Doctor Who can be a heart-wrenching, stomach-churning mistress. Amidst the jokes, silliness, and Eleven’s wide array of amusing hats, there is the constant possibility of tears. And I do mean constant.
10 Memorable Doctor Who Moments
It’s a given that fans will be sad when their favorite companion or Doctor is scheduled to exit the show, and it’s rare that their departure leaves the audience feeling warm and fuzzy. Death, broken hearts, parallel universes, and even memory loss are generally in the cards. However, Doctor Who also has the amazing ability to get us when we least expect it. Minor characters, some of whom only appear in a single episode, can capture our hearts immediately. Any misfortune that befalls them can sometimes make for some of the most heartbreaking scenes in the entire series. And that’s what makes Doctor Who so special. It’s also why there are simply too many cry-worthy moments to mention them all. So here is a mere sampling of some of the moments that have shredded our hearts to pieces since the show came back in 2005.
1. The Death of River Song
Episode – “The Silence in the Library”
River is arguably one the most kick ass characters to have ever graced the show. A human with Time Lord AND Pond DNA, River is a force to be reckoned with, and there’s no better proof than her first appearance. Despite dying in the same episode that she makes her debut appearance, it makes an incredible impact on the audience.
However, the full tragedy and importance of her death comes with subsequent viewings, after getting better acquainted with her. That’s when the tears will really come. The true misfortune arguably lies not with her death itself, but within her and the Doctor’s backwards timeline. She knows that she has arrived at her final moments with her beloved Doctor – her husband who doesn’t know her at all.
2. Amy and Rory Become Stuck in the Past
Episode – “The Angels Take Manhattan”
Although fans were aware that this was the last episode for the Ponds, their departure was still a royal kick in the lady balls. After Amy and the Doctor had spent the entire episode trying to save Rory from being stuck in the past thanks to the Weeping Angels, all seemed well. Maybe our favorite companion couple would simply decide to leave so they could settle into a normal life? WRONG. Steven Moffat wrote this episode, so no one can just be happy.
Another angel shows up and sends Rory back into the past again. But this time it is irreversible and permanent. A crying Amy steps in front of the angel so she can be spend her remaining days with her husband, all whilst the Doctor is scream-crying at her. Because obviously the Ponds hadn’t been through enough already.
3. Oswin is Really a Dalek
Episode – “Asylum of the Daleks”
Oswin Oswald, a crash survivor who had spent the past year baking soufflés to kill time, crosses paths with the Doctor, Rory, and Amy. A genius with a sharp tongue and flirtatious personality, Oswin spends the episode aiding the trio in escape. Planning on taking her with them, the Doctor is devastated when he discovers that unbeknownst to Oswin, she is a Dalek who has retained her humanity out of sheer force of will. Many a tear was shed for this short lived but undoubtedly captivating character. Solace only came with the knowledge that she would survive, to a certain extent, through future companion Clara.
4. The Tortured Artist
Episode – “Vincent and the Doctor”
Another unfortunate one-shot character was Vincent van Gogh. History tells us that the artist would cut his life short through suicide. However, viewers were almost convinced that perhaps he would be spared this fate. Most of us cried along with Vincent when the Doctor and Amy brought him to present day Paris so he could see the importance his work had on the world. The moment became agonizing when Amy discovers that he still chose to end his life.
5. The Death of Jenny
Episode – “Trenzalore”
Vastra, Strax, and Jenny became well beloved guest stars in recent years. Their chemistry with one another (and The Doctor for that matter) as well as their comic relief stylings have made them quite the fan favorites. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wished for them to be granted their own crime solving spin-off series.
It’s perhaps because of the relatively uplifting presence that they lent the show that the death of Jenny was so devastating. This occurred during a sleep induced conference call that was interrupted by The Whisper Men. What was perhaps most touching, besides Vastra’s reaction of course, was Jenny’s innocent apology and statement that she thinks she’s been murdered, which was accompanied by a single tear.
6. Donna’s Memory is Wiped
Episode – “Journey’s End”
Admittedly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Donna initially. Perhaps it’s because I saw her as an annoying yelling bride, or perhaps it’s because of my natural aversion to Catherine Tate. Regardless, she grew on me and her character developed in such a remarkable way that I now consider her to be one of the best companions of all time. It’s because of how far she came that her departing the company of the Doctor without a single memory is particularly painful. She would never know how important she was to the world or how amazing she had become. Even her family mourned the death of the person she had come to be.
7. Rose is Trapped in Another Dimension
Episode – “Doomsday”
This was more traumatic before the whole Clone Doctor situation happened. As we know, Rose became trapped in the parallel universe after almost falling into the Void. We’re left watching her hysterically bang on the wall screaming “take me back” as we cry along with her. This is perhaps made worse when both she and Ten press themselves up against their respective walls, as if they can still feel each other there.
8. Ten Says Goodbye to Rose
Episode – “Doomsday”
Just in case being trapped in a different dimension wasn’t horrible enough…
Rose travels to Bad Wolf Bay in Norway because she heard the Doctor calling to her in her dreams. Luckily, she was correct and he was harnessing the power of a supernova just to say goodbye to her. If this wasn’t tear-jerking enough, Rose professes her love for him, and his response is cut off before disappearing. If anyone wasn’t bawling their eyes out during this moment I presume it was because they were preoccupied with punching holes in their walls.
9. Those Left Behind
Episodes – “The Girl in the Fireplace” and “The Girl Who Waited”
Okay, so I may be cheating a little bit with this one, but I don’t care. Both of these episodes conjure similar emotions of loss and tragedy, and both center around girls who were left behind.
Similar to Amy, Reinette (a.k.a. Madame de Pompadour) had been visited by the Doctor since a child and spent her lifetime waiting. Their paths only crossed once during her adult life, and after assuring her that he’d be right back the Doctor returns to find a heartbroken Louis XV who is mourning the death of his beloved. She did, however, write him a letter:
“My dear Doctor: the path has never seemed more slow, and yet I fear I am nearing its end. Reason tells me that you and I are unlikely to meet again, but I think I shall not listen to reason. I have seen the world inside your head and know that all things are possible. Hurry though, my love; my days grow shorter now, and I am so very weak. Godspeed, my lonely angel.”
Amy is placed in a similar situation when separated from Rory and the Doctor on the quarantined planet of Apalapucia. In an attempt to rescue her, they accidentally arrive 36 years in her future. Long story short, Amy the Elder is angry and untrusting, Amy the Younger shows up, and the two can’t exist in the same timeline. Watching a heartbroken Older Amy bang on the Tardis door and eventually let go of Rory is truly a tearjerker.
10. The Death of John Smith
Episode – “The Family of Blood”
Being the Doctor is serious business. You have the weight of many, many worlds upon your shoulders, as well everything from the past, present, and future to contend with. Saving the universe is often a thankless job and you’re generally repaid with having to watch those you love die for all eternity. It’s these facts that perhaps make the death of John Smith all the more gut-wrenching.
The year is 1913 and the Doctor and Martha are in hiding. In order to best accomplish this, the Doctor hides all of his Time Lordiness from the world, including himself. However, after learning the truth about himself he has to decide whether to stay John Smith or to sacrifice himself so the Doctor can return. We, along with Smith, see what a happy ordinary life could be like for him if he chose not to revive the Doctor. I can’t blame him for mourning that loss in the way that he does, and I for one was crying along with him.