When it comes to rumours and speculation about Doctor Who and its intricate plot lines, I’ve come to appreciate flickfilosopher.com the most. In this case, there are some very interesting theories about Amy Pond and her timey-whimey complications, continued after Flesh and Stone. Having wrecked my brain about it, I’d like to think some of those approaches through, trying to work out for myself what they would mean for the characters’ — mostly Amy’s — behaviour. Full credit to the commenters at the Den of Geek and FlickFilosopher for pointing out some of the clues I hadn’t already noticed in Flesh and Stone!, I’m only spinning the whole thing out a little further, using my own bouts of nit-picking when they come in handy.
As it always is with Doctor Who: it’s all in the dialogue. It’s always hidden somewhere in the characters’ lines, like with Boe’s announcement that “You Are Not Alone”, which was the solution to the acronym YANA, the hidden Master’s name. Thus, it’s important to check every line that’s said in a seemingly crucial or relevant moment for ambiguity and leeway. Well, here we go.
The entire range of speculations depends on the assumption that the Doctor travelled back on his own timeline to tell Amy that she had to remember what he said to her when she was seven after his present self had left her in the forest.
- the jacket that he chose after his first one had been grabbed by the Weeping Angels and which we see him wearing from Vampires of Venice onwards (look here).
- the different tone of his voice, desperate, softer than when he said “Later, Pond!” and wandered off (both clues from ff.com, thanks!)
- what struck me as weird while watching: the weird sound of his voice that tells me he had a little spat with his nasal cavities — a head cold, crying, rinsing it after a bunch of alien ants crawled up his nose.. whatever
Now, we can speculate about what the Doctor actually meant, “Remember what I told you when you were seven.” At this point, the theories can split into two directions.
- One, the Doctor means something we’ve already seen him tell her in The Eleventh Hour, something that fit snugly into the conversation and, at first glance, didn’t give any reason to suspect he meant something else entirely. Not bloody likely, I think. The Doctor only just regenerated and met her, there’s (almost, Steven Moffat is a genius after all) no way a totally unsuspecting Eleven could have said something at that point that would later unwittingly save the universe. Nah.
- Two, one commentator at ff.com pointed out something I’d wondered about before, too: there was a shot of Amelia, still sitting on her suitcase in the garden, looking up at the materializing TARDIS, just before 2010-Amy opened her eyes and rushed to the window to see that the Doctor had returned after another two years. Maybe that wasn’t a dream. Maybe it’s safe to argue, as Mo does, that a future self of the Doctor came to her that morning, telling her something and buggering off again.
I’m definitely going with the second theory, but what are the implications of that one if one looks at the entire story arc?
a) The Doctor didn’t tell her that he’s from the future, he just popped in and back out. Perhaps that’s when he promised her another five minutes, maybe that’s why she freaked out at him so credibly when he asked why she said, Six months.
But if she didn’t know that, it would be sheer dumb luck that she hasn’t mentioned it yet. It would also clash with how he got the clothes, ’cause I doubt he would’ve kept Ten’s clothes and slipped back into them to give her the impression he wasn’t his future self; so she already would have seen him in them. Subsequently, she wouldn’t have said “You kept the clothes!” at the end of the first episode. But, if she knows, she might have expressed her sudden realization that he’s still going to have those clothes when it all comes to a head in the series finale, she might not have meant right now. Yet another thing: if she didn’t know he was his own double in the forest scene, she might ask the Doctor in one of the following episodes why remembering what he told her when she was seven was so important now, and he’d be all puzzled and go, I didn’t tell you anything specific when you were seven, why would I do that? This only works if it was part of the Doctor’s plan, that the moment she asks that question would be his cue to get the idea and go back on his own timeline. Ah, could someone make the room stop spinning?
b) The Doctor did tell her that he’s from the future in that sequence that seemed like a dream by 2010-Amy, which makes more sense if you look at the dialogue and Amy’s behaviour.
One, Amy was reasonably — and believably — angry when she knocked the Doctor out with a cricket bat, and — unless the whole story with four psychiatrists is a lie to keep the future-self-visit a secret — she did think she’d gone barmy while waiting for the Doctor. So, what he actually told her must meet the following requirements:
- Not too much. He cannot reveal too much of what’s going to come, because the events leading up to the opening of the Pandorica must stay the same.
- Not too significant or loaded with keywords. Otherwise, Amy would either be constantly pre-occupied with keeping it from blurting out, even if she had twelve years to wrap her mind around not letting anything slip no matter what. Also, he urges her to remember, so it can’t be a memory what would be triggered by words like ‘crack’, or ‘Pandorica’, or whatever; it must be something seemingly harmless and veeeery simple. Also, she was only seven years old, he couldn’t have presumed that teaching her an entire conspiracy to remember would be going over so well.
He can’t have told her that she would be sure to meet him in twelve years time — it is possible that she thought she’d “grown up” while waiting; but if he’d told her that, the risk would have been too high that she might accidentally reveal it.
What makes this whole thing about her knowing that he was his future self kind of difficult for me is that all everything would be an act. Of course, the Doctor would only tell her a fraction of what was going to be going on (another point I’ll get back to in a minute, pertaining to the forest scene), but still. It would make her behaviour an act, and she might be a kissogram, but an actress that good? She did have twelve years to practice, but that would clash with the psychiatrists. And how would Amy remember in such a moment that the Doctor gave her an order to repeat the invented story of four psychiatrists to his present self? Unless that was the exact scene Amy made Rory dress up as the Doctor for, I don’t buy it. That’s why I also don’t think that there were numerous visits in Amy’s past/the Doctor’s future, it would be too dangerous. There is this familiarity with the Doctor — “You’re letting people call you sir, you never do that” — that feels weird, though. Hmpf. It’s driving me crazy.
Coming back to the forest scene: I guess it’s safe to say that it really was a future Doctor hanging about there: Amy did ask him, “What did you tell me?”, when he told she must remember, that can mean one of two things:
Either, she asked because she really doesn’t remember (yet) — which leaves us with the possibility that the Doctor did something similar to what he did with Donna: not taking, but only masking the memory so her behaviour would remain unadulterated until he came back to trigger them. But it could also simply hint at the fact that the two aren’t scheming away in the future. Which, on the whole, seems unlikely (cf. my question whether maybe they have scattered the crack across time and space.)
Or, she does remember and just wanted to suss out which Doctor she was dealing with at that moment. That would shed a new light on the Doctor’s reply, “No, that’s not the point!”, since it didn’t matter in that moment who or, rather, when he was. Because, how else should she know when the time to remember — and talk to “her” Doctor about it — has come?
As a conclusion, I think I’m going with this: The Doctor came back and told her that she must wait for 26/06/2010, and that, on this day, something will happen. Amy knows this, and only this, when she runs away with the Doctor the night before her wedding, and she knows she must urge him to come back the following morning because she’s getting married, and maybe she just wants to have a last bit of fun with him, travelling the universe, before whatever happens on 26/06/2010 goes south. But now, after the events of The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, she also knows that the Doctor might get killed — how exactly that spurred her on to practically jump him, I can’t quite make out, though. (Pardon the pun.)
Anyway… any other theories or things/pieces of dialogue that I’ve missed? Tell me!