Last weekend I watched ‘Night Terrors’ and ‘The Girl who Waited,’ the next installments in my S6 rewatch. I was startlingly unmoved to say anything at the time. Instead, it struck me that much of S5 and S6 comes across as ‘so-so’ while I’m fairly certain none of S1 did. (Possible bias at work here.)
Since then I’ve thought a bit more about ‘Waited’ in particular, especially in light of what I said about ‘The Next Doctor.’ ‘Waited’ features an abandoned and aged Amy, who acquired amazing new skills and knowledge in her struggle to survive and battles bitterness against those who left her. She is strong and smart, and she is angry. Karen Gillan plays her gorgeously. However, weirdly, it’s not her story.
It’s Rory’s story. It’s Rory who has to make the choice, who faces losing the woman he loves no matter what he does. Young Amy might as well be a plastic doll, and Old (sorry) Amy is essentially the villain.
Writer Tom McRae was previously responsible for S2’s ‘Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel,’ another compelling, emotional story about choices and loss. Although Rose is primarily featured in that one, I think it’s actually more Mickey’s story. Mickey takes responsibility both for his gran and for the legacy of his AU counterpart; he chooses to stay behind for them, finally giving up Rose (as far as anyone knows) for good. But there are no plastic dolls in this story. Rose’s story and the Doctor’s may be secondary but they are no less compelling or authentic.
I’m not saying anything is particularly wrong with any of these stories, but they do offer some food for thought.
‘Night Terrors,’ I observe, is written by the ubiquitous Mark Gatiss. Gatiss’ credits include ‘The Unquiet Dead,’ ‘The Idiot’s Lantern,’ ‘Victory of the Daleks,’ ‘Cold War,’ ‘The Crimson Horror,’ ‘Robot of Sherwood,’ and the outstanding docu-drama ‘An Adventure in Space and Time,’ a mixed bag to say the least. The episode is scary, and I do enjoy the relationship between the boy and his father, but overall it fails to stand out. The worst I can say is that I have nothing much to say.
Coming up next: ‘The God Complex’ and ‘Closing Time.’