Amy Pond - The Eleventh Hour

Steven Moffat‘s first offering as head writer offers a series paradoxically both more emotionally mature and more a pure kid’s/kid-at-heart’s show. In this episode, at least, the eleventh doctor works well on both levels, providing a doctor and companion kids can identify with (craving fun and adventure while being continually denied this – and basic reliability – by adults) with more adult observations and irritations.

There’s a lot of imagination and dress-up here, without smugly highlighting how wonderful it all is.  Despite a weak, tacked-on opener (uck, I am so sick of Zone 1 London being fellated on my tv screen!), the Doctor quickly landed in a better place, a child’s room in a small village that demands a rich inner life to ward off stultifying boredom.  Little Amelia prays to Santa for help rather than God (apologising for waking him up at Easter) because Santa is a far more relatable and important figure to a 7-year-old than a Creator that’s never left a new PS3 game under the tree. There’s a little nostalgia porn here for adults, as Amelia is wearing an adorable and timeless nightgown and cardigan rather than a Hannah Montana branded top and short-shorts…or whatever tweens demanded in 1996. She’s ridiculously capable, unhesitatingly cooking up a variety of snacks for the Doctor – who immediately spits out all of them as disgusting and settles on an odd combination of two highly processed after-school snacks (acts most children could identify with).

Twelve years later, now-Amy presents first as a policewoman – foreshadowing her impressive (if not hugely intelligent) bravery in the face of the unknown – and then as someone who dresses up as a variety of adults for work. A nudge from the Doctor is all that’s required to make her briefly take up the authority inherent to her outfit, getting her in place to confront the monster of the week. This is the wonder of play in a nutshell – pretend to be something, and you become it, at least for the length of the game.

There’s a very adult look in Amy’s eyes, though. Having had those eyes opened – and quite possibly her young life ruined – by a brief glimpse of a fantastic other life, she spent her childhood first with an omnipresent imaginary friend and then with a series of psychiatrists who clearly felt play had become dangerous delusion. Seeing her childhood fantasy (and possibly adult – in exactly what context did she have Rory dress up as the Raggedy Doctor?) in the flesh leaves her with the expression of someone who fears they’ve suffered a psychotic break, and that that might not be such a bad thing. Ultimately, joining up with the Doctor is a flight from adult responsibility into fantasy – does she really expect the time traveller who’s repeatedly overshot his intended landing by years to hit so small a target as a few hours, and make it back in time to be married?

Lots of talk about the Companion and nearly none about the Doctor – hard to tell. It always takes a few episodes for the important facets of a new regeneration to be revealed. But so far, the new guy is more fun than silly or camp. He delegates both responsibility and credit. He’s quite clearly a child at heart but aware of the duties of a powerful adult, making sure to properly scare off the dangerous aliens, and dress correctly for the occasion as well. He’s also got a bit of  Sherlock Holmes thing going, able to take in a world of detail in a glance.

I like him. I like them both. Can’t wait to see where they take us.

the Eleventh Doctor/The Eleventh Hour

(screenshots nicked from the always-entertaining nostalgia_lj.)