Season Five Redux
Behold! A rewritten version of season five… now enriched with delicious, coherent themes and the omega-3 fatty acid known as character development! Obviously, the following is not the only way to fix season five; it’s just one way. It’s AU fan-fiction, is what I’m saying. Enjoy.
“The Eleventh Hour Redux” – Once upon a time, there was a little immigrant girl named Amelia, and she has no parents. Some weird bloke with a police box crash lands into her backyard and eats some fish custard. He tells her he’s traveling alone, and she asks if he’s lonely. The Doctor says, no, obviously not! (Lonely god? That was the old guy!) No, relationships are overrated–it’s having fun that matters! Who would want to remember a tragic past when there are galaxies to see? Mmm, fish custard!
Little Amelia latches on to the Doctor. The Doctor doesn’t know it yet, but Amelia has no parents because they’re dead. Not sucked into the Void. Dead. In fact, they died only a week ago. The Doctor inspects the Crack in Amy’s wall, we learn about Prisoner Zero, yadda yadda, and then the Doctor abandons her. See, his TARDIS keeps disappearing and reappearing in the backyard, so he flies it to the moon to recalibrate it. In the meantime, Amelia grows up to become a kiss-o-gram, because then she can be something new every day and not have to remember that, on the inside, she’s Amelia, the sad, lonely child.
Now for some major differences. Instead of growing up to be a snarky shrew, Amelia grows up to become Revised Amy. Revised Amy made herself in (what she saw as) the Doctor’s image. She’s wacky and spontaneous and takes nothing, especially relationships, seriously. She is, essentially, all of the Eleventh Doctor’s good qualities (at least on a superficial level). This will make her a much more interesting and fun-to-watch character than the jaded snark machine we actually got this season. Revised Amy also kind of a Doctor super-fan, which makes her a good audience stand-in, and interesting on a meta-level. Revised Amy and the Doctor save the Earth from Prisoner Zero and the Atraxi, and gung-ho revised Amy rushes into the TARDIS, hoping never to come back.
By the way, Rory’s still in this episode, but he’s now Revised Rory. As in real season five, he represents what Amy could have been if she actually grew up, but the growing up part doesn’t have to do with settling for a passive, milquetoast Rory and popping out boring babies on a boring farm. Instead, Rory is a really awesome, likeable guy who Amy clearly wants to be with—but she can’t let herself because she’s afraid of getting hurt. Therefore, Amy and Rory are not engaged in this version. Also, in this new version, it was Amelia who wanted to be a nurse when she was a kid, so she could save people (like her dead parents, perhaps?), but she didn’t go through with it after the Doctor came into her life. Due to little Amelia’s influence, Revised Rory grew up to become a nurse, making him a symbol of what Amy could have been and can still become. New Rory keeps trying to convince Amy that she’s smart and driven enough to go to nursing school—she’s too good for kiss-o-gramming. Amy explains to Rory (and the Doctor, and the audience) that she enjoys being a kiss-o-gram because it gives her power. She can change her identity almost at will, and she can always walk out the door when things get too real.
“The Beast Below Redux” – Because our big theme for this season is about identity, storytelling, and memory, we’re going to use our red pen on the Starwhale and focus on the Protest/Forget buttons. That was a really, really cool idea that was not developed enough.
In this new “Beast Below,” Revised Amy disembarks the TARDIS legitimately excited to be in the future instead of snarking about like an annoying teenager. And instead of lecturing Amy like a professor, the Doctor actually has a little bit of fun with her before the plot starts rolling. He also asks her if she’s afraid. She asks, “Are you afraid?” “Never!” he answers. “Well, sometimes.” “Then I won’t ever be, either! Or only sometimes.”
Amy and the Doctor soon realize that the children in this futuristic spaceship society are being treated badly, and they go to investigate together. The Doctor and Amy are eventually caught and stuck in identical Protest/Forget rooms next to one another. Amy freaks out at what she sees and immediately pushes the “forget” button, but we don’t see the video just yet.
Then we see the Doctor’s POV. He hears Amy freaking out and tries to calm her by shouting through the walls: “Push the Protest button! Whatever you see! You’re with the Doctor now, and people who travel with the Doctor always protest!”
But then he sees the video. From this video, we learn that the Earth was made to be inhabitable (maybe by nuclear war or some other Very Bad Thing), and this new spaceship society is run not by a Starwhale but by child slave labor (the slaves being the kids who do badly in school, like in the pre-credits sequence of the original episode). The Doctor is about to hit the Protest button, but then he sees a bunch of kids that look very similar to some of his old Companions. One of the child slaves is called “Rose” or “Adric” or something, and the Doctor completely loses his shit and hits the Forget button.
The next part of the episode plays out exactly the same way as the beginning, but faster. The now-memory wiped Doctor and Amy realize there’s something weird about this society, and they’re caught again. This time around, the Doctor’s weird alien biology kicks in, and he remembers a little bit of what happened earlier in the episode. He’s like, “Um, I think we shouldn’t go into these rooms. There’s a button or something in there.” So they fight off their captors and end up in the slave labor plant. Queen Liz is there, and she explains that this slave labor is necessary to the survival of Space-England. It’s hard for her, too, which is why every so often she presses the Forget button herself. The Doctor asks, “Don’t their parents care that their kids are being taken away?” And Liz is like, “Yeah, so they press the Forget button. Got it?” The Doctor tries to get the child-slaves to run away, but they’ve forgotten their humanity and freedom. They’ve been told the story that they suck and are only worthy as slaves. Amy and the Doctor try to get them to remember who they really are, and who their parents are. Then the evil robot thingies come and capture Amy, asking the Doctor if he will sacrifice his Companion for the children.
The Doctor angsts for a mo’, but then the now-revolutionary slave children come up behind him and kick the robots’ asses. The Doctor and Amy convince Liz 10 to help the children find their parents and rebuild their society. The Doctor replaces their society’s old story with a new one: The human race is ingenious enough to save themselves without the need for child slave labor. It is a Happy Ending. Everybody lives.
“Victory of the Daleks Redux” – Doesn’t exist, because I’m not having a Dalek episode in my imaginary season. It doesn’t fit in with our Big Theme, so it’s getting ex-ta-min-ated. Instead, we’re going to put “The Lodger” here, because such a fun episode doesn’t belong so late in the season. (Dear Who writers: Write more episodes like “The Lodger.” Thanks.)
“Time of the Angels/Flesh & Stone Redux” – This two-parter is going to be reduced to a single episode, because original version was padded up the wazoo. It was like Moffat had so much time to fill that he was like, “Oh, let’s make it so Angels can move now! Too short still? Well, make it so Angels can kill people now! STILL too short? Okay, the Angels can also talk through dead bodies and put creepy countdowns in people’s heads. Wait—what do you mean it’s STILL too short?!”
For me, the best part of this two-parter was the first fifteen minutes of the first part, which were totally sweet. We’re keeping that. If we’re going to make up new rules regarding how the Angels work, let’s make only one new rule, and let’s make it one that has to do with our theme. Therefore, the new rule we’re going to keep is the one learned at the beginning of “Time of the Angels”: The image of an Angel becomes an Angel itself. This new rule fits our “Stories Becoming Real” theme and our “Identity” theme, and it also allows us to keep Amy’s best moment: the moment when she pauses the Angel tape and thus destroys it.
So, “Time of the Angels Redux” starts the same way the origial version started. River calls for a pick up, everyone enters the cave, and Amy is attacked by the video-taped Angel. Amy saves herself, and the Doctor reads the new rule: “The image of an Angel becomes an Angel.” Father Octavian intones, “Whoever battles Angels should take care not to become an Angel herself.” In short, if you stare at an Angel for too long, you will become an Angel. If you even think about (or remember) an Angel for too long, the same may happen. River directly ties this theme back to the Doctor, telling Amy that a Companion should also be careful not to stare at the Doctor for too long, because who stares at the image of the Doctor may become that image herself. Amy gets a little uncomfortable at this statement, but she says she’s glad she’s like the Doctor. River jokes, in sing-song, “The abyss stares back also!” River insinuates that she is the way she is because someone taught her to be that way. She flirts, “But I bet you do that to all your Companions.” The Doctor and Amy are Uncomfortable.
Anyway, the Angels attack the Doctor, Amy, and the rest. Amy stares at them but is freaking out because she knows she can’t stare at them for too long. While the Doctor and River work to defeat the Angels with the gravity balls/Cracks, Father Octavian falls into a Crack. Amy and River don’t remember him, but the Doctor does because of his weird Time Lord biology. As the Doctor and River work to defeat the Angels, Amy starts crying sandy tears like in the real episode. She feels like she’s missing something (and she is: the memory of Father Octavian). The Angels get sucked into the Crack, and Amy and River forget them, and Amy is cured of her sandy tears. The Doctor is a little scared by the fact that Amy has just forgotten an entire episode, but he jokes, “If only we could do that with the Daleks!” What Daleks? Amy has never heard of the Daleks. The Doctor is Concerned.
“Vampires of Venice Redux” – Amy wants to have more fun, because she doesn’t remember anything from the previous episode. The Concerned Doctor takes her home and checks out her town, noticing the duckless duck pond and asking Rory if he’s ever heard of the Daleks. (He hasn’t.) Rory tells Amy he picked up some applications for nursing school for her, but Amy drags him and the Doctor into the TARDIS, ‘cause it’ll be more fun adventuring in early 20th century (not Renaissance) Venice than worrying about the future and the past in small town England. They find some fake vampires, shapeshifters who were forced off their planet by the Time War (the Doctor’s like, “Whoops, my bad”). These aliens wanted to fit in on Earth, so they read the only Earth book they had—Dracula—and shapeshifted into vampires (of Venice). The Doctor’s all, “Could you stop being vampires? The ‘killing people by drinking their blood’ thing isn’t working for me.” The vampire queen says, “But this is all we remember. We don’t know how to shapeshift anymore.”
Meanwhile, in the B plot, Amy tries to make Rory have fun in Venice, and he does. They fight off vampires together, and there’s chemistry like whoa, and they have sex. (Off-screen, obviously; this is a family show!) Afterwards, Rory asks Amy why they keep having sex but not actually being boyfriend and girlfriend. Amy doesn’t know how to answer, so she jokes, “Who would want to be the girlfriend of a nurse?” Rory tries to get Amy to remember her old childhood dream of becoming a nurse so she could save the lives of people like her parents. Amy doesn’t want to remember any of this, so she runs off to find the Doctor. She sees that the Doctor is captured by sexy Vampire Queen, so Amy stakes her in the heart and drags her into the sunlight, killing her and all of her children (because they’re psychically linked or something). Amy tells the Doctor how to properly bury a vampire. The Doctor asks, “How are you so knowledgeable about aliens all of a sudden?” Amy says, “‘Cause I’ve read a lot of vampire books, obviously!” They leave with Rory.
“Amy’s Choice Redux” – This episode is basically the same as the original “Amy’s Choice,” except that Rory doesn’t die in fake England, because he’s going to die for real soon, and we don’t want to ruin it by killing him off early like the real show did. Another minor difference is that, in this version, Revised Amy doesn’t believe that either dreamworld is real, instead of her believing that both worlds are equally real. She turns out to be right, of course. Oh, and another big change: the episode was not caused by the Doctor and psychotropic drugs. It was caused by the Valeyard. The literal Valeyard. At the end of the episode, the Doctor, Amy, and Rory wake up to find that the Valeyard has taken control of the TARDIS.
“The Hungry Earth”/“Cold Blood”: Are getting rewritten completely, because I seriously hated “Cold Blood.” Instead, we’re going to have a much more fun two-parter.
The Doctor, Amy, and Rory are trapped in a room on the TARDIS by the freaking Valeyard, because how cool would that be for real! The Doctor sees through a security camera that the Valeyard has taken over his ship. The Doctor explains to his Companions that the Valeyard is the Doctor’s twelfth (i.e., next) regeneration, and he’s nutso. The Doctor, Amy, and Rory have to break out of their prison and get to the TARDIS’s control room, except the Valeyard has locked every room in between. The Doctor’s easy tricks don’t work—the Valeyard stole his screwdriver, and also he has the Doctor’s memories. Also, we get to see a lot more of the inside of the TARDIS, which makes me squee.
As the trio works to break out of their TARDIS prison, the Valeyard continues taunting the Doctor about how awful he is and how awful it is that he ruined Amy’s life by crash landing on her doorstep. (The idea is that Amelia would have grown up normally had the Doctor not landed there, but his visit completely altered her personality in a negative way.) Plot-wise: The Valeyard explains that he has a device that can rip Cracks in space-time and make things and their memories disappear into the Void. Amy whispers to the Doctor, “The Cracks! He made them! But wait: that means this plan already worked!” The Doctor whispers, “Well, don’t tell HIM that!”
The Doctor asks the Valeyard why he hasn’t completed his plan yet—on the viewscreen, it looks like the Valeyard is looking for something in the control room and can’t find it. He’s looking for the TARDIS self-destruct key, which will create a Big Bang that will spread the Cracks throughout space and time. (He also explains he was the one who tried to build the TARDIS-type thing we saw in “The Lodger,” because, hey, maybe that should be explained?) After a while, the Valeyard gives up trying to find the self-destruct key; he knows where to get another one. The Doctor et al break into the control room, but it’s too late. The Valeyard has already landed the TARDIS in River Song’s time so he can get her TARDIS key (which the Doctor has given her in the future).
The Doctor, Amy, and Rory follow the Valeyard, who has tracked down River. He says, “Hello, sweetie,” and takes her hostage. The Valeyard takes her self-destruct key and starts marching back to the TARDIS with River in tow. The Doctor blocks his way, so the Valeyard takes one of River’s guns and aims it at him: “I think it’s time you regenerated.” But Rory jumps in the way and totally bites it. He doesn’t fall into a Crack or anything. He actually, literally dies. While the Valeyard is cackling over his dead body, River grabs his gun and kills the Valeyard. The Doctor is shocked but is like, “Well, she did highly imply earlier this season that she was going to kill me.” Amy is sobbing over Rory, and River tells the stunned Doctor to take her away from here. The Doctor drags Amy back to the TARDIS, and she tantrums at him, “This isn’t part of the story! You’re the Doctor! You save people! You go off on adventures and have fun! People don’t die! Everybody lives, right?! Right?!” (And the audience is like, “Um, honey, have you ever seen this show?”)
The Doctor tries to console her, but she is inconsolable. He stares at the self-destruct key. Amy says, “The Valeyard told me I wasn’t the first person you’ve traveled with. Is that true? Those others you traveled with: What happened to them?” The Doctor won’t answer. Amy asks, “Are they dead? Are they dead like Rory?” The Doctor’s all, “Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all.” Amy says that’s not true. She takes his hand and puts the self-destruct key in the TARDIS for him. “We can make it all go away. All those bad things. They’ll never have happened. We can start over.” “A true regeneration,” he says. And he knows he already did it, because no one remembers the Daleks. He sets a course for all of the things he doesn’t want to have existed: Skaro, Rory’s corpse, lots of things from earlier episodes that would best be forgotten by everyone. (The point is to prevent some of his Companions from ever meeting him.) The last course set is for Amelia’s room, where her parents were standing the day before they died.
They turn the key. The TARDIS explodes.
“Vincent & the Doctor Redux” – The Doctor wakes up near Amelia’s house in the 1990s. Amy is unconscious next to him. The Doctor marvels that he and Amy are alive. He guesses that the TARDIS exploded and spat them out the last place it was. The Doctor wakes Amy up and asks her about Rory and her parents. She doesn’t remember them. The Doctor is happy. He sees his TARDIS crash land in Amelia’s backyard, a la “The Eleventh Hour.” While past-Doctor is inside eating fish custard with Amelia, present-Doctor steals his own TARDIS, which is why it had disappeared momentarily in “The Eleventh Hour Redux.” He’ll bring it back later. He asks Amy where she wants to go. She doesn’t know. She’s acting strange. More subdued than usual. She says she wants to see Van Gogh. She’s always loved Van Gogh.
From this point, everything goes the same way it did in the original “Vincent & the Doctor”—Amy crying but not knowing why; everyone fighting invisible monsters; the big speech at the end about happy art being made by sad people; etc.—except that Amy’s personality has clearly changed due to her not remembering her dead parents or Rory. If we want to be really obvious about our themes, we can even have Amy say something like, “Do you think if Van Gogh had been happy he would have made these paintings?” And the Doctor muses, “Would Van Gogh be Van Gogh?” Too on-the-nose? Maybe. But it’s better than being so subtle with your themes that no one gets it.
The Doctor and Amy take Vincent back to his time, but they don’t notice that there’s a Crack near him, and it’s getting larger. They take the TARDIS back to the present-time museum, and instead of Amy seeing a painting of sunflowers with her name on it, they find that Van Gogh’s paintings aren’t in the museum at all. The Doctor asks the curator, but the curator hasn’t ever heard of Vincent Van Gogh. Amy hasn’t either. She starts crying in the museum but she has no idea why. She’s in great pain–like there’s something missing inside her. Something is definitely wrong. The Doctor GOBs, “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
“The Pandorica Opens Redux” – Is basically the same as it was in he original version, with the Rory-bot, and River looking at Amy’s Roman history book, etc., etc. Differences: The monsters that trap the Doctor don’t include the monsters the Doctor erased from history (i.e., the Daleks), and Rory-bot doesn’t kill Amy, because seriously that’s ridiculous. Why do that if you’re just going to bring her back to life two seconds later? C’mon!
“The Big Bang Redux” – The Doctor stays in the box. Really, if you trap a Doctor in a box during a cliffhanger, you can’t free him in the first five minutes of the next episode, especially if he frees himself due to timey-wimey timeline crossing. That’s against the rules. We’re not playing Calvinball here. The rules are sacrosanct.
Instead, the Doctor remains trapped in the Pandorica, and the aliens are going to throw him into a Crack (because, as we learned from the “Angels” episodes, a space-time event as complex as the Doctor would sew up the Cracks for good). Amy, however, doesn’t want to forget the Doctor. She already forgot Rory, and she doesn’t want to forget things again. They have to save him.
So, Amy becomes all heroic and takes Rory and River via TARDIS to gather an army. She goes back to all of the settings of the previous episodes and brings along a bunch of people whose lives have been touched by the Doctor. She even goes to pick up her younger self while she’s waiting in the backyard for the Doctor to return. (We can even get some old Companions like Sarah Jane and Martha Jones in on this lovefest. Nice time for some cameos, why not?)
Amy’s army goes back to the aliens who are about to chuck the Pandorica in the Crack, and her army argues that the Doctor is a hero, not a villain. The aliens, at first, are not convinced, but then Amy (with the help of little Amelia) retells the story of Pandora’s Box, saying it has all of the bad things in the world in it, yes, but it also has hope, too. If you want to really destroy the Cracks for good, you need to let out the hope (i.e., the Doctor).
The Roman robot guards holding the Pandorica are swayed by these myth-based arguments, put down the Pandorica, and free the Doctor. The Doctor is overcome; he’s heard everything everyone’s said, and now he’s ready to be a Happy-Go-Lucky hero again. Aww.
The Doctor has an idea. He takes the TARDIS back in his own timeline to when the Valeyard took over his ship. The Valeyard’s like, “This is against the rules! You can’t cross your own timeline!” And Past!Doctor is like, “Yeah, future me! Don’t cross your own timeline! You’ll cause a paradox!” And present!Doctor says, “Yes, and a paradox is a complex temporal event–exactly the thing we need to destroy the Cracks in space-time!” And Past!Doctor is like, “Oh, future me! You’re so clever, and you look so good in a football jersey!’ Present!Doctor’s all, “You’re not so bad yourself. I’ve seen you in the shower.” And both Amys say, “Get on with it already!”
So present!Doctor totally pushes his past!TARDIS (with Past!Valeyard, Past!Doctor, Past!Amy, Past!River, and Past!Rory in it) into one of the time Cracks. The Cracks get sewn up, Rory lives, and everything goes back to how it was before the Valeyard took over the TARDIS. Hooray! Everybody lives! Happily ever after.
Or is it? Amy asks, “So if everything’s reset, does that mean the Valeyard’s still out there?” And the Doctor’s like, “Yes. Yes, he is.” DUN! DUN! DUUNNN!
But back to our happy ending. The Doctor, River, Amy, and Rory are on the TARDIS, and the Doctor says, “Where to next?” Amy’s deep in thought about something Amelia said earlier in the episode. Amelia met her older self and said, “So, did you become a nurse like I wanted to?” And Amy said, “No, not exactly.” So Amelia said, “Why not?” And Amy couldn’t answer.
In the present, the Doctor says, “How about we go to Space Florida?” And Amy says, great idea, but there’s something I have to do first. She has the Doctor drop her and Rory off at home in 2010, and then she writes a note, hands it to the Doctor and says, “Wait five seconds, then meet me here.”
After Amy and Rory leave, the Doctor reads the note, smiles, sets the course in the TARDIS, and meets her several years in the future, at her nursing school graduation. Rory is there, and the Doctor notices he’s wearing an engagement ring. Amy tosses her cap into the air, and the Doctor catches it. He says, “You’re a nurse now. Sure you still want to travel in space-time with me?” And Amy’s like, “Hells yeah! You’ll need someone to fix up all the people you accidentally injure! And Rory gets to come, too.” The Doctor relents, and they go off in the TARDIS to have new adventures in season six.
It’s not perfect, I’ll admit, but I wrote this thing in two hours. For two hours’ work, it’s pretty decent, wouldn’t you say?
As for you, Mr. Moffat–Steve–can I call you Steve? I’m still a fan. Really. The other day I watched “The Doctor Dances” with some friends, and I fell in love with you all over again. That shit is beautiful, man. Absolutely beautiful. So I’m asking you, when you write season six, could you write more “Doctor Dances” and less “Blink”? I know everyone likes “Blink” better, but they’re wrong. To non-writers, that timey-wimey stuff looks really hard to write. It’s not. It’s really easy–too easy. It’s all smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand. Character development, well-handled themes, emotion that feels earned, plots that make sense and that follow the rules you’ve already established: those are hard. “The Doctor Dances” is better than “Blink.” Objectively-speaking.