Sunday, September 30, 2012

Top 10 Sob-Worthiest Moments of "Doctor Who" (According to Me)

There are a few things that Doctor Who does really well. It is a show that is nearly flawless at simultaneously developing plot and character within the span of forty-five minutes. It also is really good at tugging at heartstrings (or, in the Moffat era specifically, ripping out your heart completely) and creating iconic sad moments. Given that "The Angels Take Manhattan" aired last night (and in fact, makes this list), I was inspired by my friend Kim's (of "Head Over Feels") response to the episode. So I decided that I would create a list of some of the saddest Doctor Who episodes that I can recall. I've cried plenty of times in this show, but these episodes are ones that have made me sob. Are you ready to find out if your favorite "sob-worthy" episode made my cut? Get those tissues out and ready, then!

10. "Vincent and the Doctor"

The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice-versa, the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things or make them unimportant.

This episode fell on the heels of "Cold Blood" (an episode that you will reach further down this list), and seemed to provide the perfect balance of humor and heart... until the end of the episode. One of the things that I love about Amy Pond is her determination. And that's probably why the end of this episode broke me. When Amy starts crying after realizing that van Gogh's depression still overtook him, even after their visit with him, The Doctor assures Amy that their visit still MATTERED. That the bad things in life don't mean that good cannot come from them. It's then that Amy's drawn to the painting of sunflowers and realizes that van Gogh dedicated the piece to her. 

9. "The Impossible Astronaut"

Wake up! Go on, wake up you stupid bloody idiot!

This, to me, was one of the saddest moments of the entire series. The fact that Amy had to be restrained by Rory and River before rushing over and then - in a way that only Amy could do - insulted The Doctor, tearfully hoping he'd wake up. This was one of Amy's most vulnerable moments, and the moments to follow exemplified how empty she was without her raggedy Doctor. She waited her whole life for him, and he left her. This was definitely a sob-inducing scene.

8. "The Big Bang"

The Doctor: Because you're special. That crack in your wall, all that time. The Universe pouring into your head. You brought Rory back. You can bring them back too. You just remember and they'll be there.
Amy: You won't.
The Doctor: You'll have your family back. You won't need your imaginary friend anymore. Amy Pond. Crying over me, eh? Guess what.
Amy: What?
The Doctor: Gotcha.

I will always love the girl who waited and her raggedy Doctor. There is something so undeniably special and unique with the Doctor and Amy Pond -- there's a bond and a love and a mutual companionship there. She needs him, will always need him, but he knows better. He knows that she could be fine, could have a life with Rory, and forget about him. And what's so special in this scene is the callback to their first real adventure together as they take their (presumably) last one in "The Big Bang." Additionally, I didn't stop crying between this scene and the scene where he delivers his epic "we're all stories in the end" speech.

7. "Cold Blood"

Amy: Tell me it's going to be okay. Make it okay.
The Doctor: It's going to be hard but you can do it. Tell me about Rory, huh? Fantastic Rory. Funny Rory. Gorgeous Rory. Amy, listen to me: do exactly as I say. Amy please, keep concentrating you can do this.
Amy: I can't.
The Doctor: You can. You can do it. I can't help you unless you do. We can still save his memory.

The ending to this episode absolutely destroyed me. From the moment that The Doctor has to physically drag Amy back into the TARDIS until the moment the time-traveling ship hits a bump and Amy loses her focus, forgetting Rory (seemingly) forever, I didn't stop crying. We rarely see the extreme emotions that Amy displayed when she lost Rory -- sobbing and begging The Doctor to take her back, to make everything all right. And the scene was more than just sob-worthy -- it was heart-wrenching.

6. "The Girl Who Waited"

Future Amy: I love you too. Don't let me in. Tell Amy—your Amy—I'm giving her the days. The days with you. Days to come. The days I can't have. Take them please. I'm giving her my days.
Rory: I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.

There are very few Rory-centric episodes or plots that made me cry, since the emotionally charged moments are usually left to the females in the episodes, but "The Girl Who Waited" absolutely destroyed nearly everyone who watched it. The fact that Rory was forced to choose between the older version and the current version of Amy was a heart-breaking role reversal from "Amy's Choice." It was also so devastating because Rory realized in the moment that he made his choice, he was becoming like The Doctor. His visible anger toward him throughout the episode too was just crushing, as was the obliviousness of the younger Amy when she awakes at the end of the episode in the TARDIS.

5. "The God Complex"

I stole your childhood and now I've led you by the hand to your death. But the worst thing is I knew. I knew this would happen. This is what always happens. Forget your faith in me. I took you with me because I was vain. Because I wanted to be adored. Look at you, glorious Pond. The Girl Who Waited for me. I'm not a hero. I really am just a madman in a box. And it's time we saw each other as we really are. Amy Williams. It's time to stop waiting.

This episode broke me. The fact that it was centered completely around who or what people place their faith in, and what terrifies them already solidified that it would be a jolting episode. But the fact of the matter is that The Doctor knows how much faith Amy places and has always placed in him, and how much he places his faith in her -- in his little Amelia Pond, in the girl who waited for him. The only way to save her, to save Rory, and himself was to force her to lose her faith in him, to see him as just the mad man with a box -- not her savior, her comforter, or the man who showed her the stars. And the most heart-breaking moment for me was when he called her "Amy Williams" rather than "Amelia Pond." I used a LOT of tissues during this episode.

4. "The Angels Take Manhattan"

Raggedy man? Goodbye.

It's still fresh in my mind, having only aired less than twenty-four hours ago, but "The Angels Take Manhattan" ranks among the most sob-worthy of episodes for me. Apart from the fact that it was Amy and Rory's last episode, the tearful, brave decision that Amy makes in the graveyard to live out her life with Rory back in time rather than stay in the present with The Doctor and River is one of Amy Pond's greatest and saddest moments. The Doctor begging her to stay ("Come along, Pond. Please.") rank among Matt Smith's saddest moments as well, because he knows that she won't -- that she can't -- stay with him. He's known since he read the final chapter's title that his Amelia Pond would leave him and there would be nothing he could do to stop that. And he tried, he really did. Hers was the first face he saw in that little garden. And in that graveyard, his was the last she saw. (And then I cried. A lot.)

3. "The End of Time, Parts 1 and 2"

We will sing to you, Doctor. The universe will sing you to your sleep. This song is ending. But the story never ends.

Why, yes. Three of the saddest episodes of Doctor Who to date (for me, personally) fall not within the Moffat era, but the Davies era. "The End of Time" ranks as one of the saddest episodes of the series for me. Perhaps this is one of the most heart-wrenching because it is full of goodbyes -- goodbyes because The Doctor is fully aware of his imminent regeneration. And so he makes it his goal to say a final farewell to those he loves -- to Martha and Mickey, to Captain Jack, to Donna and Wilfred Noble, and - finally - to Rose Tyler, even though she has yet to meet his ninth incarnation. He saves her for last, knowing that hers is the final face he will see before he regenerates. *cue ugly sobbing*

2. "Doomsday"

Rose: Am I ever going to see you again?
The Doctor: You can't.

I'm sure that a lot of you are surprised, aren't you? Perhaps you were expecting "Doomsday" to rank as my most sob-worthy episode of Doctor Who. This is, of course, a very sad episode. Rose becomes trapped in a parallel world where she can never see the Doctor again, and he burns up a sun to say goodbye to her. She tells him that she loves him, and he begins to say it before his transmission to her is cut off, leaving him in the TARDIS in tears. The Tenth Doctor and Rose Tyler were the companions that had - arguably - the most love and romance between them. They cared so deeply for one another, that when they were separated in "Doomsday," we thought they would never see each other again and that all hope was lost. And we cried. And cried. And most of us (myself included) still can't watch the episode because of the damage it caused to our poor, happy ending-loving hearts.

1. "Journey's End"

Donna: Rest of my life. Traveling. In the TARDIS. The Doctor Donna. Oh, oh my god, I can't go back. Don't make me go back. Doctor, please! Please don't make me go back.
The Doctor: Donna. Oh, Donna Noble. I am so sorry. But we had the best of times. The best. Goodbye.
Donna: No! No! Please! No!

No episode of television to date -- apart from the episode where John Ritter passed away in 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter -- has caused me to sob as hard as I did during Donna Noble's farewell in "Journey's End." She was so confident, so happy, so blissfully happy with The Doctor. Donna Noble was the most important woman in the universe, and then... The Doctor had to erase him from her memory in order to save her. The way that she begs for him not to leave her, to make her go back to her old life where she was unhappy, where her family thought she was insignificant, where she had a menial job... it just breaks my heart. She continues to beg until the moment The Doctor erases her memory, and I continued to sob long after the scene was over.

So, there you have it. Did your favorite "sob-worthy" moment make my cut? Leave a comment below and let me know what you thought.


  1. A) Thanks for the shout out. I am glad we can all destroy each other with our feels this weekend.

    B) Great list. The only thing I would add in would be Ten's "Falling in love? Did that even occur to him?" meltdown/seeing the Human life he COULD lead but never will in Human Nature/Family of Blood. Ugh, some of the most magnificent acting Tennant did over the course of the series, and it wrecked me.

    C) I too would rank Journey's End over Doomsday, principally because of Donna having to lose her memory. Doomsday is TERRIBLE and I have only been able to watch it once, but in retrospect knowing that Rose gets a happy ending (RTD says that he believes Rose and TenToo are blissfully happy, which makes it canon to me) makes that dark dark episode easier to swallow.

    But for Donna Noble to never know that she was the most important woman in the universe? Ugh.

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