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Amy Pond has been waiting for the Doctor practically all of her life.

Not in the sense of other companions, who had been waiting for someone like the Doctor, either somehow hemmed in by what the world has to offer, or just getting on with their lives, without an inkling that a chance meeting with a flamboyant stranger would change everything. Little Amy (played by Caitlin Blackwood) waited because she had already met him, and he said he would come back.

This doesn’t mean she knows the Doctor any better than, say, Rose or Romana – she may have been there to help him after his regeneration, but she has only known him in his current, fez-loving incarnation – but it does mean she has a greater sense of entitlement on entering the TARDIS. After years of being told he was her imaginary friend, something she conjured out of her imagination, he’s now very real. Small wonder she feels that they have a special bond.

Here’s their first meeting:

Note the ending there. Yes he’s something of a demanding house guest, in much the same way that the Cat in the Hat would be, but he’s also managed to entertain and distract Amy right up until the point where he can gain her trust, and THEN he asks about the crack in the wall. He may not even be sure of his own teeth yet, but the Eleventh Doctor is officially Good With Kids.

So you can see how he left such a long shadow when, having claimed to be back in five minutes, he vanished for 12 years.

In fact, disappearance and guilt play a huge part in their ongoing relationship. When the Doctor returns, Amy (now played by Karen Gillan) is nineteen and working as a kissogram. He saves the day, then leaves her again, and comes back when she’s 21. They go off together on the night before her wedding to Rory, which of course makes her miss Rory, so they eventually go back and get him too. He is then eaten up by the crack in reality, and Amy can’t remember what’s missing from her life. They meet again in Roman Britain, but it’s a plastic Rory and he shoots Amy, then regrets it. So she ends up in the pandorica for thousands of years while Rory watches over her.

Then the Doctor reboots reality without himself in it, and so he’s missing again. Then Amy remembers him and he’s back. Then they all travel for a bit, then Rory and Amy go home for a bit, then they go to Utah to meet the Doctor again. Then he’s shot by a wet spaceman, so they have a funeral, then he’s in a cafe. Then Amy is abducted by the Silence, and we don’t know for how long, and then she is rescued. Then she’s abducted again, and replaced with a ganger, and it takes a while for the Doctor to notice. While imprisoned, she gives birth to a baby girl. The Doctor and Rory find her, but her daughter is stolen and the Doctor rushes off to save the baby, leaving Amy behind.

Separated, reunited, separated, reunited, over and over again. It’s no wonder Amy initially gets confused about her strong feelings for the Doctor, and what they may mean. Here’s Amy using that crackling sexual tension to diffuse a bomb. That’s not a euphemism:

Not, I might add, the only time this trick is proven to work:

So it would be easy to reduce the Doctor and Amy’s relationship down to that of flirtatious, unrequited love (and certainly there are times when Rory worries that this is what it is), but it’s far more complicated than that.

Even if you don’t factor Rory into the equation – and you can’t count him out, given that he’s clearly proven himself time and again to be the reliable rock that Amy needs, the man the Doctor can never be – Amy and the Doctor are not defined by her feelings, or his. He’s been a huge part of her life since she was seven years old, and in a lot of ways, she’s still unformed, so she can’t be the Doctor’s conscience in the way that Donna was. She doesn’t share equal status in the way that Rose did. In a lot of ways, he treats her as if she is still the small child in his care, because that’s who she was when they met.

See how he explains to Amy that they’ve ended up inside a star whale’s mouth? Have you ever seen a parent deliver bad news to an easily provoked child? He’s not trying to make the best of a bad situation, he’s trying to prevent a tantrum.

Which is, of course, just what Amy needs. Her family aren’t there for her, her boyfriend lets her get away with too much (something he does get better at, it seems), and there’s this crack in her bedroom wall. That’s why she needed an imaginary friend in the first place.

Here’s the nearest thing we’ve had so far to a goodbye from the Doctor to Amy, and it very much resembles the last words of a dying parent.

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, this prequel/trailer thing fairly neatly encapsulates Amy and the Doctor’s entire relationship as it stands so far. She needs him, he’s terrified of letting her down again, and of course, they’re apart.

Next: Rory Williams, the last centurion.

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By Fraser McAlpine