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11 March 2015

Will Brooks’ 50 Year Diary - watching Doctor Who one episode a day from the very start...

Day 800: Amy’s Choice

Dear diary,

Some days, writing this blog is easy. Within a few minutes of the episode starting, I know exactly what I want to say, and as the episode goes on I simply find more and more that chimes with what I want to say. I enjoy days like that, because it makes going from the episode to the writing all the more fun for me.

I thought today was going to be one of those days, because almost immediately, I knew what I wanted to say: this isn’t an episode that works in Series Five - it’s one that would sit better in Series Seven. Lovely, simple. I could write about that without problem… but then as the episode played out, it became more and more apparent that I was wrong, and that point was almost totally shattered. So, instead, I’m going to tell you firstly why I thought this story would work better later on, and then tell you why it also wouldn’t. If that makes any sense at all.

Largely, I didn’t feel that this story sat right here because the whole premise of trying to decide which world was real simply rings hollow for me. Obviously, as a viewer, I know that Amy and Rory are going to be travelling with the Doctor for a while yet, so it was always going to seem obvious that the TARDIS-world was the real one, but… I think that’s the problem. Had this been set during that first part of Series Seven, where there’s a running theme of the Doctor coming back to visit the Ponds while leaving longer and longer gaps between his visits… oh, this would have worked wonderfully as a concept there! Has it really been five years since his last visit, and he’s now checking in on a couple of Ponds who’ve settled down and are about to have a child, or has it only been a few months since their last adventure, and they’ve been caught in the TARDIS. Do you see what I’m trying to say? That feels so much better for me than what we’re given here, because the last scene of the previous episode was about ‘let’s go and have some adventures’, which makes suddenly coming to a situation where the Ponds have settled down feel wrong to me.

I was fairly set on this view for much of the first half of this episode (and, actually, I’ve not abandoned it completely. Despite what I’m about to go on and say, it would work better as a concept in that first half of Series Seven, where it really could be either of the two dreams, as opposed to so clearly being the one). As the episode went on, though, I finally picked up on that emotional core. The choice between the Doctor or Rory. Of course it’s an episode that needs to sit here in series five, because it’s the key moment for Amy’s character, and she even makes a point of saying that she’d never been entirely sure that she was doing the right thing until this very moment. It’s massively important that we get this character beat here so that she can go on to marry Rory at the end of the season. You can see the spanner in the works - on the one hand I really want to argue that this story is in the wrong place… but on the other hand it’s in exactly the right place!

That’s not enough to really save it for me, though. Despite the fact that there’s a nice emotional heart in here, and it serves as such an important beat in Amy’s story, I simply could not connect with things, and it does all come back to the fact that I never really believe in the threat. I’m sorry to say that I just don’t get the love for this one…

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