If you’re new to Doctor Who or haven’t had a chance to start watching it yet (go watch it now… the TV show is amazing!), then beware this post is spoileriffic. Otherwise, read on.
A couple of weeks ago, Doctor Who viewers saw the end of well-loved companions Amy and Rory. This ending story was long dreaded by the fans, and there has been a lot of discussion about how their ending came about, how we feel about it, how many tears we all cried, and how much our feels hurt.
I think it is a good time to revisit Doctor Who of the recent past and remind ourselves of four times Russell T. Davies (former Who showrunner) kicked us in the feels, how much more awful those times were than Amy and Rory’s departure, and how grateful I am that their departure was nothing like the tragedies listed below.
4: “The End of Time”
“The End of Time” post-Season 4 special is the 10th Doctor’s last appearance and the 11th Doctor’s introduction. “The End of Time” kicked us in the feels with two specific moments. (It’s only fair to mention that Steven Moffat wrote the last scene but is uncredited.)
The first moment involved Donna’s grandfather Wilf, who comes along to help the Doctor. (Donna was the companion for the 4th season as you should know unless you’ve been slacking on your Who viewing, in which case I’m not sure there’s anything that can be done to help you other than force you to watch “Blink” and “The Girl in the Fireplace”.) Near the end of the episode, Wilf gets trapped in a booth that will douse him with lethal levels of radiation unless the Doctor takes his place.
Dear, sweet, Wilf tells the Doctor to let him die. He says the Doctor is too important, and that he’s just a man who has lived a long life. He wants to give his life for the Doctor, but the Doctor won’t do it.
The performances by Bernard Cribbins (Wilf) and David Tennant (the 10th Doctor) in this episode are beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking. Wilf loves the Doctor, and is willing to die for him. And the Doctor, ancient, powerful, intelligent alien, can’t bear to allow him to do it.
After this, the Doctor realizes he’s dying and goes on a little pleasure trip. You have some time to recover from the last episode of aching feels until the very end when he goes to visit a young Rose before she ever met him. Rose… the girl he loved but could never be with.
It was so sad.
3: “The Waters of Mars”
“The Waters of Mars” is a special that takes place prior to “The End of Time.” The Doctor shows up on Mars, and there’s a virus killing everyone on the first Martian base. Even though this is the first episode with these characters, it’s incredibly sad when the Doctor tells Adelaide (the leader of the crew) that this is a fixed point in time and he can’t help them. Basically, he tells them they all must die, and then he leaves.
It’s such a bummer that everyone is going to die, but we understand why. Then the Doctor changes his mind and comes back to save the three who are left. Adelaide realizes he changed time to save them and gets freaked out by his sudden massive ego trip (I think we all were a little freaked out by that, am I right?) and then kills herself to preserve the timeline.
Davies was basically Lucy from Charlie Brown. “Oh no, guys, it’s cool. Happy ending. Yaaay, he saved some people!” and then he rips away the football shouting, “Ha, ha! Just kidding. It really is so sad after all!”
(To be fair, Phil Ford is credited with cowriting “The Waters of Mars.”)