Right out the gate, let’s get this out of the way. This story has spoilers. Big, gigantic, heart-rending, beautiful spoilers. If you aren’t caught up on Doctor Who and don’t already know the fate of Amy Pond and Rory, don’t read any further.
The last episode (so far) of Doctor Who seventh season ended with the departure of the Doctor’s latest companions, Amy Pond and Rory, in a manner that, as promised by showrunner Steven Moffat, was beautiful and sad and crazy and very, very Doctor Who. After being yanked back through time by those pesky Weeping Angels, the Ponds found themselves trapped in 1930s New York, and, thanks to a bit of timey-wimey Phlebotinum, the Doctor will never, ever be able to rescue them or see them again. While it’s a wound that will pain the Doctor for a long time to come — after all, young Amy Pond was the first human face he saw in his current incarnation — the Ponds were left to settle down and make a life for themselves, decades before they were born. But it turns out the show could have had one little coda, a tear-jerking scene where Rory’s father learned the fate of his son and daughter-in-law. It’s recreated below in sketches and narration, and you’re probably going to need a hanky.
It’s a testament to writer Chris Chibnall’s writing that, even in this unfinished form, the scene hits with an emotional impact that could double you over. Doctor Who, especially in its modern incarnation, has had plenty of moments that left us weepy (“I don’t want to go.”), but it really breaks my heart that this wasn’t actually filmed. While the first five episodes of this season were an uneven bunch, I quite liked the way Rory’s dad was used. He provided an outsider’s look at the curious friendship of the Doctor and the Ponds, as well as a sober voice to comment on the uncomfortable truth that the Doctor’s companions don’t always meet happy ends, while the Time Lord himself simply goes on and on.
Even so, it’s a beautiful little scene that perfectly summarizes the appeal of Doctor Who, with its mixture of fairy tale wonder and earnest humanity. I kind of love it.