After last week's relatively light episode, last night's "The Girl Who Waited" returned us to the Amy/Rory relationship that's been at the heart of Doctor Who for the past two years. No wonder, then, that we've got five questions about what we saw.
What's That Saying About One Person's Kindness Being Another Person's Cruelty?
As opposed to last week's attempt to scare us, there was something genuinely unsettling about the Handbots' repeat assurances that "This is a kindness" as they marched towards Amy, Rory and Amy this week - In part because they actually meant it. Somewhere in the middle of the timey-wimey storyline wherein Amy and Rory got separated by time and we got an interesting echo of "The Eleventh Hour" - The Doctor came back for Amy much later than intended, and her waiting had turned her bitter and hateful - was the idea that there weren't really any bad guys here, just miscommunication and misunderstanding; the Handbots genuinely believed that they were doing the right thing, even if we knew that their kindness was likely to result in Amy's death. Somehow, that made an already heartbreaking episode - Seriously, I'm not the only one who teared up during this one, right? - even more so.
Are The "Bad Guys" Right To Fear The Doctor?
There were three particular moments that stood out in this episode, continuing this season's (and last, by the time we got to the final two episodes) theme that just maybe the Doctor really is trouble. Rory's indignation at the Doctor's behavior was telling - Not only his (entirely appropriate) "Why don't you look at a history book to find out if there's a plague" question, but (more importantly?) his "You're trying to turn me into you" when he realizes that he's been forced to choose the death of one of the two Amys - and I can't quite get over OlderAmy's "I call it what it is" when explaining why her sonic probe wasn't called a "screwdriver"... There's something in that line that suggests that, just maybe, other people shouldn't buy into the Doctor's idea that this is all fun (Remember his rules, back in "Let's Kill Hitler"?), after all. I mean, it's not like companions get to regenerate if the kinds of life-threatening situations the Doctor likes to blunder into go wrong, is it...?
(Seeing just how bitter Amy became, waiting a second time - a much longer time - for the Doctor seemed like a warning against traveling with him, as well: Imagine knowing what the Doctor is capable of, and still ending up being abandoned for so long...)
What's With All These "No Regeneration" Deaths, All Of A Sudden?
Actually, talking about regenerations, what's with the three no-regeneration threats we've seen so far this season? We've seen the (a) Doctor die in "The Impossible Astronaut" by, essentially, being killed during regeneration, we've seen the Doctor almost die in "Let's Kill Hitler" because of a toxic agent that somehow bypasses renegerations, and this week, we found out that Chan7 (Chain7?) would also, somehow, prevent the Doctor from regenerating. Is this simply an attempt to bypass the lack of dramatic tension that regeneration causes, or should we be paying attention to the sudden appearance of ways to get around the one thing that made the Doctor essentially immortal?
(Also: Did the Doctor die in "Let's Kill Hitler," and then start a whole new life/regeneration cycle when Melody resurrected him? How many incarnations does the Doctor actually have now...?)
And talking of being immortal...
Did The Doctor Just Tell Us That He's Planning On Undoing His Own Death?
Think about the Doctor's description of the kind of individual that can rewrite time: Am I really the only person that thinks that he really wasn't talking about Amy? After all, he now knows the exact date and time that he's supposed to die, and let's be honest - Does anyone seem less likely to quietly go into that good night than the Doctor...?
Just How Epic Is The Amy/Rory Love Story?
And I thought that Rory's waiting 2000 years to protect Amy was an ultimate romantic gesture... But watching Amy decide to "rip time apart" for Rory may have trumped it. The relationship between Amy and Rory has become the most important thing in this show over the last couple of seasons - It's been one of the most obvious themes, yes (And it's wonderful to see that, after what seemed like a statement that no romance could ever stand up to the Doctor, during the Russell T. Davies years), but it's also something that has done the impossible at least twice: Amy essentially subconsciously willed Rory back into existence during "The Pandorica Opens" last year because of her love for him, and then Rory and Amy's love changed history this week. Never mind the fact that the two of them are also responsible for River Song - Hey, a third impossible thing (although creating a new Time Lord wasn't exactly their plan)! - I'm becoming slowly convinced that Doctor Who is making the case for Amy and Rory's relationship being revealed to be the one thing that will keep the Doctor alive, in the end.