On Doctor Who, the Doctor’s companions play a vital role; the audience sees the Doctor’s world through the companions’ eyes, discovering new adventures alongside them. The Doctor’s current companions, Amy Pond and her husband Rory, have found their lives inextricably bound to the Doctor, as their daughter River Song is fated to one day kill the Doctor. Because Amy and Rory have played such an important role this season, the story often seems to shift its focus from the Doctor to Amy and Rory, making the companions the star of the show. This week’s episode, “The Girl Who Waited,” most explicitly shoves Amy and Rory into the limelight, with the Doctor making less of an impact on the story.
As a long-time fan of Doctor Who, I have found Amy Pond a difficult character to like, because I feel that the writers have not given her much depth. Amy Pond is spirited and clever, but other than that she seems exclusively characterized by her relationships with the Doctor and Rory. “The Girl Who Waited” shows a stronger, more active side of Amy, but undermines that emphasizing how empty Amy’s life is without Rory.
In “The Girl Who Waited,” the Doctor’s plans for a fun vacation fall apart when the planet he intended to show Amy and Rory turns out to have been quarantined due to plague. When Amy loses herself in an alternate time stream, Rory must find Amy before the robots that administer medicine to the plague victims accidentally kill her. Amy’s resourcefulness allows her to disable the robots and manipulate the facility’s interface, but she can do little more than wait for Rory and the Doctor to save her.
When Rory does lock on to Amy’s time stream, he discovers that Amy has been waiting for 36 years. In that time, Amy has become a fierce fighter with great technical prowess, but she has also become bitter after spending decades with no one but a disarmed robot nicknamed “Rory” to keep her company. Rory asks this older version of Amy to help, but the older Amy is reluctant to help Rory rescue her younger self, because then her future will change and that version of herself will die.
The Doctor convinces the older version of Amy that both versions of herself can exist at the same time, and older Amy agrees to help Rory rescue her younger self. As she and Rory spend more time together, the older Amy’s heart softens as she remembers all the fond memories she and Rory shared. Amy’s fond memories of Rory create a telepathic link between the two versions of Amy, which allows them to bring the younger version of Amy back into Rory’s time stream. However, the two Amys create a time paradox, so the older Amy must sacrifice herself to allow Rory and the younger version of herself to escape. As the robots close in for the attack, the older Amy tearfully reminisces about her time with Rory.
Although this episode emphasizes Rory’s importance to Amy and how much Amy needs Rory in her life, it is important to remember that Rory needs Amy just as much as she need him. After all, Rory did spend 2,000 years guarding Amy when she was trapped in the Pandorica last season. Also, Amy has saved Rory’s skin plenty of times. However, it seems that as of late Amy has been playing the damsel-in-distress role more and more, while Rory has grown into a stronger and much more assertive character.
Meanwhile, Amy’s character arc has focused on her abandonment issues, having been left behind by the Doctor as a child, and her process of learning to move past that to allow herself to open her heart to Rory. While the warm and loving Amy that we know is certainly better than the cold and bitter Amy we encounter in “The Girl Who Waited,” I believe that Amy and Rory would be more well-rounded characters if their personalities and motivations were driven by more than their relationship to each other.
The Doctor, Amy, and Rory return next week in the Doctor Who episode “The God Complex.”