Friday, 29 November 2013

Amy's Choice, The Hungry Earth & Cold Blood

Amy’s Choice

Toby Jones.

This is a nice little episode in the middle of the series with some great character work by the three principals and a great guest appearance by Toby Jones as the ‘Dream Lord’. The Doctor and companions have fallen asleep in the TARDIS and are presented with two scenarios, one is purported to be real, the other fake. One – they approach a frozen star in the TARDIS which threatens to freeze them to death, the other takes place in the future in Ledgeworth where Amy and Rory live, Amy is pregnant and the elderly people of the town have aliens with deadly gas inside them. These people go a bit crazy and start killing everyone. Except both situations are actually dreams.
And the dream lord is in fact the Doctor, and they dreamt it all because of some psychedelic pollen that got caught in the TARDIS. It sags a bit in the middle, but is a lot of fun and is quite an enjoyable episode. Amy discovers that she loves Rory (for sure now!) which is nice. It’s not the most memorable episode, it’s not epic in any way, but it shows that there is still a place for this type of story after the attempted grandeur of episodes 2 and 3 failed to deliver. It also features Rory and Amy smacking elderly people with planks of wood which is extremely good value in my book.

The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood

When I heard the Silurians would be featuring in this two-part tale, I was pretty excited. I thought they would be the perfect creatures to bring back for the new series. So imagine my disappointment at this load of rubbish!
The Doctor talks to Alaya (Neve McIntosh)
Am I being too harsh? Well anything’s possible, and to be honest ‘The Hungry Earth’ – the first episode, I thought was rather good but in the end we have to judge, as with ‘Victory of the Daleks’, on the whole story and the second part really didn’t hold my interest at all. The first part is creepy, we lose Amy early on as she is sucked into the Earth, we have poignant moments when the Doctor forgets Elliot who goes back home to get his headphones and ends up in the Silurian city with his Dad and Amy, the characters are for the most part well played and I had only minor quibbles.
Tony and Nasreen.
Then the second episode is a dull, predictable, no ULTRA predictable mess. In fact it’s a poor retelling of the original Silurian adventure back in 1970. And in some ways, it even feels longer. The writer, Chris Chibnall, writes a the young boy Elliot as dyslexic, which the Doctor relates too and all that seems a bit, hmmm, forced. Was he trying to make a certain point? We can all achieve despite things that might hold us back? Meh. We have the very forced romance between Tony and Nasreen, and they both stay behind in the Silurian city as Tony has been infected and goes into stasis. Honestly, it doesn’t feel natural at all and feels like it was added to the script because the script was missing something.
The Silurians, whose design I don’t mind but they certainly don’t resemble the originals (which were pretty poorly designed anyways), have a military who want to attack the humans and take back the Earth. Then there are the scientists who disagree. Meh. Again all a bit predictable.
The negotiations between Amy, Nasreen and the Silurians to try and broker a solution between humans and Silurians is painful, and as Amy and Nasreen don’t represent humanity as a whole, pretty bloody stupid. The saving grace is Arthur Darvill as Rory, who is a great character, the new Mickey in some ways. The ending is very dramatic, and the high point if the second episode as a crack appears Rory is erased from time. It’s wonderfully played by Matt Smith and Karen Gillan, as she fights not to forget Rory.
Except that, she wouldn’t right? The Doctor explains that as he’s part of her life, she will forget him despite having travelled in time, and she does. But that’s a retconned reason to make the rest of the season work and doesn’t ring true. But nevertheless, it’s an amazing scene and kudos big time to Karen Gillan. Very powerful stuff, and Amy is a very likeable companion despite a couple of wobbly moments which were more down to bad dialogue (writing) more than anything else.
These dramatic moments lift the score a little, but on the whole this was dull, predictable and extremely disappointing. Just goes to show, never get your hopes up.


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