Risky Business

In one of my earlier posts, I talked about the companions putting their trust in the Doctor almost right away. This time, I want to talk about whether or not the Doctor should let humans come along on his adventures.

The Doctor usually promises to keep his companions safe. He even promises Rose’s mother and Donna’s grandpa that he will not let anything happen to their loved ones. I personally think this is an unrealistic promise. In each episode, we see the Doctor and his companion in life-threatening situations. One of the first things I noticed when watching the show was how often the Doctor leaves his companions in the new places he takes them. In class, we have talked about how many episodes involve the companion getting in trouble and needing to be rescued by the Doctor. I would argue that this wouldn’t happen as often if the Doctor didn’t leave his companions by themselves so frequently. If I were to travel to another planet or another time, I would not let the Doctor out of my sight.

Even if the companion doesn’t get hurt physically, there is going to be some emotional damage. The Doctor never intends to travel with the same companion forever. We see the impact of this in the episode “School Reunion.” Sarah Jane Smith is not too happy with the Doctor for leaving her behind. She tells Rose to prepare for her time with the Doctor to end, and Rose acts like she has never thought of her future without the Doctor. Rose also has to face the truth that the Doctor has had many companions before her.   tumblr_mj05q55WgC1qkrgz5o1_400

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The Doctor promises that he will not leave Rose behind. (Another promise that he can’t keep.) So what is the right thing for the Doctor to do? It it okay for him to take humans away from their families and their planet because he is lonely? Do his companions really know what they are getting themselves in for? I’m sure his companions think they are capable of making their own decisions. Maybe that is true, but I think there is no possible way for them to have any idea of what is to come.

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13 thoughts on “Risky Business”

  1. It is weird to think how often the Doctor leaves his companion to fend for themselves! I know he usually comes back to save them from whatever they may have gotten themselves into, but if he were better at preparing them for their next destination, they might not cause so much disturbance?

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  2. Very risky indeed to leave with the Doctor! I’ve watched future episodes of Doctor Who, and even some of the ones that I know you haven’t seen yet. For some reason all of his companions seem to be smart enough and catch on quick enough to, literally, fight for their lives in a foreign location where they may or may not know the technology. Do you think that the Doctor intentionally picks his companions, or is it a luck of the draw?

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  3. I think the Doctor goes wherever the TARDIS takes him, and just happens to pick up people along the way. He saves Rose from killer mannequins and then invites her with him. Donna ends up in the TARDIS on her wedding day due to a scientific phenomenon, and Martha decides to travel with the Doctor after the hospital she works at ends up on the moon. I think it has more to do with the type of people who are around when the Doctor is in need of companionship and less to do with the Doctor actually choosing specific people. Do you agree?

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    1. That makes me think of the episode “Turn Left” where Donna’s path is changed and she doesn’t meet the Doctor. Maybe it is fate, thinking of that episode! However, it could also just be the fact a new timeline, in a sense, was created and it needed to be fixed.

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    2. I agree with you on this one, Kierra. I think there is some sort of unspoken process in which a companion is chosen. Only those willing to help in the first place or stick with the Doctor even when it gets tough are given the opportunity because it will get worse.

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  4. I like the way you think! My idea on this is that without the companion traveling with the Doctor there would not be much of a show. Also in many cases, the companions save the Doctor from something or help him out with a big task. It is risky for the Doctor but there is a positive side to it. Unfortunately, most of the companions don’t end in a happy manor, but that is what helps keep the show interesting.

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  5. I will agree that the Doctor should not be promising everyone that everything will be fine and dandy while they are traveling. However, I will fend for the companions on the basis that some had been traveling with the Doctor enough that they probably feel almost as comfortable as he does in other world, so it probably doesn’t feel like a big deal all the time when the companions get separated from the Doctor.
    I tend to find the companion relationships turning into the Doctor’s “ex’s” as a really funny part of the show especially in the school episode you mentioned, so regardless of whether it is a good idea or not, I will keep on rooting for the Doctor to get around and divorce a bunch of companions. And no, this would not be my recommendation for any real-life situation.

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  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this article. The doctor is kind of famous for unintentionally endangering his companions wherever (and whenever) he takes them. This made me think back to Classic Who to the episode of the Brain Snatchers when the 2nd doctor loses both of his companions to the seemingly empty void that the TARDIS has found itself in. They both leave willingly once they see their homes outside, despite the warnings of the doctor. I think that in a way the show likes having the companions endangered because you can have this superhero character save the day when humans in their imperfectness inevitably make mistakes. While the doctor is by no means perfect I think that he views things in an analytical sense which makes him better suited for certain situations that humans would be. All in all I would definitely agree with raising the question of even bringing companions along for the ride in the first place. Maybe its due to his loneliness , maybe its due to his fascination with humans. Bottom line I think we can all agree that it makes things interesting

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  7. I agree, Kierra! I definitely think that the Doctor needs to be more straightforward with his companions. Then again, it would be hard for the show to be as interesting if the companions knew everything right off the bat. I’m not sure which side I would choose, but I do think that the Doctor should at least tell the companions that they aren’t the first ones to be with him in the TARDIS.

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  8. I think he gets really lonely travelling alone. so, when he gets a companion, he gets really excited and gets lost in the thrill of their many adventures, that he sometimes forgets to really protect them. but at least none of his companions have gotten seriously hurt.. also, I agree with Annie(in the comments), I feel it’s so weird he leaves them to fend for themselves sometimes. I mean since he invited them, I feel like he should sort of be responsible for them at all times. and as for Rose, I’m pretty sure if she had not gotten stuck in the parallel world, the Doctor would not let her go (well, till she tells him she wants to).

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  9. Is really interesting how these many questions might have multiple answers, but I can not say there is a right one. However, I think that when the companions decide to travel with him, they are not aware of the consequences that the future could bring for them. But isn’t it really exciting thinking in traveling to other worlds and places, getting out of the bubble that they have always lived in? What comes to my mind is Rose at the beginning she wanted to have a better life and experiences new things, and when the Doctor offer her to travel with him, she does not doubt it and said, YES!

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  10. I also thought that the doctors companions were crazy for trusting the doctor so quickly because if some one in a police box came to me and said they can travel the universe in it, I would think that they are crazy.

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  11. I really like that you brought this up! The Doctor seems to always make promises or assure safety in order to gain the trust of his companions, but it seems like these promises are never kept. While the Doctor is almost always there to rescue the companion in the end, it is still very dangerous for the companions. I understand that going on an adventure with the Doctor would be tempting, especially if he assures you everything will be fine, but I don’t think I would jump at the chance considering the lives of his past companions!

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