As with last week, this episode was a self-contained adventure, blissfully free of River Song or suchlike. The Doctor takes the Ponds to the second most splendid holiday planet in the Universe. However, it turns out to be rather sterile, with just a few white rooms and two buttons in the entry hall.
Amy returns to the TARDIS for her camera-phone, whilst the Doctor and Rory press the green button and enter another small, white room featuring only a large magnifying glass. Amy knocks on the door and is told to press the button, but she hits the red one. Curiously, she enters the room but neither of the chaps are there.
However, they discover they can communicate through the magnifying glasses, which leads the Doctor to realise that Amy is in another time-stream, which is progressing at a significantly faster rate. A robot appears and the Doctor discovers the whole planet is under quarantine for a disease which only kills double-hearted species, but that if Pond (in the treatment time-stream rather than the visitor time-stream) gets the treatment it will kill her.
Heroically, the Doctor runs back to the TARDIS, along with Rory, and tells Amy to hide and he’ll rescue her. The Doctor gives Rory a big magnifying glass (which he nicked) to keep in touch and, after getting a lock on Amy’s position, lands the TARDIS in her time-stream.
Unfortunately, the Doctor gets his landing a bit out, and Amy’s been trapped there for thirty-six years. She’s constantly evaded the ‘nice’ robots that try and treat her with fatal injections (as she’s single-hearted), become a computer hacker, sonic screwdriver-creator and katana-wielding fiftysomething. Understandably, she’s rather pissed off with the Doctor.
Old Amy then has a destined discussion with her younger self (which she remembers from the other perspective) and, as the writer decides paradoxes can exist, decides to change her mind and help her younger self escape if she can go to. Lots of technobabble and bad science later the two time-streams converge and Old Amy, Young Amy and Confused Rory are reunited. The three of them just about make it to the TARDIS, but Young Amy gets anaesthetised by a robot and the Doctor locks Old Amy outside.
He tells Rory that the two of them cannot exist together permanently, and that if she enters the TARDIS Young Amy will disappear. Old Amy allows herself to be killed by the robots, who believe they’re curing her, and Young Amy wakes up, oblivious.
I thought this was quite an interesting episode, with some good ideas but a few flaws. I dislike the idea (and it’s the second time this season) that something [the disease in this case] can permanently kill the Doctor, no regenerations allowed. The two time-streams idea was a good one, and the questions it raised were very interesting, but the end result was a Grandmother Paradox where the trigger gets pulled and yet the murderer survives. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grandfather_paradox)
So, quite good, but not stellar. Glad to see no River Song nonsense, and the next episode looks similarly blessed.
There’s also some sad news I heard today. Andy Whitfield, the lead in the excellent Spartacus: Blood and Sand, has died at the age of 39. He had cancer, and a successor to the role for the next series had been selected some time ago, (to whom he had given his blessing). He leaves behind a wife and two children. Very sad news, especially for someone so young and with a family.