15 September 2011

Doctor Who - The Girl Who Waited

The preview of this episode looked intriguing and I was really hoping it would be good. Happily I was not disappointed.
This will be pretty spoilery, though this is very much a standalone episode so I won't be mentioning anything to do with ongoing plot threads.

Emotional response
This was a damn good episode!
The divergent time streams and resulting exploration of time paradox feels much more like sci-fi than usual.
Rory and Amy are finally doing stuff, not just wandering around reacting to stuff. Obviously there's some reacting, but there's also lots of doing and that's good.

Older Amy is pretty cool, you can tell she's Amy but with a hard and lonely life. Her swirly fighting at the end is just fun and great. She's tough and confident but in a totally different, more grounded, way to River. In fact it's hard to picture older Amy and River in the same scenes, they belong to different kinds of stories.
I felt so much for older Amy, life has generally been unfair and disappointing for her. The interactions between her and Rory (and to a lesser extent her and younger Amy) are so touching but also sad as she's obviously doomed.

Rory's care for unconscious younger Amy was lovely to see, so sweet. This is another time when Rory is great and they are an excellent couple.
Oh, the bit at the end when older Amy and Rory talk through the TARDIS door was so, so sad!
Probably good that younger Amy was (conveniently) unconscious for that.

Intellectual response
Finally an episode that feels more like SF than usual. Exploring the possibilities of time travel and paradoxes really uses the potential of Doctor Who.
I like that this episode explores the emotional impact of time paradox. Coming adrift in time, away from your loved ones, is an odd kind of separation with a wide variety of implications and repercussions.
The Doctor is conveniently removed from the bulk of the action due to a time traveller quarantine, and after the initial explanation acts as a remote adviser. This means there's even more space for interactions between Amy (both of them) and Rory. For the first time this series the two companions are allowed to take centre stage.

The white, white place with the white, white robots felt like some that would be designed by Apple. iParadox? Very institutional and shiny and uniform. Also appropriate as it's a place that provides endless distraction. It's good that we get to see the grimier backstage areas and the scary needle faces of the robots.

Older Amy has been abandoned by her friend and loses her husband, and so her confused, guarded-but-tender feelings for Rory when he finally shows up are absolutely understandable. Her desire to survive even if it means denying her younger self a better future, could be seen as selfish, but perhaps it also shows her fighting spirit. She hasn't survived the robots all this time only to be winked out of existence. It's sad because we know that will eventually be her fate (let's face it they weren't going to keep making Karen Gillan wear that make up).

Rory is excellent too. After the initial shock he is so understanding and accepting of older Amy, and no doubt feels horribly guilty that she was on her own so long. She's older now but she's still his wife and he still loves her. He refuses to choose between the Amys when given the choice, and continues to preserve both versions up to the last minute when the Doctor forces his hand.

Ah yes, the Doctor. I felt he was being particularly harsh when he described older Amy as not real. She was obviously real, she was a person with feelings and history and her own existence. I can understand the desire not to allow a time paradox into your time machine, that's just good sense (probably). However the Doctor didn't have to be so dismissive of her. I'm assuming he did it to force Rory's hand and make him accept the choice, still it didn't feel like something the normally life-affirming Doctor would say.

Um, nothing that I didn't cover with more passion last week.
Still no Melody concern, but this episode was so good I wasn't too worried about that.

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