The TARDIS lands in upper Leadworth, outside the home of former TARDIS travelers Rory and Amy, who are now expecting their first child. The Doctor is pleased to see them both, they’re both perplexed to see him, and the excitement of the impromptu reunion lulls them all to sleep. They wake up aboard the TARDIS, still traveling together and decidedly not expecting a baby, mystified by what must surely be a dream. A being called the Dream Lord appears, demanding that the three travelers choose between the reality they’ve just seen, and the reality of travel in the TARDIS. The time travelers slip back and forth disconcertingly between the increasingly strange earthbound setting and the Doctor’s timeship, which is growing increasingly cold. The Dream Lord insists that time is running out… and the one person who can decide which scenario is real isn’t the Doctor, but Amy.
written by Simon Nye
directed by Catherine Morshead
music by Murray Gold
Guest Cast: Toby Jones (Dream Lord), Nick Hobbs (Mr. Nainby), Joan Linder (Mrs. Hamill), Audrey Ardington (Mrs. Poggit)
LogBook entry & review by Earl Green
Review: An interesting little stand-alone tale, this story by Simon Nye (creator and chief scriptwriter of Men Behaving Badly – the original UK version, not the watered-down American adaptation) has a fairy tale quality and an off-the-scale surreal feeling that reminds me of Doctor Who Magazine’s comics in the 1980s. It’s really not like anything else that the revived Doctor Who series has produced since its return, partly because the Doctor seems so utterly powerless throughout the story.
The revelation that the old people of Leadworth aren’t what they seem – at least in the shared dreamscape – leads to some of the most unnerving moments of the Moffat era thus far. The alien menace – imagined or not – owes a little something to Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and Alien, and it’s almost a letdown that the “old folks of the corn” are not the real villain of the piece.
That distinction goes to the Dream Lord, played as a sort of dark parody of the Doctor by Toby Jones, and all sorts of interesting hints are thrown out there about who this character might be (my money was on the Master of the Land of Fiction from The Mind Robber). Unfortunately, the real villain turns out to be some kind of psychic spore, and the Dream Lord is, disappointingly, a dark mirror image of the Doctor borne out of the Time Lords own fears and insecurities. That revelation is just so Star Trek: The Next Generation – and yet there seems to be a hint at the very end that perhaps the Dream Lord is more than just that. (Hello, Valeyard?)
A very intriguing episode let down by a somewhat lame excuse for the
villain’s origins. If it was my choice, the denouement of Amy’s Choice would’ve been more intriguing and less reset-button-pushing.