This post will contain spoilers for the seventh Matt Smith episode of Dr. Who In this episode we meet '[spoiler]The Dream Lord[/spoiler]', who offers the Doctor and his companions [spoiler]a choice between two realities. In one reality, we are in Rory's idyllic setting, a nice house with a baby on the way. In the other reality the crew of the Tardis are trapped and getting colder.[/spoiler]
[spoiler]If they die in the dream, then they return to reality, but if they die in reality, then they just die.[/spoiler]
When I saw the trailers, I was completely underwhelmed by them - I didn't know what to expect, but I wasn't expecting much. The episode contrasted with this and, possibly as a consequence, I came away from it with a very good impression.
'Vampires of Venice', was an enjoyable episode for me, though it had quite a few flaws with the plot. In contrast, this episode wasn't as much 'fun', but it was much better 'Who'.
[spoiler]Amy is forced to decide between realities, and she ultimately chooses the one with Rory in it, thus putting an early end to what could have been tedious 'Rory or the Doctor' stories.[/spoiler]
[spoiler]It turned out that both realities were dreams, one generated by Rory, and one by the Doctor - though their personalities were expressed in all of them, especially in how the Doctor treats his companions (contrary to his assertion, he does abandon people once they leave the Tardis, and he does prefer his companions young). The 'Dream Lord' was part of the Doctor's psyche.[/spoiler]
[spoiler]It's true that there was no real jeopardy, the Tardis was 'safe' and ultimately, it wouldn't have mattered which way the 'dream' events went. That doesn't matter. This wasn't really a story about jeopardy, it was a story about establishing the relationships at work in the Tardis, specifically the relationships with Amy.[/spoiler] It was a story which closed the door on certain direction which could be taken in these relationships, and that was a good thing to have done.
Interestingly, [spoiler]only the Doctor made a real active decision in the episode. Amy's choice to crash the van was made in grief. Rory had no choice, indeed, he thought the village was real. The Doctor made the choice that both scenarios were unreal, and actively chose not only to go along with Amy in the van, but to take the additional step of destroying the Tardis.[/spoiler] This puts the Doctor is back in control at the climax of a story, in a way that he has rarely been in this series.
As an aside, I was quite please that they [spoiler]weren't asserting that 'cold stars' were real[/spoiler] and thermodynamics be damned.