Doctor Who’s Disappearing Companions

companions 2Keep track of the recurring companions the Doctor has in the paragraphs below.

So Nine didn’t have anyone coming to visit him from previous seasons because the show had just been rebooted and the entire show needed to be established. In addition, Captain Jack, Mickey, and Rose’s mom Jackie were introduced. Nine had four people in his crew.

Then came Ten, who started with this same crew. Throughout Ten’s tenure (see what I did there?), companions cycled in, cycled out, and cycled back in again. Sarah Jane came for a visit, Rose came back for a visit, Mickey and Martha too. Ten had Rose, Donna, Martha, Jackie, Mickey, Captain Jack, and Donna’s grandfather as major recurring members of his crew. That’s seven people.

None of these no old companions have come back to visit Eleven, and that is my biggest beef.

The Doctor doesn’t benefit (as a character) from being in the company of one person for too long. Take Amy Pond as an example: she was great at the beginning but as her time dragged on it was noticeable that the Doctor’s character had gotten all of the growth it was going to get from having Amy as a companion. It also made for stale viewing; many fans were already tired of Amy and were happy when her departure from the series was announced. That shouldn’t happen. The Tardis should have more of a revolving door, allowing people to come in, come out, and come back in again if fate (or writers) allow.

Now, why am I suggesting having old companions come back as opposed to bringing entirely new ones? The first reason is it’s simply not realistic. A person doesn’t just forget his old friends because he’s started a new chapter in his life.

The second reason is I feel that the Doctor is forgetting some of the lessons that his old companions helped him learn and needs them to bring him back to his senses. For example, the Doctor didn’t give Mrs. Gillyflower a chance at redemption in “The Crimson Horror”. He just goes along with his own business. And when Ada kills the leech at the end of the same episode, I think it totally violates the Doctor’s belief that everything should get a second chance. So you can’t imagine how irked I was when the Doctor kissed Ada at the end of the episode and told her she was splendid because that is wrong. Ada isn’t allowed to do something bad simply because she’s blind and has a terrible life. I think one of the Doctor’s best traits as a character is that he is able to rise up and do the right thing when life is tough and that he (used to) enforce that in others. Clearly he doesn’t do that anymore. If Martha, Rose, or Donna saw the Doctor now, I bet they would be shocked by that sort of behavior.

I also think part of it is lazy writing. It’s superficially sweeter to have the Doctor be nice to poor, blind Ada, as opposed to being strict. I think Ten would have been hard on her for killing that leech. And I understand that each Doctor is different, but I believe that they each have the same set of core values. Nine and Ten certainly did. But Eleven seems to deviate from that, and I think it is a mistake. Matt Smith has always brought a kid-in-a-candy-store vibe to his portrayal as the Doctor, and I think the writers (aka Moffat) have played that up as much as possible. But in doing so, they’ve forgotten how dark and damaged the Doctor is. He isn’t a happy-go-lucky character, he’s seen too much of the universe to ever be like that. And the series/writers needs to remember how complex their main character is.

Now, I’m not saying that Eleven needs to be more like Ten. Eleven can still be Eleven. The monologue Eleven gave in The Rings of Akhaten was dark, personal, and still very Eleven. The show will benefit from more things like that.

Going back to the too much of a person is a bad thing, I’ve loved Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax as recurring characters. They’ve brought the show life that it otherwise would not have had. We need more characters like them on the show.

And the reason I’m even bringing up this issue now is we all know the 50th is coming, and we know old characters are coming back. This is the perfect opportunity to re-introduce them as recurring characters. I think the old companions, the ones who knew the Doctor before he became so kiddish, can bring back some of the more complex sides and bring out the strength of his character. Because he needs it.

companions 1

6 thoughts on “Doctor Who’s Disappearing Companions

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    • No because the Doctor never addressed that she did something wrong. There needs to be some sort of recognition that she did something wrong before a second chance can be even warranted.

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