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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

the problem of Amy Pond

So I watched the debut of Matt Smith as our favorite Time Lord in the reboot of the reboot of Doctor Who for something like the fourth or fifth time at the BBC America premiere event on Wednesday, and of course I noticed a few new things. And not just because it was blown up in HD to the size of a movie screen.

(Don’t read any further if you haven’t seen “The Eleventh Hour” yet. It debuts on BBC America tomorrow night, at 9pm Eastern. Then come back and read this post and my regular blogging on the episode.)
I paid careful attention to some of the clues that may — or may not — hint at whether time is messed up surrounding Amy Pond. As I mentioned in a comment to my blogging on the episode, I thought I had read somewhere that Amy was supposed to be from 1965, but a quick Google of “Amy Pond 1965” was not revealing, and in fact turned up my own comment as one of the top results. So maybe I’m wrong.

Or maybe not.

Amelia’s house, which we see in the beginning of the episode, certainly could date from any point from the mid 1960s onward, depending on when the homeowners last remodeled the kitchen. (The kitchen in my own apartment is rather depressingly 1970s, and I don’t even have a microwave, so a time traveler might find it hard to pinpoint the year more precisely than “late 20th century.”) Ditto Amelia’s pajamas and bedroom: even if grownup Amy were a fully contemporary, 2010 gal, 12 years ago is only 1998, and not all kids in 1998 had computers or TVs in their bedrooms.

In fact, only one bit of evidence that I can see — Rory’s hospital badge:

which is clearly dated as having been issued in 1990, suggests that the main events of the episode, with grownup Amy, do not occur around 2008-2010, because Rory would have been, at most, a toddler in 1990. (Commenter Pat Mustard mentioned a newspaper dated 1995, but I didn’t see that. Not saying it’s not there to be found, of course…) Everything else, from the computers to the phones to the widespread use of texting and social networking, says today.

So, if Amy is displaced in time, everything and everyone around her is, too. People remember her as a little girl, for instance.

If Amy is displaced in time, then surely it has something to do with that crack in the universe, right? The crack that appears right in her bedroom. The crack that someone like the Doctor should know about — at least according to Prisoner Zero.

If he wasn’t worried about the crack before, he sure is now:

This is when he’s telling Amy that of course there’s no other reason why he wants her to come with him, it’s just that he’s lonely and tired of talking to himself and wants some company.

He’s lying to her.

One of the brilliant things that makes the new Doctor Who so fascinating to fans of the old show is that everything that was deeply buried subtext in the old show is now the text of the new show. It was never, ever explicitly stated or even implicitly hinted that the Doctor was lonely and that’s why he was forever gathering around him gaggles of jeopardy-prone young people from Earth. But that’s been his clear and obvious motivation in the new series.

So, the subtext that is now the text makes room for another subtext: something is wrong about Amy, and the Doctor needs to fix it. Could be it’s a result of the Time War. Maybe he even caused the crack in the first place.

This is what I fear. It was bad enough when the Doctor had to block Donna’s memories of her time with him just so her head wouldn’t explode. It’s gonna be beyond heartwrenching — for him and for us — if the Doctor has to erase Amy Pond entirely in order to fix the crack, or has to rewind her to childhood, erasing not her but her memories of him.

I suspect this is where Amy is going…

One other thing I noticed: the Myth logo shows up on hospital equipment, too:

I have no doubt this will recur later in the season.



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