Sunday, August 19, 2012

Doctor Who’s Top Ten Tearjerkers - Part 1

With the departure of the Ponds fast approaching I thought it might be a good idea to warm up our tear ducts. In preparation I have decided to torture myself, and you my lonely reader by re-living some of the most heartbreaking moments in Doctor Who history - well at least since the 2005 reboot.

If you have not seen up to season six of Doctor Who there will be spoilers, but if that is the case then you have bigger problems... seriously do watch it now.

I’ve split this list into three posts, just to build the tension. Also there were way to many feels to deal with in one day. 

Number 10: The Death of Amy Pond
“The Girl Who Waited” (6.10)

The Doctor takes Amy and Rory to a planet under quarantine where Amy gets trapped in an alternative time stream. Rory attempts to save her only to find that he is 36 years too late. He is confronted by a much older and much more jaded version of his wife, who refuses to help him save the younger Amy unless they save her as well. Unfortunately there can’t be two Amy’s, it’s a paradox (and they only allow a certain number of those a season - apparently). In the end the older Amy is left behind and ultimately erased from existence. All in all, it’s not a good day.

It’s pretty low on this list because while my eyes began to leak it wasn’t like the damn broke. Still the whole episode is pretty upsetting and the image of Rory, and the older Amy on opposite sides of the Tardis doors will always cause a sniffle.

Number 9: River Song’s sacrifice
“Forest of the Dead” (4.10) 

In the second half of this brilliant two parter, the Doctor is trapped in the universe's biggest library with a strange woman from his future, being chased by flesh eating shadows, and Donna got herself caught in a digital world. To top it all off the little girl controlling the computer systems has just set off the self-destruct sequence. It’s not looking good for the Doctor, especially because he can’t work out what the mysterious River Song means to him. Eventually he does come with a plan, cutting it a bit close though. Of course this plan is incredibly suicidal (damn Doctor, always willing to sacrifice himself to save others). Luckily River Song is not very keen on this plan, because it means that they will never meet, which would be a paradox, which as we learnt from number ten on this list, would be very bad. So she knocks the Doctor over the head and straps herself into the killing/saving everyone machine. The Doctor just has to sit there and watch as this woman sacrifices herself just so she doesn’t lose the memories they made together.

While her mind gets to live on as a digital download its still uber sad (especially now we know who River Song is). In fact it would have been higher on the list if I had known then what I know now. The tears I did shed were for the Doctor’s pain, not for the loss of River Song. There is just something about those moment when the Doctor realises he is all alone that get me every time.

Number 8: The Doctor vs John Smith
“Human Nature”(3.8)/”The Family of Blood”(3.9)

Another amazing two parter, in which the Doctor is pursued by the Family of Blood - who want to absorb his Time Lord essence. Knowing that the Family will not stop until they find him the Doctor takes drastic measures. He literally alters his DNA. Using a piece of phlebotinum called a Chameleon Arch he is able to transform himself into a human and hide his Time Lord essence in a fob watch. The Doctor’s alter ego, John Smith, is the (new) headmaster of a boys school in pre-war Britain and has absolutely no idea about his alien past, except for the occasional dream. Poor old John Smith thinks he’s just an average guy, which is why I guess he thinks it’s OK to fall in love with the school’s nurse Joan Redfern - much to Martha’s dismay. Everything is going swimmingly (except for the whole falling in love with a human and breaking Martha’s heart some more thing) until the Family of Blood turn up to terrorise the small English village. There is only one person that can save the day, but in order for him to come back poor John Smith has to die (or the equivalent at least).

There is a reason that have listed this as both episodes of this exceptional two parter and that’s because I don’t think I stopped crying the whole time. Watching poor poor Martha Jones lose all hope she had as she realises that the Doctor is never going to love her the way she loves him. Then seeing John Smith do what the Doctor never can and having him lose it all, the term heart-wrenching comes to mind.

Number 7: Rose loses her father... again.
“Father’s Day” (1.8)

The Doctor’s companions always have a fundamental flaw, and in this episode we find that Rose is no exception. Rose is, in spite of her lofty aspirations, incredibly selfish. She’s not a bad person, she just doesn’t often think about the larger implications of her actions, she thinks about herself and the people that she loves. There's nothing wrong with that, it's just it tends to get her into trouble.

After traveling with the Doctor for some time, Rose finally works up the courage to ask him to take her back in time to see her dead father. They attend her parents wedding but it’s not enough, plagued by the fact that he father died alone Rose insist the Doctor take her to the day he died so she can be there for him. Of course when faced with the moment of truth Rose makes the selfish choice, saving her father’s life and altering history. As you might guess this doesn’t end well, Reapers (flying dragon-like beasts) come to town in order to clean up the time-mess, which apparently means devouring everything in sight, including the Tardis and eventually the Doctor himself. Rose and her father, Pete, have enough time to do some emotional bonding but with the Doctor gone there is really only one option to save the day. Pete has to sacrifice himself, which means that Rose gets to be there for her father as he dies after all. Trust me, the tears will abound. 

So how am I going? Do you think any of these moments should be higher on the list? What do you think will be number on? Let me know in the comments and check back tomorrow for more Doctor Who tearjerkers.

Check out part two here.