Written and Media by Emma Canady. [divide]
Recently, an acquaintance asked me if Doctor Who (DW) was a sad show. I nearly laughed in their face. Although in the past few years I have drifted from the fandom and show, I can vividly remember a distinct time in my life where all my spare moments were spent curled around my laptop, sobbing in sing-song to the theme tune.
If you ever need to watch an episode of television that will force you to reevaluate your entire life, make you cry yourself to sleep, and generally put you in a fog of sadness for a minimum of twenty-four hours, I highly recommend DW. While, admittedly, the show has it’s flaws, there are certain aspects that shine brightly. To highlight these bright spots, and because my mind keeps replaying these scenes over and over again as if to torment me, here are my Top Three Most Heartbreaking Doctor Who Moments.
3. “Rose Tyler, I-“
Everyone who has seen season 2 of the DW reboot knows this moment. This heart wrenching, soul-sucking, life-altering fragment of a moment, where the Doctor is burning up a sun to say goodbye to his companion, Rose Tyler. The Doctor has said many things to and about Rose in their two seasons together. But the one thing he never had was the thing Rose, and, to be honest, the audience, wanted to hear the most. With her declaration of love ringing in our ears and his teary-eyed smile spreading to respond, the Doctor’s time ran out. He disappeared, back to his TARDIS, while Rose cried in her own lonely universe. The only good thing about his silence and lack of response was that I’m always howling my sobs too loudly at this point to hear him anyway.
2. “Raggedy Man, Goodbye!”
“The Angels Take Manhattan” s7e5
My first episode ever was of Amelia Pond, the girl with the fairytale name. Because of this, I am particularly partial to Amy and the Doctor’s friendship. Did I roll my eyes at the continual “star-crossed lovers” trope the writers gave them and bemoan the quasi-romantic tension? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean I was immune to Amy’s attachment to her imaginary friend. To this day, I tear up at their “gotcha”s. So even though I knew Amy Pond was leaving, and even though I was ready for it, I was in no way prepared for the heartache this episode gave us. With the Doctor’s hands pleadingly reaching for her, his whole presence trembled as he begged, “Please, no! I will never be able to see you again!” Half of the audience sobbed for her to choose the Doctor while the other half knew, as Amy knew, that there was only one way for her to ever be with Rory again. With her decision made and our hearts practically bleeding with the way the we felt, Amy spun around and said her final words. This goodbye shaped not only the Doctor’s entire next season but my viewpoint on how many tears I am willing to shed on fictional characters.
1. “Please don’t make me go back! No, no!”
“Journey’s End” s4e13
Without a doubt, I am always emotional about Donna Noble, and I believe everyone who has watched season 4 of DW is. Donna perfectly personifies what the companion should be to the Doctor: the spokesperson of the minority, his voice of reason, his confidant, his friend. From being the temp in Chiswick who felt like nothing special to the Doctor-Donna, Donna Noble proved that she was anything but unextraordinary. This, of course, is why her ending on the show was particularly heartbreaking. In her final episode, Donna goes to dangerous measures to save the universe; though she succeeds, the price is her memories of her time with the Doctor and the future they wanted together. If she were to remember their time together, her mind would burn. Sobbingly, she begs him not to take away her memories, pleading that she wanted to travel with him together. Thoroughly heartbroken, the Doctor tells her that she is his best friend before wiping her memories and giving her unconscious body to her mother, unwittingly going back from the Most Important Person in the Universe to a temp (cue my heavy, perpetual crying).