This one is a problematic episode with a few neat bits.
First of all, the vehicle is lame. Even though the pollen explanation at the end sort of works, I’m not a fan of dreams and the Dream Lord as a gimmick. That might just be personal taste. I called this one the ‘Q’ episode the first time around, in reference to another show’s highly annoying recurring guest.
There seem to be three main ideas the writer is striving for. One, who does Amy really love? This is grade school material at best, not worth an episode of Doctor Who. The question was addressed in a somewhat more adult manner in ‘Boom Town’ – incidently, another episode focused on what the Doctor really is and the effect he has on people. Two, the old preying on the young. Making harmless old people monsters is an idea, I suppose; it’s also a treatment of the Doctor preying on his companions. It left a bad taste in my mouth. Three, growing up. A little Peter Pan; home and family in the village is dull, except to Rory, who is dull to everyone else. It’s a valid theme I suppose, but not very well handled.
Several other things bother me in this episode. The Dream Lord uses guilt as a weapon. The Doctor seems prone to guilt even though a being of his age should be prepared to deal with his own regrets, and little of the blame the Dream Lord (and, incidentally, Davros) lays at his feet is genuinely his. Amy lies to Rory, letting him believe that she shares his dream. I get Amy is supposed to be immature at this point, but it’s still annoying. Finally, there are two suicide scenes. Self-sacrifice, I get, but driving a bus into a house and blowing up a spaceship strike me a bit hard. Uncomfortable material for a family show.
I do enjoy Amy experiencing for the first time her love for Rory. Karen Gillan’s acting is as always flawless.
We come back to the idea of a companion having a life outside the TARDIS, as I commented on with regard to Clara. Here, though, the two companions each have a preference and the divided life is a compromise. I do think they need to make up their minds about what they want as a couple, together, rather than each insisting that the other do things their way. They may be poorly matched in spite of their feelings: the adventurer and the homebody can hardly be happy each with only half the life they truly want.