The death of a companion is nothing new. Way back in the 1960s, Katarina and Sara Kingdom expired after only a few weeks’ time travel (in The Daleks’ Master Plan). And in 1982’s Earthshock, the almost universally unloved Adric was atomised, leaving the Doctor and the audience surprisingly devastated.
But now we’ve seen poor goofy Rory “die” three times in just a few weeks: twice in the Doctor’s imagination in the dream worlds of Amy’s Choice; and tonight, shot by a Silurian, as he saved the Time Lord’s life. Worse, Rory’s body was engulfed by the Crack in Time, so that he’d never even existed, wiped from Amy’s memory.
So how do today’s young viewers react to such a cruel twist of fate? Well, there was “an emotional trauma” in my sister’s family after watching Rory’s demise. My nephew Finn (six) was at first shocked, then reduced to completely hysterical tears.
My intention had been to gauge the reactions of my sister’s children, in some ways Doctor Who’s ideal audience, to this week’s episode and the latest series in general. Finn, inconsolable, went to bed early, but I can report he wasn’t spooked at all by anything in this two-parter, and that he “likes Matt Smith very much” and has got used to him quickly.
But my niece Kaia (nine) stayed up for a few questions.
What did you enjoy about tonight’s episode?
I liked the fact they decided to try to share the planet. The monsters were good but not really scary. They just looked like funny lizards but quite human.
What do you think of Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor?
Well, um, he’s not quite as good as David Tennant. I haven’t really got used to Matt Smith yet, but he is a good Doctor. I like him, though his costume’s a bit dorky and his hair is crazy.
How do you feel about Amy?
She’s not been one of the best companions but I like her. She reminds me of my Auntie Eileen who’s Scottish.
What about Rory?
I wasn’t expecting him to die. That was quite sad.
What do you like most about Doctor Who?
You mean the actual programme? Well, I think the episodes have got gradually better with Matt Smith, cos the first one [The Eleventh Hour] wasn’t very good, the second one was better, and it’s gone on like that. And I like the new Tardis, because it’s even bigger now and it’s got platforms and stuff.
If you could go anywhere in time and space in the Tardis, where would you go?
World War Two because I’m learning about it at school. Or into the future to see whether global warming has got better.
What one thing would you change about Doctor Who?
The fact that Amy can’t remember Rory.
Do you think she ever will?
Well, she might get a few flashes – like when something comes before your eyes. I hope she does.
Well, Kaia may well get her wish. There’s definitely something amiss in next week’s glorious episode, Vincent and the Doctor, and who knows, maybe we will see more of Rory before this season ends.