**Warning! Here there be spoilers! DO NOT read ahead if you have not watched through Series 6, episode 10 of Doctor Who. If you have, or don’t care, read on, but don’t get mad…**
Tom MacRae‘s “The Girl Who Waited,” another standalone episode, presents a truly dire situation for Amy Pond and her husband Rory due to a mistake by the Doctor. What follows is a series of moral quandaries which highlight the consequences of traveling with the Doctor, as well as superb acting by Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill.
Accidentally stumbling into a quarantine situation on the supposed paradise vacation planet Apalapucia, Rory and the Doctor enter one room, while Amy enters another. However, both rooms flow within different time streams: Amy’s location flows faster than her companions’. They are able to communicate through a magnifying glass scope which connects the two time streams, but only briefly. The Doctor must use the TARDIS to break through the time stream to rescue Amy. She cannot just stay in one place while waiting for them, however, as there are white, faceless robots with synthetic hands pursuing her. They are from the quarantine facility, attempting to do a “kindness” by injecting her with an inoculation for the virus which ravaged the planet. However, this will kill her as they don’t recognize that she is an alien.
The Doctor and Rory use the TARDIS to break through into Amy’s time stream. He must remain in the TARDIS, as the virus could affect him (it only affects two-hearted species). Rory, as he explores the facility, is attacked by a masked, samurai sword-wielding woman–Amy. She has aged 36 years, fought for survival every day, and become incredibly bitter, hating the Doctor for leaving her, and shutting herself off from Rory. The Doctor swears to go back and save the past version of Amy, which will prevent this future. Future Amy does not want this, however–she wants to exist. Rory detects past Amy using the magnifying glass scope, and he allows her to convince her older self to help save her. She agrees on one condition, that the Doctor take her as well. Rory and his two wives fight their way back to the TARDIS through hordes of robots. Past Amy is touched by one, causing her to fall unconscious, and future Amy tells Rory she’ll watch his back as he takes past Amy into the safety of the TARDIS. When they enter, the Doctor closes the door of the TARDIS, locking future Amy out, as the TARDIS could not contain the paradox created by two versions of a person existing in the same place. Rory must choose which Amy he wants.
While this episode does not further the primary story arc of the season, it’s an interesting one nonetheless. This is one of those episodes, like second series finale Doomsday or the final episodes of series 4, that demonstrates how dangerous it is to be one of the Doctor’s companions. However, it resounds with one of the show’s primary themes: Love conquers all. Love is an emotion so strong that it rips a hole in the fabric of time. While the Doctor will do anything to save his companions, demonstrating that love, we see a different love, one that has only really become evident a bit during the second half of the previous season, but much more this season: that love between Amy and Rory. We’ve delved a bit into their back story this season, we see that they’ve been together nearly every day since they were kids–they’re meant for each other, and they truly love each other.
As Rory is forced to choose between past and future Amy, Arthur Darvill really sells the emotional impact of the situation. Remember, he is the centurion who waited millennia by her side to watch over her. Finally, future Amy tells him that she’s giving up her future so that past Amy can have it with him; she’s “giving her the days. The days with you. The days to come. The days I can’t have.” Both Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill demonstrate a moving emotional prowess. The farewell between future Amy and Rory echoes the goodbye between Rose and the Doctor in “Doomsday,” though I don’t think anyone can truly match that, unless it’s the Doctor and Donna at the end of series 4.
All that being said, while I’m more than thrilled that Gillan and Darvill can go to that emotional place, it leaves me wondering: where was this emotion after Melody’s departure in “Let’s Kill Hitler“? We saw bits of it in “A Good Man Goes to War,” but I have to wonder: does that just stop? When Melody/River leaves, they’re not emotionally destroyed that they’ll not see their daughter again–at least not as a child or anything but River Song? I’ve tried to rationalize it: Amy never knew she was pregnant, so that reduces the impact that her child was taken from her. But would it really? The prequel to “Let’s Kill Hitler,” as well as the cold open, sees Amy begging to Doctor for her child. They find her–they’ve known her all along as Mels–but does that alleviate the pain? I also addressed this at the end of my review of “Let’s Kill Hitler”
Still, this was an exciting episode featuring Amy and Rory with a little less of the Doctor. They really do well together, with Karen Gillan as the bitter, hardcore future Amy and Arthur Darvill as the man who absolutely loves her, and is torn by the choice he must make. Don’t worry, though, because love can conquer time and space.
Previous episode: “Night Terrors”
Next episode: “The God Complex“