Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S06E10 – The Girl Who Waited

In the tenth episode of the sixth series of Doctor Who, the Doctor attempts to take Rory and Amy to the planet of Apalapucia, but is unaware that a virus has taken over the planet. When Amy is separated from the group, all three characters are faced with a painful decision when it becomes clear that Amy can’t be saved in any normal way. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Doctor Who.

When Matt Smith said that the sixth series would explore more of the Doctor’s darker side, he really wasn’t lying. This might be one of the bleakest episodes of Doctor Who and SURPRISE I LIKED IT A WHOLE LOT. Who would have guessed????? In all seriousness, there’s so much that I do love about the way this was written, despite that it had to have been uncomfortable to pull off.

“The Girl Who Waited” is not about the Doctor, and first of all, I love that Tom MacRae did not make him the focal point of the story. This story would not have worked if it had not been about the girl who waited (AGAIN) to be saved, and about Rory’s heartbreaking choice. On top of that, the story doesn’t ignore that Amy’s choice is just as valid, and we are also not given a cop-out ending regarding the existence of two of the same story. The choice is made, and Rory, the Doctor, and Future Amy cannot avoid the consequences of that choice.

The anesthetic cleanliness of the Two Streams facility is deceptive at first. It’s one of the strangest sets we’ve seen because it’s technically on another planet, but we never see that planet. Combining a freakishly sterile hospital with an airport, the place is made all the more creepy by its pervasive vacancy. It’s not even until later that we even see any other life forms here aside from the Handbots. Has the whole planet been annihilated by the plague that affects beings with two hearts? Are we seeing the remnants of a facility that merely continues on out of habit, overreacting to any life form that appears inside its walls?

It’s not long before Amy is separated, and it’s not long after that that the horrifying reality of this place is made clear to us: Amy’s time stream is moving faster than the Doctor’s and Rory’s. There seems to be an endless parade of meanings for this place, and this is one of them: the Two Streams facility allows you to spend a day with a loved one who is dying, and it can “accelerate” that death out of kindness. And that’s the word that appears over and over again, not just from the Handbots, but from the larger forces at work here in “The Girl Who Waited.” Who operates out of kindness in this story? Is the Doctor acting out of kindness when he forces Rory to choose Future Amy or Present Amy? Is Rory acting out of kindness when he chooses them both? Has Future Amy abandoned the entire concept of kindness after spending thirty-six years in this place by herself?

I still can’t fathom that, and it gets even worse when you consider that Amy has waited for the Doctor before: Amy was stuck in solitary confinement for thirty-six years. Rory discovers this when he returns to rescue his wife, adorning a set of glasses he should never take off because they truly do make him goddamn handsome, while the Doctor stays behind in the TARDIS to avoid the Chen7 virus that might infect him. He doesn’t rescue Amy, though; she rescues him, and we see how she’s aged, building a uniform of sorts out of pieces of destroyed Handbots. Sure, she’s got makeup to age her beyond her current age, but let’s just state it plainly: Karen Gillan sells this through her acting alone. From her dismissive and rigid body language, to her inflection, to the way she refuses to look in Rory’s eyes for the bulk of the episode, Karen gives us a performance of a woman who has lost hope, who has given up on waiting for anyone to save her, who only rarely thinks of the days of her husband and the TARDIS, and when she does, she is filled with an unending rage for the Doctor who made her the girl who waited–again.

And let me just trot this opinion out there, because I’ve seen it pop up a few times online since the episode aired: Amy waiting is IN NO WAY THE SAME as Rory waiting. And I am so happy Rory did not bring it up once, or hint to it, because there’s probably not many ways to do that without it seeming tacking. Rory chose to wait, Rory can’t really remember it, and Rory chose to wait. Amy has been trapped against her will for nearly four decades, forced to fight off an unending supply of robots, initially understanding that someone will come get her, and then gradually losing that sensation, submitting herself to an all-encompassing nihilism.

If anything, the only thing I’m comfortable with when comparing the two comes at the end of this, but we’ll get there in s second. What’s important about the existence of the Future Amy is how I began to assume that we’d see an end similar to “The Almost People,” or perhaps “Journey’s End.” I hoped otherwise, and there was so much emphasis on the fact that Amy chose not to help her past self, assuring that the character had agency, that I really wanted this to follow through to the end. And I know I haven’t said much about it, so it’s probably time I admit it: “The Girl Who Waited” turned me into a hot mess. I don’t think that any companions in the past have quite gotten the same treatment from the show itself or from the Doctor. This specific episode posits the companions as being more important than the Doctor, if only for one episode. Additionally, I’ve never seen so much rage and frustration being directed at the Doctor and having it justified on screen. When you stop and think about it, Eleven has taken Amy and Rory on some fucked up adventures, constantly separating them, watching both of them die, turning one to goo…you get the point. I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t some continuity in the future to Rory’s statement that he doesn’t want to travel with the Doctor anymore. Who could blame him at this point?

All of this leads to a final moment, and the choice that Rory faces reflects on the larger issues of his relationship with his wife. There is no doubt in my mind that Rory loves Amy more than anything in the world, more than anyone who has ever existed. Given that Future Amy does not wish to erase the thirty-six years of her own life, she has refused to help Rory save her past self. Even when faced with herself (which she remembers happening already), she is stubborn. I knew that the idea of keeping both Amy’s alive and in the TARDIS would not eventually work, and I began to worry how Tom MacRae was going to pull this off. These two Amys are both very different from one another. Rory loves them both, but it’s an impossible situation. Do the two versions of Amy feel jealousy for one another? How long can the paradox be maintained?

The Doctor is the one who finally forces Rory’s hand, and when they finally get Amy back in the present (using the Macarena, which is the best fucking thing on the planet), the Doctor kills Future Amy…with kindness. Literally and figuratively. Remember, the Doctor always lies, and there was no way that he could keep both versions of Amy alive, so he slams the door on Future Amy and then EVERYTHING IS AWFUL AND EVERYTHING HURTS. It’s when I knew that MacRae wasn’t going to give us a cop out. Rory would have to sacrifice one of the versions of his wife, and she would have to die. I am expecting many GIFs from this episode, but the one that will destroy me the most is Rory turning to the Doctor, his eyes overflowing with tears, crying that he cannot make this choice. That is the moment that we know just how much Rory loves his wife. He cannot even bear killing a future version of her, even if the present one survives.

And so Amy dies. Time can be rewritten, it seems, and I wonder if the Doctor forced Rory’s hand so that he could show him that even something as immutable as his own death could be changed. For Rory, though, the joy of getting his wife back is bittersweet, and he lost something in the process. His wife waited for him, and she gave up. He had to see what her life was like without him, without the Doctor, and left to survive in a dangerous world. He saw a version of the woman he married, and even if her lack of hope scared him, he loved her anyway.

sweet christ, this show.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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178 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Doctor Who’: S06E10 – The Girl Who Waited

  1. arctic_hare says:

    Once upon a time, I found it an easy thing to list what my top five episodes of this show are. Were. Well, relatively easy. All that ease, however, has been shot to hell by two episodes in series six: first was The Doctor's Wife, and second was this episode, The Girl Who Waited. In the liveblog, I commented that the only episode that made me cry more was Vincent and the Doctor, and we know from my review of that episode that that is something. But these were different tears; where the ones in that episode were pain mingled with the joy of having a writer understand me and what I've been through, this was all pain. I felt on the verge of crying from fairly early on, and finally was just outright crying through the rest of the episode after a certain point, and still cried for some time after it was over. It was a gutpunch of an episode that just did not let up. Nothing is beautiful and everything hurts… except that at the same time everything is beautiful because the episode is so magnificent.

    My stance is that anyone who thinks that Karen Gillan can't act should now be silenced, for she proves them all wrong with her performance here. Her portrayal of the older Amy is brilliant and award-worthy in my opinion, and I dearly hope that she will indeed be rewarded with awards when the time comes. She deserves them all, truly.

    I've seen it stated that older Amy's refusal to be rescued doesn't make sense, because her life for the past thirty-six years has been hell. It has been hell, there is no doubt about that, I would never argue that point. But I do think that her desire to remain as she is makes perfect sense. Do you really think she survived that long because she gave up, because she didn't want to live? She survived that long because she wanted to, because she clung so fiercely to life. For better or worse, our experiences make us who we are; our memories and feelings define and create our identities. We are who we are because of what we've lived through. This Amy is no different. Fighting for her life when she was abandoned made her into this person, and it wouldn't be like her to just easily give up and die when first presented with the choice. Because that's what letting them save only her younger self would be doing: committing suicide. She doesn't just lose her memories of those thirty-six years, she ceases to exist at all. Would it really be a believable choice for a person like that to just accept that without question? I don't think so. It's only after seeing Rory with her younger self, and remembers how much she liked being her, that she decides to let go and sink into nothingness, where before she had negotiated her assistance in the saving of her other self by requiring that she too be allowed to leave, to continue to exist. She is the one that makes the final choice, not Rory, not the Doctor – she claims her own agency and chooses to die even though she still desperately wants to live, would walk through those TARDIS doors if Rory opened them, because she'd rather be that younger, happier self, so that she can grow old with Rory. She chooses to give those days to her – to herself. Another Amy. And it's only the words of her own self that convinces her to try to save her at all, not either of the men. I also don't mind that it's Rory she fixes on as the most important person in her life. It's okay to have a person in your life that's the most important to you, and it makes sense that it'd be Rory. She loves Rory, and after so many years alone, it's natural that she would fixate most on him. He's been a constant in her life, all her life, supporting her and being there for her, defying her belief that he would abandon her like everyone else. He's been her emotional anchor through these years of hell.

    Amy Pond, the girl who waited. This week, we saw the darker meaning of that phrase first spoken in The Eleventh Hour. Back then, Amy waited faithfully for the Doctor, hoping to be whisked away from Earth and into a life of fantastic adventures, and had the cold, hard reality of life on her home planet to contend with during the long wait, a life of being doubted and ridiculed by all but two people. Here and now, she waits for the Doctor to rescue her from an adventure not so fantastic, learning to hate him as he once again fails to come until too late, the cold hard reality of life in Two Streams being all she had. It is fitting that when her hand rests against the glass separating her and Rory, it appears dark against it, for she is a darker version of the Amy we know and love, and that her last wish is to see Earth before she dies; to look at home. She once longed to be taken away from Earth, but now, torn from it for so many years, she longs to be back there once more, to get a final glimpse of home.

    (cont)

  2. arctic_hare says:

    I love watching Amy kick ass with a sword, being badass. But it's hard to watch her in so much pain. I want so badly to talk about that last, heartbreaking scene with her and Rory, the doors of the TARDIS between them, but I can't. There are no words, no gifs, that can possibly sum up how that scene tore up my insides. I was sobbing during it, just sobbing; it was hard to see the screen through my blurred, wet eyes. I don't think there's ever been a scene more wrenchingly sad on this show, I really don't. It blew all previous contenders out of the water.

    Instead, I'm going to talk about the Doctor, and his decision to close that door and bar older Amy from getting inside, the catalyst for that soul-crushing scene, and why I think it was brilliantly done, where it fits into the Doctor's overall characterization, what I think it means for the future, and my own many feelings on it all. This is long.

    "Amy Pond, there's something you better understand about me, 'cause it's important and one day your life may depend on it. … I am definitely a madman with a box."

    The madman with a box. Eleven confirmed this description of him in The Eleventh Hour, which was our true introduction to him, and also Amy's. It turned out to be more perfect a summation of him than any of us realized at the time, both literally and metaphorically. The events of this episode solidified it in my mind that part of Eleven's arc that we've been watching all this time is an examination of how the Doctor puts things in a box that he doesn't want to deal with, stores them away in a cupboard, the way Hitler was in Let's Kill Hitler. He is not really so very different from George of Night Terrors in that respect.

    Our first clue is what he says to Amy in The Beast Below about the Time War: it was a bad day, lots of bad stuff happened, and he'd like to forget about it. He can't, and he chooses not to, and knows it would still have happened even if he did; but he also doesn't discuss it, he doesn't open up to her about it (something the Dream Lord, his darker side, taunts her about in Amy's Choice). He then attempts to run away from River in Time of Angels, persuaded only to stay when the presence of Weeping Angels on the planet they've arrived at piques his interest. The last time he saw her – which was when they first me – she died, and he knows they have some sort of history together which he's yet to live out for himself, and he did not want to deal with it. He wanted to stuff it away in some closet and not think about it.

    In Amy's Choice, he figures out the identity of the Dream Lord by coming to the conclusion that there's only one person in the universe who hates him that much. Himself. The Dream Lord is merciless in his criticism of him, and hints to Amy in particular of many, darker things hidden within the Doctor – like objects lurking out of sight at the bottom of a deep box. There's a lot of darkness within the Doctor, hiding beneath the "tawdry quirks" that he seems to be aware, on some level, to be ridiculous, a mask to disguise parts of his true nature. In The Pandorica Opens, right before he himself is shut up in a box, he gives a description of the person inside that could very well be used to describe himself – and as it turns out, the Pandorica was built specifically for him. He, and his issues with himself, are temporarily put inside a literal, physical box. Later, in LKH, when the TARDIS gives him a voice interface in his own shape, he rejects it, asks for "someone he likes". He escaped from his prison and brought all his self-hatred with him; none of it has faded away, and you wouldn't expect it to.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Faced with this request, the TARDIS presents him with the images of Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, and Donna Noble. This is the first time we've seen them within an actual episode, the first time they've been mentioned at all. People have criticized this, saying that it's Moffat's attempt to distance the show from the RTD era. I don't think it's like that at all. Rather, I think the in-character reason for it is crystal clear from his response to seeing their faces: guilt. None of the guilt over the things that happened to them has gone away: it still eats away at him. However, if he doesn't talk about them, if he doesn't mention them, doesn't see reminders of them, then he can pretend. He can push them out of his mind; put them in a box and store it away somewhere where he doesn't have to look at it and think about it. He can put all his guilt away in the cupboard and pretend it isn't there, never open the cupboard and look at it; except that the voice interface flung the door open and forced him to get a glimpse of it. His reaction makes it obvious to me why he hasn't mentioned them before. He can't bear to. I think that Sexy probably realizes exactly what he's been doing, and likely thinks that he needs to deal with this lingering guilt head-on, much like she takes him where he needs to go, rather than where he wants to go. She knows him better than anyone, after all, and cares so deeply about him, and has her own ideas about what's best for him.

      She nevertheless answers his request for someone he hasn't screwed up, and does so by giving him Amelia Pond, aged seven, right before his broken promise that exacerbated already budding trust and abandonment issues that would affect her approach to the rest of her life. Which brings us to his decision to close the door of the TARDIS on Older Amy at the end of The Girl Who Waited. He never says a word about how deeply her hatred of him hurts him, but he doesn't have to – it's written all over Matt Smith's face. He's repeated his mistake of the night in Amy's garden all over again, only much worse this time. They speak to each other through mirrors, and in fact this whole disaster is a dark mirror of what happened in Eleventh Hour. He promised her five minutes then, and was absent for twelve years (followed by an additional two after the defeat of Prisoner Zero and the Atraxi). Here, it was supposed to be a matter of minutes, and was instead thirty-six years. The trust and abandonment issues were again made worse, and the circumstances in which he left her alone were also so much worse. Everything was magnified, something we see a visual representation of in the episode: the mirrors they speak through resemble magnifying glasses, and have something of that effect. Rory even mistakes it for one at first, the first words out of his mouth when he looks at it are "It's a magnifying glass".

      Two episodes ago, he clung to young Amelia Pond as the only person he hadn't screwed up yet. We saw his guilt over Rose, Martha, and Donna, and his continued self-hatred. We've seen all along how much he cares about Amy. And now he is faced with an Amy that he has messed up even more, perhaps irreversibly. That alone causes him great pain, but upon rumination on this and its connections with Amy's Choice, I found something even more significant in the use of mirrors as a communication device. The Dream Lord spoke cuttingly of the old man's preference for the company of the young, how his friends never hear from him again once they've "grown up". We know that this is a trait that all incarnations of the Doctor share, the tendency to abandon companions and not see them again, something that's acknowledged in the start of that episode when his arrival at Amy and Rory's home in the dream world turns out to be a "mistake" when he was aiming for somewhere else, and it was thrown into the harsh light of day back in School Reunion. We also haven't checked in with any past companions since EoT, which as I said before is for solid in-character reasons in my opinion. The older, damaged Amy speaks to him through a mirror of her hatred for him, of how he abandoned her, and it is justified hatred. The Doctor hates himself, for what he believes are justified reasons, and we saw him essentially lash out in AC against his history of abandoning the people he calls friends and never contacting them again. Older Amy's hatred for him, then, mirrors his own feelings towards himself. The final moment of Amy's Choice is the Doctor seeing the Dream Lord reflected back at him in the TARDIS console: his own darker side, his self-hatred. He looks away, out of the fear of that part of him, and when he looks back, his own face – his outer face, is staring up at him. He has successfully put those feelings back in a box for now.

  3. Karen says:

    First of all, let me say this. I LOVED THIS EPISODE. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I think that this episode, along with “The Doctor’s Wife” is going to comprise the entirety of my series 6 rewatch (out of the episodes that have aired so far). So in my head series 6 is going to go something like this (to quote a friend of mine): “AMY AND RORY GOT MARRIED. THEN THEY WENT TO A JUNKYARD PLANET AND MET THE TARDIS, THEN THEY WENT TO A PARADISE PLANET AND GOT SEPARATED, AND THEN THEY WENT HOME.”

    I thought that the conceit of the episode was really clever and was hooked only like 2 minutes into the episode. The idea of the two time streams and compressed time so that people infected with a disease could live out their lives was really fascinating to me and it allowed for some really fantastic character stuff.

    After a series and a half of Amy being a companion, I really feel like I don’t know her all that well. I know her surface level attributes, but I didn’t know who she really was as a person, so I LOVED being able to get to know her better. I LOVED how bitter Old!Amy was towards the Doctor. It makes total sense given how he abandoned her as a child. The only thing that bothers me is that the end of the episode is basically a reset so current Amy doesn’t maintain any of the character development she got in this episode. I hope that following episodes have some repercussions from this episode, but idk. It was still nice seeing her abandonment issues play out and see her become hard and self-reliant. Amy hating the Doctor was really validating for me.

    In series 5, the Rory and Amy relationship felt very one-sided, so seeing Amy talk about Rory and how much she loved him this episode was really great. That story about Rory pretending like he was in a band was so sweet, and that speech about how he is the most beautiful man in the world to her… just… lovely. And then doing the Macarena because it was when Amy and Rory had their first kiss? AMAZING.

    I think the episode could have been a bit more clear about why old!Amy decided to let Rory go. Old!Amy doesn’t want to die, but after seeing Rory she remembered how much she loved him and loved being with him, so now she doesn’t want to spend those 36 years alone. She wants to spend them with him.

    Old!Amy: Tell Amy- your Amy- I’m giving her the days. The days with you. The days to come.
    Rory: I’m so so sorry.
    Old!Amy: The days I can’t have. Take them please. I’m giving you my days.

    So to me it was clear that Old!Amy was going to let herself die so that her younger self could have that time with Rory, but other people I talked to didn't see that so I guess that script wasn't super clear.

  4. knut_knut says:

    FINALLY!! A WONDERFUL EPISODE!! With the exception of The Doctor’s Wife, this season has been a total dud for me, so I can’t even begin to explain how happy I am with this episode! Most of the things that frustrated me, like Amy pushing the wrong button and THE DOCTOR DOING THE MOST EVIL THING EVER aren’t real complaints- I just wish poor Amy wasn’t abandoned and that we could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy!
    Karen isn’t always the best actress, but I was really impressed by her Old!Amy this week! At first I thought it was kind of awkward, but when I rewatched it, I didn’t feel that way at all. I think it was the shock of seeing sassy, happy Amy turned into the cynical old woman that threw me off.

    con'td

  5. knut_knut says:

    There is 1 thing I wish I could change, though; I thought Old!Amy’s makeup was genius (as was regular Amy’s makeup. Seriously, she looked so beautiful this episode I could cry), but I wish they got rid of her manicured nails and changed her hair. Make it less red? Change the haircut to make it look like she was living on her own and cutting it herself? Other than that, I loved everything <3

    • Shiyiya says:

      I think probably her hair and nails didn't grow the same as she didn't need to eat, because it wasn't real time.

  6. arctic_hare says:

    So, faced with an Amy that he's irreversibly damaged, who reflects all the loathing he feels for himself right back at him – who holds up a mirror to him, physically and metaphorically – what is it that he wants most to do? Why, to put it all in a box safely out of sight, of course! The issue of a paradox is both true, and convenient. I really do think it's a concern for him, and it's a legitimate one, but it's also an easy way to hide the selfishness, the avoidance that are coming into play here. He makes up a solution to getting around the paradox of two Amys, but it's obvious to us from the get-go that it's a lie designed to manipulate the parties in the facility to do what he wants and get Rory and the younger, undamaged (or less, as the case may be) Amy safely aboard the TARDIS, and he will consign the older Amy to non-existence. I do not think for a second that he is emotionally prepared to be faced every day with an Amy that justifiably hates him, for some of the same reasons he hates himself. He could not handle it; he can't even handle speaking to voice interfaces of past companions who didn't despise him. The Amy that was trapped in there for thirty-six years, fighting every minute of every day just to stay alive, growing to hate him more and more as time passed, will still have existed, will live on in the memories of the three people that escaped that place; it isn't as though she were thrown into the crack from last series. But as long as she isn't physically there, in front of his eyes every day, he doesn't have to think about her and the way he damaged her if he doesn't want to. He can pretend. He can put her away safely in that metaphorical box in the cupboard and act like it never happened, mask the pain and guilt with more tawdry quirks.

    We've seen mirrors before, in other episodes – in Vincent and the Doctor, when the monster was something that represented inner monsters like mental illness. In Vampires of Venice, when Rory threw part of the Doctor's danger to others into his face. In Amy's Choice again, he viewed the Dream Lord through a rearview mirror at one point. And so on and so forth, too many times to list here. They've popped up enough that I feel confident in calling them a significant recurring motif.

    Do I think the Doctor did what he had to do? Absolutely. I don't think that the issue of paradoxes could have been solved so easily as he said, and so I think that was the main driving force behind closing that door. But lying underneath it was the darker, more selfish motivation of those avoidance issues, the need to have what he did to Amy not happen, to erase his failure rather than have it around constantly. I also think it significant that he forced that final choice on Rory, and ran away from making it himself. The guilt over what happened to Donna still lingers, and the fallout is that he doesn't want to have to make that kind of choice ever again, so he runs away and pushes the responsibility onto another, onto the next of kin, as it were, of the person in question. Rory's choice.

    But Rory doesn't want to make that kind of choice either, and he spells it out to the Doctor: "This isn't fair. You're turning me into you."Eleven isn't going to forget those words; they are going to haunt him, and drive him further into self-loathing. It's a smaller-scale version of the scene with Davros in Journey's End, except I think this is more damning, because it comes from a friend, and because of the context. The people showcased in JE more or less chose to become what they are – sure, he inspired them to want to make the world better and do what's right, but it was still an active choice. Here, Rory is being forced to make the same kind of choices that make the Doctor hate himself so much, he is being stripped of his agency. It's awful, and it's wrong, and the Doctor and Rory both know that.

    • arctic_hare says:

      That, then, is the difference for me between Eleven's cruel decisions and Ten's morally questionable acts: the fact that I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Eleven is aware of what a terrible thing he's doing. He's not in the least self-righteous. The show is demonstrating to me that the thing he's done is not a kind or good thing. People have insisted that the show did that with Ten, but aside from a couple instances in series four, I never saw it, and I certainly didn't see it with what he did to Harriet Jones. I always felt that the show was setting up Ten as being completely in the right, even when I disagreed strongly with his actions, and it never sat right with me. Showing me Eleven doing questionable things like this does sit right with me, because I can plainly see how anguished he is over it, and how it affects the people around him, the people he calls friends but still lies to and manipulates. What he did here was not presented as being in the right unquestionably, without shades of grey or room for questioning, and so I revel in it, in analyzing it, instead of fuming about it. I want to hug the Doctor afterwards, not hit him. Maybe it could be said that that's because Eleven is my Doctor; or maybe it's because of this that he is my Doctor in the first place.

      As I said above, I do think closing that door was at least partly justified. I don't think the potential paradox situation could have ended well. He did what he had to do, for the right reasons and for the wrong ones as well. What kind of person do I think the Doctor is? I talked about this a bit on Reads with Snape, in relation to a quote from His Dark Materials, and I think that passage, about being unable to define people with a simple label, that only their actions can be clearly defined as "good" or "evil", also applies here. The Doctor is simply a person, who does things both very good and very bad. He lies to his friends, manipulates them, he has committed genocide, he has hurt many people. But he also saves people, and inspires them, and shows them the wonders of the universe, and helped countless. Sometimes he makes things better. Sometimes he makes things worse. That's the Doctor.

      I do think, however, that this is the beginning of the end for Amy and Rory's stay aboard the TARDIS. Between what happened with Melody, and now this, I think they'll likely be wanting to leave voluntarily soon. Karen Gillan has said she'll be back in series seven, that much is very true; but she did not state that she would be the full-time companion. I think it's more likely that she'll be appearing much as Martha did in series four. After what happened in this episode, and considering the ongoing arc about their child, I just can't picture Amy and especially Rory wanting to travel with him much longer.

      Other stuff –

      – Completely shallow note: I continue to love Matt Smith in that new coat. GUH. Also he and Rory both look quite handsome in those glasses. GLASSES ARE COOL. AND SEXY.

      – Green anchor, red waterfall. An anchor holds you in place, while a waterfall flows.

      – I LOVE THAT ALICE IN WONDERLAND-ESQUE GARDEN.

      – The interface = Umbridge. D:

      – Rorybot is one of the saddest things ever.

      – We'll see, but – I don't think the Doctor is just talking about Amy when he's going on about changing your own future. WHAT IS YOUR PLAN, DOCTOR?

      – Their first kiss was during the Macarena, HOW CUTE IS THAT?

      – Next week: my Angels, my lovely Angels. <3 <3 <3

      • echinodermata says:

        I want to hug you forever for writing all this.

        EDIT: Also, I really like this gif but it didn't really fit in my comment. It does, however, fit yours rather wonderfully.

        <img src="http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrcdyxPcnC1qax6x6o1_500.gif&quot; alt="gif of older Amy, then the doctor looking sad with text saying 'do not be alarmed; this is a kindness'">(Source)

      • FlameRaven says:

        Brilliant analysis. I do think that Moffat is very much aware of what he’s doing with Eleven, and that this is part of the overall arc of the character who is still trying to deal with the ramifications of all those terrible choices he has had to make, starting with the destruction of the Time Lords. The point about mirrors was an especially good catch; I had not noticed that before.

        I am really interested to see where they take the remainder of season 6. I feel like the entire arc with the Pandorica, the exploding TARDIS, the Silence and the eyepatch lady are all focused on the goal of getting the Doctor to do exactly what he doesn’t want to do– face up to the choices he’s had to make and decide how he is going to deal with them, what kind of person he is going to be in the future. Is he going to be the Doctor the healer, or the Doctor the warrior? This was made pointedly clear with River’s warning in “A Good Man Goes to War” but is even more blatant with this episode. The previews for “The God Complex” seem to imply that the Doctor will have to face his past further wherever they end up next, with a whole hotel-esque complex full of monsters. Coming on the heels of this episode, I will be very interested in seeing what happens there.

        • arctic_hare says:

          Oh dear! I love your comment, and I'm really happy you enjoyed my analysis, but I'm very sorry – I had to edit out the last bit because Mark's going to read/watch the source you referenced. I do think it's an appropriate reference thematically, though!

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        You weren't kidding when you said you made the longest meta in ages, huh? Well, I loved every single second of it. Such amazing detail on the symbolism and meaning, it was amazing.

      • psycicflower says:

        <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/sc8kzb.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
        I love your analysis of the Doctor and have nothing else to say other than THIS!

      • TreasureCat says:

        UPVOTE ALL THE COMMENTS

      • kartikeya200 says:

        This is magnificent. I had so many thoughts and now I don't have to write them because you have pretty much SAID THEM ALL and then some in the best possible way.

        • arctic_hare says:

          Awwwwww! Thanks, though I gotta say I'd love to read your thoughts on it all too, cause everyone will write things in their own unique way. <3

      • knut_knut says:

        Wow this was long but absolutely amazing and worth the read. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and share it with us <3

      • __Jen__ says:

        Your analysis is so insightful and coherent and just everything I could ever want to say wrapped in a shiny red ribbon. I love your long meta!

        ALL OF THESE POSTS ARE MAKING ME CRY. AGAIN. ;_____;

      • masakochan says:

        I do think, however, that this is the beginning of the end for Amy and Rory's stay aboard the TARDIS.

        I just commented to someone else that I can easily see them, by now, leaving the TARDIS like Martha. Like, "Doctor, it was great knowing you, but oh dear christ- we really need a vacation."

        Rorybot is one of the saddest things ever.
        fdaffafas- I think what kills me about the Rorybot is the music that was played at one point when the camera was facing him. Just ALL THE CRIES.

        Adding to the shallow comments about this episode: NGL- I still would with older Amy. Probably almost just as fast as an angry plastic Roman Centurion. xD

      • masakochan says:

        Also- and I can't believe I forgot to add this- there's another great metaphor of the Doctor besides him being a madman in a box.

        It could be said that he essentially is 'the stripper at the stag party'. He's not meant to hang around that long, even if we'd like him to, because things can get so extremely messed up if he stays for too long.

      • Holy shit, you just blew my mind and PUT IT INTO A BOX.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        This is why you are a mod for me. Just….brilliance.

      • Burnie says:

        Well, thank you. I have been mostly a lurker and a very occasional poster because this blog and the host of reviewers provide the most sophisticated reviews of this show on the internet. And I say this as someone who has read 99% of the DW posts in English.

        And now, you've synthesized all the questions and feelings I've had about the show and just never pulled all the strings together. THANK YOU. Your post made me teary, and you hit on all the reasons why the Doctor is one of my favorite fictional characters. He fights with reason and intellect, but he isn't morally perfect. He navigates the ethical grey areas along with the rest of us, and while I despise some of his decisions, I love him as a character.

        I wholeheartedly agree that the Ponds will no longer want to stay on the Tardis. I think to some extent they stayed past LKH because they *hoped* they'd find young Melody. The Doctor was speaking of adventures and fun, but you can't tell me that the Ponds are satisfied with having Mels as a playmate. They still want to find her before she was turned to a psychopath.

        But to be honest, I think they were unhappy with the Doctor well before this, and I suspect that future episodes will explain WHY the Ponds were at home in Leadworth living the happy, quiet married life at the beginning of TIA. Yes they were keeping track of the Doctor, but they looked happy. And it seemed to me that they weren't very happy on the Tardis. Rory moreso than Amy, but I got the impression that had it not been for Amy's concern for his impending death they would not have stayed. It felt like the grandkids deciding to stay a little longer to keep an eye on grandpa to make sure he's taking care of himself. But now he's lost their baby and nearly killed them a few more times…yeah, I think Rory has reached loathing state, and I suspect he can talk Amy out of staying.

        I still hope that the talk of the two Amys and the rewriting your own history means that somehow, someway the Ponds will get their daughter to raise and the Doctor will get River as a new companion. Too much to hope for?

      • Burnie says:

        Also, and I'M SORRY ABOUT THE DOUBLE POST, the exchange between Rory and the Doctor where Rory asked, "why didn't you check the history records for a deadly plague" and the Doctor replied angrily with "that's not how I travel" seemed significant to me. For all his intellect the Doctor is impulsive and incautious and Rory as a nurse is very cautious and protective. I think this clash of personalities – two people who were in lockstep for AGMGTW – will be a main reason for the Ponds' departure.

      • notemily says:

        I am speechless in the wake of these outstanding comments. *insert applause gif*

  7. psycicflower says:

    <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/2agnlly.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    I think this accurately sums up my feelings about this episode. Wonderful character stuff, a great story, gorgeous music, amazing set and visuals, all in all it’s probably going to be one of my favourite episodes.

    <img src="http://i55.tinypic.com/qrn0j9.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">Doctor tongue out
    This episode does a great job in showing the contrasting aspects of the Doctor. At the start he’s his usual showing off the universe self, in the middle we see the downsides to travelling with him with Amy’s situation, and in the end he lies and makes a horrible, shocking choice. I’m not going to lie, I swore at the Doctor when he closed the door on Old!Amy and he had no business putting such a hard decision on Rory. I understand why the Doctor did it but you really can’t blame Rory for his ‘Then I do not want to travel with you!’

    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/68a7tc.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    I love you Amy Pond, both old and young. For all that they’re different, old!Amy having hardened because of abandonment while young!Amy is still enjoying travelling, they’re both so very similar. With old!Amy kicking ass with her sword while young!Amy goes for the shins, both of them saying the same thing at the same time when they meet, it’s great to see two Amys. I really wish old!Amy could’ve survived and dropped in on holidays.
    ‘You really could spend a lifetime here, not that I’m going to’ Amy clearly thought and believed she wouldn’t be stuck there long and I can’t imagine being stuck in that situation and having that belief slowly eroded over the years. Add in the fact she’s all alone, constantly fighting as her life goes by, it’s a wonder she’s still essential our Amy underneath it all.
    ‘Don’t you lecture me, blue box man flying through time and space on whimsy. All I’ve got, all I’ve had for 36 years is cold hard reality. So no I don’t have a sonic screwdriver because I’m not off on a romp. I call it what it is, a probe. I call my life what it is, hell.’
    Old!Amy’s hatred of the Doctor and complete rejection of everything to do with him, while sad to see, is completely understandable. It’s hard to see her turning against her childhood friend but you can only be let down by someone so many times, and to be left in such a horrible place under such a terrible circumstances I completely get why she turns against the Doctor. I can’t imagine completely losing hope like that.

    You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they are as dull as a brick. But then there’s other people and you meet them and you think, ‘not bad, they’re okay’, and then you get to know them and their face just sort of becomes them, like their personality is written all over it and they just turn into something so beautiful…’ <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/28mk7dh.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    And yet for all of old!Amy’s hatred of the Doctor she never actually turns against Rory. She dismisses him and doesn’t seem to believe he’ll follow her or has her back but she never rants against him in the same way. I loved seeing their relationship slowly reform as their banter comes back though and Rory makes her laugh.
    The conversation between both Amy’s was wonderful. I love that old!Amy is set on not helping young!Amy and remembers being left herself but all it takes is three words to change her mind: what about Rory? I love that their love isn’t all grand statements but ordinary simple things, like remembering Rory’s terrible haircut with fondness. Although grand statements are nice too.
    ‘You’re asking me to defy destiny, causality, the nexus of time itself for a boy.’ ‘You’re Amy. He’s Rory. And oh yes I am.’
    The Ponds have the most epic of loves. Their first kiss was to the Macarena, your argument is invalid it’s impossible not to love them.
    (continued)

  8. psycicflower says:

    <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/2agnlly.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    I think this accurately sums up my feelings about this episode. Wonderful character stuff, a great story, gorgeous music, amazing set and visuals, all in all it’s probably going to be one of my favourite episodes.

    <img src="http://i55.tinypic.com/qrn0j9.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">Doctor tongue out
    This episode does a great job in showing the contrasting aspects of the Doctor. At the start he’s his usual showing off the universe self, in the middle we see the downsides to travelling with him with Amy’s situation, and in the end he lies and makes a horrible, shocking choice. I’m not going to lie, I swore at the Doctor when he closed the door on Old!Amy and he had no business putting such a hard decision on Rory. I understand why the Doctor did it but you really can’t blame Rory for his ‘Then I do not want to travel with you!’

    <img src="http://i52.tinypic.com/68a7tc.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    I love you Amy Pond, both old and young. For all that they’re different, old!Amy having hardened because of abandonment while young!Amy is still enjoying travelling, they’re both so very similar. With old!Amy kicking ass with her sword while young!Amy goes for the shins, both of them saying the same thing at the same time when they meet, it’s great to see two Amys. I really wish old!Amy could’ve survived and dropped in on holidays.
    ‘You really could spend a lifetime here, not that I’m going to’ Amy clearly thought and believed she wouldn’t be stuck there long and I can’t imagine being stuck in that situation and having that belief slowly eroded over the years. Add in the fact she’s all alone, constantly fighting as her life goes by, it’s a wonder she’s still essential our Amy underneath it all.
    ‘Don’t you lecture me, blue box man flying through time and space on whimsy. All I’ve got, all I’ve had for 36 years is cold hard reality. So no I don’t have a sonic screwdriver because I’m not off on a romp. I call it what it is, a probe. I call my life what it is, hell.’
    Old!Amy’s hatred of the Doctor and complete rejection of everything to do with him, while sad to see, is completely understandable. It’s hard to see her turning against her childhood friend but you can only be let down by someone so many times, and to be left in such a horrible place under such a terrible circumstances I completely get why she turns against the Doctor. I can’t imagine completely losing hope like that.

    You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they are as dull as a brick. But then there’s other people and you meet them and you think, ‘not bad, they’re okay’, and then you get to know them and their face just sort of becomes them, like their personality is written all over it and they just turn into something so beautiful…’ <img src="http://i54.tinypic.com/28mk7dh.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    And yet for all of old!Amy’s hatred of the Doctor she never actually turns against Rory. She dismisses him and doesn’t seem to believe he’ll follow her or has her back but she never rants against him in the same way. I loved seeing their relationship slowly reform as their banter comes back though and Rory makes her laugh.
    The conversation between both Amy’s was wonderful. I love that old!Amy is set on not helping young!Amy and remembers being left herself but all it takes is three words to change her mind: what about Rory? I love that their love isn’t all grand statements but ordinary simple things, like remembering Rory’s terrible haircut with fondness. Although grand statements are nice too.
    ‘You’re asking me to defy destiny, causality, the nexus of time itself for a boy.’ ‘You’re Amy. He’s Rory. And oh yes I am.’
    The Ponds have the most epic of loves. Their first kiss was to the Macarena, your argument is invalid it’s impossible not to love them.
    (continued)

    • psycicflower says:

      Oops, please ignore the 'Doctor tongue out'. Must've forgotten to edit it out when I was putting in the gifs.

      • arctic_hare says:

        But I like that one! It's cute and funny (and a bit sexy in a weird way) in the midst of all the ETERNAL SADNESS AND TEARS.

        • psycicflower says:

          Oh no, I meant to keep the gif in, it's the Doctor tongue out written underneath I meant to cut. At least I ended on happy, laughing Amys?

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      I'm agreeing completye with your comment, but I need to focus on the bit about the 'romp'. I feel like that's such a meta. Doctor Who can be, at times, incredibly silly. Yes, we've got debates about morality, deaths left and right, serious bouts of angst- but at the end of the day, we've got a main character who flies around in a blue box with a screwdriver. That's silly. But old! Amy is everything dark about that show. And while she was brilliant, it also reminds us why sometimes we love the silliness.

  9. Karen says:

    This episode was really pushing my shipper buttons, and I think it might have been intentional on Tom McRae’s part. The scene with old!Amy and Rory talking with the Tardis door between them was a visual reference to “Doomsday” and Rose and the Doctor being on opposite sides of the wall, and when old!Amy says “Amy Pond in the Tardis with Rory Williams”, it is a direct call back to another episode by Tom McRae when Mickey says “the Doctor in the Tardis with Rose Tyler”.

    Rory was completely flawless in this episode. I love him sfm. I love that he didn’t care that she got old, but rather that they didn’t grow old together. He really did see both Amys as his wife which makes the moment where Eleven makes Rory choose that much the worse. If Eleven was so convinced that OldAmy wasn’t really real, then he needed to have the courage of his convictions and go all the way and just leave her behind without putting that decision on Rory.

    Rory chewing the Doctor out was the best thing ever. First when they were still in Two Streams.

    Rory: No! This is your fault. You should look in a history book once in a while- see if there’s an outbreak of plague or not.
    Doctor: That is not how I travel.
    Rory: Then I do NOT want to travel with you.

    Then again when the Doctor pushed the choice of which Amy to let live onto him.

    Rory: This isn’t fair. You’re turning me into you.

    The Doctor came off as so arrogant and callous in this episode. Ugh. STOP IT, DOCTOR. I really hope this is the beginning of the Ponds getting the hell out of Dodge.

    After this episode Eleven and I are done professionally (this was a process that began in the opening two-parter when he manipulated the humans into genocide). I get why he did what he did, but it was still a dick move. And even worse, pushing that decision off onto Rory was horrible. If he was so convinced that oldAmy wasn’t “real” (though it seems more likely it’s a lie he’s telling himself to make himself feel better), then Eleven needed to have the courage of his convictions and make the decision instead of shoving it off on Rory and running back to the Tardis console. Rory is standing there crying and saying that he can’t do this. What the Doctor should have done after deceiving everyone was to make the decision for Rory and then deal with Rory hating him for it. Better than putting Rory through that and then ending up with Rory hating him anyway.

    I think I just want to see Eleven SHOW some emotion. I have trouble connecting to characters that are so completely closed off. I’m not sure if it’s intentional in the script or it’s Matt Smith’s acting, but when the Doctor pulls a dick move like he did in this episode, I want to see him feel like shit about it. What I got from Matt Smith was “…meh” and being slightly pensive. Like when the Doctor erased Donna’s memories against her will. That was similarly dick move that the Doctor did because he thought it was the right thing and it was for her own good, but afterwards he is completely broken up about it. I really did not get that sense from Eleven here. I could have also accepted with stoic but clearly hiding his pain behind of a wall of emotionless-ness, but I didn’t feel that either. All I felt from Eleven was “gives no fucks”.

    Basically, I really want this series to end with the Ponds having a Martha Jones style “fuck you” moment and GTFO-ing of the Tardis. Their lives have sucked so hard because of traveling with him, and he doesn’t really seem to care (although at this point neither do they. Melody who?).

    Also it has to be said. Again with the no one giving a shit about Melody Pond and the fact that River is the Ponds daughter having absolutely no emotional repercussions. If I pretend that this episode is actually set in series 5, I like it a lot more.

    • knut_knut says:

      I don't HATE Eleven, but I was SOOOOOOOOOOOOO upset and angry at him when he said, "That is not how I travel". I know that it's true and I know he isn't human and this particular reincarnation doesn't completely understand human emotions, but it was so inapprorpiate in that situation. JUST SAY YOU'RE SORRY OR SOMETHING. JUST ACCEPT THE BLAME.

    • Sam says:

      Personally I don't care about the lack of emotional response to Melody because I think Who tends to be about each episode (or two-parter) being its own adventure in its own right. Obviously there is more of a series-long plot this year, but I don't think that should stop some episodes from being contained in their own little bubble.

      Also the episodes don't run immediately on from each other so there's plenty of time for concern and emotion about Melody between episodes!

      I disagree about the lack of emotion from Eleven too, I felt like his decision definitely affected him.

      • Karen says:

        I think that if the series long plot arc is going to be something that SHOULD profoundly affect the characters (like you know… losing your child), then they need to keep that emotionally continuity. If the writers didn't want to deal with that, River should have been some random person's kid and not the companions.

    • ThreeBooks says:

      Old!Amy: Tell Amy- your Amy- I’m giving her the days. The days with you. The days to come.
      Rory: I’m so so sorry.
      Old!Amy: The days I can’t have. Take them please. I’m giving you my days.

      The days that…. never came?

  10. psycicflower says:

    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/nxsxo8.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic"> ’If you love me, don’t let me in. Open that door, I will, I’ll come in. I don’t want to die. I won’t bow out bravely. I’ll be kicking, screaming, fighting until the end. Don’t let me in. Tell Amy, your Amy, I’m giving her the days. The days with you. The days to come. The days I can’t have. Take them please. I’m giving you my days.’
    <img src="http://i55.tinypic.com/2q8akxe.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
    I love that it isn’t the case of one Amy being better than the other or a case of of course they’re going to save younger Amy, but that Rory loves them both equally. Rory’s clearly devastated by the choice he has to make and was going to let old!Amy in despite what the Doctor said. ‘I got old Rory what did you think was going to happen.’ ‘Hey, I don’t care that you got old. I care that we didn’t grow old together.’ And I know threesome jokes are probably mandatory in situations like this but I’m beyond pleased I never got a sexual aspect from the episode, it was all about caring for and loving each other.
    And can I just say how much I adore that in the end it was Amy’s choice. It was young!Any who convinced old!Amy to change her mind. It was old!Amy told Rory to keep the door closed and ultimately decided her own fate. And then she goes out with her head held high, happy and thinking of home like the true BAMF she is.

    And just to because I don’t want to end on a completely sad note. Love you Amy and everything you choose to be.
    <img src="http://i53.tinypic.com/3305oqb.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

  11. elusivebreath says:

    I think that this episode really was the best of season 6 so far. I loved "The Doctor's Wife" but this episode was just so amazingly put together and so emotional, that it definitely stands apart. It was so interesting to me, because when Rory first showed up, I thought that future!Amy would be glad to rescued at last and to have time rewritten over what must have been a really shitty 36 years. It never occurred to me that she might NOT want that, might not want to have her own experiences erased, might not want to die, and I loved how that was so unexpected to me, and yet made perfect sense.

    The end, where the Doctor shuts the door on future!Amy was so heartbreaking and I haven't cried at an episode that hard since "Doomsday" so bravo to this episode for breaking my heart into a million little pieces. Great episode and I'm thrilled that I discovered a way to get the episodes and be able to read these reviews on the day you post them πŸ™‚

  12. leighzzz31 says:

    I’m glad in retrospect how Doctor-lite and Companion-centric this episode was; I think people needed to see Amy and Rory outside of timey-wimey plots (though obviously this was one) and how much their lives have been affected by the Doctor. And, also, much as it makes me sad to say it, I think this episode begins paving the end of the road for the Ponds’ adventures on the TARDIS and we needed to see exactly why this will eventually – and inevitably – happen.

    First of all: AMY. Once again she becomes the girl who waited; from the seven-year old Amelia Pond to the twenty-something Amy to the woman who spends thirty-six years on her own on a strange alien planet, Amy is doomed to wait for the Doctor. But this time it’s different and I’m really thankful it is. She takes matters into her own hands and survives using everything she’s got and everything she’s learnt from the TARDIS. I’ve been slightly disappointed with how she’s been treated this series but this episode just makes her shine, especially as Older Amy. The fact that she makes a sonic probe, that she’s become basically a ninja, that she’s hacked into the system of the Kindness Facility just proves what a deserving companion she is. And she does all this without (and even in spite of) the Doctor. And during this time she realises who he really is (like all his companions eventually do), this strange man she’s idealized since childhood. Her speech is possibly my favourite thing about this episode:

    “I’ve been on my own here a long, long time. I’ve had decades to think nice thoughts about him. Got a bit harder to stay charitable once I entered decade four. In fact, I can now definitely say I hate him. I hate the Doctor. I hate him more than I’ve ever hated anyone in my life. And you can hear every word of this through those ridiculous glasses, can’t you, Raggedy Man? You told me to wait, and I did. A lifetime. You’ve got nothing to say to me.”

    It’s heartbreaking to hear because it’s true. She finally gets to see the big contradiction that is the Doctor; he can make your life amazing and then turn it into a living hell moments later because he’s the blue box man flying through time and space on whimsy . So this time Amy refuses to go along with what he says and decides her own fate. I feel this is a huge moment for her; deciding that her life is her own and she will not erase it for a chance to be saved. It’s at that moment we get to see how strong Amy really is.

    Secondly: RORY

    • leighzzz31 says:

      I have no complaints about Rory this season because I think he’s grown into his role as a companion perfectly. But again, just like Amy, in this episode he shines as it becomes clear to him what kind of man the Doctor is.

      The first moment of Rory awesomeness was this little exchange:

      “Are they happy?”
      “Oh, Rory, trust you to think of that. I think they’re happy to be alive. Better than the alternative.”

      I actually got chills from Matt Smith’s delivery of that line because of how it highlighted the difference between Rory and the Doctor. I think Rory here was asking if they were happy in spite of this strange life they’re living and the Doctor seems to think it’s enough just to be alive.

      When Rory finally meets Older Amy, it’s as though Tom McRae wrote these scenes just to break as many hearts as possible. “I don't care that you got old. I care that we didn't grow old together.” It’s such a Rory thing to say and Arthur Darvill makes it so easy to believe that it’s true. I couldn’t help but think about Melody, though, when I heard this line. I know this is now a familiar complaint so I won’t harp on about it but doesn’t this apply to raising their child? They know she’s fine, they’ve even had the chance to grow up with her as peers but they’ve never had (and maybe never will) get the chance to grow with her as parents and child. And, as we saw in this episode, this matters to Rory; he doesn’t regret how old Amy’s become, he regrets not growing old with her. That’s when it’s Rory’s turn to see how damaging it is to travel with the Doctor.

      “No, this is YOUR fault! You…you should look in a History book once in awhile, see if there's an outbreak of plague.”
      “That is not how I travel.”
      “THEN I DON’T WANT TO TRAVEL WITH YOU!”

      This is when I got the feeling we’re seeing the last of Rory as a companion. After all he’s been through – waiting for the love of his life 2000 years, dying approximately a million times, losing his wife again, never raising his child – I can’t see why he would want to keep on travelling with Eleven. Especially after watching the Doctor lie and abandon Older Amy. “This isn’t fair. You’re turning me into you.” I think that speaks volumes about Rory; he’s had to leave his wife behind one too many times and he’s beginning to feel like the Doctor, who in his mind is someone who constantly abandons people. I don’t see how there’s any way Rory will want to keep living on the TARDIS.

      *continued*

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        Very true about how I think we're not going to see much of Rory soon, however much that breaks my heart. But he just can't take it.

        I was watching fanvids yesterday, and I saw a Rory one set to 'I'll Make a Man Out Of You'. And it really highlighted how BAMF Rory's become. But what has he sacrificed to get there?

        • leighzzz31 says:

          Aw, you made me search for it – the song fits him really well (plus Mulan+DW two of my favourite things). But, yeah, it makes sense for him to want to leave soon after all he's had to give up on. I hope we get to see him say goodbye in a really epic way.

  13. NB2000 says:

    Are we seeing the remnants of a facility that merely continues on out of habit, overreacting to any life form that appears inside its walls?

    It was suggested during the liveblog (I can't remember who by sorry and can't get the page to open to check) and this just makes me even more convinced that this facility is being run by Aperture Science.

    It took me ten minutes to stop crying after this episode ended, complete hysterics. Words, I cannot do them for this episode, have gifs instead!

    <img src="http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h8/NB2000/LOLCats/Gifs/2vcsvpj.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i437.photobucket.com/albums/qq100/nebula908/Gifs/tumblr_l3ih6ikxgR1qaw14to1_500.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i437.photobucket.com/albums/qq100/nebula908/Gifs/DoctorWho/28cqa1l.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i437.photobucket.com/albums/qq100/nebula908/Gifs/DoctorWho/2e0veqo.gif"&gt;

  14. NB2000 says:

    Are we seeing the remnants of a facility that merely continues on out of habit, overreacting to any life form that appears inside its walls?

    It was suggested during the liveblog (I can't remember who by sorry and can't get the page to open to check) and this just makes me even more convinced that this facility is being run by Aperture Science.

    It took me ten minutes to stop crying after this episode ended, complete hysterics. Words, I cannot do them for this episode, have gifs instead!

    <img src="http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h8/NB2000/LOLCats/Gifs/2vcsvpj.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i437.photobucket.com/albums/qq100/nebula908/Gifs/tumblr_l3ih6ikxgR1qaw14to1_500.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i437.photobucket.com/albums/qq100/nebula908/Gifs/DoctorWho/28cqa1l.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://i437.photobucket.com/albums/qq100/nebula908/Gifs/DoctorWho/2e0veqo.gif"&gt;

  15. echinodermata says:

    This episode was beautiful in every way. The sets! The robots! The makeup! The hair! But what was really super fantastic was the acting and the feelings and the dialogue – this episode speaks to me on a base level of showing us our Ponds and how driven they can be and how much they love each other and how much I root for the both of them and oh Rory but mostly oh, Amy!

    This was Amy's Choice, mark 2 and it was once again lovely. Amy chose to save herself and give herself the life she wanted with her beautiful Rory and a Doctor she hasn't come to hate. I would have loved a way to have both Amys live even though I knew the show wasn't gonna go there, so this is the best feasible ending I could get. Amy gives herself the life she wants, and it's a massively hard decision for herself but in the end the happily-ever-after wins out (as I so hope it will be by the finale). This older Amy wanted to live, but she wanted to explore. She of course loves Rory still, but it's different for her and she can't have that relationship anymore, nor is this Rory hers. She knows that even if she lived, she wouldn't have Rory. She'd go off and explore and maybe drop in for Easter – that was what she planned. But given having to make a choice about rewriting time or not, she chose the life that gives her Rory, yes, but also the adventures. Like in season 5, Amy chooses the life that gives her both.

    It's truly the triumph of intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism. Amy chooses the hope of a better life.

    Amy survives and Amy saves herself and Amy chooses herself and Amy defies destiny, causality, the nexus of time itself and Amy rewrites time. And Amy lives. Amy Pond, full of life, always.

    <img src="http://26.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrchmrAvei1qzqcaho1_r1_500.png&quot; alt="image of a sword-wielding Amy Pond and the line 'I won't bow out bravely; I'll be kicking and screaming, fighting to the end.'">(Source)

    She's a fucking superhero.

    <img src="http://img546.imageshack.us/img546/1628/amyearth.png&quot; alt="Older Amy looking at an image of Earth while the TARDIS is sitting behind her.">

  16. echinodermata says:

    Things:
    – Love how resourceful Amy was. Get it, girl. Shit, even River didn't make her own sonic. Amy, goddamn! So impressed with you always.
    – Jaded Amy makes me sad, but I loved seeing that side of her, where she's been abandoned once more and just fucking lives and survives and this pretty, fashionable girl with her head in the clouds and the girl all the boys chased turns out to be a goddamn force to be reckoned with and I choose her if the apocalypse ever comes.
    – Insert more expletives here because I just really love Amy Pond.
    – EPISODE FOCUSED ON A BADASS HYPER-COMPETENT OLDER WOMAN omg show! Thank you so much! Even though I appreciate more an actual older actress playing an older woman being awesome, I still found it refreshing.
    – Swords! Robots! Magnifying glass! Clunky black glasses (beats a fez)! Retro beepy scifi noise effects! Basically, that was all just great fun in addition to all the other stuff going on.
    – I really wanted to see the aquarium, but the garden was very cool.
    – "You're Amy, he's Rory." So, so good I can't even express my love for that entire scene but this line was just the cherry on top.
    – So the "I Am the Doctor" theme was played for Amy, basically. Because she was all awesome and adventury and fighty and it's an excellent theme for that sort of thing, but also because we're seeing an Amy that doesn't need the Doctor anymore.
    – Time being rewritten. I just generally enjoy this trope, but I love how much this was played for characterization and not simply plot in this episode.
    – The Doctor is a lying liar who lies and I felt shocked and betrayed and just hurt and I kinda love that the show did that, because we know he can't save everyone, but it's generally not something played to hit the audience personally. But here? This was like hitting the audience in the face with the information that the Doctor can't always be trusted and wow does he lie. I mean, I wanted the two Amys to both live even if I didn't expect it to happen, it's just that I expected the robots to do bad things or something, not to have the Doctor do this. It's one thing to simply watch the Doctor have his darker moments, but here we were basically in on the experience. Or at least I was.
    – I'm thinking this is in my top 5 favorite Who episodes. (So is The Doctor's Wife, so say what you will about this season so far but it's delivered two really stellar episodes imo.) Maybe I'm still on the high of 'what a wonderful episode' and maybe the episode won't stand up as well on (re-)rewatch or by the end of the season. But right now? I'm so pleased with it and I absolutely wasn't expecting to love it as much as I do.
    – Karen Gillan for the fucking win.
    – AMMMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYY PONNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDD ~*~my forever girl~*~

    <img src="http://img192.imageshack.us/img192/8341/amysitting.png&quot; alt="image of Amy sitting alone in a white room with her feet upon the table in front of her">

    • psycicflower says:

      …in the end the happily-ever-after wins out (as I so hope it will be by the finale)

      I don't care how, why or when the Ponds leave as long as they leave happy. I don't think I could take them getting a sad ending.

      • ME TOOOOO. Everyone is commenting about Rory's anger and disillusionment and ACK I CAN'T EVEN TAKE IT. I just want everything to be sunshine and butterflies and love for Rory. πŸ™

    • arctic_hare says:

      I love all the things you love and so I love this comment. <3

  17. leighzzz31 says:

    AMY AND RORY’S RELATIONSHIP. I wanted to do a separate comment on their relationship because, if anything, this is what the episode was really about. And, despite the writing –which was brilliant – I wouldn’t have been half as invested as I was if it hadn’t been for Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill. They were outstanding. Amy’s speaking to Older Amy in particular was brilliant:

    “You know when, sometimes you meet someone so beautiful, and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later, they’re as dull as a brick? Then there’s other people, and you meet them and you think, ‘Not bad; they’re okay.’ And then you get to know them, and their face sort of becomes them, like their personality is written all over it. And they just turn into something so beautiful. Rory’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever met.”

    I know some people have doubted Amy’s feelings towards Rory from his introduction but after this (and after Amy’s Choice, which is a nice parallel to this episode) I can’t understand how someone could believe she doesn’t love him. This was really beautifully written and feels like something Amy would genuinely say. She pulls time apart for him so he’ll get to spend his life with her. But, still, I feel it’s important to note that she won’t erase herself for him; her mind is set on travelling the world, reclaiming every moment of those thirty-six years she lost.

    Now, about the DOCTOR. This is actually really weird to say because I love Eleven but I think I came close to hating him in this episode. Rule Number One: The Doctor Lies. You can forgive a character a lot of things but locking Older Amy outside was cruel. That’s a word I never thought would apply to Eleven. And – maybe the thing that affected me the most – why did he think it was up to Rory to decide which Amy to save? It was Amy’s choice and Amy’s alone to decide whether she wanted to be saved at 56 years old or 20 (I’m not sure how old she’s supposed to be so this is just an estimate). And, yes, alright, she decided she would save both versions of herself for Rory. Yet he made Rory choose again when he locked the TARDIS door. Obviously, the Doctor is a flawed being – we’ve seen enough evidence of that – but in this episode it hit me particularly hard. I should point out that this isn’t a complaint but it was quite shocking to see so blatantly. In any case, I appreciated the last frame of the episode, the Doctor’s face as he hears Amy ask after her older self; Matt Smith once again is brilliant at saying a lot without saying much at all.

    • Always Amy says:

      “Are they happy?”
      “Oh, Rory, trust you to think of that. I think they’re happy to be alive. Better than the alternative.”

      I actually got chills from Matt Smith’s delivery of that line because of how it highlighted the difference between Rory and the Doctor. I think Rory here was asking if they were happy in spite of this strange life they’re living and the Doctor seems to think it’s enough just to be alive.

      I think there may be more to it than that. It's sort of like asking the Doctor if he's happy….. for the Doctor happy to be alive has to be enough. For him it has to be better than the alternative.

  18. Elexus Calcearius says:

    I think this is one of my favourite episodes of the show. Not the favourite- that distinction still goes to either ‘Blink’ or ‘Human Nature’/’Family of Blood’. But the ‘Girl Who Waited’ was really a pleasure to behold, combining wonderful tragedy, comedy, moral dilemmas, set design, score and lighting.

    As Mark remarked in the OP for the liveblog, the title promised so many awesome things. We knew it was going to be a character based episode, most likely focusing on Amy’s sense of abandonment. However, I was expecting it to focus on her child-hood, and the twelve years she waited for the Doctor. I wasn’t sure how they’d do it, but I expected Young Rory and Mels to return, and there to be some timey-wimey thing that somehow allowed for Old!Amy and the robots and it to be too confusing for me to predict. So I was right on pretty much all counts but the childhood thing.

    Also, it was surprising how much they took time to look at Rory, which I think was a nice touch. Rory never wanted to travel in the TARDIS, and originally only went out of love for Amy. Since then, he’s grown a lot. While I still don’t think its his preferred life-style, he’s become far braver and more competent, and I think he relishes the chance to save peoples’ lives. That’s why he became a nurse, afterall, and this is just an extension of that. I even think that he and the Doctor have become friends, albeit the ones who snark and insult each-other a lot. So it was really great to see another episode bring up the insecurities again.

    And not insecurities about whether Amy loves him or not. That’s been done to death. No, this episode gives no doubt that Amy loves her husband. In fact, Old! Amy states that she hates the Doctor for all the shit he’s put her through, intentionally or otherwise, and a season ago, Rory would have been overjoyed by that. But the writer gave a chance to really explore the pressures of life with the Doctor, and to also do a famous “choose between two love interest plot”. But only with the most wonderful twist ever; the love interests are the same woman. It makes perfect sense to Rory’s character. I don’t think he could ever abandon Amy. In ‘Let’s Kill Hitler’ it was revealed that he doesn’t seem to have much interest for other guys or girls, and c’mon, he guarded her for 2,000 years. This was the only way they could have made a “Rory’s Choice” believable.

    • Elexus Calcearius says:

      What I especially love is that its impossible to know which is the selfish choice. First instinct would say that the selfish one would be the younger Amy. Not only is she more physically attractive and have a longer life ahead of her, she’d probably be a lot more pleasant to be with. But on TVTropes I saw someone remark that for Rory, Older Amy would actually be the more selfish choice. Partly because he’s such a moral individual, he finds it repulsive to make choices on base impulses, but also because of his own history of waiting. They remarked that Rory would probably be closer to an Amy who’d had to wait. I’m not sure if I agree with that, as people remarked yesterday that there is a very big difference to choosing to wait when you’re near immortal and getting to explore history, compared to being forced to wait in solitary confinement for a significant portion of life. (As an aside, still would have been nice if this had been acknowledged in the episode). Which is right? I don’t know, and I’m not sure if there is an answer.

      Now, I’ve heard that some people complained that this episode framed Rory as the only important person in Amy’s life. I disagree. When thinking she’d go free, Older Amy preferred to go travel alone rather than stay with her husband. Yes, she named her Handbot after him, but they were married. Besides Mels/River, he’s the only person who ever supported him throughout childhood, and they’ve bonded even more over the things they’ve seen. She’s turned her back on the other really important person in her life, The Doctor. As for other family….well, her parents and aunt never seem to get much focus, and the writers seem to be pushing Melody/River angst under the carpet for some reason. So I think that was perfectly fine.

      Other comments;
      -That garden was beautiful, and reminded me very much like Alice in Wonderland.
      -This has been said before, but I was getting very Aperture Science vibes from the Two Streams facility. If Aperture really wanted to help people, that is, and there were no portals. (Hey, here’s an idea. How about ‘Mark Plays Portal’?)
      -Even though the Doctor took a back seat in this episode, Matt Smith really did brilliant. A much darker portrayal of him than usual. I especially hated/loved the part where he locked Old!Amy out. It felt like a punch in the gut, the Doctor being so blasé about his friend’s life…
      -“You’re turning me into you!” Did I say that I love when the show explores darker aspects of the Doctor?
      -You know what’s the cutest thing ever? Karen’s voice and face when she said “I pushed the red-waterfall.” She looks like a put-off little kid, its adorable.
      -When they said “chen-7” I heard it as “Chin-7” and thought that was why the Doctor was covering his rather large chin.
      -Still waiting for an explanation about the jacket. *taps foot impatiently at Moffat*

      • Burnie says:

        I thought the reason for the different jacket was because Matt Smith was always cold in the Harris Tweed he had in season 5 but the replacement in the first half of 6 was made in Canada / China so the folks at Harris Tweed tried to launch a boycott. This coat is not a HT replica and so more acceptable and put the controversy to rest.

        Personally it reminds me of Captain Jack and I love it.

        • Elexus Calcearius says:

          I was looking for an in-universe reason, but I like how practical that it. Can't have Matt Smith freezing, can we?

          And it is a very nice jacket. Long coats always look awesome, I need to get one myself.

  19. canyonoflight says:

    This episode made me cry so freaking much. I will say more later tonight after my class.

  20. guest_age says:

    The only thing I can say to sum up my feelings on this episode is my creyeaux because everything is more despondent in French.

  21. masakochan says:

    Amy waiting is IN NO WAY THE SAME as Rory waiting.

    HFDJSKFS THANK YOU. Speaking as a person whose got enough hours to minor in Psychology- what amazes me is that Amy somehow stayed coherent after that many years in involuntary solitary confinement. I wouldn't be suprised if there had been some points during that many years where she just completely lost it.

    Can I comment how even the robot of Rory makes me want to cry? Just- this episode. ALL THE TEARS.

    And if you haven't seen it yet- someone on tumblr posted the Macarena song above a gif with Amy and Rory. xD

    • masakochan says:

      Also – Amy Pond and hockey. I want to hear the story behind that.

      • theanagrace says:

        I made a little 'squee!' noise when I heard that part too, and then I realized that because it's the UK, they probably meant field hockey and my little Canadian heart wilted a bit. πŸ˜€

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      "Speaking as a person whose got enough hours to minor in Psychology- what amazes me is that Amy somehow stayed coherent after that many years in involuntary solitary confinement. "

      That struck me too (though I don't know much about psychology). I can only assume that the Interface was sufficiently advanced in terms of artificial intelligence that she felt like she at least had some company. And I guess there were a lot of nice things to do and places to visit at least?
      Still, that takes some serious strength of personality.

    • __Jen__ says:

      Rorybot was SO SAD. His goofy smile and just everything that said about Amy and her existence just killed me.

  22. rewritten says:

    Flawless episode is flawless. Despite my undying love for River Song and her entire story that's been unravelling during this series, 'The Girl Who Waited' is without question my favourite episode of Series 6. I realise we still have 3 episodes to come including the finale but I honestly think those, along with currently unwritten/unproduced episodes from future series, are going to struggle to meet the raw intensity of this stunning piece of 45 minute television programming.

    The main criticism, if any, that I have picked up from others regarding this episode is about it's appropriateness for the younger viewers. I can understand their concerns, but it teaches a valuable lesson of consequence. An element which has been lacking recently. I like serious in my Who because I feel it cements the programme's legacy as a 'family drama' rather than a 'kid's show'. That, coupled with the fact that the phenomenal cast's talents would be wasted if every week was harmless fun.

    Another thing I never shut up about but am going to bring up again anyway, THE SOUNDTRACK. Holy moly. As soon as the slow motion ass kicking began right through to Amy being anaesthetised and older Amy's tear inducing farewell, my eyes and ears were experiencing some crazy sort of utterly perfect harmony. I don't even know.

    This week's gifs with some captions for context, all are linked back to my tumblr if anyone wants to like/reblog.

    <img src="http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrbzzpiZko1qald8po1_500.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrbzzpiZko1qald8po3_500.gif"&gt;

    <img src="http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc0558PEN1qald8po1_500.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc0558PEN1qald8po2_500.gif"&gt;

    <img src="http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc0k93yip1qald8po1_500.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc0k93yip1qald8po2_500.gif"&gt;
    “You didn’t save me.”

    <img src="http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc0tjmJXK1qald8po1_500.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc0tjmJXK1qald8po2_500.gif"&gt;
    “Don’t you lecture me. Blue box man flying through time and space on whimsy. All I’ve got, all I’ve had for 36 years, is cold hard reality. So no, I don’t have a sonic screwdriver because I’m not off on a romp. I call it what it is, a probe. And I call my life what it is… hell.”

    <img src="http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc10782Bs1qald8po1_500.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc10782Bs1qald8po2_500.gif"&gt;

    <img src="http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc15m2VrU1qald8po1_500.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://24.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc15m2VrU1qald8po2_500.gif"&gt;
    "She’s doing the Macarena… Our first kiss.”

    <img src="http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc1nhXQss1qald8po1_500.gif"&gt;
    <img src="http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lrc1nhXQss1qald8po2_500.gif"&gt;
    “The look on your face when you carried her. Me. Her. When you carried her away, you used to look at me like that. I’d forgotten how much you loved me. I’d forgotten how much I loved being her. Amy Pond in the Tardis, with Rory Williams. If you love me, don’t let me in. Open that door, I will, I’ll come in. I don’t want to die. I won’t bow out bravely. I’ll be kicking, screaming, fighting until the end. Don’t let me in. Tell Amy, your Amy, I’m giving her the days. The days with you. The days to come. The days I can’t have. Take them please. I’m giving you my days.”

  23. adorning a set of glasses he should never take off because they truly do make him goddamn handsome

    HELL YES.

    As for the rest of the episode:

    I was on a bit of an emotional rollercoster already from Friday when first I discovered that apparently the band I love most in the whole entire world (AFI) were splitting and then five minutes later discovering it was a hoax. Worst 5 minutes of the year so far. Jesus. It was bad. Really bad.

    This episode? ALL THE TEARS IN THE WORLD. The contrast between young!Amy and old!Amy was astounding and Karen really did an aces job there. The body language, the change in way she spoke, everything. It was all really really good.

    Rory! Oh Rory. Throughout I got the sense that when Rory was with old!Amy, he didn't really see his wife as a much older woman. She was just Amy still and still his wife and still the woman he loves.

    The Doctor? Well. He was an ass.

  24. Laura says:

    This episode was the most beautiful thing on the face of the planet. Universe. The two scenes that made it, were of course Future Amy talking to Amy in the looking glass, and the Doomsday-like scene through the TARDIS door.

    But of course, beautiful means tragic. And it was.

    I love how it explored the darker side of the Doctor, of course. And how it condemned that darker side, outright. Yes, the Doctor has to make horrible choices, and forces those horrible choices onto his companions sometimes. You could say he lacks humanity, and you'd be right. It's different, being a Time Lord, than a human. We forget that sometimes.

    And yet, I don't blame him. My heart just broke for Amy and Rory. Read more at my blog here.

  25. Laura says:

    This episode was the most beautiful thing on the face of the planet. Universe. The two scenes that made it, were of course Future Amy talking to Amy in the looking glass, and the Doomsday-like scene through the TARDIS door.

    But of course, beautiful means tragic. And it was.

    I love how it explored the darker side of the Doctor, of course. And how it condemned that darker side, outright. Yes, the Doctor has to make horrible choices, and forces those horrible choices onto his companions sometimes. You could say he lacks humanity, and you'd be right. It's different, being a Time Lord, than a human. We forget that sometimes.

    And yet, I don't blame him. My heart just broke for Amy and Rory. Read more at my blog here.

  26. Jenny_M says:

    Oh man, this episode. I was like…am I crying? Am I crying? AM I BOVVERED? But then I reached up and there were tears on my face and I was all…WAIT. This doesn't happen to me during Doctor Who anymore! I haven't cried at an episode since Donna Noble was a Time Lord.

    But HOLY CRAP did I cry. I think this was the first emotionally cathartic Who experience I've had since series four. I MISSED IT.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Much though I love Moffat's Who, I have to agree with you there – reading your comment made me realise too that this is the first time I've cried since Donna lost her memories.
      Unless you count re-watching Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead? Because they didn't make me cry when I was just watching season four, but going back to them now it's like ten million buckets for my creys.

      I mean, I welled up a little at 'The Doctor's Wife' but this was just something else, my god.

    • Aimee says:

      But! Vincent and the Doctor. ALL THE TEARS.

  27. tehrevel says:

    Just a thing but I don't really think Rory made the choice, the Doctor made the choice and then palmed it off onto Rory, knowing that having to make that choice would basically destroy Rory. I really hope what happened at the end of the episode is given some followup and isn't just discarded, Rory (and Amy if Rory tells her what actually happened) has a right to be pissed off. I really liked how at the end, Amy wakes up and asks Rory "what happened" and while he says nothing the camera pans to the Doctor as if to say "he happened".

    • Karen says:

      The Doctor definitely made the choice in his own mind and was all like "she's not real!" and the basically left Rory to pull the trigger. What an ass. At least Rory was spared having to actually tell his wife that he was going to let her die to save the younger version of her by old!Amy giving up her life and telling him to lock the door.

  28. carma_bee says:

    I really loved it, it was great. The acting was great, story was great, music was great (srsly, Murray Gold, I love you). I didn't cry though, and that surprised me a little, because I've cried during DW before (Vincent and the Doctor, Doomsday, The Doctor Dances, etc). Maybe when I rewatch it tonight. And speaking of sad parts, I felt bad for all the characters. Of course I felt for Amy because she was along for so long, and way past the point of hoping Rory and the Doctor were on their way, I also felt for the Doctor. Even though he comes across as the bad guy in the end, the thing I think about the most with him is that there is no one else anywhere who hates him more than himself, we learned that in Amy's Choice. It just pains him to do the things he knows he has to do.

    ALSO, Amy/Rory is SO one of my FAVOURITEST ships right now. Adorable, I love them ♥

    I didn't even realize this when I was watching, only when someone mentioned it afterward, but Rory, the Doctor, and the Amys are the only people characters we see besides the woman that greeted Amy when she came in. Everyone else is voices and robots. I thought that was interesting.

    I also loved the glasses (purely for how good they looked on Arthur tbh) and how they joked about the fez. πŸ™‚

  29. kartikeya200 says:

    Okay, arctic_hare said pretty much everything ever that I might want to say, but I do still have a few stray thoughts, plus a ridiculous theory.

    Firstly, yes, I can't really figure out a way for Rory to have mentioned his own 'waiting' without coming off as seeming flip, like he was minimizing the very real pain and anguish that Amy went through and ignoring the vastly different circumstances behind the two. Even if Rory had gone through THE EXACT SAME THING for a longer period of time, I can't imagine he would ever say something like that to his wife. Traumas aren't a contest, after all. Someone going through something worse does not make what someone else goes through somehow 'less' or mean they have no reason to be upset.

    Consider: Amy is what, early twenties? She spent thirty six years stuck in a hospital full of robots trying to kill her and no one to talk to but a cheerfully indifferent computer interface. In other words, when we meet old!Amy, she has spent significantly more time trapped alone in a hostile environment THAN SHE EVER SPENT OUTSIDE OF IT. It's horrifying just to think about.

    This series seems to be dealing with duplicates a lot, doesn't it? We've had three Doctors (one future, one Flesh), we've had old!Amy, we've had River at all sorts of different times in her life, but most starkly baby!River, Mels!River, and the River Song we've come to know over the past three series, we had old!hallucination!Rory (and boy, isn't that a freaky bit of foreshadowing to what ACTUALLY happens to AMY), and if you want to dip into season 5 we've also had Auton!Rory. We've even had human!TARDIS.

    Alright, I said on the liveblog that I had a ridiculous theory that won't leave me alone, and this episode resurrected it, so RIDICULOUSLY OUTLANDISH THEORIES THAT APPLY TO THE OVERARCHING STORY ABOUND BELOW

    • kartikeya200 says:

      "You gave me hope and then you took it away. That's enough to make anyone dangerous."

      Back when A Good Man Goes To War aired, I kept musing in the comments that I was bothered by how Kovarian (Eyepatch Lady) was acting. She wasn't just acting like someone working against the Doctor for military or religious or whatever reasons. She was exuding REALLY PERSONAL animosity toward the Doctor, even going so far as to do a few things that, to me, seemed to be motivated purely from a desire to spite him. I wanted to know WTF had happened between them, or would happen, as the case may be, because the Doctor doesn't seem to show any recognition of her.

      So all over the summer I kept trying to pinpoint who she might be, because I was bored and there was no Doctor Who to watch. And at one point I flashed on an idea, and then immediately found fifty thousand holes in it and discarded it. Buuut, well. This episode brought it back, so here we go:

      Kovarian is old!Amy.

      We don't actually see old!Amy die. We see her face her death, we see the robots knock her out, it sure looks like they're going to administer the drug and we have no reason to assume they don't, but then, we also only have the Doctor's guess that anything they give her would be fatal.

      So what if, somehow, old!Amy survives? She already hated the Doctor, with good reason, and with thirty-six years to let that hate fester, and then, right when it looked as though she was starting to soften toward him at least a little, he slams the TARDIS door in her face, because he lied, and there can only be one Amy, and he's picked the one that doesn't hate him, the one that hasn't gone through unbelievable suffering because of his mistakes. The Doctor tries desperately to comfort himself with the idea that he's UNDOING it, but old!Amy doesn't disappear from the paradox. What if she never disappears from it?

      Now, there are still a bilion holes. I'm not married to this theory, it's very unlikely to be true, I'm not sure I want it to be true, or that I don't want it to be true, but there's one more thing that's been bothering me all season:

      Something happens that makes the Doctor decide to stop 'running' and face whatever's been chasing him. Something happens that has him walking knowingly to his death and then standing there without any sign of resistance while the astronaut takes aim. For some reason, the Doctor had the past versions of his companions there to see it all happen, and the question asked in the Impossible Astronaut is still unanswered: Why?

      If avenging him and saving him is not the Doctor's style (and it isn't) what was the reason?

      • Elexus Calcearius says:

        Korvarian= Old Amy? Hmm, very, very interesting idea. In almost any other show I might dismiss it, but with Moffat at the helm, I'm willing to believe anything.

        Interesting that you mentioned that the theme for this season seems to be duplicates/other selves. I think Seasons 3-5 focused very heavily on memory (the fob watches, Agatha Christie, Silence in the Library, Doctor-Donna, the cracks, etc). So its interesting to see if these themes we'll keep being repeated.

        (My own wild theory is that the Doctor did actually find baby Melody, but hasn't told Amy/Rory for his own reasons.)

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        oh my god i fucking love this theory. i will weep if it's true.

    • chikzdigmohawkz says:

      Someone going through something worse does not make what someone else goes through somehow 'less' or mean they have no reason to be upset.

      Yes. This. Exactly. Thank you for this statement, because it is all sorts of beautiful. And accurate. And beautiful.

    • arctic_hare says:

      SO AGREED about Rory, and about trauma not being a contest. Thank you for that, it's pretty much ULTIMATE TRUTH. Also yeah, she spent more time in Two Streams than she did outside it. That is one of the most horrifying things in the episode to me.

  30. Beth says:

    I first got choked up when Rory said, "I don't care that you got old; I care that I didn't get to grow old with you."
    I burst out into full on tears when Amy asked to see Earth as she died. SHE DIED, OH GOD.

  31. carma_bee says:

    Just remembered about these comics I saw on tumblr! They're from http://paintdoktahwho.tumblr.com/

    #1
    <img src="http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/carma_bee/fez1.png&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    <img src="http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/carma_bee/fez2.png&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    #2
    <img src="http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/carma_bee/rory1.png&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">
    <img src="http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/carma_bee/rory2.png&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    Also, I need to watch the Confidential like right now
    <img src="http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d22/carma_bee/killerwhales.gif&quot; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    • Minish says:

      I would listen attentively to every word of that story.

    • masakochan says:

      The ironic part of that- Arthur worked with Matt previously in a play called 'Swimming with Sharks'.

    • arctic_hare says:

      I'm watching it right now and I'm so ridiculously jealous of him that it's not even funny. I WANNA DO THAT. Okay, so the sharks are super scary, but still, BEING UNDERWATER. WITH ALL THE FISHIES. IT WOULD BE SO RELAXING LIKE HE SAYS. And, uh, when he said he would've tried to touch one, THAT IS SO ME. All his reactions and what he said were exactly what I believe I'd say, to a spooky degree.

      • masakochan says:

        Same here! I remember I used to want to be a scuba-diver because it meant I could go into the ocean and see ALL THE FISHES AND THE COLORS.

        And being underwater is awesome. If there's a Zelda: Majora's Mask update for the 3DS- I cannot tell you how long I will spend as a Zora swimming underwater.

    • Marie says:

      Oh god there's a Rose Loved Drugs one! http://paintdoktahwho.tumblr.com/post/4619422156/

  32. Minish says:

    RORY IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MAN I'VE EVER MET.

    k bai

  33. jelly says:

    Havent refreshed for ages, maybe someone's brought it up – funny that the Doctor was so sure about old Amy being "not real" when the flesh-humans so definitely were to him.

    • kartikeya200 says:

      If she's real, then that means he's killing her. That means he just slammed the door in Amy's face and now he's standing on the other side of it listening to her beg to be let in and refusing to do it because he can't save them both. Watch his face and body language; he can't stand it, and his excuse isn't enough for him either. He's practically leaping to go 'Rory you deal with this' and run over and have a private cry near the console.

    • Karen says:

      He was lying to himself to make himself feel better and then passing the buck to Rory and making him pull the trigger.

    • Xander Bazaar says:

      Maybe Time Lords have more ability to think of folks in clearly Different bits of time as not-people than it is for them to think that way about AI/Frankenstein's monsters who are nonetheless in that bit of time. I mean, clearly Ten was having trouble at the end of series 4.5 with Adelade, but overall he's shown consistency with what degree of "saving people in Wibbly Bits Of Time" he is comfortable with. (Consistency in that it's less than 1/1 and more than or equal to 4/35,000.)

      Timey wimey.

    • drippingmercury says:

      IA with everyone saying that's what he tells himself. And, well, once young!Amy is rescued… old!Amy isn't/wasn't real, technically, since she never existed. He's trying to reassure himself because even though she WILL not have existed, obviously she still did at that point. If he can just erase old!Amy's whole history then she – and all her pain – was never real, which is how he copes with his own pain and the trauma of killing an Amy.

  34. kartikeya200 says:

    And now I will completely break the mood because, wait a minute, a few episodes ago Amy was a pirate (ARR) and now she's a NINJA, afsfsf NO WONDER THE UNIVERSE BLOWS UP, IT CANNOT CONTAIN.

  35. doesntsparkle says:

    This was probably one of the best episodes of any t.v. show that I have ever seen. I don't have the vocabulary to express how damned perfect it was. There was so much going on, but it pulled all of them off. The action movie, the exploration of what happens to companions after the Doctor has left, and the most epic love story of all time. All without any of these plots seeming unnecessary.

    I've had some issues with the show, and Who fandom lately, and "The Girl Who Waited," reminded me of why I love this silly show in the first place.

    Finally, I just have to address how amazing the three leads were in this episode. Karen Gillian's going to be a superstar. She's an amazing actor and incredibly beautiful. I don't care what anyone says, Eleven is an amazing Doctor. I hate him a little bit for abandoning Older Amy, but he hates himself more. It's really interesting what they're doing with Rory's character this season, he's been the moral compass of the trio for a while. This episode showed how hard it is to be shoehorned into that role.

  36. Always Amy says:

    this is related to lets kill Hitler not the girl who waited but I thought it was hysterical and wanted to make sure you had a chance to see it

    contains spoilers for lets kill Hitler http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhEPX2GBLXc&fe

  37. canyonoflight says:

    When Amy laughed for the first time in 36 years, I completely lost it. I did again later when she said she was going to tear apart Time for Rory. This episode cemented Amy and Rory as my favorite companions, a title formerly held by Donna. I just love them so much and just want them to be happy. I wish they could stay around forever, but after this episode I don't see why they would. They didn't grow old together, even if that was "erased," it still happened. Next time, they may not be able to fix it.

  38. fantasylover120 says:

    There are seriously not enough sad GIFs for this episode. You've pretty much summed up all my feelings especially in the part about Amy waiting and Rory waiting not being the same at all. That arguement annoys me so much because I'm pretty sure both of them really don't care who had it worse they just hate that they had to go through it. It's rough no matter how you look at it, saying one had it worse then the other and that they shouldn't complain because the other had it worse seems kind of stupid to me.
    But man this ep. Hats off to Karen and Arthur for their fantastic acting. If anyone tries to say Karen can't act after this I will wash my hands of them, because this was brilliant.

  39. tehrevel says:

    You know I'm starting to get the feeling the Tardis just doesn't like Amy very much, she loves pretty Rory, likes River (she appears perfectly on time to save her both times she was falling to her death) but with Amy it turned up 16 years too late and then a 5 minute jump turned into another 2 years and now 36 years in this episode?

  40. bookworm67 says:

    I think that every time I go back and watch series 5 and see the Doctor call Amy "the girl who waited", I'm going to remember this and bawl my eyes out.

    3 times, Doctor. 3 TIMES and FIFTY YEARS.

  41. Murray says:

    This episode was so heart wrenching! It made me fear how they will end Amy and Rory's travels with the Doctor. I predict that one of them will die and the other will have to live out the remainder of their life with out them and without the Doctor and River. It will be devastating to watch because if any one deserves to live happily ever after it is Amy and Rory!!!!

    Also…Rorycam!

  42. Inseriousity. says:

    "I am your guide, your teacher, your friend"

    NO UMBRIDGE INTERFACE, YOU ARE NEITHER OF THESE THINGS!! SSH! "turn that light off" – haha reminded me of harry potter 3 film.

    This episode made me cry. I didn't cry at vincent and the doctor, I don't think I've ever cried for any doctor who episode but I couldn't help it here. It wasn't Amy though that made me cry despite karen's amazing acting. It's always "I can't do this" and going to let his Old!wife in that sets me off. Amazing performances from both karen and arthur!

  43. manymediamusings says:

    Excellent review for an astounding episode! Mark, I love your idea that perhaps the Doctor was showing Rory that time can be rewritten. And I must say that the cinematography in this episode was gorgeous; the shots with both versions of Amy in the frame were just brilliant.

  44. lunylucy says:

    It's all been said but I'd just like to state that I can't remember the last time I've cried/sobbed/been generally this completely pathetic watching ANYTHING let alone Doctor Who. "Vincent and the Doctor" was bad but it was quiet crying, whereas with "The Girl Who Waited" there were just involuntary sobbing noises. And this in an episode with a technically happy ending? Just amazing.

  45. Shiyiya says:

    The Doctor making Rory choose reminded me of (very minor spoilers for a part of Carpe Jugulum, Discworld 23), jurer Tenaal Jrngurejnk pna fnl rvgure Zef Vil be Ze naq Zef Vil'f haobea fba. Naq Zef Cnggreabfgre guvaxf fur fubhyq unir nfxrq Ze Vil. " 'Gung'f jung V jbhyq unir qbar . . .'gur jbzna zhzoyrq. 'Lbh qba'g yvxr uvz? Lbh guvax ur'f n onq zna?' fnvq Tenaal, nqwhfgvat ure ungcvaf. 'Ab!' 'Gura jung'f ur rire qbar gb zr, gung V fubhyq uheg uvz fb?' "

    Naq Tenaal'f evtug, gurer ner pubvprf lbh fubhyqa'g znxr fbzrbar znxr. Ze Vil jbhyq unir orra thvygl gur erfg bs uvf yvsr, jungrire ur pubfr. I think Rory will (or should, anyway) feel the guilt the rest of his life for leaving Amy behind. For not saving her. Even though she told him to, even if there was no other choice….

  46. Minish says:

    I don't understand what everyone's so sad about…

    The Disco Room is a parodox-free TARDIS room. OLD!Amy's fiiiiiine.

  47. nextboy1 says:

    Basically, the more I think about it, this is probably my favourite Dr Who episode ever. As an episode of television it was just brilliant. It was completely standalone from the main arc, yet the experiences these characters have had elsewhere completely enrich the story as well.

    It has that rare feel to me of drama that I will always come back to, up there with "The Constant" from Lost S4. A brilliantly told, heartbreaking love story. It takes a lot to get a stir out of me, and this did. Amazing. Who is this Tom Macrae fella anyway?!?

  48. Coughdrop01 says:

    I am late in watching this due to my NEPHEW BEING BORN (insert me showing you a picture on my phone here) but HOLY SHIT ON A STICK THIS EPISODE WAS FLAWLESS. Like, there is SO MUCH within this episode I can't even comprehend it. This is what I love about doctor who. I get kind of frustrated when things become JUST sci-fi and timey wimey because the entire reason I love those things is the unique character work you can do with these devices. But every single moment in here is important and even very small things do loads and loads of things. There is weird slightly surreal humor (the macarena, Rory attacking with the Mona Lisa) that should NOT WORK AT ALL and somehow it does? It's so beautiful. THIS EPISODE IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MAN I HAVE EVER SEEN!
    seriously if I could make out with this episode I would do it in a hot second.

  49. notemily says:

    I quite liked this episode because THIS is how you do emotional resonance. Rory and Amy's love is so powerful it reaches across all of time and space, and I love them so much, and how many times must this show break one or both of their hearts? Rory isn't sad that Amy is older–he's sad that she grew older without him. <3333.

    I love Rory with the RoryCam glasses on. KEEP THOSE PLEASE.

    I also love badass Amy with her "armor" built out of HandBot pieces and her katana and stick. So awesome. I mean, not awesome that she has basically lost the ability to feel joy and love, but I love that shot of her kicking ALL of the handbots' asses right at the end, just like River Tam taking out fifty Reavers at once in Serenity. Fuck yeah Amy Pond.

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