Let me start off by saying that when “The Girl Who Waited” came out, I really hated all the “clever” plays on words that occurred using the episode title. But did I let that stop me from doing the same obnoxious thing here? No I did not. Not for one second. So yeah, I hate myself a little bit, but it was totally worth it. You can hate me too. It’s okay.
I suppose I should talk about the episode now huh? Wait. No. I can talk about knitting! As you may have guessed, I’ve done like, none, in a really long time. What can I say? I’ve had more important things to do. Life is like that sometimes. And by “like that,” I mean pretty awesome. Anyway, tonight something possessed me to finally pick up my needles again and get back to it. I completed the big ol’ purple stripe I was working on, and got exactly one row into the next red mini-stripe. So it wasn’t a hugely productive evening, but every little bit yada yada yada. Full disclosure here–I’m actually thinking of cheating on the scarf briefly to make myself a pair of fingerless gloves. It’s frakking cold at work, and typing gets difficult when your fingers are cold and stiff. As it seems I’ll be lucky to get the scarf done by even next winter, I might as well set my sights a bit lower and work on something I have a chance of finishing this year.
Ok, now I suppose I really should talk about this episode, even though I don’t really want to. This was the most difficult episode of the season for me. I guess it was my “Amy’s Choice” of this year. Why do I always have such trouble with the best episodes? Maybe that’s an indicator of just how good they are. Or perhaps it’s an indicator of some deep-seated psychological issue on my part. It’s both, probably.
“The Girl Who Waited” is kind of a masterpiece. But on the other hand, I kind of hate it. This is quite possibly the strongest ambivalence I’ve ever felt about an episode of Doctor Who. It’s gorgeous. It’s brilliantly directed. It’s cleverly and cleanly written. It’s a story that’s simple, but light-years away from being easy. And it makes me mad. I hate the choice that Rory has to make at the end. It makes me uncomfortable to watch it, and it rips me up inside. I realize this is exactly what they’re going for, and in my case, they succeeded in epic fashion. I’ve thought about it a lot, and I’ve realized that I am actually mad at Tom MacRae (and Steven Moffat) for making me feel this way.
One reason I think this episode had such an impact on me is because of how I watched it. I was watching online, and my computer just happened to freeze up at the worst (or best?) possible moment. It was during that gut-wrenching scene at the end when Rory has carried unconscious young Amy into the TARDIS. The Doctor steps to the door where his eyes meet those of old Amy. She sees him and starts to run towards him, and—Zap! No more show. I couldn’t get it back right away, so I figured I’d go for a walk.
I knew what was going to happen. Of course I knew. But I spent 45 minutes walking through a beautiful park thinking “what if?” What if he didn’t slam the door in her face? Could they make that work? And by the time I got back home, I’d decided that it could. Furthermore, I’d decided that that’s what I wanted to happen. But I knew it wasn’t going to. And I also knew that if it did happen, if both Amys somehow miraculously coexisted, there’d be a part of me that would be pissed at the show for taking the easy way out. So I suppose they really couldn’t win with me.
I guess the bottom line is that I think “The Girl Who Waited” is fantastic. I liked so much about it. But I didn’t like it as an episode of Doctor Who. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always need Doctor Who to make me happy. Not at all. Doomsday left me sobbing both times I watched it (consecutively), and it’s one of my favorite episodes of the new series. But I don’t like when Doctor Who leaves me feeling icky. And that’s what this story did. I wish this was a short story. Or an episode of something else. Or even a new/missing adventure book so I could tell myself it “isn’t canon.” Because then I think I would love the shit out of it. As it is, I just can’t.
And jeez, I haven’t even said anything about the Radio Free Skaro commentary. (That in itself should give you an idea of how deeply this episode affected me.) Honestly, I think the delightful commentary is what got me through watching this episode again. If Warren wasn’t ranting in my ear about landlines, and if Steven and Chris weren’t gushing over how beautiful everything was (including Martin Freeman), I’m not sure I would have made it through this tonight. So, not for the first time, RFS has turned what might otherwise have been a lousy evening into something both charming and amusing. Whew!