Sunday, September 11, 2011

My Review of Doctor Who's 6x10: "The Girl Who Waited"

Written by Tom MacRae
Directed by Nick Hurran

Older Amy: “You didn’t save me.”
Rory: “But this is the saving. This is the ‘us saving you’. The Doctor just got the timing a bit out.”

With a title like this, it was only logical that once again, Amy Pond would be placed in a familiar predicament. Waiting for the men in her life, especially the Doctor and Rory has been a repeated strand in Amy’s life and each time, it’s been effective.

As a child, she waited twelve years for the Doctor to show up and after their encounter with Prisoner Zero, Amy waited another two years on top of that. For a great amount she also waited for the Doctor and Rory whilst being kept captive by Madame Kovarian on Demon’s Run but even this episode went a bit beyond those lengths of time for Amy.

Waiting thirty six years on Apalapucia in the Twostreams facility and fending herself against the helpful but dangerous Handbots made Amy Pond into a rather bitter woman but understandably so. Amy’s faith in the Doctor was always going to become shaken at some point and considering what she’s been through most of her life, it made sense that she snapped at him here.

The Doctor and Rory might not have intended to wait nearly four decades in order to rescue Amy but fate certainly wasn’t in their hands and it was rather sad the kind of living that the older Amy had been thrown into. Stuck on a world where she had to survive on her wits alone, I think it’s understandable to see why Amy hardened as much as she did.

I love the Doctor to bits as a character and while I adore his dynamic with Amy and Rory a lot, this is another example of how him being in their lives have cost them. Losing Melody (which strangely isn’t addressed here) was the worst thing but older Amy’s predicament also comes across as being mighty unfair too.

I did like that no matter how hardened the older Amy appeared to be, Rory could break through it. The fact that she neutralised a Handbot and named it after her husband spoke volumes as did her initial refusal to help her younger self until she was reminded about how much she loved Rory.

And here lies something about this episode that I loved – Rory. I’ve never needed proof that Amy loves Rory and we’ve had more than enough of it in past episodes but if “The Doctor’s Wife” was a love letter to the series and the Doctor’s relationship with the TARDIS, then this episode is an even bigger love letter to Amy and Rory’s relationship.

The way both versions of Amy lament about Rory speak volumes of how much he actually means to them and the fact that Rory was put in a position where he had to choose between both versions of his wife was damn well effective. I think that was however mainly down to an astute comment that Rory made about the Doctor trying to turn Rory into him.

Of course, there was no way that both versions of Amy were going to make it out the episode alive. Seeing the older version beg to be let into the TARDIS was heartbreaking but not as much as her poignant goodbye to Rory and eventual defeat at the hands of the Handbots. Poor Older Amy, it might have been emotionally manipulative but I couldn’t help feeling bad for her in the end.

As for our Amy, well she was largely trapped in a different time stream during her stay in the Twostreams facility but her scenes with her older self and Rory really just cemented how far Karen Gillan has come with this series. I thought she was absolutely superb in both roles. I bought her as the older, hardened version of Amy and of course, her regular self as well.

I also found it interesting the way this episode ended as well. The Doctor might have been right about unsustainable paradoxes with both versions of Amy but it still felt rather cruel in some ways what he did, even if he was in the right. It also raised an interesting question of how much longer can Amy and Rory stay with him as well.

One of the biggest themes of this season (apart from the mystery of River and the Doctor’s imminent death) is that it does seem that time is running out for Amy and Rory too. At some point, their time with the Doctor is going to come to an end and considering the things they’ve been put through, perhaps the time to leave is coming a lot sooner for them after all.

As for the rest of the episode – I really liked the Handbots. Okay, it’s another episode in a row where the monster isn’t technically evil but it worked rather nicely and there is something rather sinister about the idea of being killed with kindness too. Though in the end, it only seemed to be an anaesthetic they gave out rather than a poison to Amy and Rory after all.

And as for the Doctor – for an episode that was supposed to be Doctor-Lite, it didn’t feel like one. The Doctor was in enough scenes that his onscreen presence was always felt and his presence lingered nicely during the moments where we didn’t see him either. Perhaps that is the best way of dealing with the Doctor every once in a while.

Also in “The Girl Who Waited”

Tom MacRae who wrote this episode, previously wrote the second season two-parter, “Rise Of The Cybermen”/”The Age Of Steel”

Amy (to the Doctor/Rory): “Where am I? In fact, where are you?”

Amy pushed the red waterfall button instead of the green anchor button, leading to the whole chain of events.

Amy: “Rory, I love you, now save me. Go on.”

Amy: “I’m not from this world; your medicine will kill me.”
Handbot: “Statement rejected. Do not be alarmed, this is a kindness.”

The Handbots could be neutralised with feedback to each other but Older Amy using her katana on them was more fun to watch.

Amy (re gardens): “You could really spend a lifetime here. Not that I’m going to.”

Older Amy: “I got old, Rory. What did you think was going to happen?”
Rory: “I don’t care that you got old. I care that we didn’t grow old together.”

The Computer Interface was voiced by Imelda Staunton, who didn’t actually appear in this episode. I would’ve liked to have seen her in this one.

Rory (re Rory Handbot): “You named him after me?”
Older Amy: “Needed a bit of company.”
Rory: “So, he’s like your -”
Older Amy: “- Pet.”

Rory: “But you’ll die here.”
Older Amy: “Not if you take me with you.”

Originally, there were plans to use an older actress to play Amy in this episode. Also, I loved that Older Amy made herself a sonic probe and a protective outfit from the Handbots.

The Doctor: “That is not how I travel.”
Rory: “Then I do not want to travel with you.”

Amy: “Why are we still here?”
Older Amy: “Because they leave you. They get into their TARDIS and fly away.”

Other titles that were considered for this episode including “The Visiting Hour” and “Kindness”. Oh and Rory pretended to be in a rock band once and Amy/Rory’s first kiss was to the Macarena.

Older Amy (to Rory): “I’m gonna pull time apart for you.”

The Doctor: “There can be only one Amy in the TARDIS. Which one do you want? It’s your choice.”
Rory: “This isn’t fair. You’re turning me into you.”

The Confidential for this episode had Arthur Darvill swimming with sharks (not a first for him) and Karen Gillan racing as well.

Rory: “Amy, I love you.”
Older Amy: “I love you too. Don’t let me in. Tell Amy, your Amy, I’m giving her the days. The days with you. The days to come.”

Chronology: None specified since “Night Terrors”.

I absolutely loved “The Girl Who Waited”. A wonderful tour de force for Amy and Rory and an instant classic to boot. In a season with some classics in it already, this is another pinnacle for the new series.

Rating: 10 out of 10


rickyn2 said...

Nice review.

Anonymous said...

"Though in the end, it only seemed to be an anaesthetic they gave out rather than a poison to Amy and Rory after all."

The anaesthetic was in the hand. Once the target was asleep, the bot's exoskeleton opened up to bring out the needles full of actual medicine, which would have killed them.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Rickyn2 - thanks, glad you liked.

noybusiness - Oh yeah, now I remember. Poor Older Amy.

Anonymous said...

Presumably she vanished, though.