So it took Amazon.com several days to get the HD version of the latest Doctor Who episode up, so I was actually the girl who waited. I thought about hitting the torrent sites to download it, but my patience finally paid off and the episode arrived today. I had the SD version, but I suppose I’m too spoiled to watch something that isn’t in HD. And I have to say that honestly, the wait was well worth it.
I had my doubts about this episode after seeing the preview. I have complained endlessly about this season which seems to be more about Amy than the Doctor. And yet, with this particular episode, I did not mind so much that the focus was on her and Rory. It seems that the writers, cast and crew have finally given the character of Amy some depth. I think this is the first episode I’ve watched where I’ve actually liked Amy.
“The Girl Who Waited” starts out with the TARDIS and our trio of Doctor, Amy and Rory landing on a planet that has been put under a quarantine. But this isn’t any normal quarantine. It has people separated by time itself. And of course, Amy ends up trapped in a pocket of time that moves faster than Rory’s and the Doctor’s.
But Rory, being Rory, and the Doctor, being the Doctor, will save her. There’s just one problem. When they find Amy a few hours later, her pocket of time has progressed 36 years and Amy is now older and much more cynical. And she’s not wanting to save her younger self when the option arises, unless she, too, can save her older self.
As could be expected, we end up with a scene with two Amy’s and one very frazzled Rory. In the end, though, the TARDIS can only handle one Amy at a time and a choice has to be made. Obviously, younger Amy is in and older Amy is out and is left to cease existing.
The episode’s story, by Tom McRae, has the kind of heart to it that we have not really experienced since David Tennant filled the Doctor’s shoes. The way that Rory and Amy’s relationship is handled literally had me weeping at the end of the episode, which is something I have not done since Stephen Moffat took over the show. There was true emotion here.
Interestingly enough, there are very few special effects and set pieces on this episode. Most of it takes place in white rooms with very Spartan white robots walking around trying to “help.” There are no real villains in this episode, save for time itself, and everything is kept to a minimum to tell the story.
And this is the sort of story that reminds me of just how good Doctor Who can be. It’s one of those stories that sucks you in and you come out the other side only wanting more.
I have already stated my growing love for Arthur Darvill as Rory, so I’ll just keep it simple here and say that he was absolutely brilliant in this episode. When Rory says to the Doctor, “This isn’t fair. You’re turning me into you,” after being asked to choose between the two loves of his life, my heart broke for him and I found myself being angry with the Doctor for putting him in that position.
But the real surprise was the range Karen Gillan shows us in this episode, doing double duty as both young and old Amy. I have been vocal about not really liking the Amy character for most episodes, but Karen has finally given me an Amy I feel I can care about. That, in and of itself, is quite an achievement. And she shone as the older version of Amy, who had become hardened to being alone in a strange world for 36 years. The scene between the two Amy’s was wonderful and just goes to show that with good writing, Amy can be a great character.
We don’t see much of Matt Smith this episode, but what we do see of him, he handles deftly. The expression on his face when he asks Rory to choose between the two Amy’s is anguished and yet he knows that he alone is the one that will ever make the difficult decisions. Is this because he’s an alien or because he’s lived for so long? There’s something almost very jaded about his Doctor at times, and sometimes something scary, and also very very old. When he’s like this I am reminded of David Tennant’s Doctor in his last few episodes.
Let’s hope that this is a sign of things to come with the rest of this season.