The Blue Box Blog

Emma Lou's adventures in Doctor Who fandom

Doctor Who: “The Girl Who Waited” Review

Posted by emmahyam on September 10, 2011

WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR DOCTOR WHO SERIES 6

Every so often an episode of Doctor Who comes along that defies all your expectations, “Blink”, “Turn Left” and “The Girl In The Fireplace” come straight to mind, well now I can add “The Girl Who Waited” to my list. On first glance this seemed like it would be another fairly ordinary, mid season, arc-heavy entry into the canon but as the episode progressed my preconceptions were totally blown away

This was Karen Gillan’s finest performance as Amy bar none, her turn as the Older Amy, investing her with a totally different character, an Ellen Ripley trapped in a solitary hell, notice how she wouldn’t  make eye contact with Rory, she walks differently, she’s had to learn how to survive the hard way and Karen Gillan brings every second of her 36 year solitude to life. It also reminded the viewer about Amy’s ever present dangerous side, the woman who was willing to shoot at The Impossible Astronaut, waved swords at the hapless pirates of “Curse Of The Black Spot” and held a gun to the head of her own daughter. The real stand out moment of the episode for me was the Young Amy’s monologue about falling in love with Rory, and their willingness to tear apart the whole of time and space to grow old together. I believe also this was a big signal to the viewing audience that Amy’s bizarre little love affair with the Doctor is now well and truly over. Yes, part of her still loves him and is in love with the grand adventure of running away with her “Raggedy Doctor” but for once Amy’s true feelings that she works so hard to disguise come totally to the surface.

While we’re talking about Karen Gillan’s performance lets take a minute to praise the amazing Arthur Darvill. The true workhorse of this series of Doctor Who he had to carry the emotional weight of this episode and he did so magnificently as hes forced into yet another appalling  decision by the Doctor, surely his relationship with him has been forever changed. All he ever wants is for everyone to be happy and he keeps getting denied. This episode also made sure that we don’t forget about The Doctor even though he is very much not the focus of this episode, we’d better not forget that when push comes to shove the Doctor will make the hard calls, below his outwardly bonkers and jovial exterior the hardened sole survivor of The Last Great Time War is carved out of ice.

I’d also like to gush profusely about the design and direction of the episode, at first the stark white might seem like a cost saving measure but then once props like Rory’s huge magnifying glass and the sculptures in the gallery are added the place came to life. The TARDIS looking especially beautiful as it seemed to pop out of the screen against the blankness. I also really enjoyed Amy’s relationship with her environment and with The Interface. It brought to my mind Chell’s relationship with GLaDOS in the “Portal” series of games, also there were little elements of “first person shooter” in the direction through the use of the camera specs Rory and Amy wear.

It managed to be “timey-wimey” without being confusing, it questioned your morality without being heavy handed and if this didn’t bring a tear to your eye, you might have to check yourself for a pulse. Stunningly shot, amazingly written, directed with a wonderful lightness of touch and genuinely emotionally affecting this was one of the finest episodes since Doctor Who’s return in a series that may well turn out to be the finest series of Doctor Who since 2005.

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3 Responses to “Doctor Who: “The Girl Who Waited” Review”

  1. wolfeeboy said

    Although it’s many many years since I last watched a Dr Who, possibly when Peter Davison was the Doc, it’s nice to see he’s living on now through people like yourself Emms, and you write enjoyable to read reviews.

    I look forward to reading more of them :))

  2. Amen! I was kind of dreading this as I knew it was going to be another installment in the Amy &Rory show, which I must confess I’m growing a bit weary of, but dammit Gillan knocked this one out of the part! Her amazing performance was, well, amazing. And while I’m still not totally sold on Rory, his moment when he finally lost it and basically told the Doctor to fuck off was mint. Truly one of the best eps in a fantastic series.

    • Go listen to Arthur Darvill’s reading of the audiobook for “Doctor Who: The Night of the Humans”…you’ll become a big fan of his. It is what swayed me from my initial wishy-washy feelings towards Rory. You don’t even know it’s him; he’s that talented of a voice actor. And I’m coming to understand that Arthur’s portrayal of Rory as “an ordinary man caught up in extraordinary circumstances” is spot-on.

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