Monday, August 25, 2014

Doctor Who--"The girl Who Waited"

“The Girl Who Waited” is a poignant episode. I consider it the best of the season thus far. It is the annual Doctor-lite episode, as he does little more than offer guidance while stuck in the TARDIS, so it is the Amy and Rory show. That is not a bad thing by any stretch, as the two have the best relationship of any companions I can recall. Certainly the best of the revived series.

The doctor promises to take Amy and Rory to a top holiday spot, but they wind up in a hospital quarantine run by white robots. They are very scary, in a sterile sort of way. Amy gets separated and is affected by a time displacement wherein she is in the facility for over thirty years while only a short period of time passes for the Doctor and Rory. The plague affects only those with two hearts, so the Doctor must stay in the TARDIS and act as a guide for Rory’s effort to rescue Amy.

I would ignore much of the temporal shenanigans--just accept them--and appreciate the really sad human elements. Amy has to avoid the robots who have the good intentions of inoculating her from the plague, but the cure will kill her. While the plan is she should only have to do that for a few moments until rescue, she winds up having to defend herself for 36 years. By the time rory arrives, she is far from the same Amy. She is battle-hardened and extremely angry at her abandonment.

I appreciated some of the more subtle moments during the Amy/Rory reunion. She does not have positive feelings for him at first. At one point, she picks up lipstick, contemplates putting some on, but then decides against it. It is a heartbreaking moment. As is the moment when Young amy is recovered, but Rory learns Old Amy must be left behind in order to restore the timeline. He can only save one, and for a long moment, you suspect he is about to choose Old amy because he thinks she deserves it after her long ordeal. Nevertheless, he chooses young Amy to restore thing back to normal.

If Karen Gillan still has any detractors out there, they must be watching a different series. She easily moves between the happy go lucky young Amy and the sword swinging Old Amy with ease, including the shift from bitterness to to a rekindled love in the latter. She made me forget that waiting for 36 years is the blink of an eye compared to Rory’s 2,000 year wait as a Roman Centurion, which is absolutely necessary for ’The Girl Who Waited” to have true emotional impact.

Amy dies for once instead of Rory. How is that for a combo breaker?

‘The Girl Who Waited” is a very good episode. I am a bit surprised to know it was written by Tom MaCrae. No slight intended against the guy, but he has a reputation for robot obsessed scripts--witness “Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel”--without much emphasis on human drama. It looks like I have not been giving him enough credit. On a technical note, the aged make up on amy was great. Too often, such things are too rubbery and fake. The make up artists struck the right balance here. I have no complaints about ’The Girl Who Waited.”

Rating: **** (out of 5)

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