This is one of the best lines in the history of anything.
You know, I was thinking. The thing I love best about the last year or so of Doctor Who is how badly the Doctor has fucked up with Amy and Rory, how very flawed he is when it comes to them.
He should have let Amy go ages before. He knows he should have let her go. He keeps trying to, but he can’t seem to resist dropping by again. What will it hurt, one last time, one last adventure, one last long binge of greatness, come along then, Pond, come on, Rory, let’s go! And so it keeps on, sort of uncomfortably, for quite a while. Amy and Rory try to get back to their real lives, because they want to have real lives, they’ve grown up now, but the Doctor keeps interrupting them and tempting them. And they find they can’t say no, most of the time (though they’re learning to, in the end). He should have walked away, he should have stopped dragging them along, he should have taken the hint. But he can’t. Amy and Rory both love the Doctor, but they want to get on with relationships and lives, children, maybe. Other people’s children, at least. Parents and friends. They want those things too. And he knows. He knows it. He pretends they want to be with him more than they want anything else, even when he knows that’s not really true. He knows he’s losing them, but he can’t resist trying to hold on as long as he can.
I like that about this Doctor, that he can’t resist them. Normally it seems like it’s companions who can’t resist the Doctor, but I feel like the roles are actually reversed here. He loves Amy and Rory, he needs them more than they need him.
So it’s right that Amy should be locked away from him the way she is, in the end. Because he went too far. He asked a bit too much. He created creatures the weeping angels must have been salivating for; he couldn’t leave well enough alone.
And he must know it. That it’s his fault. Because it is; it is his fault. He ruined them. He broke them.
My impression was that, for the most part, the Russell T. Davies companions are left improved by the Doctor. Rose gets all of her heart’s desires; Martha leaves with dignity and strength, and with the knowledge and power to save the world. Jack Harkness gets a purpose in his ridiculously long life. Donna loses everything she gains, except for one thing, possibly the most important: the respect of her mother. But Amy: I don’t think Amy is improved by the Doctor at all. On the contrary, she’s hurt by him. She’s broken by him.
I think there are people that use that as a criticism of the show, but I like it. Narratively, I mean. It’s interesting that it hurts to be too long in the Doctor’s orbit. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it’s interesting, and it makes sense, and I like it. He lands her in therapy as a child, and gives her a constant hero-worship conflict between her love for him and her love for Rory. If anything, Amy’s entire arc could be seen as her managing to heal over the damage he caused when he gatecrashed her evening as a child and gave her hope that her life would be different than she’d expected. She healed, she moved on, but the Doctor never did. He’s never ready to let her go. And now she’s ensconced in a place where, unlike many of the Doctor’s other companions, he can’t ever reach her again. And in the end it was really him who sealed her in there. And he knows it. He fucked up.
The Doctor is a dangerous creature. He hurts people. I understand why he would recede from the universe after those events; his neediness quite visibly twisted and ruined Amy’s life. Not in the very worst way possible, I think. Not the very worst way. She doesn’t have an unhappy life, in the end. But it’s not the life she was leading up to have. Probably not the one she wanted. Not the best one she could have, all told. She ends up living her life cut off from everyone she’s ever known and loved, from her own child, alone with Rory, because in the end, she wouldn’t abandon the love of her life for the Doctor. She wouldn’t choose him. She’d made her choice a long time ago, and we watched her do it: Rory, or nothing. So in the end she says no to the Doctor. In the end she finally, definitively, says no.
Too many heroes in stories as epic as this one are boring and too perfect; the Doctor is not one of those heroes. Unlike many others, he fucks up. And he hurts the ones he loves. I like that about this narrative, and this Doctor. He couldn’t take no for an answer, and his failures have hurt people, destroyed lives, and filled him with regret.