47 Days of Doctor Who–Day #26: Greatest Companion

Welcome to Day 26 of my 47-day series about the revival version of Doctor Who (2005-present). I’ve come up with 47 topics / questions to answer, all of them basically positive and upbeat about the program. Each day (or as often as I can actually write these–so far so good!) I’ll pick one of them at random (using this convenient random number generator) and then write up an answer.

Why 47? It’s my favorite number.
Why Doctor Who? It’s my favorite show.
Why the modern day Doctor Who only? Simply because I remember it better.
Why only positive stuff? Because really, I write enough snark.

So, today, we spin the Random Number Generator, and eventually it lands on 7, which means finally we get to one of the big ones…

“Greatest Companion”

Modern Doctor Who has basically have 6 major companion characters, and then a couple of other ones who were definitely “companions” in the traditional sense, but were never really treated as “regular” characters.  Then it’s got a bunch of guest stars who some people like to call companions, but were not.  Category 3 includes people like Astrid Peth, Adelaide Brooke, Lady Christina de Souza, and others who usually only appeared in a special episode along the way somewhere.

Category 2 are people like Captain Jack, Mickey Smith, Adam Mitchell.  That’s okay, go ahead and call them full companions if you like.  None of them are going to be my pick.

Deciding on my pick here is a bit tricky.  It’s definitely not Rose or Martha, both of whom I’m fine with but not particularly attached to.  Rory Williams was cool but too secondary for the top spot.  Donna Noble was for sure the best of the Russell T. Davies-era companions, which is no mean feat since she was completely irritating and unlikable in her debut appearance.

But Clara Oswin, played by Jenna Coleman, might be the “best” companion.  She started okay but nothing special, began to pick up after her “Impossible Girl” arc was finished, but then got kind of awesome once she was paired with Peter Capaldi’s 12th Doctor.  She showed backbone to the pompous and courage against the villainous (you can find both in Deep Breath, for example).  Her home life was built around more “grown up” aspects of life than her predecessors, as it was geared around romance and work, and not about her relationship with her mother.  And most importantly, she had the ability to stand up to the Doctor, something that’s always appreciated.  But at the same time, she’s deeply flawed, especially the character progresses, taking inappropriate risks and keeping secrets from her boyfriend.

It all builds up to what I consider to be her crowning moment of awesome, which is when she talks the Doctor down from going all “oncoming storm” on the universe in the face of Clara being condemned to death, in Face the Raven.

Now, you listen to me.  You’re going to be alone now, and you’re very bad at that.  You’re going to be furious and you’re going to be sad, but listen to me.  Don’t let this change you.  No, listen.  Whatever happens next, wherever she is sending you, I know what you’re capable of.  You don’t be a Warrior.  Promise me.  Be a Doctor.

So, I grew to love Clara, and find it hard to believe that she’ll ever be adequately replaced.  But I’ve felt that way before.  I felt that way, for while, about Amy Pond.

Clara might be the best companion, but Amy has got to be my favorite.

Amy kicked off with an incredible opening episode–The Eleventh Hour–that does an outstanding job of setting up her relationship with the 11th Doctor.  We had that chilling but funny first act with young Amelia, played by Caitlin Blackwood, and then all the main business of her growing up into Karen Gillan’s Amy. Her engagement opened the door for lots of interesting character stuff about her fears, hopes, and commitments.  And the later storyline about her pregnancy offered even more of the same.

A lot was made along the way of the character’s looks, but she was also funny, sweet, spirited, passionate, and independent.  And she was also a wife & a mother, which let’s face it, is a bit of a rarity for this role.  Her romance with Rory was fun and well-developed (except for the abrupt “divorce” plot in Season 7), and set her apart from the Doctor’s original two “young & pretty” companions.

Amy’s crowning moment of awesome, which I think I have already mentioned somewhere along the way, came at the end of Season 5 in The Big Bang, when she remembers the Doctor back into existence after his heroic sacrifice.

I remember you.  I remember!  I brought the others back, I can bring you home, too.  Raggedy man, I remember you and you are late for my wedding!  I found you.  I found you in words, like you knew I would.  That’s why you told me the story, the brand new, ancient blue box.  Something old.  Something new.  Something borrowed.  Something blue. 

The downside of Amy is that while Clara improved as she went along, Amy became a bit more dreary, and when she left we all knew it was high time.  But really, when you think about it, it’s just Season Seven of the show that’s the weak spot for both Amy (her last few episodes) and Clara (her first few). So maybe the culprit is just Season Seven.

Anyway, after all that, I’m going to split my pick today.

“Best” Companion?  Clara Oswald

“Favorite” Companion?  Amy Pond

Click here for a master list for this series.

 

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