Amy Pond Finally Takes The Spotlight in "The Girl Who Waited"

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Ade Magnaye
Author: Ade MagnayeWebsite: http://blog.ademagnaye.com/
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The Girl Who Waited

One big complaint about the current season of Doctor Who is that Amy Pond, the girl who has been so fiery and feisty the last season, has been reduced to nothing more than a damsel-in-distress plot device. As much as I love Steven Moffat's current run on the show, it really is hard to ignore how Amy's been shuffled off into the sidelines while her formerly wimpy husband, Rory, goes out and becomes awesome.

Let's see: she was kidnapped a few times, replaced with a flesh avatar, gave birth to the Doctor's future girlfriend who will apparently murder him two hundred years down the line, and turned into a creepy doll. Her husband, on the other hand, stared down Cybermen in the face, died a few times and got resurrected, and even punched Hitler in the face. Yes, I think Amy Pond being sidelined is a legitimate complaint, don't you think? She was the one who brought back the Doctor from nothingness with only the power of her memory - you'd think they'd continue that badassery this season.

After the letdown that was last week's "Night Terrors," we now have "The Girl Who Waited." This was the Amy Pond-centric episode I have been waiting for quite a while now, and it delivered, despite my high expectations. The episode starts with the TARDIS trio looking for a vacation planet, and they end up on Apalapucia, the second-best tourist destination in the universe. What they don't know is that the planet has been plagued by a disease called Chen7, which kills any infected living being in 24 hours. To make sure that the infected lives a full life in 24 hours, they have a Two Streams "kindness facility" which sends off the infected to a faster timestream so they can grow old in 24 hours.

Amy accidentally stumbles into the faster timestream. This of course makes her impossible to be rescued. Rory and the Doctor regroup, and after locking into her signal, the discover that the few minutes it took for them to find Amy was 36 years for her. The 36 years of isolation and the constant threat of death looming over her head turned Amy into a bitter woman who had to rely on her wits to survive on an alien planet.

So Rory meets steampunk samurai Old Amy, who does not want to save her past self at any cost, because Old Amy will die if her past gets rewritten. Rory now must make a choice which of the two Amys he must save. In so many ways, this was like a rehash of "The Eleventh Hour," where the Doctor promised young Amy that he'll get back to her in five minutes, only to find that he was late by 12 years. But Amy wasn't in a hostile alien planet the last time. Karen Gillan plays Old Amy believably, and any doubts I might have of her acting ability have now vanished. The Doctor shows off a side of him that we haven't seen since his seventh incarnation and flat-out manipulates everyone. Rory's "You're turning me into you," line when the Doctor gave Rory the choice of saving only one of two Amys and not both was amazing. This was definitely the most heartbreaking episode of the season, even more so than "The Doctor's Wife."

The Doctor lied to two Amys and Rory, and I can see this as the beginning of the end of the relationship between the Ponds and our favorite time-travelling madman. Rory sees a side of the Doctor that is merciless and calculating, being so cold that he lies to her outright and leaves her to die at the TARDIS' door. In the end, even though the Doctor tries to defuse the situation by sticking out his tongue and being silly to Young Amy, you know that something was broken and the episode ends in an unsettling manner.

This episode was, in a word, beautiful. Great cinematography, great Portal-inspired sets, and an amazing story with more than enough characterization and drama to tug at your heartstrings. One of the best episodes of the season, probably second only to "The Doctor's Wife."

Some thoughts:

  • It's been two episodes already since they gave up finding baby Melody. Are they really going to leave it at that? Are they happy having Melody as their best friend and not as their daughter? No resentment whatsoever from the Ponds?
  • Rule #1: The Doctor lies. He lies hard.
  • What is it with this season's obsession with duplicate Amys? Is it going to pay off down the line?
  • Could it be possible that the Doctor knew all this time that the planet was utilizing dual timestreams and he actually used Amy to experiment for a way to get out of his fixed-point death?
   

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