When is a continuity error not a continuity error?
Please note that this speculative article features spoilers for the current season episodes The Eleventh Hour and Flesh and Stone, as well as potentially episodes later in the season. So, if you don’t wish to be spoiled at all, please do not read on. However, if you wish to share in some juicy speculation on what might occur later this season, please don’t turn away from your screen.
Fans are divided about some directoral choices that took place late in the episode The Eleventh Hour. After the baddie has been and done, and after the Doctor takes the TARDIS on a break-in ride, we flash back to Amy as a seven year old. Earlier in the episode, the Doctor met the young girl, but then ran off to do something to prevent the TARDIS from exploding, promising to be back in five minutes. This, of course, did not happen. We see young Amy in her back garden at dawn. She hears the sound of the TARDIS materializing, she looks up and smiles. We then quick cut to present day Amy, asleep. She wakes upon hearing the TARDIS materialization noise.
Many people believe the sequence of Amy at dawn waiting for the TARDIS was a dream present day Amy was having. And while there is precedent (Moffat cleverly has the Doctor refer to Amy “dreaming” when the monster knocks her out and takes her form), Who fans like Allyn Gibson aren’t so sure. The scene isn’t shot like a dream sequence. And if Amy is remembering that night when she waited for the Doctor, and waited and waited, why dream it like that? Why dream hearing the materialization sequence? Why the smile?
Allyn suspects that we’ll be seeing the actress who played young Amy later in the season. He believes that the Doctor went back to see young Amy at seven years old. Why would he do this? Well, perhaps that’s something we’ll just have to find out.
But now flash forward to Flesh and Stone, and a pretty blatant continuity error that occurs halfway through the episode. After Amy’s angel manifests itself, forcing Amy to keep her eyes closed in order to live, the Doctor decides to leave her behind, under the supervision of Father Octavian’s guards. Because she can’t see, she can’t accompany him as he treks through the spaceship’s forest to the main flight deck. So, after a few casual words, the Doctor leaves Amy behind, frightened and heartbroken. As if the girl doesn’t have enough abandonment issues already…
…except, a moment later, the Doctor comes back, takes her hands, and speaks to her kindly, noting her distress and telling her to trust him. “This is very important”, he says. “Remember what I said to you when you were seven.”
Now, here’s the thing: earlier in that scene, the Doctor is wearing a shirt and suspenders. He’d lost his tweed jacket earlier in that episode when he was grabbed by a stone angel. Now, in the part of the scene where the Doctor comforts Amy (who, intriguingly, cannot open her eyes to look at him), the Doctor is very clearly wearing a tweed jacket.
Oops? Perhaps not. Follow the dialogue of the scene very carefully. No mention of the weeping angels are made, which might make sense given that the crack on the wall of the spaceship has taken higher prominence. But there is also nobody else talking in this scene. You don’t hear anything from River Song — not even to tell the Doctor to hurry up — and you don’t hear anything from Octavian’s guards. Except for the fact that Amy can’t open her eyes at this point, the scene reads as though it could be a part of a different episode.
Taken in isolation, you could excuse the Doctor’s jacket as a continuity error. The fact that the Doctor does a complete about face from borderline callous to extremely compassionate can be read as the man coming to his senses, but if you take this change of heart, and the continuity error, and the “dream sequence” at the end of The Eleventh Hour, then it starts to look as though the eleventh Doctor inserted himself into his own timeline here, to give Amy an important message from the future.
Given all of the other influences the cracks of doom have had in this season, this of course must have something to do with the Pandorica opening and silence falling. But what?
Only time will tell.