Review of Doctor Who ‘The Girl Who Waited’

Neela Debnath

Amy 4 300x206 Review of Doctor Who ‘The Girl Who Waited’SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen episode 10, series 6/32 of Doctor Who

There was more timey wimey mischief with parallel time streams running at different speeds this week as Amy’s timeline took yet another twist.

Critics of the constant tampering with time will not like this episode. However, it is a cracker in terms of time paradoxes and the hypothetical moral dilemmas caused by said paradoxes. There were some similarities to ‘The Almost People’ in relation to who was the “real” Amy. Of course they are both Amy which means that it is a brutal decision that the Doctor forces Rory to make.

This adventure shows how Rory’s character has developed. For the first time we see him really angry at the Doctor for letting something bad like this happen. When the audience initially met Rory, he was insecure about Amy’s relationship with the Doctor but since coming aboard the TARDIS he has grown. There is more a sense of equality in his relationship. He still does let Amy boss him around but when it comes down to the serious life or death situations there is a strong bond between the pair. Furthermore, the dynamic between Rory, Amy and the Doctor is so refreshing when compared to previous series with just the Doctor and a female companion which became a tad stale as the show went on.

The episode also gave an insight into the darker side of the Doctor and showed the risks and danger involved in travelling with him. Both the audience and the characters saw the pure logic that the Doctor has to apply to difficult situations and that the outcome is not always a happy one.

Although Amy may never know what her other self went through, Rory has been affected deeply by the future Amy that he met. He has encountered an older, more cynical Amy who had 36 years of cold, hard reality when her Doctor failed to save her. The truth is that the Doctor cannot save everyone all the time and companions do die in the course of their adventures with the Doctor. A version of Amy did die in this episode but the younger one survived, therefore, the sense of loss was less pronounced.

Away from the doom and gloom of the Doctor’s internal workings, ‘The Girl Who Waited’ was a sumptuous visual delight. The garden that Amy steps into was reminiscent of Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The warped topiaries, lush greenery and bright colours were a welcome break from the more industrial and less natural settings that the Doctor is usually seen in. The sanitised and minimalist look of the centre was quite striking, creating a stark contrast to the garden. The look of the centre re-asserted the idea that in the future everything will be sterilised, clean and white.

There were some great moments of comedy this week. In what can only be compared to Wilson from the Tom Hanks’ film ‘Cast Away’, Amy’s pet handbot ‘Rory’ with a drawn-on face, was marvellous. The other more dry and ironic bit of humour came from the handbots trying to administer “a kindness” by firing metal needles. Taking the notion of having to be cruel to kind one step further, the handbots’ kill to kind.

All in all, ‘The Girl Who Waited’ was a tearful tragedy with a time paradox that reminded audiences that the Doctor has a darker side. Next week is the much anticipated ‘The God Complex’ from ‘Being Human’ creator Toby Whithouse that looks set to unsettle viewers.

Image credit: BBC

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  • Andrew Ho

    I enjoyed the episode immensely and found it one of the strongest so far. Having said that, it wasn’t without some glaring flaws.

    1) Am I the only one who found future, abandoned Amy more sympathetic and, well, likable? That’s not to say I dislike Amy Pond because I do enjoy the character and think Ms. Gillan’s acting has improved. But the juxtaposition between the strong, take-charge Amy surviving hell for 36 years armed with her wits and an iron will, and the younger, simpering Amy viewed through the timeglass waiting for rescue, was jarring.

    2) The explanation for what happened between green anchor and red waterfall and the Doctor’s explanation for how he could save both Amy’s seemed like so much technobabble, something that Doctor Who avoids much better than that other long-lived scifi classic, Star Trek. I couldn’t help but feel the creators just hoped if they could get the actors to say their lines quickly enough and if they could just get those scenes out of the way, they could get back to the fun. And you know what? They were right. For this episode, I didn’t care about the Why. (I’m willing to accept “It just happened.”) The Who (heh) told me enough so I understood the What that was going on.

    3) While the actors did a fine job, I couldn’t help but feel this was yet another attempt at showing the DEEP EPIC LOVE between Rory Williams and Amelia Pond. Okay, we get it. She’s pretty and popular and he’s nebbish and insecure. They’re an odd match, so the attraction needs to be reinforced and explained. But we’ve had their love crammed down our throats so much that–by attrition if nothing else–we understand that their love is all-consuming, eon-spanning, destiny-changing, etc. Can we talk about something else?

    So. Next week: Rory learns what “REDRUM” means, all work and no play makes the Doctor a dull timelord, and heeerrre’s Amy…?

    Too long, didn’t read: Future Amy was more sympathetic, let’s scale back on the technobabble and Amy/Rory love and next week: Doctor Who meets The Shining.

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