Doctor Who ‘The Girl Who Waited’ Review

Posted: October 5, 2011 in Review
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610 – The Girl Who Waited

When Doctor takes Amy and Rory to one of the Universe’s hotspots, everything goes hellishly wrong. An outbreak of a contagion that the humans are immune to has broken out, turning the paradise into a final resort for those dying. Family members get to see their loved ones live out their lives all in the space of a single day – something that backfires dramatically when Amy enters the wrong doorway. Attempting to rescue her from a cure that will kill her, the Doctor and Rory head after her, only to find that Amy has been alone for thirty six years – and she’s become someone entirely different.

The central premise of the episode is incredibly thoughtful, posing the question of what exactly it is that happens if the Doctor fails his companions. Amy’s relationship with the Time Lord has already gone through some turbulent times, but here their fragile alliance is stretched to breaking point, with the Doctor leaving his redheaded friend in a deadly environment for almost four decades.

Naturally, the episode focuses on Rory and Amy’s relationship and here the two actors do not disappoint. Their chemistry is nothing less than excellent as Rory and Amy struggle to deal with that most difficult of life-changers: time itself. Seeing Amy wizened, older, angrier and vengeful is one thing, but seeing Rory, heartbroken, attempting to salve the wound is quite another.

That’s the episode’s true strength: the ties that bind the characters. Amy’s aging affects not only the Doctor and Rory, but a younger Amy as well. Full credit should go here to the make-up artists: not only does Amy look visibly aged, but it never looks silly or overdone. In fact, the characters are what keep the storyline together to such an extent that the robot villains are almost irrelevant.

Most of the episode is highly enjoyable, if slow-paced, meaning that it’s a shame that the final action sequence is forced to be so melodramatic. With the over-use of slow motion, dramatic music and low angles, it’s almost like watching a cheaper version of the appalling film 300. In fact, given how much the drama relies on characters up until the last few minutes, the climactic fight is genuinely disappointing.

All in all, this is a very good episode. Light on action, heavy on excellent character building and with a pitch-black finale, this might be looked on as one of the most intelligent episodes that Doctor Who has yet enjoyed.


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