the Little Red Reviewer

The Original Girl Who Waited

Posted on: April 14, 2013

I rewatched one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes the other night, “The Girl in the Fireplace”.  In this episode, The Doctor, Rose, and Mickey arrive in an abandoned spaceship. The crew are nowhere to be found but an immense amount of energy is being expended to do, well, something.  It’s discovered the different windows in the ship look into 18th century France and focus on the life of Reinette, soon be known as Madame de Pompadour.

Hello little girl! ehhm, what year is it?

Hello little girl! ehhm, what year is it?

When the Doctor first discovers the connection between the abandoned wreck and Reinette, she’s a little girl, maybe 7 years old, and she sees him through her fireplace.  They talk a moment, the connection is broken, and a few minutes later the Doctor is able to speak to her again. It’s been just minutes for him, but for Reinette it’s been weeks.  The Doctor saves her from a mechanical automaton that states it’s waiting for her to be completed.

The mystery of the episode is what happened to the crew of the ship? What’s with all these beautiful clockwork automatons who are planning to kill Reinette when she’s “complete”? And why in the world would a ship be obsessed with the life of Madame de Pompadour?

clockwork automatons may be totally creepy. . .

clockwork automatons may be totally creepy. . .

. . . but are in fact rather empty headed

. . . but are in fact rather empty headed

Every time The Doctor sees Reinette, she’s a little older. The windows in the ship each look out onto different times in her life. Her entire life passes by, and for the Doctor, it’s only a few hours. She understands his loneliness,  how terrible it is for him to watch someone he cares for age at an accelerated rate, and have that person leave him behind. It’s terribly romantic. At one point he even tells her to “pack a bag”, because he’ll show her the universe. In another conversation she congratulates him as her imaginary friend who survived until adulthood. She even comes up with a few names for her strange be-suited imaginary friend, among them are “lonely angel” and  close to the end of the episode she implores him to save her, practically demanding that he appear because she needs him.

is this one of those kissy stories? Well, not exactly. well, a little bit. . . well, yes.

is this one of those kissy stories? Well, not exactly. well, a little bit. . . well, yes.

I won’t spoil the end of the episode for those of you who haven’t seen it. it’s a stand alone episode, so you can watch it even if you know nothing about the Doctor Who universe.

But wait, all of this sounds familiar.

Meets her as a little girl, promises to return soon but it takes years, she thinks he’s an imaginary friend, and she’s able to force him to appear when she demands it?

Dearest Amy – You know I love you to pieces and you got to dance with The Doctor at your wedding and all, but in my mind Reinette will always be the original girl who waited.

amy pond

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16 Responses to "The Original Girl Who Waited"

To be honest, I haven’t started watching the series with the current doctor except for the first episode with Amy as the companion, but The Girl in the Fireplace is one of my favorite episodes. I always liked the episodes where they showed that the Doctor’s sense of time is different from ours, such as in the third episode of the first season where the Doctor (Chris Eccleston at that time) brings Rose home and while it was only a day for her and the doctor, it’s been a year for everyone else on Earth.

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I’m not a huge fan of Matt Smith. I can happily go back and rewatch the Eccleston and Tennant seasons over and over again.

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Meh, Eccleston was too much of an action hero and I see Smith (who I like a lot) headed the same way. The only thing I liked about Eccleston’s doctor was his melancholy about being the last Time Lord, though that seems to have been forgotten, even through Tennant’s maudlin moments. Ah well, none of them hold a candle to Baker. The REAL Doctor. :)

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I wish I’d gotten introduced to Doctor Who way back when. Then Baker could be my Doctor. but ahh well, I’m a victim of being born too late.

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Yeah, true, but be careful of what you wish for, because if you had you’d be as old and crusty as I am, not to mention cynically appraising all the new Doctors…

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This is one of the best episodes of any Doctor Who from its earliest run right through the reboot. Love it.

Actually, Doctor Who was being filmed at my work place today and the Doctor was in the house… while I was working.

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you can’t just say “they were filming Doctor Who at my workplace today, while I was there”, and leave it at that! I demand details!!! :)

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Well when I arrived at my museum the BBC had taken over the main hall and were running wires up a balcony into a number of galleries. There were extras – police with weapons and possibly aliens (rumour) – lots of people running back and forth with equipment. I was in an office so you can imagine my disappointment when co-workers gibbered excitedly about seeing Matt Smith leave for dinner while I was stuck at work… such a nice day outside as well.

On the way home I saw another TV crew filming but that was for a TV show I don’t watch :P

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i wanna work where you work. i’ll sweep the floors?

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I work in a nice place and it’s cool that the Doctor pops in from time to time. If a job comes up I’ll send it your way ;)

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“Every time The Doctor sees Reinette, she’s a little older.”

Overtones of the Doctor and River Song, too (although I can’t quite work out which way round).

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I was thinking that exact thing too!

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::high-fives!:: This is one of my fave episodes! I love the costumes–too gorgeous! and Mikey’s finally getting a backbone round about now.

I find this episode incredibly sad, too. What a fantabulous companion Reinette would have made!

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i know!! this episode was period costume heaven! In the trivia on imdb, they were saying the costumes were so valuable that a) the horse wasn’t allowed near them, and b) actors weren’t allowed out of their trailers when it was raining. crazy!

and YES, Reinette would have made the best ever companion!! No reason she couldn’t be a companion, the Doctor could just return her 20 minutes later, and no one would have needed to know anything was up.

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Man, the Moffat who wrote that episode and the Moffat in charge of Who now seem pretty different, huh?

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yeah, tell me about it. :(

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