‘The Girl Who Waited’ was supposed to be an Amy Pond-centric Dr. Who episode. If judged solely by Karen Gillan’s screen time, in which she shows a tremendous amount of range and depth we haven’t seen from the actress in while, then it was.
However, ‘The Girl Who Waited’ is really all about Rory and, to a smaller degree, The Doctor as well.
In the episode, our trio arrives at a holiday planet with the intent of having a bit of a vacation after all they’ve been through of late. What they find, instead, is a planet-wide quarantine of a virus (Chen 7) which threatens any two-hearted beings such as The Doctor.
Through a now classic Amy Pond miscue, she enters an accelerated time stream that is a product of the hospice-like Kindness after being separated from Rory and The Doctor. The crux of this action is that Amy is once again The Girl Who Waited, but with a slightly different outcome as before. Rory has to make a difficult choice between two versions of the same Amy.
‘The Girl Who Waited’ is standalone entry in Dr. Who lore for the most part, not connected too much with the saga of Lake Silencio. We’ve grown accustomed to this with The Moff, where he takes a slight break from the current story arc.
This latest dip into standalones is an extremely solid one, and still maintains great pacing throughout as a continued emphasis on the ongoing theme of perception filters (in this instance through staggered time streams). The special effects are pretty good, and the set designs rank up there with the show’s best.
A new rogue is introduced in the form of the Handbots. Their teleportation ability and character design could have put them at the level of the Cybermen, but they seem a bit weak when it comes to the “fear factor” you see in some of The Doctor’s upper tier adversaries. This may be because they aren’t really a villain, but rather a product of a system without reasoning and with good intentions.
‘The Girl Who Waited’ concludes by drawing tears with a defining moment for Rory. We also see another side of The Doctor that, while not an evil one, shows the kind of decisions and judgments someone with his knowledge and power sometimes have to make. It seems some of these characters always forget the number one rule: The Doctor lies.
– James Zappie