You’ve swallowed a planet.
Once upon a time before RTD’s flash bang wallop approach Doctor Who did surreal. The Celestial Toymaker, The Mind Robber, Warriors’ Gate, Kinda were all examples of a format pushed to it’s limits with dream like tales. Now at the midpoint of Matt Smith’s debut season the show does oddball/kooky once again-and it’s technically the first story set entirely within the TARDIS since 1964’s The Edge of Destruction (or Inside the Spaceship if you’re going to get fussy and launch into a debate over early story titles. Personally I prefer The Dead Planet to The Daleks but that’s for another time).
I love the TARDIS. It’s the heart of the show. It’s a magical gateway to all of time and space. Yet hardly any writers want to spend quality time inside it. Tom Baker advocated finding catherdrals and fields inside. It’s a universe unto itself yet viewers of modern Doctor Who could easily be forgiven for believing nowt exists beyond the console room. With Simon Nye’s first outing on the series more time is spent inside the ship than in probably the entire Sylvester McCoy era. Note to Andrew Cartmel: if you can’t script TARDIS scenes then you’re not a person to write for the series.
The straightforward idea of the Doctor, Amy and Rory can’t in an unreal Leadworth 5 years hence is given weight by the appearance of Toby Jones as the Dream Lord-a mixture of the Celestial Toymaker, the Master of the Land of Fiction and the Valeyard. The revelation that he’s the dark side of the Doctor’s nature given corporeal form hints yet again at the darker nature of the last of the Time Lords.
Men Behaving Badly was never in the list of programmes to watch so it came as a relief that Simon Nye managed to produce a script that was so right for Doctor Who. Killer pensioners turning children to dust with giant alien eyeballs means no grandparents will ever be trusted again.
Karen Gillan continues her quest for prize of best companion ever. Her grief at the apparent lost of Rory is gut wretching. It doesn’t matter to her if the Leadworth world is real she can’t live it without him. And in the TARDIS she and her “boys” are all set to face the end dressed in ponchos so that’s ok too.
The point of the story seems to have been to demonstrate Amy’s love for Rory and how much it surprises her that she does love him more than the Doctor. Perhaps another story or three with the trio would have demonstrated the bond between them before examining said bond. Doubtless the spin off media will take care of that particular issue.
No crack in the universe this week as everything was a dream, or rather nightmare.