By K.M. Cone | Staff Writer Published: 12/19/2013 9:00 am EST
I think I’ve officially left the Doctor Who fandom. Not out of anger or bitterness at Moffat for his sexism or love of the reset button but out of grief. My little heart couldn’t take any more. Not after “Angels Take Manhattan.”
When I watched that episode, I knew the Ponds were leaving. I expected Moffat to do something horrible. But something snapped inside me during that episode. It was like Moffat knew what would be the worst, most unacceptable way to end the Ponds. And then he did it.
I understand that sometimes we have to say goodbye to characters. Mitchell’s departure at the end of Being Human UK’s season three was beautiful and poignant; it gave him a complete and resolved character arc that made me appreciate Toby Whithouse, Aidan Turner, and the depth of that character, as well as the love and dedication the writers and actor had for the role.
There’s a difference between a tragic character arc resolution and the enjoyment of torturing fans or even actors. Karen, Arthur, and Matt were very close. Matt has cried when talking about leaving the show, and, whether he went of his own will or not (I have serious doubts on the subject), there wasn’t a satisfying conclusion to their stories. They were ripped away from us.
Doctor Who is a show about time, the people living in it, and the one person living outside of it. In a way it’s a larger version of Peter Pan. The Doctor is Peter Pan, who never wanted to grow up and so he went to Neverland (the TARDIS) to escape his fate. Because of this choice, however, he can never stay with the people he loves. He cannot grow up. Time separates him from everyone else. I think it’s the great tragedy of the Doctor’s life that he can travel through time but he still can’t rescue the ones he loves from the bonds of time. He is always left alone.
That’s a beautifully tragic story, but it would have gone over better if Rory and Amelia Pond had actual story arcs and character resolution. They were my favorite companions, but Moffat hardly delved into their stories. They were fully realized in the actors’ portrayals but Moffat only used them to torture his fans.
There are fixed points in time, although the Doctor has been known to break a few rules, but he can’t break the rules when it comes to leaving his companions. There are memes littered all over the internet with Amy asking the Doctor to meet up with them somewhere in the past, outside Manhattan but he says he can’t because of the storyline. There’s really no other reason.
One of the reasons I fell in love with the Moffat version of Doctor Who was the two-parter episode Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. Even though Matt Smith was my favorite Doctor, Tennant thrilled in those episodes, River was brilliant, and the speech where Tennant realizes he found a way to save River (“…I’m very good!”) was exhilarating. Just once, everybody lived.
Doctor Who used to be about hope. The Doctor believed. But what do we have now? Moffat’s trapped his loved ones in time. He can’t go back. So what’s the point in going forward? What does the Doctor have to live for?I question why Moffat writes Doctor Who. When you are a writer, you have responsibilities. You have the responsibility to know what you’re saying and why you are saying it. Doctor Who has always been a show about a mysterious figure who rescues people. Moffat won’t let The Doctor rescue anyone anymore. There’s no hope left. No one lives.
If the Doctor doesn’t have anything to live for what do we have to live for as an audience? I think Moffat’s lost his way. It appears that he delights in wreaking havoc, and at this point, that’s a bad sign. What are you saying to the audience by writing in such a way? You can’t write to please everyone, but the responsibility to create story arcs that say something (hopefully positive) with characters that matter is one that should be taken seriously. The purposeful disregard of everyone else’s feelings for his controlled story disturbs me.
I can’t trust Moffat anymore as a writer. His attitude toward the fans and his lack of care regarding the actors has hurt me more deeply than I realized. His stories have become too twisted and painful. At this point, I’ve tried watching current Doctor Who and past Doctor Who without any results. I have no feelings left for the show. I’m not even excited about Sherlock, and that is a real tragedy.