Tom MaCrae makes his eleventh Doctor writing debut, having previously written the two-part Cybermen adventure from the second series. The Girl Who Waited , where do I start. I could simply say it’s the best episode of Doctor Who ever but that wouldn’t do it justice.
The set up is simple enough, well simple for Doctor Who so basically it’s wonderfully complex. There are robots, two Amy’s, swords, a giant magnifying glass and a great big paradox. We are also treated to the most emotional episode of new Who under the direction of Steven Moffat.
Since Russell T Davies departed as show runner, there has been noticeably less emotional episodes. This hasn’t been detrimental to the Moffat era at all. When it’s used, it’s used sparingly and to devastating effect. The Girl Who Waited is now up there with those Doctor Who episodes that leave me a quivering wreck.
Team TARDIS are separated in record time, finding themselves in different timelines, Amy’s is moving faster than The Doctor and Rory’s. The Doctor can’t enter the facility as it contains a one-day plague that effects two hearted beings. So this is a Rory heavy episode, and this truly shows just how much Rory’s character has developed. Arthur Darvill has become the secret weapon of the series.
Forever the comedy sidekick he is now an essential part of the team, and not just because of this episode. It’s almost as though we had a perception filter hiding how important to the show he is, but suddenly we see it. Arthur is soon to be seen on stage in a new version of Doctor Faustus, not playing the title character but rather more interestingly playing Mephistopheles. Based on his performance in this episode I am genuinely excited to see him take on such a different character.
The prospect of two Amy Pond’s is enough to reverse the polarity of any fans neutron flow. For ease I’ll label them ‘Our Amy’ and ‘Warrior Amy’. Karen Gillan did a fantastic job playing an older more jaded ‘Warrior Amy’ the make up helped but it was her performance that sold it. Each one of those 36 lost years weighed down on her character, the echoes of who she was mixed with the bitterness of being left behind. This was highlighted so well with the reprogrammed Rory Robot (or Rory-Bot as I call him). A delicate balancing act but Gillan proves once again she is more than just a pretty face. The scene where ‘Our Amy’ convinces ‘Warrior Amy’ to change her future for Rory was heart achingly beautiful.
‘Warrior Amy’ doesn’t want to be blinked out of existence, The Doctor seems to think this is a better option than dying. Desperate to hold onto her own life and change ‘Our Amy’s’ fate, ‘Warrior Amy’ wants to be taken with them. Running out of time, The Doctor lies and says the TARDIS can sustain the paradox. The Master nearly destroyed the TARDIS in Series 3 to keep a paradox going, The Doctor would never do that.
A couple in the TARDIS shouldn’t work, but with Amy and Rory it completely does. They love each other so much, and on a near weekly basis they prove that love by saving each other, the world, the universe and sometimes all of time and space. Amy Pond truly is The Girl Who Waited, she waited for The Doctor, she waited for Rory.
This was an episode that from the first ten minutes you knew you were watching that episode of Doctor Who, that episode that stays with you long after it’s finished.
The cracks in time might have been sealed, but the cracks in the relationships of the TARDIS inhabitions are starting to show. A line from Martha to Donna in series four comes to mind; The Doctor is like fire, if you stand too close you’ll get burnt’. Rory is becoming increasingly against how The Doctor travels through time, as Rory angrily throws the communication glasses to the ground shouting “Then I don’t want to travel with you’. The choice The Doctor gave Rory was soul-destroying, I defy any fan not to have been flawed as with tears in his eyes and broken voiced said “That’s not fair, you’re turning me into you”.
We were promised a darker series this time round, a promise I think is being kept and then some. The Doctor showed a more devious side, wonderfully captured with the look The Doctor gave ‘Warrior Amy’ as he closed the door on her softly saying he’s sorry. This is where the episode hit its home run, ‘Warrior Amy’ fought bravely and spectacularly through the robots. When she sees Rory carry ‘Our Amy’ off into the TARDIS it hits her and she remembers how much he loved her. The scene where ‘Warrior Amy’ tells Rory that she is giving ‘Our Amy’ her days, all those days she could never have, my heart was in my throat.
I could go on to mention all the things about this episode I loved but I don’t want to pick it apart. In a series of outstanding episodes, this one was by far the best… So far.
We are back on ‘hide behind the sofa’ mode for the next episode, Being Human creator Toby Whithouse returns to Who writing duties for the God Complex. Is it Saturday night yet?