A Retrospective on the Doctor’s Companions

Submitted by Jim Smith

As we prepare to wish Amy and Rory farewell, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some of the companions who have helpedshape the show.

Susan Foreman (the Doctor’s Granddaughter).   Susan is with the Doctor at the start.  She refers to the Doctor as “grandfather,” and the two of them had a very warm relationship.  That would make her a Time Lord, though we have never seen her referred to as such.  When they started their travels in “An Unearthly Child,” she appeared to be an average teenage girl.  In “The Sensorites,” we learn that she has telepathic abilities, but beyond that, there is nothing special about her.  In “The Dalek Invasion of Earth,” she falls in love with a young freedom fighter, and the Doctor locks her out of the TARDIS so that she can have a normal life.

Jaime McCrimmon.  Jaime is picked up by the Doctor at the Battle of Culloden, on the Second Doctor’s second adventure, and he stays until the end of his tenure.  Jaime is a capable warrior, but his medieval highland mindset provides the Doctor with a problem.  He wants to solve the problems of the universe through diplomacy and science, while Jaime’s instinct is to attack and kill.  He is eventually returned to the time and place where he left with the Doctor, his memories of his time with the Doctor being removed from his memory by the Time Lords.

Sarah Jane Smith.  Sarah Jane joined the Doctor during the tenure of the Third Doctor, and carried over into the Fourth Doctor’s adventures.  While she is nothing special as far as companions go, she became one of the most beloved companions of all time.  She was so beloved, that she came back for a special appearance during the Tenth Doctor’s adventure, “School Reunion.”  Twice, she was spun off into her own series.  The first time, it was on K-9 and  company, which never got past the pilot episode, and the second time was the Sarah Jane Adventures, which went on for four
seasons and was cut short by the untimely death of Elisabeth Sladen, the actress who portrayed her.

Adric.  Adric is the companion whose exit shook the Doctor Who universe to it’s very foundations. Adric was trapped in e-space until he met the Fourth Doctor and stowed away on the TARDIS.  He wore a gold star which was given to him for mathematical excellence. He was freakishly good at math, even being used by the Master to create an entire virtual world as a trap for the Fifth Doctor.  As one of the Doctor’s more intelligent companions, he was loved for his elfin good looks along with his ability to go toe to toe with the Doctor when figuring out a problem.  Adric died trying to save the Earth from destruction, being caught up in the astrophysical event that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Grace Holloway.  Sure, she was only a companion for one adventure (the movie), and strictly speaking, she wasn’t really a companion as much as someone the Doctor met along the way.  What is important, is that this is the first time he develops an
emotional attachment to a human.  Sure, he becomes attached to all of his companions, but Grace was different.  The Eighth Doctor actually kisses her, and when he asks her to go with him, the tone of his voice seems to indicate that it is from a desire to be with her, rather than to not be alone.

Rose. Rose is the companion who transcends all companions.  We see the Doctor not only become emotionally attached to her, but we see him fall in love with her, even though he won’t admit it.  She is the Bad Wolf and the key to the Doctor’s heart(s).  She starts out as nothing special, as a matter of fact; she is the companion who made the comeback of Doctor Who as special as it was. Her domestic baggage flew in the face of the Ninth Doctor’s solitude, and helped the Tenth Doctor become the welcoming family member we all came to know and love.

The Ponds. This week, we bid farewell to the Ponds.  Amy is a nexus in time and space around which the Doctor seems to orbit.  He not only finds her and uses her to reboot the universe; she anchors him to the human race during a time when the Eleventh Doctor could have become as erratic as the Sixth Doctor was.  We will miss the Ponds, and Steven Moffat has promised that we will shed a tear at their exit.  After their exit, we get a few months to see our therapists and deal with their departure before the Doctor returns in the Christmas special with his brand new companion.

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