THE GIRL WHO waited was heartbreaking and that is something that Doctor Who has rarely been in its long history. Steven Moffatt has written an episode that can stand up alongside some of the series' best -- Father's Day, Turn Left, Love and Monsters -- as well as standing up against scripts written for other fantasy series.
It works because the idea is simple, yet it is an idea that could only be told in a science fiction context: What happens when you can rescue someone you just lost and another version of that person left behind for thirty six years?
The decision is made doubly heartbreaking because it is Rory who has to make the decision about someone he loves deeply. How do you choose between two versions of someone you love? Someone you just lost mere moments ago and one who has stayed lost for years and has accumulated a wealth of experiences? Rory wants to save both and the Doctor makes him believe that he can do it, but I don't think many longtime watchers of the program didn't know that he was lying about that. There could only be one who would survive.
The younger version of Amy lives and the older version fades out of existence. A woman who had spent the better part of her life surviving in a gilded hell, a woman with so much life experience -- memories, emotions, scars physical and mental -- must never have come into being.
It's a trope that is not new to science fiction, but it has rarely been played out with such gut-wrenching earnestness. Rarely is it played out with characters that the audience has so much emotionally invested in.
I cannot help but applaud Moffatt for the script and the actors for performances that hit all the right notes right up to the end. The make-up for older Amy also deserves a mention. It was so subtle yet incredibly effective. The make-up and Karen Gillian's performance were so spot-on I had no trouble believing that I was looking at a 56 year old Amy.
The only real quibble I have was with the emotional "blunting" at the end. Amy tells Rory not to open the door, taking some of the heartbreaking decision away from him. That was unfortunate because Arthur Darvill had given such an incredible performance I would have like d to have seen his character actually have to make the choice on his own.
Altogether a masterful episode, one that they will have trouble topping in the few remaining hours the series has left until the season finale.
9-and-a-half Rory Cams out of 10.
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