This was a very different episode for Doctor Who than the norm and for the most part it worked very well indeed. I loved the idea of giving the Doctor and the companions the choice to choose between two different realities. And even though I felt it was a bit obvious what the conclusion of the story was going to be I thought they handled the drama of the characters extremely well. This episode was essentially a character piece to resolve Amy's dilemma of the Doctor vs. Rory. One world is clearly the Doctor's and one is clearly Rory's.
One thing that was interesting was that it seems a possibility after this episode that perhaps Amy isn't running from her wedding day or Rory as much as she's running from Rory's desire to lead a normal "boring" life in a quiet village whereas Amy would much prefer traveling with the Doctor. I think as much as Rory enjoys the quiet life though he'll be happy wherever Amy is.
I also really liked using old people as the "monsters" of the episode as it was both creepy and a bit amusing.
All of the main cast are very good in this episode and it was cool seeing Karen Gillan portray multiple sides to her character. Also Toby Jones is absolutely brilliant as The Dream Lord and I hope this is not the last we see of this potentially recurring villain.
**********BIG SPOILERS BELOW**************
On the downside the choice that Amy ends up making doesn't entirely seem consistent with how she's been written and portrayed in previous episodes. Her loving Rory this deeply seems to come from more of the shock of his death than an actual real "love of her life" scenario. That's not to say she doesn't care about him or even love him in a way but I find it inconsistent with how she showed only discomfort at Rory being around after she threw herself at the Doctor rather than any real guilt. She never apologized to Rory or anything and still hasn't. I also notice at the end of the episode she shows Rory genuine affection but she never tells him she loves him even though she tells the Doctor she's never said it. I would have thought that would have been the first thing she did when she saw him still alive which makes me think her reaction was out of grief and not out of true love. That makes me doubt she would have actually risked killing herself no matter how sad she felt especially with her unborn baby in her belly. And that act also makes Amy again come across as a very selfish character. If she had shown a bit more love and concern for Rory prior to this episode even in a very subtle way I think her act of suicide would have come across as more believable. But in every episode prior to this it appears that she thinks of Rory as more of a friend or brother than the man of her dreams. So I'm still not convinced they belong together but I do look forward to where they go from here and I hope Rory makes it passed the three adventure limit for male companions traveling in the TARDIS that Adam, Captain Jack and Mickey did not. I know it sounds like I'm bitching here but I'm actually finding analyzing Amy's and Rory's relationship to be highly entertaining and very enjoyable. I just wish they had incorporated a few more tell-tale signs that perhaps Amy did feel more for Rory than they indicated in the previous episodes to make it a more consistent narrative.
As for the character of the Dream Lord, it seems obvious to me he's meant to be a precursor or variation of the Valeyard. Some fans really hate the Valeyard and really hate that whole era so I could see the writers not making the connection on screen as well as the advantage of avoiding explaining the rather complex Trial of a Time Lord epic. But the intent seems clear to me as the portrayal seems very consistent with how he was portrayed in Trial. Perhaps a bit more humorous and fun-loving but still menacing and filled with hate for his "good" side. In fact this could be the origin of the Valeyard as it were. A lot of fans disagree and think its too "fanwankish" but honestly there's a lot of fanwank in Doctor Who and that's almost always been a part of its history to one extent or another. And while perhaps Simon Nye was unaware of the Valeyard's existence, The Moff is a big fan so its unlikely the show runner who brought us continuity between the solar flares in The Ark in Space and The Beast Below as well as references to the planet Terserus in The Curse of Fatal Death which was only mentioned briefly in The Deadly Assassin and brought us Time Agents from The Empty Child who were again only mentioned briefly in The Talons of Weng-Chiang would be unaware of the Valeyard character. And it although of course in a sense the Doctor has met himself before it seems obvious from the script that the Doctor quickly deduces who the Dream Lord is and implies he's encountered him before. I'm not sure how obvious that would have been if not for the Doctor's previous knowledge of the Valeyard because it certainly wasn't obvious to me until he said it at the end.
A good thing is that there was room left between The Vampires of Venice and Amy's Choice to allow for other adventures with Rory which is both cool and is probably where the second set of 11th Doctor novels fit in since Rory is in all of them. I think the first set take place in between Victory of the Daleks and The Time of Angels because that's really the only opportunity for them to fit so far.
And now for the comparison of the sixth stories for every Doctor:
1) Earthshock by Eric Saward
2) The Aztecs by John Lucarotti
3) Terror of the Zygons by Robert Banks Stewart
4) Rise of the Cybermen by Tom MacRae
5) Amy's Choice by Simon Nye
6) The Mind of Evil by Don Houghton
7) The Faceless Ones by David Ellis and Malcolm Hulke
8) The Long Game by Russell T. Davies
9) Timelash by Glen McCoy
10) The Happiness Patrol by Graeme Curry