Do Not Be Alarmed, This Is a Kindness
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had made it through my entire 100 push ups, five sets of twenty, in cadence with no breaking. I think it was maybe the next day that I got sick and went several days without doing more push ups. It has taken this long to get back to that point, but this morning I again did all five sets in cadence with no breaks. How cool is that? So, if it happens again tomorrow that means it is time to switch to four sets of twenty five. Bonus: that will cut two minutes from my workout by eliminating one of the rest periods between sets. Winning!
As for Doctor Who, it was a pretty dang good one today. So let's talk about that.
The Girl Who Waited
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
The Doctor brings Amy and Rory to the vacation planet of Apalapucia, the second most popular holiday destination in the universe (the first being "The Planet of the Coffee Shops"). Unbeknownst to them, a plague and broken out there which causes the infected to die within 24 hours. This being a very wealthy resort, however, they came up with an extremely kind solution: Those infected are placed into a rapidly-moving time stream such that they can live out their entire lives in comfort at the luxury resort, whilst their bereaved family can spend one day observing and communicating with them from the normal-moving time stream. Unfortunately, Amy gets caught up in a rapid time stream, the Doctor has to stay inside the TARDIS in order to avoid the plague (it only actually affects beings with two hearts), and Rory is sent out with a pair of cool WhateverTechnology eyeglasses to be the Doctor's eyes and ears in a rescue mission to pluck Amy out of the faster time stream.
It doesn't work.
Ultimately Amy spends a full thirty six years completely alone in her own personal time stream, constantly hunted by very helpful robots who want to inject her with medicine that will actually kill her. She becomes a warrior and an inventor, even building her own sonic probe (which she insists is not a screwdriver). She also, after all of that time, has come to hate both Rory and the Doctor for abandoning her in this hell.
All of which leads to a staggering moral dilemma. Rory finally arrives, and he can save younger Amy only if older Amy is willing to give up her entire existence. Which she isn't. It all leads to a heartbreaking scene at the doors of the TARDIS, with Rory having to decide which Amy to let die. It is powerful, powerful stuff and beautifully written. In the end, of course, older Amy sacrifices herself. It is horrible. So horrible, in fact, that the show ends on an uncharacteristically abrupt note with no real denouement. Younger Amy wakes up inside the TARDIS,she asks about her older self, and the Doctor simply walks away.
There are lots of big emotional things going on in this story. Of course it is all about the relationship between Amy and Rory, and (knowing what is coming down the road) is a big hint to where their relationship is headed. This has been a traumatic season in the TARDIS for both of them, and the previous season was no peach either. This story I think marks the turning point where they begin to seriously rethink whether or not to continue on with the Doctor. The other big thing is the examination of the Doctor's irresponsibility towards his companions. He is forced to own up to the fact that the whole situation here is entirely his fault, and things go badly when he tries to lie his way out. It's not pretty, and it definitely points towards his inevitable death that is rapidly approaching.
It is really interesting that the entire story only features the three of them. Sure, four if you count Amy twice, but it is a vanishingly short cast list. There was a very brief scene with a hologram that required another actress, there is voice work by Imelda Staunton (a.k.a. Dolores Umbridge to Harry Potter fans) as a computer interface, but this is easily the smallest cast of speaking/face roles in the modern history of the show. You have to go all the way back to 1964's The Edge of Destruction to find a smaller cast list in the credits.
Also, I thought the makeup effects for older Amy were spectacular. It is not easy to believably age someone up by four decades, but the makeup artists here did a bang-up job with Karen Gillan.
I like this episode a lot, both from a design perspective and from a storytelling perspective. Wibbly-wobbly time is the hallmark of the Moffat era, and this one encapsulates that idea perfectly.
Tomorrow: The Doctor and the Ponds visit The Overlook Hotel. I mean, not really, but... yeah.
Companion(s): Amy Pond, Rory Williams
Episode(s): The Girl Who Waited
Steps Walked: 7,626 today, 3,176,027 total
Distance Walked: 4.20 miles today, 1,658.75 miles total
Push-ups Completed: 100 today, 5,464 total
Sit-ups Completed: 0 today, 929 total
How Many Times has Rory Died?: 4
How Many Times has Amy Died?: 3
Is Anything Cool?: Glasses are cool
Weight: 250.20 lbs (five day moving average), net change -57.10 lbs