheap) evil aliens and knocking little old ladies over will generate more complaints of BBC ageism as Arlene Philips will testify...............

  • Stonley Stonley

    15 May 2010, 8:56PM

    Agree with kawerau's comments. My favourite of the series so far and imo one of the very best since Who's return. The best episodes are always the ones with a simple, compelling idea at the core. They should make more like this. Outstanding!

  • TokenGesture TokenGesture

    15 May 2010, 8:58PM

    "partially successful"! I beg to differ - it was ruddy marvelous, eerie, surreal, funny, well acted, well paced for 45 mins (a real rarity unfortunately), with a great villain and a great actor in Toby Jones to play him.

    One of the best of the best since the show returned, and the first great story this season not written by Moff, well done Simon Nye, you can come back next year ;)

  • safeasmilk safeasmilk

    15 May 2010, 9:03PM

    Even the music seemed to be a bit toned down this week - thank God!

    Terrific episode - loved the Poncho gag, Rory's ponytail and the nasty OAP's.
    More like this please.

  • adorey adorey

    15 May 2010, 9:25PM

    This was a FANTASTIC episode!

    For onece it was nice to not have mentons to these time cracks - it was beginning to put me on edge.
    And there i was in the last blog worrying that there was no emotion in this new series - I eat my words!
    The moment where Amy brushes her fingers through Rory's ahes, cradling her bump, with the Doctor looking on helplessly had me swallowing a lump in my throat.
    And then a quiet "Come back" - and that did it. Floods of tears later (i'm still aiming the hairdryer at my sopping pillow!) i have come to the conclusion that this has to be the best DW episode ever.

    Where's Simon Nye? Bring him back right now - lock him in the TARDIS and refuse to let him go until he agrees to writing more scripts!

  • meretare meretare

    15 May 2010, 9:29PM

    I agree with most of the comments, it was excellent - the Dream Lord character was written really well.

    I thought he might be the "celestial toymaker" or the "time meddler"..

  • keithrx keithrx

    15 May 2010, 10:09PM

    I have to disagree about this being the first time Karen Gillan showed range or depth. There was a wonderful range of emotions in the Flesh and Stone episode. Most notably the muted fear as she walked through the forest alone, surrounded by angels. There was also a nice touch in the shades of the child in the scene where the doctor tries to reassure her before he leaves her in the forest.. Earlier in the opening episodes she also did a wonderful job with the different emotions or reponses the Doctor can evoke as she first gets to know him. What I've noticed is the naturalness of the facial expressions. This last episode seems to have deepened the character nicely though and is a nice addition to her character development.
    On a different note I've noticed the many echoes of what River said in Forest of the Night turning up in this series so far. There's the clicking of the fingers to open the tardis and the way he faced down the Atraxi spaceship (though he ran instead of swaggering away) in the opening episode and the tying of the doctor with the handcuffs by Amy, which echoes River's tying up of the doctor before she sacrifices herself. Significantly the dreamlord/Doctor taunts Amy in this latest episode with the question "Do you know his real name?", something only River knows of course. Are Amy and River connected in some strange way? The clincher would be if the Doctor tells Amy his real name. But a revelation like that would definitely be a finale type thing.

  • DrinkTea DrinkTea

    15 May 2010, 10:11PM

    Rory: The Doctor will save us, he's really cool. (paraphrasing)

    Next shot he's running down the road looking like a massively un-cool idiot. That was funny.

  • felik felik

    15 May 2010, 10:15PM

    Lovely, brilliant Toby Jones - so cuddly and sinister all at the same time!

    Cracking dialogue, seemingly next-to-no budget, the Doctor showing some real character, giving talented Matt Smith a bit more to get his teeth into: classic Doctor Who. You can tell it was written by someone experienced, unlike - and sorry about this but it's true - poor old Mark Gatiss's dismal attempts.

    Stellar stuff.

  • Bravosierra Bravosierra

    15 May 2010, 10:28PM

    I really enjoyed this. While other seasons have been a bit hit and miss (with great moments and some pretty poor episodes) this one has been consistently good.

    The 'which is reality', 'am I awake or dreaming' thing is a common sci-fi trope but it was executed well here.

    I'm not sure I want Rory to be around all the time but the dynamic is an interesting one. Amy loves the excitement and Rory knows that's something he can't give her; but eventually she'll leave and have a normal life, something the Doctor can't give her.

    I loved two beats that said so much. The first, Amy reassuring Rory that she would chose him, while standing much closer to the Doctor and her body language betraying her. The second, the end where the Doctor is totally left out, sort of hppy for them but also, in that moment, alone.

  • HTPBDET HTPBDET

    15 May 2010, 10:49PM

    Cunning character piece? You must be joking.

    This was a story which might have been wonderful, but which is fatally flawed. (Which is not to say that it is not somewhat enjoyable to watch the first time; it just leaves you cold, unengaged and disappointed when "Next Time" appears on screen).

    Those who think Pratchett's criticisms of Dr Who were aimed at RTD have no further to go than this episode.

    A deus ex machina (Latin for "god from the machine") is a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new character, ability, or object.

    The ridiculous idea of the pollen that survived the near destruction of the Tardis and heated up to cause this conundrum is one of the worst examples of a deus ex macina in the entirety of Dr Who history. And it utterly destroys the effectiveness of the narrative.

    It is all the more disappointing given the obvious roots of this story: Celestial Toymaker and Mind Robber. Either villain from those stories could have been behind this, which would have been more potent and interesting. Equally it could have been the Great intelligence or the Valeyard - perhaps others. But pollen???

    Amy's Choice of course is between her two men, the feckless fiancé and the heroic adventurer. It takes Rory's "death" in Leadworth to make her realise what she really wants.

    According to the Dr, the pollen focussed on his mind to the exclusion of the others. Assume that is so: that means the dreams were his. Or at least constructed from his darkest thoughts. Was this, then, all about the Dr stabilising Amy and Rory's relationship? Perhaps. It may turn out to be a key element of the "Crack in Time" plot, but at this stage who can tell.

    Apart from finding out that in the Doctor's darkest dreams, Amy chooses Rory over the Doctor (as she should) what, actually, did we learn about any of the Dr, Amy and Rory? Precisely nothing. Nothing we didn't know about the Dr at any rate. Except, perhaps, that the Dr will use any method to get his companions to do what he, deep down, wants. Perhaps that is the point? If it is, it will be an electrifying development.

    What was the point of the reflection in the console at the end? Was the Dr lying to Amy and Rory to cover up the real reason for what happened? Perhaps - and, frankly, I hope so.

    That reflection is a second echo of Hartnell's Dr ( the library card from last week being a more direct one). Hartnell faced the Celestial Toymaker - where he had to play games and separate reality from fiction to survive. Troughton, in Mind Robber, saw his Tardis invaded by a malignant force which halted the Tardis and put him into a trance and then fought him and his companions in a plane of fiction. The device of the exploding Tardis, so potent in the Sixties, is recycled here too.

    Yes, there were clear differences in Nye's story - but were they enough to warrant the evocation of the past without some clearer link, some more rational coherent explanation than pollen?

    the climax here finally proves that Gillan is capable of more than one-liners and physical comedy

    The best scene of this season so far proved that effortlessly - the materialising Angel from the video nearly destroying her but then being defeated by Amy's solo ingenuity (well almost). Amy can deliver the goods - no doubt. The question is: why is she so inconsistent and what, if anything, does that have to do with the "Crack in Time".

    The murderous old folk may have been a good idea for a comedy, but for Dr Who? Please! They were not evil enough, although their ability to kill was quite something. They were, really, just silly. And is it really appropriate for Dr Who to suggest to impressionable children that it is okay to smack an old woman in the head with a plank of wood?

    But surely there's no way they're going to just have a happy couple together in the Tardis, and in any case I'm not sure I want Rory there the whole time.

    I am happy to be in the minority - but, really, the character who grew most in this episode and about whom we learnt things was Rory. He is turning out to be a very effective third wheel, although I could do without the "Amy's boys" nonsense. When Rory is there, Amy is more accessible. And thinking back, the synergy is similar to that we had when Ben and Polly travelled with the Dr.

    Hats off to Toby Jones who was delicious and perfect as the Dream Lord. But, what a waste if the pollen was the cause of his arrival.

    If it was right for Shaun of the Dead or Red Dwarf how can it be right for Dr Who - a programme with nothing in common to those worthy creations? This episode had more in common with Psychoville, really, and that too is wildly inapt.

    And do I really have to mention Sophie's Choice?

  • TheoCupier TheoCupier

    15 May 2010, 10:51PM

    Good episode. Nice not to have another crack to keep nudging us about the big end-of-season finale.

    I'm betting that, having now established Rory as Amy's true love and given her a death scene to get some emotion going, that he's going to get killed off at some point soon, giving Amy a chance to get really mardy with the Doctor and do something reckless where he has to redeem himself to her, probably by something like telling her his name - since "he's all she's got left now".

    Or something.

  • LokiUnbound LokiUnbound

    15 May 2010, 10:52PM

    I'm surprised more people didn't seem to guess early on that both realities were fake, I thought it was pretty obvious since the Dream Lord couldn't have existed outside of dreams, that and the "dreams within dreams"/two different realities is a well-used trope of both horror and sci-fi, but that being said it was still mostly well-done and an interesting character piece, I found the stuff with Rory and Amy particularly moving towards the end. I thought they could have done a little more to make the pensioners seem creepier, just some kind of makeup job maybe, the CGI eyes looked poor, maybe they should have saved Prisoner Zero's teeth gag from the first episode for this one. Loved the fairytale look of the frozen TARDIS, it was ethereal and beautiful, reminded me of something from Ridley Scott's "Legend". The thing with the seeds was a fluffy bit of nonsense by way of explanation, but that didn't bother me one iota, it was a fine episode overall.

    Not a criticism levelled at this particular episode, though it's evident here, is that I'm getting a bit fed-up of the mixture of frenetic pacing, manic camerawork and fast-cuts, with some sloppy editing, it's just making everything feel very rushed for my liking. It certainly doesn't help with Matt Smith garbling his words when he spews out the techno-babble - yes, it was a feature of Tennant's Doctor to come out with pages of that stuff and reel it off a mile a minute, but I could hear every word clearly, with Smith I'm finding it difficult. Also, his twitches and outbursts are making me think of Dustin Hoffman in "Rainman".

  • WulfSternhammer WulfSternhammer

    15 May 2010, 10:59PM

    And shouldn't there have been a line where Amy expressed some kind of grief over the child she thought she was having?

    No there very definitely shouldn't have been. I think you're hanging out with your RTD-nostalic friend too much.

  • LokiUnbound LokiUnbound

    15 May 2010, 11:03PM

    Those who think Pratchett's criticisms of Dr Who were aimed at RTD have no further to go than this episode.

    A deus ex machina (Latin for "god from the machine") is a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new character, ability, or object.

    The ridiculous idea of the pollen that survived the near destruction of the Tardis and heated up to cause this conundrum is one of the worst examples of a deus ex macina in the entirety of Dr Who history. And it utterly destroys the effectiveness of the narrative.

    I was going to point that out, actually, but I don't really want to get into this strange "RTD vs SM" thing which seems to have developed, as I can appreciate both approaches (well, of what I've seen of SM's run so far anyway), I think they both have strong suits and both have their weaknesses, but people do keep banging on about RTD and his "deus ex machina" endings like it's an exclusive failing and has never been known in Who or populist sci-fi/fantasy before now. Personally, I think it can work just fine if you go with it and you're not taking it too seriously (since Who isn't really and never has been "hard sci-fi", it is a family show aimed at engaging the kids afterall), and although I didn't react as strongly as you did, HTPBDET , I can certainly see your point and think it's a valid one, I just chuckled and thought it was rather a silly contrivance, but could have been worse.

  • Juniperfish Juniperfish

    15 May 2010, 11:45PM

    HTPBDET - What was the point of the reflection in the console at the end? Was the Dr lying to Amy and Rory to cover up the real reason for what happened? Perhaps - and, frankly, I hope so.

    Yes, of course the "psychic pollen" was a lie! The Doc had a full-on psychotic episode, in which he played out the painful dilemma he has been through with Rose, Martha, Donna, Sarah-Jane and Leela and no doubt many others - i.e. 'eventually she has to be with someone else to have a normal happy life' vs 'if she stays with me, in the end she'll freeze to death' (for which read - she'll either die in some mishap or, her heart will freeze with the paradox of growing old beside someone who'll change their face and live on). Neither scenario, of course, brings a happy ending for the Doc.

    This is a very lonely and damaged Doctor (loved it - Matt Smith was superb) whose subconscious is trying to find a way for him to have his cake and eat it, for a little while at least - in other words, to get Amy to realize Rory is her guy and yet keep her traveling with him (buffer Rory in tow) a bit longer.

    After losing so many people, the Doc is trying to insulate both Amy and himself from the pain of parting he knows is absolutely inevitable. But ouch, it's not easy for him...

    Verdict - brilliant! Because of all the layers working together - scary old people with eyes in their mouths for the kids, alternate realities for all, and the dark psychology like a lake beneath. My only gripe was the heavy inter-text reference to Q of Star Trek, whom I've always found tremendously irritating. But then, I suppose the Doctor is rather like Q - bordering omnipotent, self-aggrandizing maniac. And of course, the lovely twist in the tale is that the Doctor knows it and hates himself for it. 9/10.

  • nicola23 nicola23

    15 May 2010, 11:47PM

    Yes, I will watch anything with Toby Jones in it, also I don't need deus ex machina explaining to me, ta. Sometimes I am more than happy to suspend my disbelief for a good story told well.

  • tobytyke tobytyke

    15 May 2010, 11:51PM

    This must be the dream !
    The worst one yet in my humble opinion, M.S. wouldn`t look out of place in an episode of the comedians. Dont know about "Amy`s Choice", more like
    "CARRY ON DR"
    Am I the only one to recognise this utter drivel.
    God help you all ! ! ! ! !. . . . . . . there I managed 5. X

  • Ken1701e Ken1701e

    15 May 2010, 11:53PM

    I didnt hold much hopes for this episode after others we have had this season but I have to say this was the best of the series so far. Well thought out storyline and very well acted by all concerned.

    Although it still had a few editing issues they were not as intrusive as in previous episodes and the twist (that both realities were actually fake) although obvious was still interesting.

    That the dream lord was actually the Doctor I am sure is something that we will return too in future episodes.

    Heres hoping that we have now turned the corner where this series is concerned and that the episodes that are left are good like this one rather than poor like the Vampires one last week.

  • HTPBDET HTPBDET

    15 May 2010, 11:53PM

    LokiUnbound - totally agree - it could have been much worse.

    And you make another really good point - it is not actually Amy's Choice itself which causes my strong reaction: it is the reaction of others to it and their identification of it as "excellent" or "the best Dr Who story ever" which does that. This is a simple, derivative and highly flawed story - its not the worst Dr Who ever, but it is certainly not the best.

    And another thing it certainly is not is a "cunning character piece".

    Not a criticism levelled at this particular episode, though it's evident here, is that I'm getting a bit fed-up of the mixture of frenetic pacing, manic camerawork and fast-cuts, with some sloppy editing, it's just making everything feel very rushed for my liking. It certainly doesn't help with Matt Smith garbling his words when he spews out the techno-babble - yes, it was a feature of Tennant's Doctor to come out with pages of that stuff and reel it off a mile a minute, but I could hear every word clearly, with Smith I'm finding it difficult. Also, his twitches and outbursts are making me think of Dustin Hoffman in "Rainman".

    And this, too, expresses thoughts with which I completely agree. The direction and editing of this season leaves much to be desired. Smith's delivery of dialogue lacks clarity continually - its not cute, its simply bad acting.

    I'm surprised more people didn't seem to guess early on that both realities were fake, I thought it was pretty obvious

    Indeed. Quite clear from the off. Which makes the resolution all the more irritating and trite.

    WulfSternhammer - totally agree too. Why would Amy express regret over a baby she has never even contemplated?

    PS - is it just me, or is Matt SMith shaping up to be ... (whisper it)... the best Doctor ever??

    Felik, its not just you, but its definitely not me.

  • steved steved

    16 May 2010, 1:24AM

    Yes, of course the "psychic pollen" was a lie!

    I thought that was pretty obvious and I'm surprised HTPBDET missed that, given his treatise above on deus ex machina.

  • Furlo Furlo

    16 May 2010, 1:45AM

    just a few thoughts

    Simon Nye clearly in not a sci-fi writer and while i agree not every joke worked, the dialogue was fine even if he did steal scenes from Fr Ted.

    The choice is Amys but the doctor's subconcious forces him to confront her and thus make her make a choice. He could never do that openly in any incarnation possibly since Hartnell.

    Whilke ye're probably right about the pollen lie, why be absolute about it? It is possible for pollen or other plant extracts to cause hallucinations otherwise why do i think i'll be fine after another beer

  • Subjuntive Subjuntive

    16 May 2010, 3:52AM

    I think this was the best episodes of Doctor Who i've seen in years, and why anybody would think otherwise I can't imagine, a 'cheap one...could've been done in 30 minutes' you've got to be joking. It was nothing short of excellent. It's not the FX that matter it's the quality of the writing and this was great.

  • waifandstray waifandstray

    16 May 2010, 3:57AM

    Great episode! At last!

    No chaotic plot... no running around and shouting (although I loved pregnant Amy's plea for not a running around bit). No excessive CGI... Just a great scary concept.

    And Toby Jones is probably one of the best and most menacing foes for the Doc.

    I'm right back on track now!

  • stringfold stringfold

    16 May 2010, 4:14AM

    And while it can't be easy to act falling-asleep-on-the-spot, much of the time those (many) sequences look silly.

    Agreed. I'm beginning to sense that Matt Smith is severely limited as a physical actor. He's excellent when he just has to deliver his lines but when he's called on to do something like fall down into a deep sleep (several times this week) or be shocked unconscious and fall over (last week outside the school), then the results are almost comically amateurish. He climbing of the tower wasn't much better.

    It's not a huge deal since most of the physical stuff the Doctor does is just running around from place to place, but I think a little bit of extra work on the action sequences here and there are in order, Mr Smith!

  • Yaffle Yaffle

    16 May 2010, 6:07AM

    It really worked.

    A few things are undermining this so far. First, the pacing of some episodes. 'The Beast Below' was five minutes too short, and an otherwise great episode felt rushed. 'Victory of the Daleks', however, was very short, but felt long because the first act was too short, the second too jarringly merchandise-inspired, and the third a plodding anti-climax.

    The last two episodes have washed that niggling disappointment away. 'Vampires of Venice' was very traditional in its storytelling tricks, but had wit and flare and felt fresh even at the same time as it left us thinking, "Wasn't that done in School Reunion too?" every few minutes. And now we've had 'Amy's Choice', which was really patient and unhurried and managed to make forty-five minutes feel like the perfect running time.

    I'm still a bit concerned by the lack of connection I'm feeling with Amy. The series has improved now that Rory is there, because strangely, he feels like a proper companion. He'd have fitted in to Tennant's era, whereas I don't think Amy would have. As good as Gillen is, and as good as her lines are, I'm not sure I really like Amy as a person. Which wouldn't matter, if she weren't supposed to be the viewer's representative in the TARDIS. Too cold, too spiky. Rory gives it heart in a way that neither the otherwise brilliant Smith and Gillen do.

    In scenes between the Doctor and Rory (both last week and this), they look like they could be a couple of mates, running round and having fun, physically looking like they're the same age. Now that's a dynamic the show has never explored. That's interesting, the idea of 'Doctor Who' as buddy movie. Any time they're left alone without Amy, it seems to come to life and feel fresh.

    The CG aliens were small and didn't undermine the story, unlike other episodes this year where they have. Russell T Davies seemed to create animatronic monsters, or just put people in costumes. And that avoided the trap the new series has fallen into: namely that on a TV show, especially one with a reduced budget, computer generated enemies just can't don't cut it.

    So now we've had a story with a limited budget, making really good use of the TARDIS, presumably coming in at a small fraction of the cost of other episodes. And it was much more compelling. Unlike 'Vampires', which was great because it gloried in the conventions of 'Doctor Who', 'Amy's Choice' was great because it did something that has never been done before. When this show experiments, it's always worth watching.

    It was weird how many online reviews before broadcast were really down on this episode. The consensus was clearly that we should expect a dud. I was surprised by how good it was, and it's heartening to see that the majority of other commenters like it.

  • DanM3 DanM3

    16 May 2010, 6:54AM

    I agree that it was too long; I found myself struggling to keep interested many times during this episode. Also, spot-on with the sitcom analogy. Under Moffat's stewardship, Doctor Who is pretty much a comedy in space now. And I'm not sure that's really to my taste, though I'm happy for those who prefer it that way.

    I did think that this was the best episode of this season. But with all the silly comedy I struggled to care about the characters and take their plight very seriously.

  • squarisheyes squarisheyes

    16 May 2010, 7:28AM

    Really enjoyed this episode. Simon Nye knows how to play characters off against each other, and was generous with amusing one-liners. Excellent performance from Karen, and I agree with other reviewers that Matt is shaping up to be the best Doc of the present run. Rory is, alas, a limited creation (who sadly reminds this reviewer too much of himself.) All in all, a very good piece of TV entertainment. Granted there was an awful lot of running about, but the story was strong enough to be able to support it.

  • StGeorge67 StGeorge67

    16 May 2010, 10:11AM

    A classic episode! A brilliant idea to have the dark side of the Doctor as the baddie of the piece. I didn't really see the ending coming, though it did cross my mind halfway through that the whole episode was one dream. The whole love triangle thing between Amy and her two blokes had the potential to get very annoying if it were dragged on any longer, so I found her decision to end it all in the village very moving and just a perfect piece of writing.

    Matt Smith will be the best Doc ever if the scriptwriters keep up the standard. There's no question of that in my mind. David Tennant's sheer charisma carried his Doctor, but his overacting always grated on me a bit. It took me years to really like him after the real disappointment of Chris 'lots of planets have a North' Ecclestone's grossly premature demise after only a season.

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