The Girl Who Waited (TV story)

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The Girl Who Waited was the tenth episode of series 6 of Doctor Who.

The moral choice at the centre of the story made it a character study of the relationship between Amy and Rory. The Eleventh Doctor's recklessness toward travelling across history would also be brought into question, and how he chose to lie in the face of a grim outcome.

Synopsis[[edit]]

The Eleventh Doctor, Rory Williams and Amy Pond land on Apalapucia in the middle of a plague. Amy is left behind, and the Doctor and Rory must save her...but time for Amy is running at a different speed.

Plot[[edit]]

The Eleventh Doctor brings Amy and Rory to the resort planet of Apalapucia, one of the top holiday destinations in the universe. Though he promises views of "sunsets, spires, and soaring silver colonnades", they step out of the TARDIS to a clinically white room possessing only an exit door with two buttons, labelled "Green Anchor" and "Red Waterfall". While Amy steps back into the TARDIS to retrieve her mobile phone, the Doctor and Rory use the door — pressing the "Green Anchor" button — and enter another room, which holds a table on which rests a large magnifying glass. When Amy steps back into the corridor, she also uses the door — pressing the "Red Waterfall" button — and finds herself in a similar-looking room, though Rory and the Doctor are not present.

The Doctor and Rory are terrified by the virus.

The Doctor activates the time glass and sees Amy. A Handbot enters the room, though, and welcomes the Doctor and Rory to the Two Streams Facility, a "kindness facility" for victims of Chen-7, the so-called "one-day plague" (once the host is infected, they die in a day) which affects two-hearted races — including native Apalapucians ‎and Time Lords.

As the Doctor and Rory are held at bay by the robot, Amy appears to fast-forward within the glass; when the Doctor finally stabilises it, she angrily informs him that it has been a week since they last spoke. From this, the Doctor is able to deduce that Amy has wound up in a faster time stream which they cannot access; their only means of communicating with her is through the glass. The Handbot informs them that the other time streams are synced for visits, so those not affected by the Chen-7 virus are able to watch the entire lives of their quarantined loved ones, as opposed to being limited to the viewing of one day on their deathbed. This is meant as a kindness for the patient and loved ones, as the virus that kills in a day instead takes several years to kill. When Rory exits the Green Anchor room and steps into the Red Waterfall room to find Amy, she is not there.

The Doctor removes the magnifying glass from the table, but accidentally activates an alarm in the process. He orders Amy to go into the facility and seek a hiding place where she might wait for him to find her. Before he leaves, he warns her to not let the Handbots administer any medicine to her, because she possesses only one heart, and is immune to Chen-7. The Handbots' "kindness" is medicine meant for a different species and will kill her. Before departing, Amy asks Rory to save her. The Doctor and Rory return to the TARDIS, where the Doctor uses the magnifying glass to lock onto Amy's time stream. Because the Doctor is at risk of becoming infected with Chen-7 (which prevents regeneration), he cannot go into the facility; therefore, he sends Rory in his place, though they are in constant communication through a pair of glasses wired with a camera. The Doctor insists that it is very difficult to break through a time wall, but sends the TARDIS off on course regardless.

Meanwhile, Amy has arrived in the Two Streams lobby, where she is met by a holographic receptionist informing her of all the "entertainment zones" within the facility that she now has access to as a resident. She is also introduced to the Interface, who claims to be Amy's guide within the facility. As Amy strolls along a promenade looking for somewhere to hide and wait for the Doctor, she is met by a series of Handbots, all of whom attempt to inject her with "kindness". She seeks shelter from the pursuing Handbots within a vent system in a maintenance room. The smoke from the vent prevents the Handbots from detecting her, and she manages to escape.

She arrives in another white room with a console in the centre and empty doorways surrounding it. This is the gate, and the console buttons control various doorways which lead to the entertainment zones. Amy chooses a majestic garden, which the Interface informs her is the perfect replica of Shill Governor's mansion on Shallana. Amy asks the Interface about the vent system she hid in earlier. The vent channels the exhaust fumes from the temporal engines, which hold the multiple time streams in place. Amy deduces from this that the engines interfere with the Handbots' sensors and wonders where the temporal engines are located. The Interface points her in the right direction, and, as Amy prepares to leave in search of them, two Handbots materialise around her. Utilising the sleep sensors on their hands, she presses them together, deactivating both and escaping once more. Arriving at the temporal engines room, Amy scrawls a message for the Doctor and Rory on the door: "Doctor, I'm waiting."

Meanwhile, Rory and the Doctor have landed in Amy's time stream, and Rory is exploring the art gallery when he is confronted by a warrior wearing makeshift armour — made from a dismantled Handbot — and bearing a katana. The warrior lunges at him with the sword raised. With Rory cornered, it whispers that it waited for him. As it steps away, it removes the helmet shielding its face to reveal that it is, in fact, Amy — though she is much older than before. The Doctor, who is able to see Amy through Rory's glasses, realises that he landed the TARDIS much later in Amy's time stream than he had initially anticipated.

Amy takes out a Handbot that has snuck up behind Rory, rewiring its black box with her "sonic probe" — which she has constructed during her time in the facility — to shield her presence from the other Handbots. Rory questions why Amy is still in the facility when she is clearly much older, and she bitterly replies that it's because they didn't save her as they'd promised. She has been living in the facility for thirty-six years, and during that time, she has come to hate the Doctor more than she's ever hated anyone in her life.

Amy leaves the room, closely followed by Rory, who suggests that they could return the TARDIS to the right time stream and stop Amy's wait from happening; however, the Doctor admits that this is Amy's time stream, so they can't leave. They return to the temporal engines room to find a Handbot that Amy has literally disarmed and named Rory; it is her sole companion, though she refers to it as a pet. She continues to berate the Doctor, claiming that all she had for thirty-six years was cold hard reality, and her life is hell. The Doctor asks to speak to the Interface, insisting that he will put everything right. Since the Interface cannot be activated inside the engine room, Amy takes Rory to the garden. The Interface shows the Doctor where the regulator valve is held, and the Doctor asks Rory to speak to Amy so they can run over "technical specifications". With the information he gets from her, the Doctor realises that he can set the time streams right by using the temporal engines to fold the two points of Amy's timeline together. However, Amy angrily rejects this plan to save her past self.

They return to the temporal engines room, with the Doctor pleading for Amy to agree to the plan. She continues to resist, knowing that helping her past self will mean the past thirty-six years of her life never happened and she would cease to exist. Instead, she asks for the Doctor and Rory to take her with them, leaving the younger Amy behind to live out the next thirty-six years in solitude. Rory, who is angry at the Doctor for causing so much trouble, angrily throws the glasses to the ground; the feedback on them allows the Doctor to hear the present Amy crying in her own point on the timeline within the engine room. Rory uses the time glass to view the younger Amy and forces the older Amy to confront her own past.

As the older Amy and her past self communicate, the older Amy bitterly begins to remember the real reason she was never rescued: it wasn't because Rory and the Doctor left her behind, but because her future self refused to help them when it mattered. The two Amys begin to discuss Rory and how he's always been in love with her — going so far as to pretend to be in a rock band when they were in school — and how she needs to be saved for Rory. After this conversation, the older Amy informs Rory that she is going to "pull time apart" for him, but that she will only help if the Doctor agrees to let her travel in the TARDIS alongside her past self. The Doctor reluctantly admits that the TARDIS could sustain the paradox. Through a hijacking of the regulator valves and by insisting that both Amys concentrate on a powerful memory — which turns out to be their first kiss with Rory while dancing the Macarena — the Doctor is able to pull the younger Amy into her future self's point in the time stream.

They set off through the facility for the room where the Doctor waits in the TARDIS; however, because of the massive paradox, the TARDIS is malfunctioning. As a result, the group only has eight minutes to get back to it. The older Amy bothers the younger Amy by flirting with Rory. Once the group reaches the art gallery, they find themselves surrounded by Handbots, which the older Amy agrees to fight off while Rory and her past self run ahead to the TARDIS. However, the younger Amy is put to sleep by one of the Handbots, and although Rory quickly deactivates it by smashing the Mona Lisa over its head, she remains unconscious, and he must carry her to the TARDIS. Inside, the Doctor insists that she's just been given a sedative and that she will be fine. Rushing back to the doors, the Doctor spots the older Amy, who begins running towards him. As he shouts that he's sorry, he closes the door, trapping her outside. Rory protests, but the Doctor explains that he lied earlier. There can never be two Amys in the TARDIS, so Rory must choose which Amy he wants to bring along.

Through the door, the older Amy tells Rory that, if he loves her, he shouldn't let her in. Seeing Rory carry the younger Amy to the TARDIS made her realise just how much he truly loves her, and that she'd forgotten how much she loved "being Amy Pond in the TARDIS with Rory Williams." Rory re-locks the door, apologising to her. He is clearly devastated.

The older Amy turns away from the TARDIS to see that she has been surrounded by an army of Handbots, all of whom tell her not to be alarmed because "this is a kindness." She calls for the Interface resignedly and asks to see Earth. When the hologram appears, she asks the Interface if she ever told her about a boy she met there, "who pretended to be in a band." The Handbots step through the hologram, dissolving it, and put Amy to sleep by touching her neck. As they prepare to inject her, the sound of the TARDIS engines is heard, as the older Amy is erased from existence.

Rory and the Doctor wait in the TARDIS, waiting for Amy to wake up. Rory questions whether or not the Doctor always knew that saving both Amys wasn't possible, but he dodges answering, insisting that he promised to save her and he did. Rory accepts this. When Amy awakes, she asks after her older self. The Doctor can offer only a grave look, before leaving.

Cast[[edit]]

Uncredited Cast[[edit]]

Crew[[edit]]

General production staff

Script department

Camera and lighting department

Art department

Costume department

Make-up and prosthetics

Movement

Casting

General post-production staff

Special and visual effects

Sound



Not every person who worked on this adventure was credited. The absence of a credit for a position doesn't necessarily mean the job wasn't required. The information above is based solely on observations of the actual end credits of the episodes as broadcast, and does not relay information from IMDB or other sources.
          

Jay Harley was credited under their deadname as 3rd assistant director.


Worldbuilding[[edit]]

Communications technology[[edit]]

  • The Doctor mentions Twitter.
  • A time glass can be used to communicate between streams in a zone using multiple time stream compression engines.

The Doctor[[edit]]

  • The Doctor is willing to accept blame for the TARDIS landing too late in Amy's timestream.
  • The Doctor lies to the Amys about their chances of existing at the same time, and in the end locks out the older Amy as she runs for the TARDIS, condemning her to erasure.
  • The Doctor gives Rory a pair of glasses from his bag.

Locations[[edit]]

TARDIS[[edit]]

Temporal theory[[edit]]

Planets[[edit]]

  • The Doctor mentions the Planet of the Coffee Shops, saying it was voted the number one place to visit for an intergalactic traveller. Apalapucia was voted number two.

Story notes[[edit]]

  • Working titles for this episode included The Visitors' Room, The Visiting Room and Kindness.
  • The title references the Doctor's nickname of Amy, given because she waited for him for so long after they first met. (TV: The Eleventh Hour, The Big Bang)
  • The cast list for this episode was, until Heaven Sent, the shortest of any full-length episode of modern Doctor Who. Considering the classic series, it was second only to The Edge of Destruction for fewest cast members.
  • When the Doctor looks for the glasses, a small tape player looking device activates on the TARDIS console and a variation of the original theme arrangement made by Delia Derbyshire can be heard, playing sped-up, in reverse, and deepened in pitch (the specific version used was made in August of 1963, and has been included on several album releases. This version is identical to the '67 variant, but lacking the bassline echo, EQ, and electronic spangles).
  • The lobby where Amy first encounters the Interface is identical to the lobby of the New New York Hospital seen in TV: New Earth.
  • Matt Smith and Imelda Staunton would both appear in The Crown. Smith as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh and Staunton as Elizabeth II.
  • Tom MacRae decided to attempt a narrative in the tradition of Steven Moffat's own time-bending stories He also wanted to focus on Amy, and write an adventure specifically designed for her, as opposed to one which was suitable for any companion.
  • Tom MacRae was proud of the finished script, calling it his "most accomplished piece of plotting ever".
  • Beth Willis insisted that Amy's speech about how Rory was the most beautiful man she had ever met make it into the final version.
  • Tom MacRae was pleased that he had the opportunity to do whatever he wanted with the script, whereas Rise of the Cybermen/The Age of Steel had limited plot opportunities and put him in the "second seat" as a writer,
  • Tom MacRae enjoyed exploring Amy and Rory's characters and their past, as the Doctor was "always to a certain extent mythic" which limited what could be explored with his character.
  • Over the course of the writing process, the script came to focus almost exclusively on the Doctor, Amy and Rory while eliminating some secondary characters who were used to set up the premise. In particular, this allowed Tom MacRae to introduce the aged version of Amy much sooner than had originally been the case. The result was more of a character piece, whereas the emphasis had originally been on the prison break elements.
  • Tom MacRae first envisaged the Handbots as cloaked entities whose hands emerged from the folds of their robes. Later they became more explicitly robotic, although MacRae intended for them to wear various uniforms and, disquietingly, have actual human hands.
  • In one draft of the script, the scene near the end in which Rory and the two Amys race to the TARDIS did not include Rory in person; he was watching the scene from the lens. It also included a sequence that featured a Handbot's hand being cut and continuing to walk by itself.
  • With this being a lower-budget episode, Tom MacRae wrote for the sets to be entirely white, and described the sets as "big white boxes". He was pleased with the way it turned out, feeling that the all-white added a "really interesting visual sense to it".
  • The episode swapped places with The God Complex and was made opposite Closing Time. Tom MacRae accordingly revised his scenario to add the stipulation that the Chen-7 virus only affected beings with two hearts. This meant that the Doctor could be confined to the TARDIS for most of the adventure, whereas originally he had accompanied Rory into the Two Streams Facility. The Doctor's exchanges with Rory and Amy would now be delivered via Rory's spectacles, so that Matt Smith would only be needed for a couple of days' filming.
  • The episode formed Block Six of season six (albeit labelled “Block Five”) along with The God Complex.
  • Tom MacRae and Nick Hurran had previously collaborated on the Bonekickers episode "The Lines of War".
  • There was considerable discussion about the aged version of Amy, and whether she would be played by Karen Gillan or an older actress. Gillan herself was keen to tackle the role, and Steven Moffat concluded that audiences would be less sympathetic towards the character if she were portrayed by somebody else.
  • This was the first onset appearance of the Eleventh Doctor's new coat, although Let's Kill Hitler aired first. Its introduction was part of a plan to evolve the Doctor's appearance throughout Matt Smith's tenure.
  • Karen Gillan developed different body-language, vocal range and attitude for the older Amy, whose character has changed after being left behind and in danger. To achieve this, Gillan studied with a voice coach and movement coach. Gillan also wore padding which affected her movement, and stated she spent "hours in make-up".
  • The scenes in the mansion grounds were originally written for a forest environment.
  • Originally, when Amy entered the check-in area, she learned that it was a replica of the Mayfield Avanti Spaceport. She later asked Interface for a picture of the real spaceport, which helped her deduce the location of the temporal engines by noticing that there was an extra door in the simulation.
  • The episode originally closed with the Doctor ruminating that he couldn't keep upending Amy and Rory's life; this would have foreshadowed the end of The God Complex, in which the Doctor returned his companions to Earth. The biggest change was to the sequence of events at the heart of the episode.
  • As scripted, Rory encountered the older Amy before the young Amy was shown entering the gardens. Consequently, the depiction of Amy venturing towards the temporal engines and leaving a note for the Doctor in lipstick was meant to explain the outcome that viewers had already witnessed. The final version instead presented events in a more chronological order.

Ratings[[edit]]

  • UK Overnight: 6.0 Million
  • UK Final: 7.6 Million[1]

Production errors[[edit]]

If you'd like to talk about narrative problems with this story — like plot holes and things that seem to contradict other stories — please go to this episode's discontinuity discussion.
  • When Rory holds up the magnifying glass to Amy's lipstick message, the Doctor's view of Rory's vision comes at an angle impossible for Rory to see through his glasses, and you can see Rory at the very end of the frame.
  • Old Amy talks to Rory about his face when he carried Young Amy to the TARDIS, even though Rory's back was turned to her when he carried Amy.

Continuity[[edit]]

Home video releases[[edit]]

Series 6, part 2 DVD cover

DVD & Blu-ray releases[[edit]]

  • The Girl Who Waited was released in Series 6 Part Two on DVD and Blu-Ray in region 1/A on 8 November 2011, in region 2/B on 10 October 2011 and in region 4/B on 3 November 2011.
  • The episode was later released in the Complete Sixth Series boxset on both DVD and Blu-ray, in region 1/A on 22 November 2011, in region 2/B on 21 November 2011 and in region 4/B on 1 December 2011.

Digital releases[[edit]]

  • In the United Kingdom, this story is available on BBC iPlayer.

External links[[edit]]

Footnotes[[edit]]