--Eleven, "Power of Three"
After rewatching "Angels Take Manhattan"--what can I say? I'm a glutton for emotional agony--I decided to pull out my essay draft comparing Ten and Eleven's reactions to losing their first companions. I've made no secret of my distaste for Ten's obsession about Rose in seasons three and four, but now that my Doctor has lost his Ponds, I'm reanalyzing my position. What, specifically, about Ten annoys me so?
I don't think I need to justify my position much. Yes, Rose's relationship with the Doctor is primary romantic while Amy ends up with Rory (I'm sticking with canon here). But both of them were the first companion for the Doctor, witnessing the aftermath of regeneration. Finally, they both left "alive" but trapped beyond the reach of the TARDIS. For simplicity's sake, I'll compare Ten's behavior in Smith and Jones (with a few mentions of season three) to Eleven in The Snowmen, as I have nothing else to analyse Eleven on at the moment. I hope he finds some joy in season seven b, but that's beside the point at the moment.
First of all, Ten's reaction. When Rose slipped from the dimension-closing-thingy, he screamed, but once the breach closed, he just walked along the wall, pressing his ear as if he hoped to hear her voice from the other side. And with his final farewell--on the beach at Bad Wolf Bay--he absolutely breaks down. Eleven has to say his final goodbye while staring at the Angel, trying to convince Amy to come back with him--he didn't even say goodbye to Rory. His last words to Rory were "Down to the pub!" And that scream--that horrible, guttural scream when she disappears--oh, my Doctor.
Perhaps I should be comparing The Snowmen to The Runaway Bride, not Smith and Jones. For completeness, I've watched both while writing this episode. The problem with analyzing Runaway Bride is that it occurs literally minutes after Bad Wolf Bay--Ten almost has to shut down his emotions to deal with Donna.
Okay, slight change of plans. I will be discussing both episodes. But any approach is going to end up lopsided slightly, with only one post-Manhattan episode to discuss. It's worth noting that the only reference to Rose in "Smith and Jones" is at the very end, when Martha asks if the TARDIS has a crew. He dodges the question, but admits to having a friend named Rose. On the other hand, in the Runaway Bride,
(Donna finds Rose's shirt)
Donna: I knew it, acting all innocent. I'm not the first, am I? How many women have you abducted? Doctor: That's my friend's. Donna: Where is she, then? Popped out for a space walk? Doctor: She's gone. Donna: Gone where? Doctor: I lost her. Donna: Well, you can hurry up and lose me! How do you mean, lost?
Doctor: Trust me. Donna: Is that what you said to her? Your friend? The one you lost? Did she trust you? Doctor Yes, she did. And she is not dead. She is so alive. Now, jump!
Doctor: I spent Christmas Day just over there, the Powell Estate, with this family. My friend, she had this family. Well, they were. Still, gone now.
Donna: Your friend, who was she? (....)This friend of yours. Just before she left, did she punch you in the face? Stop bleeping me!
Donna: That friend of yours. What was her name? Doctor: Her name was Rose.Okay, some of that is Donna being...well, Donna, but I haven't watched these episodes for a while, and it's interesting to see how normal Ten is acting. He's chasing down aliens, asking his normal sorts of questions and making a nuisance of himself. In fact, judging only by Runaway Bride or Smith and Jones, he's coping with the loss of Rose far better than Eleven is with his Ponds. He's off on adventures--
OH OH EUREKA!
Maybe that's why he's so mopey later. He didn't have a chance to mourn right away, and all that repression stuff just made it worse. Not that I believe most of Freud's junk, but it can't be healthy when he doesn't ever acknowledge the hurt.
On the other hand, Eleven does have River, but with her "never-let-him-see-the-damage" mantra, I'm not sure if that was helpful or not. I'm not even sure how long she stayed with him. So, the next time we see him, in the Great Detective prequel, he's not only withdrawn, but retired. He lives on a cloud, alone. The best summery we get of his decision comes from Madame Vastra:
He suffered losses that hurt him. Now, he prefers isolation to the possibility of pain's return.She also states that the Doctor's not a hero anymore.
The Doctor is not kind. He stands above this world and doesn't interfere in the affairs of its inhabitants. He is not your salvation nor your protector.We don't see anything like this from Ten until post-Journey's End. Even then, Ten keeps traveling. He doesn't just park the TARDIS and refuse to act. More than that, Eleven intends to wipe Clara's memory of him--which, quite frankly, shocked me. Considering what happened to Donna, one'd think that he'd be more wary of tampering with memories. Maybe--likely--in his mind, it was for her own protection. After all, what happens to his friends? They leave. They get left behind. And some...some...die.
Admittedly, Eleven is my Doctor and the Ponds are my companions, so I'm mourning them in a way I didn't for Rose, but it still seems to me that...oh, how do I put this. Eleven is the clown of the NuWho Doctors, compared to Nine's survivor's guild and Ten's immensely human emotions. And so he doesn't let himself grieve, he doesn't want anyone to know him as anything but the "madman in a box." And Ten is human enough that he can't stop his grief leaking out, but Eleven turns himself into a ice cube--another Eureka! moment--the ice creations in The Snowmen were echoes of his own emotional state.
I'm rambling now. Maybe I should stop and come back after watching all of season three. But I definitely see a difference between Ten's grief and Eleven's. Ten's attitude could be defined in the season four quote.
"I'm always alright," because he just keeps moving on and doesn't let it show. But Eleven can't pass it over that easy, because he has River; no matter how much he wants to forget, they were her parents. Instead, he hides. He's the strangest mixture of old and young, Eleven is--the unalloyed sorrow of a child with the despair of an ancient. And he hides, like a child afraid of a shot, because he can't see how this pain is going to make things any better.