Who Review: The Girl Who Waited
Last week we were treated to a decent but companion-light episode of Doctor Who. This week we got the exact opposite in The Girl Who Waited. This adventure was more-companion focused, and it wasn’t decent. It was amazing. This episode was easily on par with Vincent and the Doctor in terms of emotional punch and incredible performances. Spoilers ahead!
I initially thought upon viewing that The Girl Who Waited had a higher budget, reflected in the costumes, impressive CGI and makeup. A little digging proved me wrong: this was apparently a budget-saving episode, having few sets and no guest stars. This is a credit to the creative team and the old-school Who spirit, being able to turn in an episode that makes so much out of so little.
Due to an outbreak of a a plague that affects Time Lords and not humans, the Doctor disappears to the safety of the TARDIS and is little more than a voice for much of the episode. You’d think you’d miss him. You might think that this would be a lame adventure and that the companions wouldn’t be able to carry an entire episode without the quirky title character.
You’d be very very wrong.
Karen Gillan is destined for greatness. Her performance in this episode was amazing and brought tears to my eyes. Her range as an actress honestly surprised me, and her portrayal of an Amy in her 50’s was understated, believable, heartbreaking, and just plain perfect. My favorite of her scenes was so brief yet spoke volumes: where old Amy contemplates putting on lipstick. The look in her eyes, the ability to portray what was going on in Amy’s head without saying a word was brilliant.
Amy being lost in time, waiting for her boys to save her reminded me of what happened/didn’t happen to Rory in The Doctor’s Wife. This is the first time we’ve had married companions, and I’m glad to see the writers exploring what it means to travel with the Doctor along with one you love.
Speaking of Rory, how cute did he look in those silly spectacles? Arthur Darvill also did a terrific job in this episode, particularly when he had to leave one of his Amys behind. “You’re turning me into YOU!” he spat at the Doctor, as usual always able to say the most painful truth to him. (See Vampires of Venice for another.)
Leaving Old Amy behind destroys yet another double Doctor possibility. As Rory and two Amys were running back to the TARDIS, I thought to myself, “Well, great. Maybe the Doctor when back and picked up another version of himself to die while he went on living.” Thankfully, the TARDIS can’t handle that big a paradox, to the possibility of his picking up another him is right out.
Remember Rule #1. The Doctor lies.
The villains, the handbots, were an interesting concept and rather well executed. The theme of “killing with kindness” could be applied to the Doctor himself in many cases, such as in The Beast Below, as well as here. He lied to then killed Old Amy to save her from ever having to live that life.
So that leaves us with this question, and you have to take any Gaiman fangirling out of the equation. Is The Girl Who Waited better than The Doctor’s Wife? Tell us what you think in the comments.