Sunday, September 18, 2011

Doctor Who Thoughts: "The Girl Who Waited" & "The God Complex"

Never did get around to writing about last week's gut-wrenching Doctor Who episode "The Girl Who Waited," but it worked out just fine since this week's "The God Complex" played off quite nicely with the previous episode.

From the surface, both episodes are exactly like every other Doctor Who episode wherein he and his companions are transported to a place where danger and adventure go hand-in-hand. In last week's episode, Amy is separated from her boys and becomes trapped in a place where time is quicker and thus has to spend 36 years waiting to be rescued. In this week's episode, all three get trapped in a mysterious hotel where the rooms contain people's greatest fears and a monstrous Minotaur roam the place killing people. The episodes, however, quickly become a more intense study on the nature of the Doctor's relationship with his companions, more specifically with his current ones, Amy and Rory, and the difficult choices that have to be made.

The girls who waited and waited...

The phrase (not the episode) "the girl who waited" has been oft-repeated during Moffat's tenure to refer to young Amelia Pond waiting for her Doctor all those years ago. It's a touching, yet somber, reminder of how much the Doctor has already affected this young girl's life. This season alone, she had to wait for the Doctor to save her after being kidnapped by the Silence and then to wait for him again all summer before getting news regarding her stolen baby. This last point also reiterates that Rory has been affected by this as well and in fact he became "the boy who waited" (although willfully) at the end of the fifth season. All of this is to say that as affected as they both have been, they do continue to travel with the Doctor, to explore all of the wonders of space and time with him. With the episode "The Girl Who Waited" and "The God Complex" though, it seems that time is coming to an end.

The Amy who waited for 36 years for Rory and the Doctor to rescue her was someone who lost all of her faith. It was telling, however, that she focused most of her anger at the Doctor because he took them there, he should've known better. It was very difficult to see one of the Doctor's companions to so harshly and quite rightly criticize and berate him and once Rory had realized the extent of the fucked-up-ness of the situation, he too, explodes at the Doctor's carelessness and selfishness. The end was heartbreaking with the Doctor forcing Rory to choose between old Amy and young Amy knowing that with either choice, he'll be breaking Amy's heart and that was just something that Rory never thought he was capable of doing and surely he blames the Doctor for this. In fact, the one thing that bothered me initially during this week's episode was that Rory seemed just a bit too forgiving of the Doctor after last week's traumatizing experience. But in one scene where Rory talked about traveling with the Doctor in the past tense, which the Doctor pointed out to him, it was clear that this is something he carries.

With Rory's faith the Doctor shaky, this week's episode focused on Amy's faith and where better to test one's faith than in a hotel where a Minotaur consumed people's faith? The specifics of the episode weren't as important as the end result of Amy realizing that the Doctor is simply a bastard and despite the wonders he has shown her and all of the times he has saved her, there are also moments of nightmarish hell and a future time when he might not be able to save her. She had to be reminded of that time he abandoned her when she was a young child. It was a learning experience for the Doctor, too, who seemed at the end to realize that the best thing he could do for Amy and Rory was to bid them farewell (basically, him owning up to his obvious god complex). In the past, he never really confronted this separation head on. For Rose and Donna, he had no choice but to leave them and Martha made that choice herself. For Jack and Sarah Jane, he didn't even say goodbye. It's fitting that Toby Whithouse wrote this latest episode since he also wrote "School Reunion" where the Doctor did meet up with Sarah Jane again after all these years and they finally got to say their goodbyes. I don't think it's truly goodbye for Amy and Rory, at least for this season, but with two episodes left, the end is definitely nearing.

Other random tidbits:

- Rory in glasses is the best thing in the history of best things. Seriously, I was distracted by the hotness throughout the episode.

- I find it ridiculously cool that Amy and Rory's house is painted in a shade of blue and their door is most definitely in TARDIS blue.

- That scene with Rory and old Amy talking through the TARDIS door was heartbreaking and I'm sure not coincidentally reminiscent of the Ten/Rose scene in "Doomsday."

- Old Amy crafting a robot and naming him Rory is probably the saddest detail in that episode.

- The Doctor calling Amy "Amy Williams" was a gasp-worthy moment. Others might see it as anti-feminist or giving into some kind of patriarchal system, but I think it was more the Doctor finally seeing Amy as an adult and not the child he met all those years ago.

- Rory's quip about wanting to inform the next of kin of those people who the Doctor gets too close with was hilarious as it is spot-on, right?

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