Amy’s Choice

Posted in Episode by - March 11, 2016
Amy’s Choice

Aired 15 May 2010

It’s refreshing when Doctor Who tries to expand its limits and do something totally new even after all of this time, and that’s exactly the case with ‘Amy’s Choice.’ This is a story that requires the investment of its viewers as well as its leads as the TARDIS crew are simultaneously stranded in two very different but equally dangerous worlds. With the addition of the Toby Jones’s meancing and enigmatic Dream Lord who tasks them with determining which reality is real- on board the TARDIS or five years hence in the village of Upper Leadworth- with true death on the line if they choose incorrectly, ‘Amy’s Choice’ features an incredibly strong central plot.

Fortunately, writer Simon Nye and the production team prove adept at managing these two storylines concurrently. In one, the Doctor and company are stranded on the TARDIS, freezing as they slowly plunge toward a Cold Star. In the other, the Doctor stops by the home of Rory and a very pregnant Amy in Upper Leadworth, only to find the village is perhaps a little too quiet for its own good. In the TARDIS, the cast does a superb job of portraying their inevitable and worsening situation while showing off some of the impressive but often sidelined TARDIS set; in the village, the erstwhile team comes up against a group of geriatrics that have been taken over by an alien presence. The overall result of the latter works much better than that sentence would suggest, although the alien effects are a little less convincing than many other effects in this series have been.

However, it’s the constant scenes of the team constantly waking up in the other reality that sells the mystery regarding which one is real and which one is false. The heart of the episode, unsurprisingly, comes in the Upper Leadworth scenes, as the devotion Amy has for Rory finally manifests and equals that of Rory’s for her. The reveal that she would even be willing to die for Rory comes about naturally and emotionally as events unfold, and it’s true to Rory’s character that he would so badly want his idyllic life in Upper Leadworth to be the true one.

And that, in the end, truly is Amy’s Choice. The Doctor and Rory, however unwittingly, have been vying for Amy’s attention in this series, and so it’s only natural that the Doctor’s dangerous ways versus Rory’s far more tranquil ways would be that manifestation. Even if the entire episode was an extended metaphor and the ultimate reveal about those realities wasn’t unexpected, it moves Amy’s character arc along very smartly and also explores the Doctor’s darker inclinations a bit more.

Amy delivers the most heartbreaking moment of the series so far as she emotionally asks what the point of the Doctor is as the decision must be made, and Matt Smith continues to shine as he takes on more an emotional burden as these episodes progress. The crack doesn’t make an appearance to tie into the bigger schemes of this series, but the story ‘Amy’s Choice’ tells is the perfect standalone tale that would only have been hindered by any shoehorned references. The Dream Lord is an intriguing concept that will hopefully make a return at some point, and while this type of story will surely prove divisive for viewers, it’s still a fantastic episode that offers something for every demographic and will certainly hold up over time.

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