30 September 2012

Contemplating Companions - Thoughts on Amy and Rory

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it in this blog before or not, but I'm a huge Doctor Who fan.  It's all my husband's fault, of course.  The very first episode I watched, I hated and didn't want to give another chance. It was a 6th Doctor/Peri episode and there was a lot of screaming.  I didn't want to watch a show with a lot of screaming.  It would drive me mad.  But then Rich asked me to give his favorite show another try and introduced me to "The Talons of Weng Chiang".  The strength of Leela made me give it another try.  And I was hooked.

For the longest time, if I had to choose a favorite Doctor/Companion pair, it would be 7th Doctor/Ace.  The mentor/mentee relationship they had, the fact that Ace didn't need the Doctor to save her, Ace's insecurities... they all spoke to me.  I was still young enough that I could want to be Ace and not feel that I was wishing my life away.

And then the reboot came in 2005.  I was so excited to have new stories to discover.  There would be new Doctors, new companions, a whole new world to explore.  I glued myself to the television whenever a new episode would come on, ready to see where the Doctor and his companion would arrive next.

In the 7 years since the reboot started, we've had 6 companions and a bunch of near companions (like River, Captain Jack and Wilf).  And none of them pulled me away from Ace.  Until the Ponds.

The beginning of season 5 was a difficult one for me.  David Tennant's 10th Doctor had surpassed and supplanted Sylvester McCoy's 7th Doctor in my heart as favorite Doctor and the tears I'd cried were still fresh within me - even after all those months.  I was going to need to get used to a new Doctor, with a new companion. The new companion didn't bother me so much.  I'd seen Rose come and go (and how I'd wished she'd stayed gone), Martha appear and leave a season later.  Donna showed up briefly at Christmas, never to return... until she traveled with the Doctor for a year and left against her will.  Companions came and went.  It's what they did.

After the first episode, I still wasn't sure how I felt about Matt Smith.  He was so different from Tennant, and that was good.  I knew I'd need to get used to him.  But Amy Pond, the girl who waited... Amy, I loved.  She had spunk, she had heart.  She was a redhead.  There was something about her that drew me in from the moment she pulled off her hat, gave an eye-roll and declared, "I'm a kiss-o-gram."  This was a companion I could love.

And then things got better.  Amy had run from her wedding to travel with the Doctor, but he knew how important her husband-to-be was.  And in a move we've never seen from any Doctor, he brought Rory, the nurse and Amy's boyfriend from "The Eleventh Hour", into the TARDIS.  He became a stabilizer for her. A touchstone.  There was a vulnerability in him, an insecurity when it came to the relationship between Amy and the Doctor, that was touching.  Because even if his worse fears came true, it wouldn't matter.  He belonged to Amy and with Amy he would stay.  After all, he guarded her for 2,000 years.

Over the next two and a half years, I watched their love deepen.  Amy was no longer running away because she had what she needed in the two most important men in her life.  Rory was no longer in doubt, because Amy had proved time and again that for all that she loved traveling with the Doctor, Rory was the one that she loved.  She mellowed a little.  He grew a lot.  They both had the backbone to stand up to the Doctor when the situation called for it. They were exactly what the Doctor needed, in ways that neither of them could be if they traveled with him alone.

When I heard that the Ponds were leaving, my heart broke.  How could they?  I mean, I knew that it was vital to Doctor Who for them to leave now, but how could they?  Ace was now a memory to me.  Amy and Rory were the companions that I wanted to be.  They were the ones I could watch over and over again because they held every quality that a companion should have.  Like a petulant child, I didn't want new companions.  I wanted Amy and Rory.

But like the adult that I am, I knew they needed to go.  I had two hopes with their leaving: 1) that they would get the good-bye they deserved, and 2) that maybe, just maybe, we'd see them again some time.  I put my trust in Moffat, as I had from the moment his first episode for the new series, "The Empty Child" (though I knew him from the wonderful parody, The Curse of Fatal Death).  But there was still the part of me that worried.  I couldn't help it.  They were too important to me.  So I kept hoping for one more story before they had to go, knowing that the end was near.

Then I heard that there was going to be a death, a real, honest to goodness death, in the episode.  And my thoughts ran in circles.  Not Rory.  That was the primary one.  We knew it couldn't be River.  She died in the first episode we saw her in.  I couldn't see Moffat killing Amy.  She was too central.  We knew the Doctor wasn't regenerating so it couldn't be him.  Which left Rory.  But I didn't want Rory to die again.  He had died far too many times already.  I didn't want death death for him.  Not Rory.

Last night was the premier of "The Angels Take Manhattan", the Ponds' final episode.  I didn't watch it when it first came on - we were doing a family movie night with the boys and, honestly, I wasn't sure if I wanted them to see it because I didn't know what to expect.  So after we'd finished watching The Avengers with both boys falling asleep half way through, I went upstairs and waited for Rich to join me.  And then, he did.

I don't want to write a review of the episode right now. As River would say, "Spoilers."  But I can tell you that Rich got sick of my "Not Rory. Please not Rory," mutterings as I watched the show.  And I sobbed when Rory stood on the ledge.  And my heart remained in my throat for the whole hour.  And, for the last 10 minutes, I sobbed without stopping.  Actually, for another 10 minutes after the show was over, I continued to sob uncontrollably.  It wasn't the ending I wanted, but it was a good ending.

This morning, I've put some distance between myself and the emotions the episode caused.  Last night, I didn't think I'd ever be able to watch the episode again.  But now, even knowing what I know and knowing that the tears will come again, I think I do want to watch it.  Because yes, Rory and Amy are gone from the TARDIS.  Yes, they are gone in ways that I would never have expected and the chances of seeing them again are pretty slim.  But Moffat did do what I knew he would - he gave them a good ending.  We know, unlike so many other companions from both the classic and the new series, that they had a happy ending, a good life after they left the Doctor.  And what more could I ask for?