It's a sunny day in Auvers and Something's moving through the corn, but we don't know what it is yet. Vincent sits in his funny French straw hat and paints the crows as they take flight.
2010, Musée d'Orsay, and Bill Nighy the Art History Gighy is explaining in his patrician accent about how the thing with the crows is one of van Gogh's last paintings. "Those final months of his life were probably the most astonishing artistic outpouring in history. It was like Shakespeare knocking off Othello, Macbeth and King Lear over the summer hols." Pause, wait for laughter. The docent reminds us that he did all of this without "hope of praise or reward," because he was an ignored genius in his time. Also crazy, which carries a stigma generally.
Just ask Amy and the Doctor, two individuals who could give Vince a run for his money in the crazy department. The Doctor, we're stipulating and for once we haven't determined this for ourselves, is feeling bad about getting her fiancé vanished from all time and space, so he decided to give her something special, a hop across the Channel in her own time, to see art. I mean, if Amy had any sort of actual personality we could say she was an artist, or at least crafty. "You're being so nice to me. Why are you being so nice to me?" she asks. It's very sad. This business of Amy is very sad.
She says it's suspicious: He's taken her to Arcadia and to the Trojan Gardens, and now this: Home, or something like it, to see beautiful earthly familiar things. I mean, she's never been to the Musee d'Orsay so it's sort of special, but it's not time-and-space special, which is exactly what the Doctor should be doing for her right now. He promises there's nothing to be suspicious about, and his tone is so intense that she realizes they're not joking. But then why he's being so nice to her?
Bill Nighy discusses van Gogh as "possibly the greatest artist of all time," which seems to be the line this episode is taking, which seems like a silly claim to make about anybody, ever, but if you look at this episode as the "Unicorn & The Wasp" of this season I suppose it makes more sense. It's called "Vincent & The Doctor" but only because this is a story by men, for men: It's really a story about Amy, just like Agatha was a story about Donna we didn't know yet. Why are you being so nice to me?
The Doctor is a mad old wizard who takes the sine waves of Vincent's existence and instead of riding them, like we do, or evening them out with drugs, like Vincent could have, does both at once. Two hearts, one for sorrow and one for joy. We've only got the one. Amy's only got one: