Would you travel with the Doctor? Pros and Cons
Guest contributor Simon Beresford looks at past companion’s experiences and weighs up the good and the bad.
Would you travel with the Doctor? It’s a question that almost needs no answer, right? I, like so many other Whovians, have been known on occasion to fantasize about how wonderful and exciting it would be to hop aboard the TARDIS and fly away with the Doctor. Many fans use fan fiction as a way of exploring these fantasies. Creating their own adventures, envisioning themselves as the Doctor or the trusty new companion. Whilst I am quite sure most of us would not hesitate to ditch our boring Earth bound lives in favour of travelling the universe with the Doctor, would it really be all it is cracked up to be? Let’s weigh up the pros and cons based on the adventures with past companions from New Who.
Disclaimer: I am not including the more obvious reasons like:
- Pros: Travelling through time and space, meeting iconic and legendary figures, helping the Doctor to save planets and civilisations.
- Cons: The constant dangers that come with travelling with the Doctor.
Instead I am going to concentrate on more specific things related to the companion’s character.
- In the episode Fathers Day Rose meets her father Pete for the first time (in her memory). Whilst this encounter does not end well, Rose at least had the opportunity to meet Pete and for a short time was happy.
- The Parting of the Ways saw Rose become the “Bad Wolf” by looking directly into the Time Vortex, thus enabling her to save the Doctor and destroy the Daleks.
- Throughout their adventures Rose had found an unspoken and pure kind of love with the Doctor.
- Then finally, in the episode The Stolen Earth, after being reunited with the Doctor, it was time for her to go back to “Pete’s world.” However, this time the Doctor had a gift for Rose, the metacrisis Doctor. Even though at first Rose was not convinced, she was soon persuaded. She would now be able to live her life with the man she loves, only now he would age and be able to live a normal human life with her.
- In the episode The End of the World Rose witnessed the end of the Earth.
- Again in the episode Father’s Day after the joy of finally meeting her father, it soon became clear to Pete that in order for the paradox to be put right, he would have to die after all.
- Doomsday saw Rose trapped in an alternate universe, cut off from the Doctor forever (or so she thought)
Verdict: I had always felt that Rose was somewhat lost in life, just sort of plodding along, that is until she met the Doctor. So overall she came out better.
- Other than the obvious travelling through time and space with the Doctor, visiting new worlds, meeting new races and historical legends, I find it quite hard to find any other specific pros for Martha.
- Firstly, throughout her travels Martha started to develop strong feelings toward the Doctor. However, it became clear to Martha, that the Doctor would never reciprocate these feelings.
- In the episode The Poison Sky, Martha came face to face with her clone. Cloned by the Sontarans as a puppet. This concluded with the Martha clone dying in her arms.
- The Master kidnapped and enslaved Martha’s family in the episode Last of the Time Lords.
Overall: I felt that Martha’s time with the Doctor was quite sad and unsatisfying for her overall.
- Again, all of the obvious pros apply.
- In The Fires of Pompeii, Donna had managed to convince the Doctor to save a family from certain death, despite his better judgement.
- Journey’s End saw Donna become part Time Lord enabling her to save all of creation from Davros and the Daleks.
- Donna’s time with the Doctor came to an emotional end, with her unable to remember her time with the Doctor and if she did, even for a minute, her mind would burn. However, a huge plus was that she had been left somewhat happy. Unable to remember the Doctor she was blissfully unaware of the loss that she had suffered, also the Doctor had delivered a winning lottery ticket to her mother and grandfather to ensure that Donna would have a good life.
- Donna’s first big con came from her first appearance in The Runaway Bride. Helping the Doctor to defeat the Racnoss Empress revealed to Donna that Lance, her fiancé, had been working with the Empress all along and was not in love with Donna at all, but rather was just interested in the cultivating the Huon particles that he had been dosing her with.
- In The Fires of Pompeii, this is when Donna found out about fixed points in time and not meddling with them, despite the mass loss of life or sacrifice that it may involve.
- In Planet of the Ood, Donna was outraged at the human race for enslaving the Ood and was deeply upset by the Ood song of captivity.
- After saving all of creation, from Davros and the Daleks in Journey’s End, the Doctor had no other choice other than to wipe Donna’s mind of all memories of her time in the TARDIS and with the Doctor.
Verdict: Donna fast became the Doctor’s best mate, there was absolutely zero sexual tension between the two. I feel that Donna had grown more than any other companion as a result of her time with the Doctor.
- It was Amy that had worked out that the Star Whale had volunteered to help the humans (specifically the children) on the Starship UK, by allowing them to ride on his back. Therefore there was no need to torture the poor creature.
- In Vincent and the Doctor Amy met Vincent van Gogh. Vincent took rather a shine to Amy leading to a marriage proposal and a dedication inscription on the world famous Sunflowers painting.
- Throughout her adventures Amy started to realise more and more that it was Rory that she truly loved. In the end she proved this beyond any doubt by choosing to be zapped back in time by the Angels in order to be with Rory in favour of staying with the Doctor.
- Amy saw some truly horrible things during her time with the Doctor. The first thing that affected her was the torture of the Star Whale in The Beast Below.
- In The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone, Amy was inhabited by a Weeping Angel that was trying to escape through her open eyes. It was in this episode we learned that an image of an Angel can itself become an Angel.
- In the episode Amy’s Choice Amy watches as Rory becomes a pile of dust after being sprayed by the Eknodine. Emotionally broken Amy decides that the only way out of this nightmare is to take her own life and the Doctor.
- The Almost People reveals to us that Amy has not been (physically) on board the TARDIS for some time, but has been kidnapped by Madame Kovarian, so that she may take Amy’s baby, and fashion it into a weapon against the Doctor.
- A Good Man Goes To War sees the Doctor and Rory heroically save Amy and her baby, Melody Pond. However, the joy is short lived when it is revealed that Melody was in fact a ganger and now Amy has lost her baby.
- We find out in Asylum of the Daleks, that after what happened to Amy at Demons run she can no longer have children of her own (personally for me I found this slightly distasteful and unnecessary, I do fully understand why this was added, but still I found it unnecessary to the overall story)
- When Rory was sent back to New York by the Weeping Angels in The Angels Take Manhattan Amy did not hesitate to let the Angel send her back so that she could be with Rory, despite the Doctor begging her not to.
Verdict: I think it’s safe to say that Amy suffered the most heartache from travelling with the Doctor. However, I think Amy is one of the strongest women to ever grace the TARDIS, and she always managed to pick herself back up to enjoy life and her adventures with the Doctor.
So for me personally the answer to my question would still be yes, without doubt. Whilst travelling with the Doctor would undoubtedly be dangerous and sometimes life threatening, it would be so exciting to see new worlds and time periods, to meet historical icons and save alien worlds. Besides we could get hit by a boring old bus tomorrow, walking to the boring old shop. I would much rather take my chances with a Dalek, if it meant travelling the universe with a mad man in a box.