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Doctor Who Season 6: 5 Questions About “The Girl Who Waited”

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.

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Comments

  • Anonymous

    I think the question of “right” is essential to looking at the episode. I’m grateful that the episode didn’t make light of the consequences of the decision, but I do believe the Doctor went too far, which could potentially be fantastic for the narrative.

    A few too many thoughts on last night’s Doctor Who: http://theoncominghope.blogspot.com/2011/09/doctor-who-on-forgotten-wives-and.html

  • http://twitter.com/Dalekbuster523 Sean Bassett

    Amy and Rory’s love keeping the Doctor alive?How would that work?

  • Anonymous

    I agree on the first two plus i think the doctor has ten other regenerations that he gained from melody pond/river song as she was on her third regeneration when she tried to kill him. He definetely is.

    Amy and rory are just that awesome.

     

  • Espike1

    There is no set limit on regenerations.  The number was said once in one old episode.   They even poke a stick at it in the episode of Sara Jane when he was asked and he said some large  number and then said “i don’t know”.  

  • FredII

    The no regeneration toxin was something introduced at the end of the Master’s Storyline.  The idea being that Unit created it just incase the Doctor ever went Rouge.   Which is an interesting point in context here.  At the time there was a suggestion that infact, the super antiregeneration toxin was just a ruse, but perhaps it wasn’t, and more to the point, that might have been where this whole question of how dangerous is the Doctor starts.

    If you remember this far back in what may or may not be continuity, in the Trial of the Time Lord, Dr. Who’s last regeneration (known as the Valyard) basicly frames his former self to have all his future regenerations given to him (that has got to be a major paradox right there).

    The suggestion is, that when the doctor had to finnally face death, real and eternal death, his sweet nature faded and he became as much a jerk as any privledged waitrel at the gates of hell.  Perhaps I’m over stating it, but if you think about regeneration as this incredible get out of jail free card for the Doctor, it makes one wonder what the Doctor might do knowing that his get out of jail free card might one day get revoked.

  • Not Daniel

    That’s incorrect.  In “The Deadly Assassin,” it is specifically stated that Time Lords can regenerate only twelve times.  In “Mawdryn Undead,” the Doctor says unequivocally that Time Lords can regenerate twelve times and that he himself has already regenerated four times.  In “The Five Doctors,” Borusa refers to eventually running out of regenerations, and in the same story reference is made to granting the Master a new cycle of regenerations (as he’s already used up all of his).  The TV Movie reiterates the “twelve regenerations/thirteen lives” rule, and restates that the Master has used up all of his.

    It *is* true that in the Sarah Jane episode “Death of the Doctor,” when Clyde asks the Eleventh Doctor how many times he can regenerate, the Doctor replies, “507,” but he does not comment further on it (he *certainly* doesn’t say “I don’t know”).

  • Melsner73

    In case the Doctor went Rouge?  He might turn a lovely shade of red powder that is applied to the cheeks?

  • +40 Teenage Werewolf

    Did Older Amy really die? Could this be another elaborate plot by The Silence to create the perfect weapon to defeat The Doctor? First, a human plus time lord child programmed to destroy The Doctor by becoming a childhood friend with her parents and then growing up with them until she can get close to her target. Now they collect the abandoned Amy, who hates The Doctor, after she has been abandoned for a second time?

    Is there any other show that provides so much mental itching powder? 

  • Liammail1

    I dont think you understood the robots. Of course they were trying to do good. they were attempting to distribute medicine to help people. The reason that is bad is because its an alien medicine so it doesnt work for humans.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6YVR4M34MJ3GTLFFZQ32DSV2JI Mark

    I actually heard the name of the disease as called Chin 7, which would explain why this incarnation of the Doctor would be particularly susceptible.

  • Lastnamecumbie

    I cried when rory had to keep the door closed and sacrifice his older wife all I could do was think of my girlfriend and even though it is a show rory’s love is what i have for my gf now i think the doctor knowing his death is something odd because when he look at the astronaut he said i know what you are here for but river song was in  prison but not as a child two river song is there n acts like she does not know what happened so maybe the astronaut is not river song i just cant wait to see how this is all going to end and no you are not alone i cried to at the end lol

  • Hotsaucehugh2000

    actually, the Valeyard was revealed to be a possible  future version of the Doctor, somewhere between his 12th and 13th selves. The deal he had with the Time Lords was to move his status from possible to assured.

  • Gildren

    I thought Amy was very whinny saying she’d been stuck for 30 plus years.  Rory was stuck guarding her over 1,000 years as the Last Centurion.  I kept expecting Rory to say, “I know what you mean, Love, around year 250 I was running naked and eating frogs raw just for sport.”

  • http://twitter.com/HoroscopeRaper Elias Algorithm

    Yeah, but not only did Rory KNOW he’d be waiting, he knew how long and insisted on doing it. It isn’t the same thing as saying you’ll be there in five minutes and showing up 36 years later. I don’t think it was really him she was mad at in all this, he was just someone she could take it out on and get a real response. Seeing him react the same way he always has helped bring her around.

  • Anonymous

    The effects of the Chen7 virus are so calamitous that they would inhibit his ability to regenerate, just like the poison from Let’s Kill Hitler.  They’ve already shown in The Impossible Astronaut and The Doctor’s Wife that it’s possible to interrupt the regeneration process, and effectively kill a Time Lord.  House had done it dozens of times.

    The regeneration cycle will become an issue in a few years, and when it does, it will be explained.  The most reasonable explanation is that the 12-regeneration limit is one set by the Time Lords, perhaps to conserve the energy from the Eye of Harmony. With no other Time Lords around, the laws don’t apply, and The Doctor can change them as he likes.

    The Doctor has “Died” without regeneration before, in The Brsain of Morbius, and was given a jumpstart by the Elixir of Life.  So there’s any number of outs the writers can give themselves.  The most likely scenarios is they’ll sort it out ahead of time, wave it off entirely (much to the consternation of the hardcore fans) or they’ll make it an over-arcing plot point for the 13th actor to take the role, having to either find a way around it, or come to grips with his end (unlikely).

  • Lead_sharp

    The one thing I’ve noticed in this (absolutely STONKING AMAZING WONDERFUL series) is that the Doctor is a facilitator not a hero. Rory and Amy save the day, or in last weeks, the dad saves it, when The Doctor shows them how. 

    The importance of family, love and friendship are tantamount and by forcing people to make the right choice and showing them the path to redemption and fifty ways to stuff a Dalek has become more important than just waltzing in a saving the day.

     

  • LG93

    One line summed up Rory’s character in this episode: “I don’t care that you got old. I care that we didn’t get old TOGETHer.”

  • Kurumais

    im not buying this blame the doctor stuff  this is all moffat trying to project this interpretation on the show 
    my question from this episode  why wouldnt rory and amy go home?  they know the doctor isnt going to change they know whenever they open the door of the tardis they might be headed into danger.   

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QKN5MHOI6VUFOYCTV5REK7M7A4 Jacob

    There’s no real way for Old Amy to have survived. She wasn’t just wiped from existence, her very being was replaced by someone else. Even if she was saved, it would be a different Old Amy.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VZCZFQ5UOSG55SSHXUCSNSHEGM Becky

    However, the timelords could *grant* another regeneration cycle, as they did with the Master, which indicates that it is perhaps an artificial limitation in the first place. Without the rest of the Time Lords there now, is the Doctor limited in his regenerations? 
    Also there is somewhere a quote from one of the producers or writers that he sees the  12 regenerations thing  as more a “speed limit” than the law of gravity–and without the rest of the Time Lords to enforce it…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VZCZFQ5UOSG55SSHXUCSNSHEGM Becky

    I agree with you to a point, however the Doctor makes mistakes and does fail people.

  • Timothy

    I don’t think we have seen the last of the other Amy, her hatred for the Doctor is mirrored in Madam Kovarian (co ovum, sharing the same ovum).  I think the evil red haired, eye-patched woman IS Amy.