Love conquers all, and I love conkers.
Strangely enough, only one of these themes is the subject of Tom MacRae's The Girl Who Waited. I'll leave you to guess which it is.
All concerns about their daughter seemingly permanently forgotten, the Doctor takes Rory and Amy to the 2nd best tourist spot in the universe but, with his usual capacity for landing everyone in trouble, they find themselves in a medical facility for people with a plague that kills its victims within a day.
The idea is that, for the victims, the facility compresses time, allowing them to live an entire lifetime in the twenty four hours they have remaining. Someone might question why the compression doesn't also apply to the plague they're carrying, meaning that, in their own time-line, they'd still only live a day. Seemingly that's not the case, although it's never explained why.
While the facility's automated systems see the Doctor and Rory as visitors, they see Amy as a patient, meaning she's trapped there unless the Doctor and Rory can get her out.
Now the Doctor and Rory have to make a choice. Do they take the older Amy with them, thus sentencing the younger Amy to decades of being trapped, or do they go back in time and rescue the younger Amy, meaning the older Amy and all she's been through in 36 years'll be wiped out of existence?
Thanks to some baffling Timey-Wimey gobbledygook, involving electric cables and Love, they manage to make both Amys appear in the same time frame, so they can both, in theory, be rescued.
But the TARDIS'll only allow one of them aboard because of the paradox their co-existence is creating, meaning Rory has to make a choice as to which Amy to abandon to her unhappy fate.
What probably pleases me most about the episode (apart from the smiley Rory-bot) is it doesn't cop out as I thought it was going to by having the older Amy killed in the slow-motion fight she, Rory and the younger Amy have with the facility's robots, meaning that Rory' forced into a choice over which Amy to abandon. Of course, he chooses the younger model. Whoever thought it was going to be otherwise?
Perhaps the episode's main weakness is that the whole, "Amy and Rory have a love so strong nothing can stand in its way," routine is something that's already over-familiar to the point of tiresomeness and, because Arthur Darvill and Karen Gillan never actually come across like a couple in love, isn't something that overly interests me. To a large degree it gets back to the insularity the show's displayed too often in the Moffat era, where everything in the whole universe seems to pale in comparison to the needs and wants of the central characters.
I don't know if I liked this episode or not. It certainly tried to do something different with the format and was clearly classier than last week's outing but, then again, the first three episodes of this mini-season have been so different from each other in concept, tone and execution that it feels like you're watching a totally different show each week, giving a highly disjointed feel to proceedings. It's nice to be surprised but it'd be fun to watch two episodes in row that actually feel like they're from the same show.