If you haven’t been impressed with Karen Gillan’s work as companion Amy Pond on Doctor Who before, then this week’s episode, The Girl Who Waited should make you a fan, of both the character, and the talented young actress playing her.
Amy Pond has been a very popular addition to small group of lucky folks to get to travel with the Doctor through time and space. There are of course obvious reasons, she’s a spunky, sexy, Scottish redhead with legs up the there, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind. Ok, with the exception of being Scottish, that could be a lot of the Doctor’s companions (Well there is Jamie, and he also liked to show some leg). But credit Karen Gillan, and Steve Moffat for making Amy the stand out character that she is. Since first appearing on Doctor Who 18 minutes in to The Eleventh Hour with a cricket bat to the Doctor’s head, Karen has become the It-Girl of Who-dom.
Amy Pond, the girl who waited, waited 12 years for the Doctor to return, who ran away with him the night before her wedding, to see time and space. Sure maybe she was a little infatuated with her raggedy Doctor, but she married the boy who waited even longer. Getting married is usually the moment a companion leaves the Doctor, but not Amy, she just brings the husband along. (Something no other companion thought to do.) She waited so long, who could blame her for not wanting to leave the madman with a box. She’s bloody-minded, contradictory, and completely unpredictable.
But it was the visit to Apalapchia, 2 billion light years from Earth, the second greatest planet in the top ten destinations for the discerning intergalactic travelers, where things stop being madcap, and all running in corridors and fish fingers and custard. Trapped alone in a world where time moves faster Amy must wait for the Doctor and Rory to come save her.
This episode was amazing, and so much of the credit for goes to Arthur Darvil, and Karen Gillan. It was basically two (three?) hander, as the Doctor was basically techinical support on the line for the bulk of the episode. It was a heart breaking to see Rory find Amy after she had been trapped for so long on her own. It was not finding her old that made him sad, it was seeing how she had become angry and beaten, and that he could do nothing, devastated that they were robbed of so much time together. So often on their adventures had put them in mortal jeopardy, but it was adventure, and they faced it together.
For the first time in a while they both began to see what the cost of traveling with the Doctor is. It’s exciting, and scary and full of danger and mystery. But it may not be the place have a life and a family. It has already cost them the right to raise their own daughter, and now the Doctor’s devil may care, random life has cost them 36 years of their marriage.
Older, wiser, and angrier, the Amy that Rory and the Doctor eventually find is still his wife, and he still loves her. This Amy however wants nothing to do with the Doctor, as she feels abandoned by him and by Rory. It takes seeing Rory through her younger self’s eyes and seeing how Rory sees her to reminder herself of what she’s lost, and try to get it back.
Tom MacRae has given Amy and Rory both some tremendously powerful pieces to work with in this episode, and both of them rise to the occasion, especially Arthur Darvil’s Rory. His journey over the last 2(thousand) years has brought him so far, both literally and as a person. He mostly enjoys his temporal meanderings with the Last of the Time Lords, but he would be just as happy in Leadworth, as long as Amy is with him. When he realizes what it is that he’s been denied by the Doctor’s carelessness, he does not hesitate to unleash his rage on the Doctor, and his dissatisfaction with the apparent lack of concern for his and Amy’s wellfare.
In a season that has revealed the origins of River Song , allowed the Doctor to speak to very essence of the TARDIS, and has even seen the Doctor killed, and even with the Silence, and the Academy of the Question waiting in the future, it’s this love letter for Amy and Rory that has become my favorite episode of the Matt Smith era to date.