The Girl Who Waited
The Girl Who Waited was the tenth episode in the sixth series 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 traveling across history would also be brought into question, and how he chose to lie in the face of a grim outcome.
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 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” 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 stabilizes 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 a 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, 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 center 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 materialize around her. Utilizing 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 armor — 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, realizes that he landed the TARDIS much later in Amy’s time stream than he had initially anticipated.
Amy takes out a Handbot that has sneaked 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 realizes 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 a painting 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 realize 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, apologizing 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. They subsequently inject her with their deadly medicine.
Rory and the Doctor sit 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.