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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Doctor Who blogging: “The Power of Three”

Doctor Who The Power of Three Matt Smith Karen Gillan

(all spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode… or unless you don’t care if it’s spoiled for you. this is a love fest only — all complaints and bitching must come from a place of love / previous: “A Town Called Mercy”)

(get my downloadable discussion guide to “The Power of Three” for teachers, librarians, and everyone else who needs to keep kids amused, engaged, and educated at DoctorWhoTeachersGuides.co.uk)


I’m guessing that all the malevolent aliens confer regularly, at least when they’re about to go after little ol’ planet Earth. They must: it’s the only way to explain why Earth never seems to suffer the same alien attack twice.

“Ah, I see no one has yet done the slow invasion of mysterious black cubes? We call dibs on that one.”

“You’re invading Earth? Good luck with that. Have you seen the track record on subjugating, enslaving, or exterminating those monkeys?”

Maybe there’s even some intergalactic Evil Law about not doing the same attack twice. Because as methods to wiping out a pest like humanity, is little black electroshock cubes really the best way to go? Why not make our sun go nova? Or drop a comet into the Pacific? Or if they want to hang on to that nice piece of planetary real estate and all the nice wildlife, there’s genetically engineered plague designed to kill only upright apes. Or they could just turn all our plutonium into jelly, so we can’t make nuclear rockets to get us off the planet. Or blockade the planet. And so on.

Okay, the slow invasion of black cubes was not the point of this episode. The point was the slowing down of the Doctor to Amy-and-Rory speed. Which of course he can’t stand. And of course it was funny to see him try to cope:

Doctor Who The Power of Three Matt Smith

I always imagine him watching Bugs Bunny cartoons when he’s bored, but this is a close second:

Doctor Who The Power of Three Matt Smith

“Where’s the Doctor?” –Rory

“On the Wii again.” –Amy

And, okay, Amy and Rory committing to life on Earth. I still do not understand why they don’t think of life with the Doctor as real. How is there any decision to make between hiding under Henry VIII’s bed

Doctor Who The Power of Three Arthur Darvill Matt Smith Karen Gillan

and sour milk in the fridge and no more washing tablets?

They don’t deserve to be his companions — it’s wasted on them.

Still they dither! Until Brian tells them to go with the Doctor again, for how could they not. (And why doesn’t Brian go with them? He would love it — the Doctor even invited him, and the Doctor never does that!) And off they go again, presumably abandoning their work and their friends once more after deciding they wouldn’t. Which, I presume, eliminates from contention the theory that the reason Amy and Rory would leave the Doctor is because they actually finally decided to just stay home like boring ol’ Earth people.

So what’s gonna happen? I’m sticking with my “they die” guess. Not that I want them to die — it just seems like the direction the narrative is going in… and just as Earth never gets invaded the same way twice, companions never seem to leave the same way twice. So Moffat can’t give them amnesia — that was Donna. He can’t strand them in another universe: that was Rose. He can’t just have them choose to move on — Martha did that.

So: death.

There are hints here that that’s what’s coming:

“Some left me. Some got left behind. And some… not many, but… some died. Not them, not them, Brian. Never them.” –the Doctor, referring to Amy and Rory

Or maybe them.

The Doctor talks here about how Amy’s face is seared into his hearts, just before he speculates that the way to destroy a human is to go for the heart. I bet that works for Time Lords, too.

Random thoughts on “The Power of Three”:

• Cubed credits!

Doctor Who The Power of Three

• Amy writes travel articles for magazines. Say what? So she’s a writer now? Just like that? No indication that she’s ever written a single word — formally, that is — before? Or is it just that people want to read the travel writing of a former model? *sigh*

• Ten years, on and off, for Amy and Rory with the Doctor? Where is she counting from? Not from little Amelia, I guess, because that would be more than ten years. So, from teenaged Amy, when she was a kissogram? That’s a long time…

• I officially like Kate Stewart — head of scientific research at UNIT — and want to see her more.

Doctor Who The Power of Three Jemma Redgrave

Cuz wait! Kate looks to be in her 40s, perhaps, maybe older but not younger (actress Jemma Redgrave is 47), which means that she would have already been born when the Doctor was hanging out at UNIT in the 1970s. So what’s her story? Who is her mother?

• Marketing campaign?

Doctor Who The Power of Three

For what? The new iCube?

• Speaking of marketing…

Doctor Who The Power of Three

How long before official Doctor Who-branded plain black cubes are for sale at £12.99 each?

• Brian Rory’s dad is awesome.

Doctor Who The Power of Three Mark Williams

Why doesn’t he want to travel with the Doctor?

• Are we sure there isn’t something going on between the Doctor and Rory?

Doctor Who The Power of Three Matt Smith Arthur Darvill

Cuz they sure are getting in a lot of kissing.

• For some reason, the Doctor has a pair of shorts belonging to British tennis champion Fred Perry. Hmmm…

• Didn’t anybody notice a little girl, all on her lonesome, dressed in the same clothes, hanging around a hospital waiting room for a year?

Doctor Who The Power of Three Matt Smith

I know the NHS has some issues, but c’mon

• Great quotes:

“I don’t know. And I really don’t like not knowing.” –the Doctor

“Within three hours, the cubes had a thousand separate Twitter accounts.” –Kate

“Banksy and Damien Hurst put out statements saying the cubes are nothing to do with them…” –Amy, leaving a voicemail for the Doctor

“Bit of a shock, Zygon ship under the Savoy, half the staff imposters. Still, it’s all fixed now, eh?” –the Doctor

“I’ve got officers trained in beheading. Also: ravens of death.” –Kate, on the secret UNIT base beneath the Tower of London
“I like her.” –Amy
“Yeah.” –the Doctor

“A kiss from a Lethbridge-Stewart! That is new.” –the Doctor, to Kate

(next: “The Angels Take Manhattan”)



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  • If you not getting the Pond’s tension between Real Life and Doctor Life, then I assume you don’t subscribe to the Doctor As Peter Pan Theory – he’s the one who refuses to grow up and everyone around him eventually leaves him behind. I find it more convincing than the Militarised Doctor theories – he turns his companions into weapons, his foes only go on the rampage because of him – and certainly I think there’s more of a case to answer than Davros’ accusation in Journey’s End (I name you forever: you are the Destroyer of Worlds).

    But why is the Doctor running towards the Ponds? What is different about them compared to Sarah Jane? Or what is different about Eleven compared to Four?

  • ScottyEnn

    See, I kind of like that Rory and Amy have tension in between balancing their non-Doctor lives and their Doctor lives. It makes them a bit more well-rounded and down-to-earth;  saving the world’s all very well and good, but even people who save the world still need to get milk and wash the dishes.

    Plus, I never really liked the implication (intended or otherwise) in the RTD approach that travelling with the Doctor was the only thing that really meant anything, and you were pretty much wasting your life or were even a lesser person if you weren’t either travelling with him or acting as some kind of alien-fighting quasi-mercenary in lieu of travelling with him (Donna’s ‘death’ really ticked me off a bit in this sense). I’d rather have Amy and Rory debating whether they should grow up and move on rather than Rose being will to give up everything and everyone else in her life so that she can stay with the Doctor for evah and evah — one’s maturity, the other’s closer to Stockholm Syndrome. It’s also kind of an elitist attitude to take, and I never really liked the idea of the Doctor picking and choosing who got to travel with him based on who was ‘better’ or ‘special’ or who ‘deserved’ it — the Doctor I grew up watching travelled with people because he liked them, not because they were special snowflakes who were better than everyone else.

  • Ryan Gross

    I can totally understand why Amy and Rory don’t want to travel with the Doctor forever. If you’re having adventures every day, after a while it stops becoming and adventure. Take the conversation between the Doctor and Amy from the season 5 DVD extra ‘Meanwhile in the TARDIS…’ on why he takes her (or anyone) as a companion.
    “Because I don’t see it anymore”
    “See what?”
    “When you make the whole of time and space your backyard. Then all you see is backyard. But you see it! And when you see it, I see it.”

    I think Amy is finally seeing backyard, and now she wants one if get own with Rory

  • Quillelf

    Or the Angels in next episode get Amy and Rory, teleport them to 1960’s New York so they raise child River…

  • RogerBW

    Leaving the TARDIS as “growing up and moving on” seems to me very much like the secondary text in The Princess Bride – the book, not the film, which wisely omitted this completely – that all your youthful dreams of adventure and making the world a better place are so much dross, and you’d be much better off settling down with your boring career and never making waves again.

    I do think that it’s what the writers are doing, and that’s part of why I’m not being dragged back in to this series.

  • ScottyEnn

    “All your youthful dreams of adventure and making the world a better place are so much dross, and you’d be much better off settling down with your boring career and never making waves again.”

    Another way of reading this, of course (and while it’s been a while since I read it I always thought that this was the point of those sections of “The Princess Bride”) is that while youthful dreams of adventure and making the world a better place are certainly valuable and precious, dreams and fantasies themselves are just that — dreams and fantasies. Like it or not, no matter how wonderful the dream is you can’t live in a dream forever; you have to make accommodations with the real world at some point. Losing yourself in the dream at the expense of reality just means losing touch with reality. It’s why I have problems with Rose’s story arc in Season 2 where she wants to stay with the Doctor forever; she’s essentially losing herself to a dream, and yeah, it looks like a fantastic dream to a 19 year old, but how’s she gonna feel about it when she’s 40 and there’s nothing else in her life?

    The key is being able to take your youthful dreams of adventure and of changing the world and applying it outside the dream.  Which is how I read what’s happening with Amy and Rory, at least thus far; you don’t NEED a TARDIS or devote your life to following the Doctor to live a life of adventure or to make the world a better place or even to live a worthwhile life (and frankly, since neither of those things exist it’s a bit insulting to suggest otherwise). Tellingly, they’re both still quite happy to drop everything and run off with the Doctor, they’re not abandoning that part of their lives completely; but they’re developing different parts of their lives as well. 

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    Watching this a second time, I couldn’t stop thinking about the issue MaryAnn’s brought up more than once – the mystery of when, exactly, ‘The Eleventh Hour’ is set.  All those reports that it would be set in the mid-90s, the rumours that the production team didn’t want any cars made after 1996 in shot, Rory’s hospital pass being issued in 1990… increasingly I’m coming to think that it’s all because Moffat had this endgame in mind for the Ponds.

    We’re told that ten years have passed for Rory and Amy, and that their friends don’t know why they’re ageing so fast (which they aren’t, but let’s overlook that).  When you hear that, you assume all the extra time we’re not seeing on our screens is being spent in the TARDIS.  But what if it isn’t?  What if, whenever the Ponds go home (after ‘A Christmas Carol’, in ‘The God Complex’, in between the last episode and this one) years pass before they see the Doctor again?  You don’t, as MaryAnn notes above, just go straight from being a model to a journalist.  There’s got tone years in between.

    My theory is that the nineties setting is there so the ‘present-day’ scenes could burn through years and years without being obvious about it, eliminating the need for either an obvious period setting back in Season Five or a near-future setting in the current episodes.  

    It does raise the question of when exactly these stories are meant to be set – judging from the music in the bar Amy goes to, it’s pretty much contemporary, but there surely can’t be sixteen years in between Amy joining the Doctor and this episode? – but to me it makes the most sense out of these episodes.  And it makes it more understandable why Amy and Rory consider normal life versus Doctor life to be a dilemma – if the Doctor’s gone for years at a time, they can’t just wait for him to come back.  They have to start living, create obligations for themselves.  That sort of security and normality would be especially important to Amy, who you’d imagine has serious abandonment issues after what happened to her as a child.

    Fun episode, I thought.  The alien invasion plot made less sense than usual (let’s reverse the weapons and bring people back to life!  Just like reversing a bomb rebuilds a city!) but I liked the performances, I LOVED Rory’s dad, Murray Gold’s atypical score was very charming and I love the revelation that the Doctor invented the Yorkshire pudding.  In many ways, this is the greatest thing he’s ever done for humanity.

  • Personally I like and understand that Brian doesn’t want to travel in the Tardis. I think the episode demonstrates why: Brian is happy to observe a cube for days on end. This matches with his obvious happiness sitting, eating his packed lunch, looking at the Earth.

    Brian is contemplative. That’s what he’s like, and he’s perfectly aware of it. He thinks the Tardis is marvellous, as you would, but he knows that it isn’t for people like him. It’s for people who want to have things happening all the time. That’s why this episode has the scenes of the Doctor’s hyperactivity.

    Brian isn’t inferior because he doesn’t want to travel with the Doctor. He’s enlightened. He recognises and appreciates its wonder. And he wants his daughter and son-in-law to experience that wonder. But he doesn’t want to do it himself.

    I confess, I’m biased. I, too, am a father, and I, like Brian, would choose not to go in the Tardis if I had the chance (but I’d love my son to go).

  • Pelahnar

    That’s a good point. I mentioned in the “Dinosaur’s on a Spaceship” thread that Amy seemed to be acting like the Doctor (and I think she has been since, as well). But perhaps she’s traveled with him for so long that not only can she act like him but she thinks like him as well? Sees the universe like he does?

    But unlike the Doctor, who just picks up companions in order to be impressed through them, she and Rory are starting to want the new and different adventure called ‘real life’ – an adventure that  I believe both Nine and Ten mentioned was something he could never have. Though, as evidenced by this episode, it might be less that he could never have it in the sense that no one would allow him to and more that he wouldn’t be able to stand it.

  • Hellestal

    The most Doctor-Who-like ending for the Ponds, at least from my perspective, would be for the Doctor to keep his promise: He doesn’t lose them, not them, not Amy and Rory. He protects them from all sci-fi harm. They return to earth safely and happily at the end of their journeys across the universe, having explored its very length and breadth and depth and… time-th. They come home peacefully.

    At the age of 89. Because even when he keeps his promises, he still has to say good-bye, and that includes his most enduring companions. He can protect them from the Monster of the Week, but not from Time of which he is supposedly Lord.

    His curse, even when he wins, is that he must travel alone again. That just feels like the right ending to me.

  • Tangeu

    You know what bothered me about this episode, and it’s not the whole ‘should we travel or not’.  I completely understand their dilemma, and can tell you from experience that abandoning friends and family in the name of adventure never ends well.  No my point of contention is at the very end.  They made no attempt whatsoever to save those people on the ship.  All that time looking at consoles and talking to automated systems and there are hospital patients who have been abducted lying next to them just waiting to be blown up.  Not that they couldn’t save them, but that there was no mention of it, no hint of attempt, no “We can’t save them all!!”, just grab Brian and screw the rest of these nobodies.  Moreover why would they even be abducted?  The cubes scanned for weakness so it’s not for probing, the goal was to eradicate the human plague so why take any people at all?  It doesn’t even work as a plot device, there was no need to get Brian or Rorie out of the way for a (very short) while, and the portals would still have to to be there for the signal (and girl android) to go through.  

  • Pelahnar

    I think you’re imposing a ‘fan-girl’ attitude on the Ponds that I’m sure the writers try not to do. Saying (jokingly, I hope?) that they are not fit as companions just because they are wanting ‘real life’? Having friends, not running off on an adventure at the drop of a hat, being able to commit – are these things that you think they should just not have to value, just because the Doctor doesn’t seem to?

    The Doctor’s never had a normal life, he never will – and if his attempt this episode is anything to go by, he couldn’t stand one if he had it. Amy and Rory though…they grew up ‘normal’. Yes, Amy had her psychiatrists and probably dealt with abandonment issues and everything, but she still went to school and had friends (in Mels, anyway) and wasn’t running off on adventures all the time. Amy and Rory know what normal is like, and I don’t blame them for wanting to settle down after ~10 years of off and on Doctor stuff. And it certainly doesn’t make them less fit as companions, at least not intrinsically. Perhaps to themselves.

    Though, of course, the end of the episode, they run off again. But I’m still not convinced that this means they’re going to die. Come on, he actually _talked_ about the possibility of them dying. Foreshadow, I get, but foreshadow of something people have been discussing for months? Of an ending so obvious that it just doesn’t work with Doctor Who, in my mind? Rose’s departure was foreshadowed by leaving Mickey in the other universe – but having the Doctor say, ‘hey, I’ll never let you get sucked into a parallel universe’? That would be ridiculous.

  • Pelahnar

    If the Doctor can sweep them off for seven months just because he’s bored with watching little cubes, I don’t think 10 years is such a high estimate. My question is how she managed to count it, especially when Moffat doesn’t think that the Doctor has actually lost track of his age, time traveling all the time. My theory is that she and Rory might’ve had some sort of ‘calendar’ in their room on the TARDIS. It might not be something the Doctor would care about, but maybe humans just like to keep track of time. So, she knows about how long they spent in the TARDIS, add to that a number of years outside of it…I think 10 is probably pretty good.

    As to your wondering about more efficient ways of destroying a pest…I think it would’ve been better if they had once more used the ‘Doctor who?’ theme. Start out with an alien that knows the Doctor and knows his view of the humans and knows that if they do something (anything) to try and destroy the humans, he’ll be there and has a good track record of success. So what do they do? Instead of doing something big and efficient, they device a strategy that to stop would require the use of something that would drive the Doctor out of his mind: patience.

    Don’t know how that would end, I’m not…ok, I _am_ a writer, but I’m a writer who’s terrible at thinking up endings. But somehow they’d erase the memory of the Doctor from this alien (without repeating the Asylum of the Daleks ending, of course) and…something. So yeah, one more alien that doesn’t know him.

  • P.S. I asked my son if he wanted to go in the Tardis. He looked at me as if I was crazy and said: ‘No way. It’s much too dangerous.’

    The wisdom of a ten-year-old, so often dismissed as ‘lack of imagination’ or similar…

  • Tangeu

    Also reversing heart attacks?  Made my eyes roll so hard, if that alone isn’t ridiculous enough here is the sequence of events.  So heart attack happens, they have a conversation about it, they figure out about portals, travel from the tower of london to Rorie’s hospital, have a chat with a hologram, THEN reverse heart attacks.  The people apparently have been left on the streets for all that time according to the cctv, and still everyone lives.  Ugh, I am really down on this episode. 

  • GeeksAreMyPeeps

    I kinda like this idea, but given that we’re dealing with the Weeping Angels next episode, maybe they’ll reach the age of 89 in the present time because of the Weeping Angels. So Amy and Rory can have their “normal” life, only they’ll live it out in the past. But I think we’ve kinda gone beyond that for the Angels. That worked for a one-off adversary.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    They don’t deserve to be his companions — it’s wasted on them.

    I recall you feeling the same way about Martha when she left. And Rose, too, but for different reasons. Would you say that Donna is the only companion so far you feel did deserve the role? Because Donna never wanted to stop traveling with the Doctor at least as much because she hated her life as because the Doctor is so much fun. She had, quite literally, nothing to go back to. But that was due to authorial edict from Russel Davies. Even Donna was reluctant to take off with the Doctor – at least until she realized how much she hated her life (and Cathrine Tate’s schedule opened up).

    Still they dither!

    Well, yes and no:

    Amy: So, what do we do?
    Rory: Choose?
    *TARDIS materialization sounds. Amy and Rory look at each other*
    Rory: Well… not today.

    why doesn’t Brian go with them? He would love it

    I’m not so sure. Brian “Always carry a trowel” Williams is an awfully practical man. The Doctor is a decidedly impractical person.

    the Doctor even invited him, and the Doctor never does that!

    Um… what?

    Seriously, do you need me to rattle off all the invitations the Doctor has handed out since his 9th incarnation alone?

    Ten years, on and off, for Amy and Rory with the Doctor? Where is she counting from? Not from little Amelia, I guess, because that would be more than ten years. So, from teenaged Amy, when she was a kissogram? That’s a long time…

    Is suspect it’s from “night before her wedding” Amy. Or possibly from the end of The God Complex. I also suspect that’s non-subjective, non-linear “ball of stuff” time. I’m curious how much subjective time has passed on Earth. Could be as little as 3 years.

    Either way, I really like the idea that Amy and Rory have been companions for so long. It makes theirs the most honest companions’ story of the new era. Rose’s story is a mess top to bottom; Martha’s decision to leave was kind of out of the blue; Donna just plain got screwed over by RTD (whether or not Catherine’s schedule necessitated her departure). But Amy and Rory are getting a full, consistent arc.

    Ten (plus?) years of the insanity of the Doctor would weigh on almost any real person. How could you live your life with that kind of terror and uncertainty? I really disagree on a fundamental point here: I don’t think anyone would want to be a companion. I don’t think most people would. I think such people are exceedingly rare, in fact.

    I also think that Amy and Rory’s increasing uneasiness with being companions is consistent with the original idea that Amy’s story is a fairy tale. And I think the fairy tale in question here may be Peter Pan. Wendy is starting to grow up. It happens. It’s very sad for Peter. It’s sad for Wendy, too, but it’s also important.

    The biggest problem with this part of Amy and Rory’s story is that it’s being told in the margins. But I think that’s a limitation of the medium: “Pond Life” wouldn’t make for very compelling television. There are other problems with “Pond Life” as well, of course. Particularly the almost-divorce. I would have bought that they were struggling due to boredom in a heartbeat. (Well, two heartbeats.) I would also have bought the rape survivor theme they were toying with, if they had committed to that story. But they didn’t.

    And speaking of things happening in the margins: what’s wrong with Amy becoming a writer in the interim between travels with the Doctor? That seems like an admirable thing for her to have decided to become. I might have gone with novelist rather than travel writer, but still. What profession would you have her pursue?

    I too am very happy with Kate Lethbridge-Stewart, and hope to see her often.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The plot in this was really thin, especially in the last 15 minutes. I’m giving it a pass, however, because the theme of the episode was very compelling. YMMV.

  •  Wow!  Beautiful argument and love your insights!  Do you have a your own blog?  It is nice reading reviews/ thoughts that are not dripping with sarcasm.  

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Oh… oh my… um… Thank you! No I don’t have a blog, just way too many comments here.

    NO ONE TELL HER THE TRUTH ABOUT ME! >.>

  • innpchan

    “So what’s her story?  Who is her mother?”

    Wow, no one’s mentioned it here yet, but the intertubes are buzzing that Kate Lethbridge-Stewart was introduced back in two direct-to-video UNIT spinoffs: “Downtime” (1995) and “Daemos Rising” (2004).  She is the child of the Brigadier’s first wife, Fiona, and was born in 1973.  

    Loved Jemma Redgrave, of course (Bramwell!), but I wonder why the original actress, Beverley Cressman, didn’t do it? 

  • Pelahnar

    I agree on all points except one. “Martha’s decision to leave was kind of out of the blue.”

    I can see how it might seem that way, at a first thought, but it really wasn’t, to my mind. I’m sure she was perfectly happy traveling with the Doctor up until Utopia/The Sound of Drums/The Last of the Time Lords. Then she met Jack, her first encounter with a former companion. Then her family was kidnapped and The Year That Never Was happened. Then everything went back to normal, just like that.

    I think there were three things that influenced her decision to leave – two were the ones she said: her family needed her and she needed to get out of this unrequited love thing. Very mature of her, I thought. Remember her year alone, circumnavigating the globe? She wouldn’t have been telling the story constantly – she would’ve had time to think, just like Jack did. She would’ve thought over how her lifestyle was affecting her family and how it could in the future (assuming they got out of the current trouble). She was also always talking and thinking of the Doctor and perhaps thinking to the future – does she really want to spend her life loving a man who will never love her back?

    The third influence was never explicitly mentioned, but it was, I believe, what truly made her decision: Jack. Meeting Jack proved to her that traveling with the Doctor was not forever and moreover, she had the opportunity to watch someone else walk away from his invitation to come. Sometimes, there could be things that were more important than the Doctor – for Jack, it was Torchwood, for Martha, it was her family.

    In conclusion, Martha made what I believe was a very well-reasoned and thought out decision to stop traveling with the Doctor. It only seems out of the blue to us because we skipped over most of The Year That Never Was, which was when most of the thought process happened.

  • I wasn’t terribly fond of this episode.  The whole Doctor waiting thing was just silly. Painting and playing the Wii(welcome to 5 years ago)? And it’s only been an hour! Ugh.
    Plus, there was an awful lot of buildup for such a quick and convenient resolution. I actually thought there was no way they could resolve it this episode, and that it would carry over into the next. Guess I was wrong.
    And of course Amy’s “real” thing to do is organize a wedding. Double ugh.
    At this point, I welcome the new companion. Bring on Oswin.

  • GeeksAreMyPeeps

     Rory has a camera in his phone in The Eleventh Hour, so that should start to narrow down when that episode takes place. As for Amy’s age, there’s still the question of my the computer would spit out two different ages for her in The Beast Below. Maybe that has something to do with her travels, what’s coming up with the Weeping Angels, or a Flesh copy.

  • bronxbee

    the life that you’re in — what ever it may be — *is* real life.  all i know is, if i had the choice of trading a short, dangerous, adventurous life with the Doctor, for my mundane one of work, laundry, shopping, eating and excreting, then getting up and oing it a

  • Pelahnar

    I put ‘real life’ in quotes, for that exact reason. Life with the Doctor _is_ real to them, yes I know that. But Rory and Amy talked about the difference between ‘Doctor life’ and ‘real life’ – so I’m sticking with their definition. 

    I’m not sure what the end of your post is supposed to mean…so I’m not entirely sure what you’re trying to say. That you’d go with the Doctor, or you wouldn’t? Either way, I think the point of this episode was that Amy and Rory had to choose. They couldn’t live two separate versions of ‘real life’.

  • RogerBW

    I think the difficulty I’m having with some of the ideas here – and judging by other comments I’m not alone – is that the show is poking at its foundations, and finding them loose. Why do people travel with the Doctor for a while, then leave? Because that’s how the show works. Trying to justify it in internal narrative terms just points out how much it doesn’t work in terms of characterisation.

  • Pelahnar

    What ‘real’ thing would you have wanted Amy to do? With a job like hers, I assume the hours are fairly flexible, so it wouldn’t be that (correct me if I’m wrong about that, I know little about traveling journalism). The point wasn’t that she was doing something girly or whatever (you didn’t exactly say what your problem with this ‘real’ thing was) – the point was that she was making a commitment.

  • Jim Mann

    And of course Amy’s “real” thing to do is organize a wedding. Double ugh.  

    Giving  up a trip just to organize a wedding?  Yeah, I agree, that’s not a good reason.  But giving it up because of an obligation to a friend?  That seems reasonable. 

    Jim

  • The Brigadier has… or had… a wife in the episode “Battlefield” (Seventh Doctor), so yes a family was possible.

    Number of fans wanting the Brigadier’s daughter to become a Companion: infinite plus one.

    This episode did make me wonder why and what happened to Torchwood?  Is that now off-limits for the production if Starz is still producing more Torchwood eps?

  • P.S. what I think happens to the Ponds, considering there are Angels in the next episode (their farewell one at that), is that the Angels exile them into a distant future to feed off their potential time-life (which would be huge if Rory’s thousand-year time as the Lone Centurion adds up) and because of what the Angels did Amy and Rory are stuck there.

    Did they ever link that scene of Amy and Rory seeing their future selves wave to them from the distance back in that Silurian episode during Eleven’s first series?

  • I hate this idea that your life isn’t “real” if you don’t have a mortgage and a job and kids and a dog. Life is still real when you don’t have those things, and not wanting those things doesn’t make a life less real.

    There’s a very conservative strain running through Moffat’s DW that is exactly contrary to what I think of as the spirit of the show.

  • But dreams and fantasies are where real change begins! Do you honestly get any sense at all that Amy’s “real” life is about, in any way at all, making the world a better place? Rory, sure: his work as a nurse is about helping people. But Amy has been a kissogram and a model and now — most unrealistic of all — a travel writer.

    In the past (for companions who’ve chosen to leave the Doctor), we had Nyssa, who left the Doctor to enact real change in a place that desperately needed it. We had Turlough, who had grown up enough to realize that he had obligations at home that he could no longer ignore. We had Adric, who sacrificed himself to save all of Earth’s history. We had Tegan, who was fed up with seeing people die. (And these are in all Peter Davison’s era. Sheesh, I never quite realized what a raw deal Five’s companions got.)

    I get no sense that Amy and Rory are struggling with anything like their dilemmas. Amy wants to leave so she can commit to being a bridesmaid? WTF?

  • I agree that it’s hard to tell which life is realer, BUT remember the whole fairy-tale theme from the first time we met Amy. She’s always thought of her life with the Doctor as less real than her life on Earth, and society has encouraged her to think this way. Yes, it’s sad, but you can’t blame her.

    Also, here’s Kate Stewart: http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/Kate_Stewart
    She’s from the Expanded Universe. The Brigadier got a divorce sometime during the Doctor’s tenure at UNIT, because he felt that he couldn’t be much of a father because of his job. Given her backstory, I’m surprised Kate followed in her father’s footsteps.

  •  Amy’s trying to be normal because she’s spent all her life being pressured by society to be normal. It’s sad, and I like her less because of it. If you discover that your most wonderful dreams are real, why do you keep trying to push them away and wake up?

  • if the Doctor’s gone for years at a time, they can’t just wait for him to come back.

    If that were the case, though, it should be much harder for them to just pick right back up with them. We get no sense of that. It doesn’t *feel* like there’s a lot of time between their trips with the Doctor.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That’s a problem of the medium and the production design. It’s hard to show us long passages of time on TV

  • Brian isn’t inferior because he doesn’t want to travel with the Doctor.

    I don’t think Brian is “inferior,” for the record. I just don’t grasp how someone with, clearly, his smarts and imagination isn’t totally compelled by the chance to travel with the Doctor.

  •  But you DO need the TARDIS, and the Doctor. You need those dreams, or else what else is life for? Rose chased her dreams, and her ideals, and more or less died for them. So did Donna. For Martha, it turned into a nightmare, and she left because she needed to. Amy treats life with the Doctor like an addiction, because for so long she’s been told that her dreams are merely dreams. She’s trying to kick a habit that’s been good for her in the long run–trying to get rid of everything that gives her hope and self-worth–and so this fairytale can’t have a happy ending.

  •  He had his adventure. He went to Siluria. He’s just too tied to the earth. (What happened to Rory’s mother?)

  • This occurred to me, too… except the past is not out of reach for the Doctor! Amy and Rory getting thrown back into the past wouldn’t be a problem, because the Doctor can just go get them.

  • Yeah, the invasion stuff was so not the point of this episode.

  •  Poor kid. He sees only the danger and not the beauty.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Unless he had to cross his own timeline to do it…

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Imagine being trapped in your dreams for a decade. It’s not unreasonable to wonder if that would get, at least, tedious.

  • Saying (jokingly, I hope?) that they are not fit as companions just
    because they are wanting ‘real life’? Having friends, not running off on
    an adventure at the drop of a hat, being able to commit – are these
    things that you think they should just not have to value, just because
    the Doctor doesn’t seem to?

    Yes, I said it jokingly… but what you depict aren’t the only options. They could choose to stay with the Doctor, not bop back and forth. They could commit to the Doctor!

    Amy and Rory know what normal is like, and I don’t blame them for wanting to settle down after

    Ah! But this assumes that “normal” is what everyone wants. Which isn’t the case at all!

  • RogerBW

    Amy and Rory getting thrown back into the past wouldn’t be a problem, because the Doctor can just go get them.

    Until the Holy Plot says he can’t. As he didn’t go to fetch Kathy Nightingale. As he didn’t even think about trying to cure Abigail. And so on.

  • Would you say that Donna is the only companion so far you feel did deserve the role?

    Yes, maybe.

    Seriously, do you need me to rattle off all the invitations the Doctor has handed out since his 9th incarnation alone?

    Okay, I should have qualified that: the Doctor from the old show never invited people along. They always invited themselves.

    Ten (plus?) years of the insanity of the Doctor would weigh on almost
    any real person. How could you live your life with that kind of terror
    and uncertainty?

    Interestingly, this is one of the themes my fanfic is about. But I don’t think Moffat is getting at the real issues here. Amy and Rory don’t seem fazed by the danger. As I noted in a comment above, Amy is considering giving up traveling with the Doctor so she can be a bridesmaid?!

    I’m not denying the importance of friends and family who can rely on you. But this isn’t what you’re talking about. I mean, you’d hardly know that Amy and Rory had a baby whose entire childhood they missed out on!

    what’s wrong with Amy becoming a writer in the interim between travels with the Doctor?

    There’s nothing wrong with it except the all-too-common perception that *anyone,* regardless of experience or knowledge or talent, can be a writer. We’ve seen *nothing* prior to this throwaway comment that Amy had any tendencies toward bookishness or writerlyness. One does not just pick up writing as a profession on a lark.

  • Not everyone consumes all the non-canonical stuff. I don’t.

  • But surely the Doctor could retrieve Amy and Rory from wherever the Angels send them, no?

  • Why couldn’t he do it for the victims in “Blink”?

  • Something that has really bothered me about the Moffat era on DW and that I haven’t seen much discussion on, is how divorced it is from the Davies run. This episode was really the first time (other than the old console in The Doctor’s Wife) where any mention has been made of past companions or UNIT. It’s like Moffat wanted to erase it all and do things his way .

  • Danielm80

     Maybe they’re going off to an undisclosed location. For example, they might want to raise little River someplace where the Silence can’t find them. This is, of course, wild speculation.

  • Pelahnar

    It doesn’t assume that normal is what everyone wants. It assumes that normal is what Amy and Rory want. Or, at least, thought they might want at the beginning of the episode.

    They’ve spent ~10 years basically committed to the Doctor, because they can’t make other commitments without knowing whether he’ll pop up expecting them to be ready for him. Don’t you think their Earth friends and family might be sad if they just disappeared forever one day?

    I’m going to make an analogy: Captain Jack Harkness. I watched The Last of the Time Lords before watching Torchwood and wondered why Jack would turn down the Doctor’s offer to return. Then I watched Torchwood and fell in love with the team and wondered how he could’ve run off without telling them, let alone abandon them completely. (I do hope he would’ve at least said goodbye, had he decided to leave).

    Amy and Rory have another life that we, watching mostly from the Doctor’s perspective, never really get to see. No, it’s not as exciting as life at Torchwood, but who are we to say that they shouldn’t want that? Who are we to say that they ought to just abandon their friends and family and jobs forever? 10 years of on and off adventure – don’t you think it might get tiring?

  • Pelahnar

    There’s been a couple other mentions – Rose, Martha, and Donna were all shown when Amy was looking at pictures of past companions and as possible interfaces in Let’s Kill Hitler, the Doctor mentioned helping Rose with her homework or going to Jack’s stag parties as alternatives to dying…but overall, I agree. 

    What really bothers me, though, is that Moffat’s Doctor Who and Davies’ Torchwood appear to be happening in completely different universes. Children of the Earth and Miracle Day were both huge events that the Doctor _should_ have been a part of, but he wasn’t there. He was mentioned a couple times in each, I think. And I don’t think they’ve ever said _anything_ about either the 456 or the Miracle in Doctor Who.

    If there’s a fifth season of Torchwood, they’d better have a good explanation for that.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Amy is considering giving up traveling with the Doctor so she can be a bridesmaid?!

    I think you have the timeline backwards. She agreed to be a bridesmaid, and Rory agreed to a full-time position, because they’re spending less time with the Doctor. And remember that it’s the Doctor driving that, not the Ponds.

    I mean, you’d hardly know that Amy and Rory had a baby whose entire childhood they missed out on!

    That’s a whole separate problem, that no one on the show wants to address, from the problem of getting Amy and Rory (or Karen and Arthur) off the show.

    We’ve seen *nothing* prior to this throwaway comment that Amy had any tendencies toward bookishness or writerlyness.

    We haven’t seen most of 10 years of their lives. That’s plenty of time for someone to develop a latent talent. And I’m not sure, thinking back to the last two seasons, how writerlyness would have shown up in the character anyway. And again, what profession do you think better suits Amy’s… unique resume and skill set? :-)

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That’s a terrible thing to say to someone about their kid. :(

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Charlie Jane Anders commented in her io9 review of this episode that she thinks Amy and Rory are going to get a different send-off from most companions, who she thought usually end up booted off, dead, or married. (Kinda Shakespearean, that.)

  • Ohiopokey

    Remember, what looks at the angels became angels.  In the Waters of Mars, didn’t Amy look at the image, rub her eye, and sand came out?  Will the Ponds become Angels?     (as always, apologies if this has already been said…..haven’t gone back to read the responses to earlier posts I read…)  That would really be heartbreaking.

  • I can imagine living my dreams. It’s fantastic.

  • I guess I expect the writers of this *very* imaginative show to be able to figure out how to depict this.

  • Ohiopokey

    sorry, may be referring to the wrong episode.  But you know the one.  Where she is left alone looking at the hologram.

  • Yeah, but he’s done that more than once in the new series.

  • Ryan Gross

    In Blink, the Doctor was without his Tardis, and in order to get it back, all the events had to play out as they did. So Kathy had to die to pass on the message to Sally, same as the police guy. However, I think that Amy and Rory will get zapped back in time, but leave a letter in the style of Back to the Future. And I believe it will be like Karhy’s message that they’ve lived their lives, and that they needn’t be retrieved. It could be the only way they live happily without the shadow of the Doctor’s unexpected appearance hovering over them

  • Don’t you think their Earth friends and family might be sad if they just disappeared forever one day?

    Sure. But, again, this hasn’t been anywhere near what the show has depicted. We’ve barely seen any of their friends or family. Brian’s dad popped up out of nowhere, didn’t he?

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That would be really Moffat-like, wouldn’t it? To build up next weeks episode as Amy and Rory’s last adventure with the Doctor, keep us wondering for 45 minutes what would happen to them, finish this story with Weeping Angels and River Song and the whole bit, then… Title card: “60 years later”. And the now nearly 1300-year-old Doctor drops off an elderly Amy and Rory.

    Yeah, that actually sounds about right.

  • The only marketable “skills” we’ve seen that Amy has are connected with her physical attractiveness.

    If we haven’t seen most of 10 years of Amy and Rory’s life and we’re supposed to understand their lives, then that is is a huge problem with the narrative.

  • He wasn’t anywhere near as connected to them, was he? We’ve seen that the Doctor sometimes has blinders regarding people he isn’t close to.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Only for cheap tricks. ;-)

    Point being, “can’t cross his own timeline” is the traditional handwave that prevents the Doctor from solving all his problems with the TARDIS. But it’s just a handwave. No writer has ever applied a consistent mechanism to the rule, and they all abandon it when it’s dramatically appropriate, and stick to it when it’s dramatically appropriate.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    That’s fair. They’re definitely having a “show, don’t tell” problem with depicting exactly what has happened when since The Wedding of River Song.

  • VanessaDK

    Martha also seemed to have spent more time than other nu-who companions with (and supporting) the Doctor–several months in 1969 in “Blink”, an extended period as a servant in “Human Nature”; and then a year roaming the Earth to drum up support for the mini-Doctor in whatever that episode was called “Drums of utopia at the end of time?”

    oops–just saw you got the episode title correct above…..

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I can imagine a point at which it becomes a nightmare. *shrug*

  • VanessaDK

     Thank you.

    I was trying to find a place to comment that the schedule of the companions is determined by real-real world considerations, not by fictional tropes.  In novels, he would be free to pick up companions periodically for adventures and then ignore them for long stretches of time.  However, actors have schedules and contracts.  They sign on for a specified number of episodes.  This is why we have regeneration. 

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    So…. modeling? :D

    If we haven’t seen most of 10 years of Amy and Rory’s life and we’re supposed to understand their lives, then that is is a huge problem with the narrative.

    Well, not huge, no, because it’s only breaking down in the details: why don’t they look 10 years older; when did Amy become a writer; who are these friends of theirs. I’m not sure I have a compelling solution to the problem (other than more effects makeup). I’m not even sure there is a solution, because I’m not sure an episode dedicated to the passage of time would work very well.

  • Pelahnar

    She should work for Torchwood! Oh wait, Torchwood doesn’t exist for Doctor Who anymore…UNIT then? Or freelance with Martha and Mickey?

  • Pelahnar

    True. But again, that’s because we’re watching from the Doctor’s perspective. He might’ve met a lot of their friends and family briefly at the wedding, but he’s never gotten to know them (not that I think he should, that’s a bit domestic for him). 

    It means that we know they _have_ friends, we just don’t really know who they are – perhaps, as you mentioned earlier, that’s a narrative problem. Or perhaps the writers are showing us the Doctor’s point of view, which is why this subject doesn’t make much sense? He only sees bits and pieces of their ‘not Doctor lives’ – from those bits and pieces, he doesn’t really understand why they’d want to stay. But, like with my Jack analogy, neither he nor we see the full picture – he doesn’t because he can’t be bothered to stick around long enough and we don’t because we aren’t shown it.

  • innpchan

    Me neither (I hadn’t heard of her before yesterday), but I’d say this bit just jumped the howitzer.

    And thanks to Mara for posting the wikia link.  I forgot, and plead post-dental work mind fuzz.

  • Yeah but once the Doctor got his TARDIS back couldn’t he have just recovered all the time-shifted people and left other clues instead of leaving them where they were?

  • Arkaan

      I sorta loved it.

      Not the plot, which was shallow and rushed (though not a bad idea.  I love the slow invasion idea in general.  Beautifully insidious).  But the character moments.  Just gorgeous.  Lovely grace notes throughout.  Rory and Amy are easily my favourite companions and I’ll be devastated when they leave.

  • Pelahnar

    I like it. I kind of hope it will happen that way. Might be a little bit of a letdown, but still, better than death in their thirties, right?

  • tinwatchman

    I’d assume it’s a bit like why people say God doesn’t just come down to Earth and fix global warming with a wave of His hand. Some things, sometimes, humans need to handle on their own.

  • tinwatchman

    I think I can kind of see what Moffat and company are getting at, though I don’t think they’ve quite phrased it the right way yet… Or maybe they just haven’t had Amy or Rory phrase it right yet. It just makes sense in a fairy tale kind of way, doesn’t it? It’s like why the Pevensies can’t go back to Narnia once they’re too old. Sooner or later, everyone has to grow up; everyone has to take out the trash, and clean the litterbox, and do all the dirty and boring stuff that keeps the world going so that a new generation has a chance to have a little fun before it’s their turn.

    Wonderful as he is, seems to me that the Doctor exists outside of that natural cycle, and he knows it.

  • Because with ‘smarts’ and ‘imagination’ comes risk-assessment.

    Brian doesn’t want to die. Nor do I. Blame us if you must. But please try to grasp it. I have a family to support. I don’t have the luxury of dying.

    I’m not attacking the life of the imagination in any way. I was writing stories as soon as I got a pencil in my hand. I played rolegames regularly for over 20 years. I threw in my whole life in Britain on a whim and came to Japan to do something different (sound at all familiar?).

    And I enjoy Doctor Who, but I see a pretty high body count. Not as high as the (mostly ‘invisible to the audience’) bodycount of The Avengers I grant you, but disturbingly high all the same. And lower than it ‘should’ be, since actually people die from things like explosions, or having walls collapse on them, rather than the Film/TV version where they brush some dust off and say “Whew! That was close!”

  • Apparently not. If you have smarts and imagination but aren’t ready for death in your thirties, then there’s something wrong with you, it transpires.

  • Pelahnar

    Gwen tried to give that kind of an explanation in Children of the Earth. It didn’t work for me then, either.

    The Doctor is not God or even _a_ god. The Doctor has said himself, more than once I think, that he would make a very bad god. If the Doctor tries to be a god, not only does he fail miserably, bad things happen. Also, neither the 456 incident nor the Miracle would be things he could fix with a wave of his hand.
    And I’m not, I suppose, saying that the Doctor should’ve _actually_ come into the shows, though that always makes for good fanfiction material. Torchwood the TV show is not the same show as Doctor Who, just a spin-off. Torchwood the organization does usually do its own thing without the Doctor interfering…or even noticing, which is sometimes rather odd, considering some of the things that Torchwood gets up to. Like the 456 incident and Miracle Day.

    What I want is not for the Doctor to come save the day without trying. What I want is a reasonable, in-universe explanation as to why he does not. If nothing else, I want the Doctor to admit that such things happened. Maybe, if Jack eventually returns (as I am always hopeful that he will), they’ll come up with some after-the-fact reasoning then.

  • ScottyEnn

    “But dreams and fantasies are where real change begins!”

    And I never said otherwise; in fact, I said pretty much this (“The key is being able to take your youthful dreams of adventure and of changing the world and applying it outside the dream”). The only caveat I made was that it doesn’t help to get so lost in the dream that you  completely forget about and lose touch with reality which, frankly, I don’t think seems that controversial.

    “In the past (for companions who’ve chosen to leave the Doctor)…”

    Quite true — but we also had Ian and Barbara, who simply got tired of travelling and wanted to go home. We had Polly and Ben, who were pretty much the same. We had Jo, who wanted to get married (albeit while exploring the Amazon; possibly not the best example here). We had Victoria, who couldn’t deal with the stress any more. Liz wanted to go back to her studies in Cambridge. Grace didn’t want to travel with the Doctor at all. 

    To be honest, I don’t see how these companions are any less sympathetic or likeable just because their reasons for leaving the Doctor weren’t necessarily all about world-changing.

    “Amy wants to leave so she can commit to being a bridesmaid? WTF?”

    What’s wrong with being a bridesmaid? Being a bridesmaid suggests you have people who love and like and care about you and about whom you care in return. It suggests friendships and social networks and a life that exists and has interests and joys and loves beyond just adventuring. “I want to travel with the Doctor for ever and ever and will give up everything and anything to do so”, conversely, suggests you have nothing else or any real value outside of the Doctor, which — for all that life with the Doctor is certainly exciting and magical — is also kind of sad in a way. Adventuring isn’t the sole purpose of life.

  • ‘There is no Whoniverse’

    Torchwood does not exist (except insofar as it was seen within Doctor Who).

    This is how it has had to be in the program since the early days. Or you can come up with ludicrously complex explanations for multiple Loch Ness Monsters, multiple Atlantises, multiple contradictions, time paradoxes etc.

    Doctor Who is mercurial, contradictory, a tool of My Lord Arioch, of Anansie, of Logaan the Trickster. Start trying to tie it up with laws and you’ll find you’re the one in bondage.

  • Pelahnar

    Well, _they_ might be ready for death in their thirties (traveling with the Doctor is dangerous, they’ve gotta know that), but _I_ am not wanting them to die in their thirties. Just because…well, I like them. :) Gotten kind of fond of them over the past few series and I reckon the Doctor feels the same.

    If they actually do die in their thirties, that would be more of a letdown to me than living to an old age traveling with the Doctor. It’s just too…obvious. Too easy, even. Surely the Ponds’ departure should be something that no one has guessed?

  • I did predict it, though, didn’t I? There are lots of people out there very happy to insult and demean other peoples’ children for not conforming to their own preconceptions of childhood.

    Not to mention a huge dose of assumption. On what basis anyone can argue that my son, who has watched Doctor Who since he was 3, who has been to Cardiff, who has subscribed to Doctor Who Adventures magazine and who was only last night building a Dalek Factory, does not see the beauty of Doctor Who, boggles me.

    He also likes sharks. Both he and I see the beauty of sharks. Doesn’t mean either of us want to go sticking our heads in the mouth of a Great White.

  • Pelahnar

    No Whoniverse? I’ve never heard that one. No _canon_, of course. But no Whoniverse??

    Nevertheless…*sigh* yeah, I know. All you say is true. I don’t like it, but it is. It’s just…Children of the Earth especially, seems like something the Doctor would love to get involved in. Surely RTD knew that! Couldn’t he have written in a reason that he didn’t come (a reason better than ‘oh, I think he’s ashamed of us’)?

    Perhaps not. There is little about that story that I liked, so I’ll just purge it from my memory and say that it didn’t happen at all, in either show. *heavy sigh*

  • ScottyEnn

    “But you DO need the TARDIS, and the Doctor. You need those dreams, or else what else is life for?”
    Living. Finding love and success and peace and happiness. You don’t need a TARDIS for any of that.

    I’m not saying that dreams are worthless. Dreams are valuable, precious. They give us something to live towards, they give us ways of imagining what we want and what’s going to make us happy. But getting lost in them to the exclusion of everything else, including reality, can be dangerous. I mean, I’d love to meet the Doctor and travel the universe in the TARDIS, I dream of it all the time. But the sad fact is, the Doctor isn’t real and the TARDIS doesn’t exist. Unfortunately, all the dreaming in the world isn’t going to change that, and denying it isn’t going to make it come true. Getting too attached to the dream at the expense of reality is just going to cause you more pain. Like you yourself say, clinging on to the dream too hard when you should probably let it go can cause it to become a nightmare, or an addiction, and neither of those are good things.

    Dreams are wonderful, and valuable. But sadly, at some point, you have to make accommodation with the simple fact that not every one of your dreams is going to come true, that other dreams might have to end at some point, and that the ones that are going to come true might take work and pain to see happen. Sucks, but thems the breaks, and it doesn’t mean you can’t find happiness anyway.

  • RogerBW

    I’d assume it’s a bit like why people say God doesn’t just come down to Earth and fix global warming with a wave of His hand. Some things, sometimes, humans need to handle on their own.

    The smart author doesn’t write a narrative in which these questions have to be answered unless he actually has good answers for them. The modern Doctor is somewhat like golden-age Superman in that new abilities are casually invented and then forgotten about. (To be fair, the old series was occasionally prone to this too – particularly as regards telepathy.)

  • That’s what I’m hoping for, too. I can’t help feeling that expectation — especially expectation of being surprised — is a risky business.

  • David McAleece

    Hi Paul –

    “Doctor Who is mercurial, contradictory, a tool of My Lord Arioch,
    of Anansie, of Logaan the Trickster. Start trying to tie it up with
    laws and you’ll find you’re the one in bondage.”

    Just to say – have enjoyed the dialogue everyone. And thanks for provoking good discussion Mary-Ann.

    I totally agree man . Good to hear mention of Anansie – these are all archetypal Trickster tales where logic can be turned on its head mid-plot, where out of nowhere the Fairy Queen captures a kiss and binding you to her world, where 7 days turns into 7 years – as in the Scottish Borders tale of ‘True Thomas’. He was a real man who did exist (Thomas of Ercildoune, now Earlston near where I live) but also has many magical myths written about him.

    His tale actually makes me think that he may have had in his myth, an experience quite like those that Amy and Rory may have had – as Thomas had followed the Fairy Queen into Elfinland and played his harp for her in her great feasting hall for what he thought was only a few days – but it turned out time moved differently there and he had been away for 7 whole years. When he returned home to his village, all of the inhabitants were shocked to their core to see him again as they had believed him long dead.

    Consequences of taking ‘Otherworldly journeys’?

    He was never the same man again – is this the tension that Amy and Rory feel, especially when the Doctor is just not present? He may feel drawn to them but he also appears to be moving away too. They are just left and like Thomas, try to pick up the pieces of a shattered life – albeit touched by magic. I don’t even know if Amy KNOWS what a normal life is and is just trying stuff – who ever said that her books were even good or successful? She may be flitting from one thing to another – anything that resembles some semblance of reality. If the Doctor is away for 10 months at a time that must be hard. rather like Thomas being abandoned by the Fairy Queen.

    Thomas was never the same again – and did live a long but not normal life – he returned with the gifts of prophecy, of truth (even when it was not welcome!), which alienated him, and he was filled with a deep and permanent longing for Elfinland. Life was a mere shadow he played at – maybe as for Amy, since her relationship to day-to-day life from early on really was scarred by the schism she experienced from meeting the Doctor and him not returning for so long. And rather like the end Amy and Rory may be moving towards, he also had a tragic end, as it is said that he was in the end summoned by the Queen and was last seen following a great white stag into the last remnants of the Caledonian forest, the Wildwood and was never seen again in this world.

    Let’s see what happens…

    I never thought that I would write so much – these are thoughts sparked off by possible parallels of people struggling with journeys that take them out of the world and Thomas’s tale in some way is quite an early time-travel tale in a way!

    Here is a site including the history of Thomas from the Scottish Borders:

    http://www.thomastherhymer.co.uk/index.html

    And one from Education Scotland which has a video, audio and transcript of my storyteller friend Ruth Kirkpatrick telling the tale:

    http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/scotlandsstories/thomastherhymer/index.asp

  • Isobel_A

    I don’t think it’s mortgages, jobs, kids and dogs that make it ‘real’, and I don’t think that’s what the programme is saying.  I think it’s about engaging with the world and the people in it on a long term and committed basis- having friends that are able to rely on you (like Amy being a bridesmaid), rather than escaping it.

  • Isobel_A

    I don’t understand why Amy being a bridesmaid WTF worthy?  She’s actually gotten out of her own head and fantasies enough to make a friend, someone who likes her enough to want her there with her when she gets married.  

    I think Amy actually relaxing her obsession enough to have friends is fairly monumental.

  • RogerBW

    It’s all contextual, I think. As presented, it’s much more about being tied into mundane life than about friendship – Laura only has that one thing to say in the whole episode.
    And of course if the show’s true to its roots there’s nothing to say one can’t have both mundane life and adventures – pop round the universe, home in time for tea.

  •  Exactly. As tempting as it may be, I’m really not sure if I would jump in the Tardis or not. I’d have to 100% assured of going to safe places where things aren’t exploding and people aren’t dying. Maybe just show me around the galaxy a bit, then take me home. I’ve got too much common sense to do otherwise. Plus, the whole wife and son thing.

  • Honestly, it’s a personal thing. I think weddings are a colossal waste of money and time. Time and money which could be spent and used on far better things. I imagine there are those that would disagree.
    I know the point was the commitment, but I still groaned.

  • ScottyEnn

    Which is kind of what the show HAS been doing, to be fair. Rory and Amy go off in the TARDIS again at the end, after all.

  • ScottyEnn

    “Do you honestly get any sense at all that Amy’s “real” life is about, in any way at all, making the world a better place? Rory, sure: his work as a nurse is about helping people. But Amy has been a kissogram and a model and now — most unrealistic of all — a travel writer.”

    Another thing that occurs — I really don’t see how even kissograms and models and travel writers (and, admittedly, that last one did come out of nowhere — but on the other hand, she’s quite clearly done a lot of travelling in her time, who better to write about travel than someone who’s travelled with the Doctor) can’t still make the world a better place. It doesn’t all have to be about saving lives or defending Earth from aliens, and they aren’t the only ways to live a meaningful life; something as seemingly small as being someone’s friend or even their bridesmaid can help. Wasn’t it the Doctor himself who once said that to some people small, beautiful events were what life was all about?

  • RogerBW

    travel writers (and, admittedly, that last one did come out of nowhere — but on the other hand, she’s quite clearly done a lot of travelling in her time, who better to write about travel than someone who’s travelled with the Doctor)

    Someone who can write? Which we’ve seen no sign of her being interested in before – or even that she’s interested in reading, which is often a prerequisite.

  • ScottyEnn

    Which — to be clear — is why I agreed that it came out of nowhere, to be fair.

    Although to also be fair, scenes of people writing and reading generally don’t tend make it into action adventure shows for the simple reason that they’re often not very exciting to watch. Plus, as others have noted, there’s clearly been a lot of time passing for Rory and Amy in this season — time enough, it can be argued, for her to pick up a book or develop an interest and skill in writing. And, you know, no one said she was a GREAT travel writer.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    To a first order handwave, the Doctor has all of time and space as his backyard. It’s not really reasonable to expect him to be at any given place and time, no matter how monumental the events at that time and place. Also, the Doctor is not omniscient. There’ve been plenty of major events that the Doctor had no idea had occurred/would occur/were occurring.

    To second order, there’s the issue of timelines. There are places the Doctor simply can’t be, but these aren’t precisely defined. Also, the Doctor doesn’t entirely choose when and where to go. The TARDIS, canonically, makes a lot of these decisions. She does appear to be omniscient. Which means whenever the Doctor doesn’t show up, it’s because the TARDIS thinks he’s not needed.

  • Pelahnar

    True. I would’ve at least liked to see someone (Jack has his phone number, right?) _attempt_ to contact the Doctor when they realized things were getting really bad.

    Also, I know that Children of the Earth took place over five days – if the Doctor happened to be on Earth during those five days, he would’ve noticed what was going on, but of course if the TARDIS didn’t think he was needed, there’s no real reason he would’ve been there in such a short time period.

    Miracle Day though…it lasted in the order of months. I haven’t tried lining up the timelines myself, but other people have and they think that Amy and Rory would’ve living on Earth during at least part of that time period. Don’t you think they’d notice what was going on? Don’t you think they’d mention this to the Doctor next time they saw him? But there was not a word about it. Not on screen, anyway.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Jack has his phone number, right?

    Does he?

    Miracle Day though…it lasted in the order of months. I haven’t tried lining up the timelines myself, but other people have and they think that Amy and Rory would’ve living on Earth during at least part of that time period. Don’t you think they’d notice what was going on? Don’t you think they’d mention this to the Doctor next time they saw him?

    This is the same Amy, however, who had never seen a Dalek before she started traveling with the Doctor, despite also having been alive during the events of “Doomsday”. This was explicitly pointed out back in “Victory of the Daleks”, but I don’t know that it was ever explicitly explained why, to quote the Doctor, “no one remembers” Daleks or Cybermen.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    10 years is plenty of time for someone to discover an interest where none had been before.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    “I want to travel with the Doctor for ever and ever and will give up everything and anything to do so”, conversely, suggests you have nothing else or any real value outside of the Doctor, which — for all that life with the Doctor is certainly exciting and magical — is also kind of sad in a way.

    Put simply, it makes you Donna Noble. Now, I love Donna Noble. But they can’t all be Donna Noble, can they?

  • Danielm80

    What we know about her childhood suggests that she’s always been imaginative and studious, with an interest in history. I mean, she had crushes on ancient Romans. That sounds like the kind of person who might enjoy writing, even if she wrote mainly about the Raggedy Doctor. We’ve also seen that she loves to travel and is very observant. I have no trouble picturing her as a travel writer. Just because she worked as a kiss-o-gram doesn’t mean that she did nothing but work as a kiss-o-gram. In fact, I’d be surprised if a kiss-o-gram didn’t have a lot of outside interests, if only as a survival mechanism.

  • Pelahnar

    Martha gave her phone to the Doctor at the end of Series 3. Even if we go purely with what’s been said in Doctor Who (ignoring that Martha was in 3 episodes of Torchwood) we know from The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End that Jack and Martha kept in contact. I find it unlikely that Martha would keep the ability to contact the Doctor to herself – therefore, she probably gave him the number at some point. 

    Now, the Eleventh Doctor probably doesn’t have Martha’s phone anymore (perhaps it was destroyed or lost in the violent regeneration) – he and Amy communicate through the TARDIS and some strange, future-y communicator thing. However, he is now 300 years older than he was at the regeneration at he could’ve gone back and given them a new number.

    Or perhaps not. Maybe he’s leaving Martha and Jack behind forever. Still they could’ve at least _tried_.

    Actually, that wouldn’t have been a bad idea – have them call and get no answer or a busy signal or a…an error message (‘the number you have dialed is unavailable’) or something. Anything would be better than ‘he’s ashamed that we can’t take care of ourselves’.

  • Pelahnar

    Oh, and as to Amy. I _think_ (could be wrong) that the explanation about no one remembering the Daleks and Cybermen had to do with the cracks in the universe. But I’m not talking about memory of something pre-Doctor – I’m talking about Amy and Rory going home at some point, in Series 6 I think, and having the Miracle happen all around them and to them.

  • bronxbee

    sorry, my computer at work gives me a hard time when commenting… so, last sentence should read….

    …work laundry, shopping, eating and excreting, then getting up and doing it all again every damned day without hope of any sort of meaning or purpose, then off i’d go…  i only wish i had a large life.

  • I think that the child version of River appears in one of the trailers for the episode.

  • Arkaan

      Interesting.  I’m trying to figure out why MaryAnn holds Rory and Amy in such contempt and I think you’re onto something here.  Except I don’t think it’s merely fairytale/”here’s where the story ends.”  Psychologically/thematically, I do think it makes sense that Rory and Amy near the end of their journeying with the Doctor.

  • Prankster36

     I’m perfectly happy with pretending Torchwood doesn’t exist.

    But more to the point, it’s not like the Doctor runs around going, “Earth needs me! To the TARDIS-mobile!!!” He shows up in random places and times which, as “The Doctor’s Wife” made somewhat explicit, turn out to be the places where he’s most needed (and seem to be the TARDIS’s doing). And if Torchwood is there to save the day, by definition, he WOULDN’T be needed, now would he?

    Besides, it’s a huge, rich cosmos–even the Doctor surely hasn’t been around for every important, universe-threatening event.

  • MyGood

    I have a very noob question.  Why are Amy and Rory supposed to be aging faster than their friends?  Shouldn’t it be the opposite.?  When the Doctor left her as a little girl, he was gone, in his time, 15 minutes (?) but when he came back to Earth she was grown.

    Also, didn’t 10 accidentally travel with Rose for a few days, only to come back and find they’d actually been gone a year, with her mother and Mickey frantic with worry?As I said, noob question, and apologies in advance if this has been asked and answered.

  • Pelahnar

    In general, I believe, Amy and Rory’s time with the Doctor takes up very little Earth time. For example, in this episode, they go on adventures for seven months (including hiding under Henry VIII’s bed) and return by the end of that night. Hence, they’re seven months older but for Rory’s dad, they were only gone a short time.

    How time travelers age compared to non-time-travelers just has to do with the trends in their traveling. Rose was gone a few days and returned a year later – but as she told Jackie once, she could be gone for a long time and return in 10 seconds. It just depends. Apparently, with Amy and Rory, the Doctor tends to drop them off at about the same time they left. This has the advantage of no one knowing missing them for long stretches of time, but the disadvantage of them ‘aging faster’ – or rather, just aging more in what, to their friends, is the same time period.

    Was that explanation more complicated than it needed to be? If so, I’m sorry.

  • Pelahnar

    Much as I would love the Doctor to be able to fix Torchwood’s problems, I know he can’t do that. I’d just like a better explanation – don’t say that the Doctor is too ashamed of the humans that they can’t solve their own problems, say that he’s busy elsewhere or can’t be reached. Say ‘we don’t need him anyway, and if we do, that’s pathetic’. Whatever. But don’t say that he’s looking down on the Earth and refusing to help.

    Basically, it’s not so much that I really want the Doctor to be involved in Torchwood. I just don’t like the explanation given in Children of the Earth and the lack of any explanation at all in Miracle Day.

    Because frankly, the ending of Children of the Earth sucked. If the Doctor were involved, perhaps it wouldn’t have, but that’s not the point – by saying that the Doctor just doesn’t want to help, it’s almost like blaming him for the consequences.

  • Prankster36

     Children of Earth was an unusual example of a good Russell T. Davies script, but it was still a Russell T. Davies script, so naturally there were some hiccups. I tend to attribute Gwen’s monologue there to her own personal opinion, not anything official.

    It’s pretty clear from Doctor Who itself that the Doctor basically has ADD. He’s useful in a jam, but don’t count on him to be any kind of consistent presence.

  • MyGood

    No, it was just as complicated as it needed to be; this is Dr. Who, after all.  :)  Thanks so much.

    I suppose if they can have timelines running in opposite directions (the Doctor and River) they can do anything, but for some reason, that point just seemed to bother me.  In the old space travel example, the identical twin in space would return to find his brother on Earth an old man.

    However, if the Doctor is considerate enough to be careful of their Earth timeline, that makes more sense.

    Now, good money to anyone who can explain Amy/Rory/River’s timelines.  Kidding!  We all know the interwebz would explode if you tried.

    (OT–great fan of this site, and the intelligent comments…)

  • Kit

     We’ve seen *nothing* prior to this throwaway comment that Amy had any tendencies toward bookishness or writerlyness.

    There’s been a ton to indicate Amy is booksmart, and is a history buff in particular. A remarkably accurate version of Roman Britannia is constructed from her memories of books she read. She recognizes Queen Nefertiti immediately and geeks out a bit. We’ve never actually seen her read a book, but we’ve never actually seen the TARDIS’ swimming pool and obviously that exists.

  • Knightgee

    I honestly sort of wanted Rory and Amy to just slowly stop coming. If only for the Doctor’s sake. Given how his last few companions have ended up, stranded in alternate worlds, having lost their memories and not being able to get them back else their heads explode (didn’t he think he’d ruined Martha’s life do to her joining Unit?), Rory and Amy just laying down roots and starting a boring old life on Earth with a big group of family and friends they don’t want to leave behind, the Doctor popping in every few years to say hello as they get older would seem better for everybody involved than what I am imagining is going to actually happen to them, based on the previews.

  • Biggest win of this episode is a tie: Brian Williams is a brilliant character, and I adore Kate Stewart as head of UNIT.
    Biggest disappointment: A UNIT episode of New Who that doesn’t even mention Dr. Martha Jones? Did she quit to battle Sontarans with Micky full time? Would have been nice to get a shout-out if not an appearance.

    I very much enjoyed this episode for what it was: a character piece that really highlighted the relationship of the Doctor and the Ponds. The plot really didn’t matter all that much. It was just an excuse to put them all together in a situation very different from what they’ve experienced together before now. Chris Chibnall might be my new favorite writer on Who.

    Second biggest disappointment: Brian Williams is SUCH a brilliant character that I’m very sad that we probably will never see him again after this.

  • Well, considering that she was in two different adventures with him and Sarah Jane Smith  I think it would be surprising if she hadn’t followed in his footsteps. She already was in the Daemos Rising story, pretty much.

  • That wife was his second wife. Kate is his daughter by his first wife. 

    Yes, I’m really that big a geek. :)

  • Yes, I  understand what you’re saying, but as a writer myself, that’s a problem. We have a saying in writing, “Show, don’t tell”, which means don’t tell me what has been happening to the characters, show me their development in some concrete manner. If you don’t understand where an action is coming from that means the writer hasn’t actually done his or her job.

  • why MaryAnn holds Rory and Amy in such contempt

    Whoa, what?

    I don’t hold Amy and Rory in contempt. If anything, I hold the writers in contempt for their poor characterization.

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