S32 (6) 10 – The Girl Who Waited

Home Forums Episodes The Eleventh Doctor S32 (6) 10 – The Girl Who Waited

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    Craig @craig

    Repeated on BBC3 on 23 February. Amy is trapped in a different time stream in a quarantine facility. Can Rory save her before she is killed by kindness?

    Here’s what we originally thought:


    ScaryB @scaryb

    Brilliant, just brilliant. And even better on a repeat. Karen is on great form, totally convincing; several unanswered, uncomfortable questions also…

    ScaryB @scaryb

    And over on the Guardian blog for this episode … on page 22 it’s a classic Alexander v Chris Kilby (and the world!) spat


    Anonymous @

    @scaryb — ah  yes, that was the infamous ‘why can’t the Doctor still be asexual’ debate. Interesting to see me and just about everyone else locking horns with asgill there. And chriskilby is much missed — I used to really enjoy his posts. That was quite a belter of a thread in general. I enjoyed revisiting it.


    Anonymous @

    TGWW has always been one of my favorite episodes @arbutus.  I haven’t tried to explain it before now.  It is definitely a lot more complicated than I thought. The Doctor even says that the two timestreams facility is “extrawabbley” compared to regular time streams.  What makes them different than the ordinary time streams is they are artificially created by ‘temporal engines’ at the facility.  That explains why there is usually only one person on the time stream at a time there.   To make things even more complicated, some time streams move at different speeds (I estimated that the red one is 20000 times faster than the green one). On top of that there are two paradoxes (the TARDIS holds them in place), and the Doctor lies a lot. 😆  So the two time line theory we have been discussing is not real easy to apply in this episode (It is completely backwards).   But many of the rules for time streams in general are still in place and the older Amy even explains some of them.

    You could be right that time streams and time lines are technically two different things?  But so far I haven’t found a reason to distinguish between the two (interchangeable IMO).


    blenkinsopthebrave @blenkinsopthebrave

    Rewatched this last night, for the first time in ages. Had forgotten just how good it was. Karen Gillan puts in a bravura performance. The emotion is complex and riveting, the decisions that have to be made are complex and painful, the Doctor is both caring and brutal. Everything about it works–the writing, the acting, the direction. This was an episode that showed what Doctor  Who was capable of.

    winston @winston

    @blenkinsopthebrave I agree with you so much that I rarely watch it because it is so intense and sad. This episode is so good it is hard to watch.

    Stay safe.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    That is one of my absolute favourite stand-alone episodes.    It is actually a classic tragedy, but with no villain except Time.   Amy seems fated to suffer these glitches of the timeline.

    But it set up a situation at the end where there was no good answer.   The classic ‘trolley problem’.   Far, far worse than just facing terrible consequences, is having to choose between two equally terrible consequences.

    It is magnificently built up.   At first it just looks like the familiar rescue-the-fugitive problem where Rory just has to track down Amy and rescue her from the Handbots.   But then we get the reveal that Amy is now Old Amy and she doesn’t want to lose 36 years of her life.   Awkward.   Amy and Old Amy ‘meet’ and find they quite like each other, sharing common memories.   And then they *both* want to be rescued.   And the Doctor knows this is impossible and is forced into a flat-out lie.   He knows what the consequences are going to be, but what else can he do?

    And then we almost forget that incompatibility, watching the McGuffins of Rory fiddling with wiring and the Amys fighting off the handbots to get back to the Tardis, and start to think the Doctor’s gobbledegook about reality compensators might be true, right until the Doctor shuts the door on Old Amy.   But, at that point, what else could the Doctor do?    The only thing he could have done differently at that point would have been to forbid Rory from opening the door to let Old Amy in, rather than putting it on Rory to decide.   Which might have led to a cataclysmic Doctor-Rory confrontation but wouldn’t have changed the outcome.   And it leaves Old Amy telling Rory not to let her in…

    I just glanced through the transcript before I wrote this to get a couple of recollections straight and I can’t even read that without going a bit sniffly.   An absolute masterpiece of an episode.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    (Well, well, I posted about this ep 8 months ago.    But I wrote this so I’ll post it…)

    Well, Night Terrors I skipped because, well, it’s kinda skippable.
    But The Girl Who Waited really blows my socks off. It’s right up there with Blink.
    Right from the start – the beautiful, stark, dead white sets just grab you. And then within couple of minutes Amy is trapped in a separate timestream – this episode starts with a rush.

    And, Apalapuchia is under planet-wide quarantine (now where have I heard that recently? This seems to be a particularly appropriate time to be watching this episode).

    “This is a kindness” and the robots really mean it, they don’t know their vaccine will kill Amy. But they are remarkably persistent. Of course the quarantine facility is benign by intent, which is why their attempts to hunt Amy down are not very organised, and why the Interface is mostly helpful, even before Amy reprograms it. And the garden is truly beautiful.

    But the shock of Arthur running into a 60-year-old Amy is – shocking. Excellent make-up and acting, by the way.

    And then Old Amy doesn’t wasnt to be ‘rescued’ 36 years ago if her last 36 years of life cease to exist. This raises interesting philosophic questions about, are we the same person we used to be? But Amy isn’t interested in philosophy. And Arthur is left with the awful choice of which to rescue (if he can). And then (via the viewing glass) he introduces young Amy to Old Amy. And young Amy persuades Old Amy to go along with the rescue for Rory’s sake – Old Amy agrees, so long as she can come too. The Doctor reluctantly agrees it might just be possible (but we didn’t notice Rule 1 slipping by in the background, did we? Or Rule 1 of all sci-fi, which is, two copies of the same character in the same place is unsustainable for more than 1 episode).

    So then we have Rory and two Amys making a daring escape and Old Amy ninjas her way through a platoon of bots (who, to be fair to them, are pretty slow and were never designed to encounter opposition). And Rory carries young Amy into the Tardis and old Amy runs joyfully towards the Tardis door… which the Doctor regretfully shuts in her face. I remember the horror I felt the first time I watched this. Because two Amys is too much of a temporal paradox for the Tardis to tolerate and, by the way, the Doctor lied. And then the Doctor leaves it to Rory whether to let Old Amy in or not. And Old Amy tells him not to let her in and asks the Interface to show her Earth as she turns to meet the robots. I know how this ends but my glasses were still misted up at this point.

    Probably the best ever performance from Karen Gillan (and the best opportunities).

    Amongst a trio of fairly average and forgettable episodes, this one stands out like a supernova.

    Dentarthurdent @dentarthurdent

    (I see the last two posts were by me. What the heck, I wrote this and it doesn’t exactly copy what is aid before, so I’ll post it…)

    At the start, this seemed like a light and entertaining adventure. Was that ever wrong.

    The first reveal of Old Amy is startling and the most sensational bit of aging I’ve ever seen. The makeup artists should get an Oscar. And so should Karen, for playing the bitter hardened Old Amy with such conviction. The moment Rory and Amy share a laugh over a fez, showing Old Amy softening up a little, is magic.

    But where did she get a katana sword? I guess if she could make a sonic screwdriver she could locate a katana somewhere (museum exhibit?)

    Old Amy refusing to wind the clock back is, in some way, understandable. But is Rory being a bit hypocritical in demanding to get Young Amy back? But then (virtual?) Young Amy materialises. The contrast of the two seen side by side in the spyglass is stunning. The scene of the two Amy’s comparing memories and warming to each other has been done a hundred times but rarely better than this.

    I actually feel a bit sad for Robot Rory, abandoned in Twin Streams.

    So then Old Amy demands to come along with Rory and Young Amy and the Doctor reluctantly agrees it could work.

    The moment when Rory meets Young Amy again in the flesh and Old Amy stands there like a wallflower is just perfectly done.

    I feel almost sorry for the handbots, with Old Amy massacring them. I instinctively wonder why they’re all such easy prey, but of course they weren’t designed to counter armed opposition.

    So then Rory carries Young Amy into the Tardis – and the Doctor shuts the door on Old Amy. This was shocking and the most tragic moment, I think, in all of Doctor Who. The Doctor was lying like a bastard when he said it could work (but what else could he have done at that point?) And then the Doctor leaves Rory to decide whether to let Old Amy in. But it’s an impossible decision.

    I was trying to figure out why two Amy’s were impossible when there have been two (or more) Doctors in the Tardis on many occasions. And I think the difference is this – that on those occasions the Doctor’s timeline brought him back naturally to the same point. Whereas Old Amy only existed *because* they failed to rescue Young Amy. As soon as Rory carried Young Amy back into the Tardis, Old Amy became an impossibility.

    One of the most moving episodes in all of Who. And it was a ‘bottle’ episode, like Blink and Midnight. Frequently, I think, the limited cast of such episodes lends itself to more intense emotion.

    winston @winston

    @dentarthurdent  I agree that this one is a devastating story. A true tragedy the leaves me angry at everyone and sad that they are forced to make such a decision. I find this episode so sad I rarely watch it and often skip over it when it is next in line. Great writing, acting and makeup and the sets were good too. Poor Amy waiting that long , all alone, only to be left behind again. I feel sad just thinking about it.

    Maybe some day when the sun is shining and I am very happy I will watch it again, Maybe.

    Stay happy

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