So, I mentioned for the column on the previous episode that I had developed a theory on Amy Pond, and this episode helped bear that out a bit.
I’ll explain it for the next write-up since that one is Amy and Rory’s last appearance. For now, well, what happens when the Doctor gets bored?
That’s a good question, perhaps moreso when we ask what happens when this Doctor gets bored. He’s a lot more hyperactive than many of the others, and that inability to sit still is a major problem when a threat comes along that, well, maybe isn’t a threat. Just a lot of indestructible cubes that sit around and don’t really do anything. They appear all over the world, and even the Doctor is baffled.
Less baffled is the new head of UNIT, Kate Stewart, the Brigadier’s daughter and someone who steered at least her part of UNIT more in a scientific direction than a military one, so the Doctor gets along with her just fine from the very beginning.
As it turns out, the cubes do have a diabolical purpose, but once the Doctor figures it out, he can fix the problem very easily. Some race that even the Time Lords warned about set themselves up as cosmic exterminators, and humanity was next. The cubes were there for a long term goal, and a year after they arrived, they gave one third of the human race near-fatal heart attacks (the Doctor loses the use of one of his two hearts until Amy defibrillates him), but simply reversing the signal revives everybody. See? Easy.
But much of this episode is about the life Amy and Rory lead. Sure, both of them get very excited when they hear the TARDIS materializing, but Amy points out that the Doctor has only been a sporadic presence in their lives for the past ten years, and who knows how long that is for him? There are a number of scenes in this episode showing Amy and Rory leading quiet, normal lives. They have jobs, responsibilities, and even when the Doctor asks them to watch the cubes when he decides to check out from his own worst enemy–boredom–it falls mostly to Rory’s dad Brian to watch the cubes when they finally do do something.
This is an episode where Amy, Rory, Brian, and even the Doctor muse about how much longer Amy and Rory will keep running off every so often to have a grand adventure through time and space. Rory, first, thinks about how quiet and humdrum their adult lives are. Amy considers how much she likes being more settled even if the adventures are more fun. Brian just wants them to come home safely when he asks the Doctor what happened to the other people who used to travel with him. And the Doctor even contemplates leaving them behind at the end of the episode, only for Brian to encourage all three to have one last grand adventure to save everything as long as they both come home safely.
Clearly, this time around we’re getting some more telegraphing of the companions’ last trip. Everyone involved is thinking about it in a mature way, and that conclusion will come in a manner that, well, would be what Amy and Rory want to do and the Doctor will accept as the right thing to do, even if he really does need someone to travel with him at all times to keep him grounded and anchored.
But, as I said, I have a theory about Amy that I will write up when I get to the end of her journey in the near future.