August 8, 2010 / Media - Entertainment

Doctor Who: Amy Pond


The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and not necessarily those of The New Agenda.

Doctor WhoDoctor Who is the biggest British import in the United States. It is about a space- and time-traveling alien called The Doctor who adores Earth and often takes with him a human to be his companion on many adventures. These companions are often female but have been male. Recently, there has been some controversy over whether the treatment of Amy Pond in the series has been sexist. I refuse to take any side in this debate. After all, Amy Pond does have a decent-sized fanbase who adore her character and who consider her a strong woman. While I considered the controversy and its origins, I looked pragmatically at Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, and Donna Noble and compared their situations with that of Amy Pond. The ultimate problem is a matter of situational quantity, not personal quality. My suggestions for improvement should therefore should satisfy both the fans of Amy Pond and the viewers disliked her portrayal. I have placed the types of danger into three categories “Equal Danger,” “Damsel-in-Distress” and “Prince-in-Distress” By comparing the episodes and quantifying the situations, I have found a solution that will satisfy both sides of the fandom. The following are summaries of each episode along with the types of dangers present in each one.

RoseTylerWhen Doctor Who resumed in 2005, his first new companion was Rose Tyler, a 19-year-old with no college education and who recently lost her job due to an alien attack. The Doctor blew it up to save her from aliens.

Episode 1: Rose – although The Doctor attempts to negotiate with the aliens and wants to help them, the Nestene reject his help and attack him. Rose saves both the Doctor, her boyfriend Mickey, and the Earth. She also destroys the aliens.

Episode 2: The End of the World – Doctor takes Rose to the year 5 Billion AD to watch the Earth be destroyed by the sun. The Tardis arrives inside a spaceship of that time period, and someone onboard is sabotaging it to kill everyone. In this episode, Rose is essentially a damsel-in-distress cowering from lethal sun radiation. The Doctor saves her life and everyone else.

Episode 3: The Unquiet Dead – Rose and Doctor are both trapped by disembodied aliens who want to kill them and use their bodies. Both characters face equally serious danger.

Episode 4: Aliens of London – equal danger with the Doctor being zapped by the Slitheen and with Rose and Harriet trapped in that same building.

Episode 5: World War Three – Doctor, Rose, and Harriet are all trapped inside 10 Downing Street. Their situation is equal danger.

Episode 6: Dalek – When Doctor and Rose discover a Dalek in 2012 Utah, Doctor expects the worst and indeed the worst does start to happen. However, at the end, Dalek develops feelings of remorse and isolation; the creature wants to die in sorrow while Doctor wants to kill it in a vengeful fury. The story concludes with Rose shielding the Dalek as the Doctor points a gun at them. Dalek pleads with Rose to let it self-destruct.

Episode 7: The Long Game – after the events of that episode, Doctor and Rose decide to vacation in a 200,000 AD space station. Again, they experience equal danger, both trapped by the massive creature controlling humanity. This is the fourth episode that they experience equal danger. A contemporary woman who realizes humanity had been controlled then sacrifices herself to kill the alien.

Episode 8: Father’s Day – Doctor and Rose are again thrust into equal danger, trapped within a church as humanity, time, and the universe are systematically torn apart.

Episode 9: The Empty Child – Doctor, Rose, and Jack Harkness are trapped inside a WW2 building by creatures that are bizarre even according to the Doctor’s standards. Equal danger, yet again.

Episode 10: The Doctor Dances – yup, still same type of danger.

Episode 11: Boomtown – This was a good episode, but I did not get a sense of any threat throughout the whole thing until the very end. No one seemed to be in any serious danger.

Episode 12: Bad Wolf – starts out Doctor and his two companions are in equal danger. At the end, Doctor learns that Rose is being held hostage, a damsel-in-distress.

Episode 13: The Parting of the Ways – Doctor and Rose alternate. Although their situation is equal, Doctor sends Rose back to her own time to protect her from danger. Rose absorbs the heart of the Tardis and travels back to the Doctor’s time. She uses the powers to annihilate all the genocidal aliens. She saves Earth and the Doctor’s life. However, absorbing the heart of the Tardis begins to fry her brain, so the Doctor hurriedly saves her life.

Rose Tyler had the role of Damsel-in-Distress twice out of thirteen episodes. Doctor had the role of Prince-in-Distress once out of thirteen. Alternations such as the finale do not count. For the remaining ten, they were in equal danger.

Martha_JonesThe Doctor’s next companion was Martha Jones, the exact opposite of Rose Tyler. Martha was a medical student with a massive infatuation with the Doctor. When he showed no interest in her, she developed an inferiority complex. Here are their situations in Martha’s round of episodes.

Episode 1: Smith and Jones – Martha and Doctor along with everyone else are trapped in a hospital that was taken to the moon. The Judoon arrive and begin scanning everyone in search of a fugitive alien. Humans are left alone, but oxygen is being depleted. Both Doctor and the alien have methods of fooling the scanners. Not realizing he is also extraterrestrial, the fugitive sucks some of the Doctor’s blood for the scanners to register her as human. Doctor falls unconscious. Martha knows the Doctor isn’t human, so the fugitive’s trick won’t work this time. She aims a scanner at the fugitive, registering it as non-human. The Judoon kill the alien and return the hospital to Earth. Martha revives the Doctor, and they agree to travel together.

Episode 2: The Shakespeare Code – in the middle of the episode, an alien-witch kills one of the Doctor’s hearts. Martha revives it.

Episode 3: Gridlock – Doctor takes Martha to a planet in 5 Billion AD. In a parody of traffic congestion and commutes, a young couple kidnaps Martha for special driving privileges, but they really mean her no harm. Doctor pursues her. Should she really be considered a damsel-in-distress if her captors were a young, innocent couple and all three were in equal danger?

Episode 4: Daleks in Manhattan – Martha and a 1930s American named Frank are both captured by the Dalek’s pig-slaves. Doctor, Tallulah and Lazlo attempt to pursue them but are also captured.

Episode 5: Evolution of the Daleks – Doctor and Martha experience equal danger as they work to save Manhattan from the Daleks.

Episode 6: The Lazarus Experiment – Doctor, Martha, and Martha’s sister are in equal danger at the beginning, neither seem to be in direct danger near the end as they strategize how to defeat the evil experiment.

Episode 7: 42 – Doctor and Martha appear in a spaceship preparing to crash into the sun. Doctor is possessed by fire/sun-aliens, rendering him a Prince-in-Distress.

Episode 8: Human Nature – Doctor loses his memory and becomes John Smith in Britain a few years prior to WW1. Near the end, aliens searching for the Doctor aim their weaponry at both John Smith, Joan Redfern and Martha Jones. Equal danger.

Episode 9: The Family of Blood – John Smith is very much the Prince-in-Distress as the aliens wreak havoc in the countryside.

Episode 10: Blink – eh, an awesome episode but neither Doctor nor Martha were in it that much.

Episode 11: Utopia – equal danger as Doctor, Martha, and Jack flee from humanoid creatures who want to eat them both at the beginning and at the end of the episode.

Episode 12: The Sound of Drums – Doctor, Jack, and Martha’s family are imprisoned by the Doctor’s arch-nemesis. Martha must fend for herself as interstellar violence descends upon Earth.

Episode 13: The Last of the Time Lords – Martha Jones has become the leader of a global resistance and has spent a year gathering strength.

Even though Martha was deeply infatuated and had an inferiority complex, Russell T. Davies adjusted the situations by having the Doctor be in distress at some point for six out of thirteen episodes. Martha Jones was in distress once or twice. For the remainder, they were in equal danger.

Donna NobleAnd last but not least is Donna Noble.

Episode 1: Partners in Crime – Donna and Doctor protect Earth from an alien supernanny who wants to transform humanity into baby fat for prospective parents.

Episode 2: The Fires of Pompeii – equal danger when they are surrounded by aliens. Near the end, the Doctor must make a drastic decision to save humanity. Donna lends him the emotional strength needed to follow through.

Episode 3: Planet of the Ood – there is really no danger at all. Doctor and Donna want to free the Ood from slavery, but the Ood had developed ingenious ways to free themselves.

Episode 4: The Sontaran Stratagem – Donna’s grandfather is suffocating from poisonous air inside his car. Doctor’s sonic technology cannot open the car. Donna’s mother saves him by throwing a rock at a car window.

Episode 5: The Poison Sky – equal danger as Earth’s atmosphere turns toxic.

Episode 6: The Doctor’s Daughter – equal danger.

Episode 7: The Unicorn and the Wasp – somewhat of a silly murder mystery done in the legacy of Agatha Christie. Lots of people dying. Equal danger for Donna and Doctor.

Episode 8: Silence in the Library – equal danger until the end of the episode when Donna suddenly disappears.

Episode 9: Forest of the Dead – a conclusion to the previous episode. Donna is NOT a damsel-in-distress because the library’s security systems saving her actually led to her disappearance. equal danger for the Doctor and archeologists until Doctor scares off the creatures.

Episode 10: Midnight – Donna is hardly in this episode. While vacationing on an exotic planet, they temporarily part ways. Doctor becomes the prince-in-distress until the Stewardess decides who the real intruder is and kills it.

Episode 11: Turn Left – Doctor is barely in this episode. Donna finds herself in an alternate universe where the Doctor died before they met. As Earth falls to shambles, Donna meets a strange young woman who tells her that she (Donna) is the universe’s only hope for salvation. Donna saves the universe and awakens in the original one.

Episode 12: The Stolen Earth – Doctor and Donna need to restore the Earth back to its proper place, but they cannot find it. All of the Doctor’s former companions meet and plan a way to contact him. Near the end of the episode, the Doctor is shot.

Episode 13: Journey’s End – Doctor and Donna alternate. Donna is almost burned alive, but she survives miraculously. Doctor is trapped. Donna saves everyone, etc.

So… oy, I have looked at quite a lot of episodes… With Donna as a companion… Donna was a damsel-in-stress maybe once out of thirteen episodes? Actually, she does not seem to be in distress at all. Doctor was a prince-in-distress twice out of thirteen episodes. For the remainder, they were either in equal danger or no danger at all. Before I discuss Amy Pond who has been a source of contention and debate among the Doctor Who fandom, I will summarize the situations.

Doctor and Rose: equal danger ten out of thirteen episodes
Rose as Damsel-in-Distress: two out of thirteen episodes
Doctor as Prince-in-Distress: one out of thirteen episodes

Doctor and Martha: equal danger six or seven out of thirteen episodes
Martha as Damsel-in-Distress: one or two out of thirteen episodes
Doctor as Prince-in-Distress: six out of thirteen episodes

Doctor and Donna: equal danger or non-danger ten or eleven out of thirteen episodes
Donna as Damsel-in-Distress: maybe once?
Doctor as Prince-in-Distress: two out of thirteen episodes

AmyPondNow, we can finally take a look at Amy Pond who has been decried as a sexist portrayal by some fans but cherished woman-positive by other fans. The ultimate problem with Amy Pond is a of situational quantity, not personal quality. My suggestions for improvement should therefore should satisfy both the fans of Amy Pond and the viewers disliked her portrayal.

Episode 1: The Eleventh Hour – there does seem to be equal danger until the end when Amy Pond collapses and falls unconscious. Even though she manages to remember and conjure up the true image of the escaped prisoner, thus saving everyone, she is nonetheless unconscious throughout the whole thing.

Episode 2: The Beast Below – in the middle of the episode, Amy Pond is captured and held prisoner by evil government robots. She becomes thus a Damsel-in-Distress.

Episode 3: Victory of the Daleks – equal danger.

Episode 4: The Time of Angels – Amy Pond becomes a Damsel-in-Distress twice in this episode, once when she is trapped inside a spaceship chamber with a Weeping Angel, and the second time when she believes her arm to be turning into stone.

Episode 5: Flesh and Stone – again Amy Pond is a Damsel-in-Distress when the Doctor discovers that a Weeping Angel is actually inside her optic nerves. Although the Doctor is also in danger, Amy Pond is in considerably greater danger both in this episode and in the previous episode.

Episode 6: The Vampires of Venice – Amy Pond is captured by aliens who want to drain her blood and transform her into one of them. Although they later experience danger together, this is the fourth or fifth time that Amy Pond has been a damsel.

Episode 7: Amy’s Choice – this has been my favorite episode of this round. Everyone is in completely equal danger. They must decide which world is a dream and which is reality. If they die in a dream, they wake up. If they die in reality, they die for real. Amy Pond takes direct action and decides which is the dream.

Episode 8: The Hungry Earth – Amy Pond is captured by reptilian humanoids, making her a damsel-in-distress.

Episode 9: Cold Blood – Amy Pond escapes, attempts to rescue the Doctor and is captured by the same reptilian humanoids.

Episode 10: Vincent and the Doctor – there is equal danger.

Episode 11: The Lodger – overall a very silly and fun episode. Something is causing trouble with time, which forces the Doctor out of the Tardis and leaves Amy Pond trapped inside the Tardis. There is not much danger throughout the whole thing, but if the Doctor does not solve the time-trouble, Amy Pond will be lost forever in the vortex.

Episode 12: The Pandorica Opens – Amy Pond becomes a damsel-in-distress in the middle of the episode when cyberman knocks her unconscious. She is saved by a Roman Solider. Near the end, everyone is in equal danger.

Episode 13: The Big Bang – quite a lot of running danger, but Amy Pond does save the Doctor at the end. Doctor sacrificed himself to save the universe and was erased from time. However, at her wedding, Amy used an old saying of “something barrowed, something blue” and the power of her memory to restore him.

Counting it all up, I have realized that Amy Pond has been a Damsel-in-Distress once in Ep2, three times in the Weeping Angels 2-parter, once in Ep6, once in Ep8, and once again in Ep9. Also, a damsel once in Ep12.

Doctor and Amy: equal danger five out of thirteen episodes.
Amy as Damsel-in-Distress: eight out of thirteen episodes, but nine if you count Ep1.
Doctor as Prince-in-Distress: once out of thirteen episodes.

This is in stark contrast to the situations of the previous seasons (see graph below):


The round of episodes with Amy Pond has cut the number of equal-danger episodes by half and has dramatically increased the situations in which she is in distress. How many Doctor Who Fans became really excited at the episode “Amy’s Choice” or when Amy while awake and conscious used the power of her memory to save the Doctor? Amy Pond and her husband Rory Williams will be present in a second round of episodes. My solution that should satisfy both Amy Pond fans and her critics will be to change the amount and types of situations she finds herself in. Have Amy Pond be the damsel once or twice. Also have Rory and Doctor each be princes-in-distress once or twice. For the remainder of the episodes, they should have only equal danger.

So if you wish to contact BBC or the people involved in the production of Doctor Who, you may contact BBC here:

According to BBC’s website:

we are able to forward any fan mail to them on your behalf. If you wish for us to do this for you, they can be reached at the following address:
(Name of celebrity)
Doctor Who
c/o Artists’ Mail
PO Box 1922
G2 3WT
Please write ‘Private and Personal – Please Forward’ at the top of the envelope.

The names of the actors for this upcoming round are Matt Smith as the Doctor, Karen Gillian as Amy Pond, and Arthur Darvill as Rory Williams. Unfortunately, I could not find the addresses for the writers or producers, but the main writers is Stephen Moffat. The executive producers are Stephen Moffat and Beth Willis.

Also, one last thing, Matt Smith is absolutely correct: bowties are very cool.

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  • Bes

    I’ve never watched this show but love Science Fiction when they can get past the female space aliens in lingerie and high heels. Of course that is rare and so I usually read science fiction instead of watch it. Anyway this sounds like a well done show and I appreciate your analysis. I often find that content from other countries has better depictions of female characters. I go to Canada a few times each year and always notice the lack of sexist/dumb/stereotyped portrayals of women.

    I think TV is missing an opportunity by not having a books on CD channel. It would be a woman’s channel and it would be offered as a solution to idiotic male imagery which can be inserted anywhere any time and ruin everything. So they would take popular books or classics, get an attractive or better yet hunky actor to read them in an attractive setting…so Jane Austin books would be read in drop dead gorgeous English estates and gardens, and that is it for the visuals. Essentially an unabridged book on CD with related architecture and landscape visuals and no opportunity for imposed male imagery. It would also give a perfect opportunity for SUBTLE product placement of furniture or places to travel. But because of Corporate Media gate keeping in the USA nothing new can ever be tried it’s just the SOS over, and over and over.

  • Karen

    I really love the graph that Optixmom made for this article. Graphs are simple and concise, and you can really tell the difference between the situations of the women when they are side-by-side like that.

  • Optixmom


    Happy to help with the visual representation. You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.


  • Janis

    I have fan friends who watch lots of this sort of thing, and when I was younger, I watched this show in particular religiously. (I still think Jon Pertwee was the coolest thing ever, all those gadgets … )

    Occasionally, some of them come over with DVDs and whatnot … and with the arrival of the skinny guy with the dark hair, I realized that the show turned into pretty much “he’s a ramblin’ guy who’s gotta roam and leave a string of broken hearts behind him, but it’s okay because he’s got Angst about it.” It was all about how to ruin the companion’s emotional life in as cruel a way as possible.


    Initially, when the show was a bit more kid-friendly decades ago, the main character was a sort of giant kid himself, wandering around going “ooh aah” at the Wonders of the Universe while basically being as incredibly irresponsible as a giant kid would be.

    Once they added crushies and romance into the mix, the “incredibly irresponsible but likable giant kid” morphed into the “thoughtless immature asshole who refuses to grow up.”

    Lost interest. Seems like it was a good thing to lose.

  • Bes

    I don’t know I am intrigued by this show now and hope I have time to watch it soon. I didn’t realize it started in 1963 which was well before the misogynist and proud of it, backlash that took hold of American media somewhere in the late 1980’s and it isn’t an American show anyway. I have about a 6 book back up right now thought so it will be awhile.

    Does anyone know exactly when the sexist twits took over media? It must correlate with the start of media consolidation.

  • Karen

    Doctor Who comes on BBCAmerica every weekday at 4:00 PM central time. The Rose episodes should be airing. Rose and Donna are my two favorites.

  • Bes

    Thanks for the time info. I actually gave up on TV though so I don’t get channels. I will just rent it when I get time. I have TVs of course and they are hooked up to DVD players and video game consoles. I don’t see why I should pay for a load of malecentric crap and waste my time trying to block the worst of it. The funny thing is I have a house full of guests right now and no one has noticed I don’t have TV. The little girls are playing outside cause I do have a big yard also they are playing the Xbox or the Wii and they are able to set the consoles up by themselves. They have requested to watch Twilight and Romona and Bezus and their Mom said no to Twilight (Mom in peril not appropriate at that age). They also play on the computers with some stuffed animal site and a couple of simple game sites. I find it very interesting that the under 12 generation doesn’t care about TV enough to figure out I don’t have it. What does this mean for media and also for indoctrination of our children to corporate culture? I don’t know but I’d bet it is a positive for women and girls. One girl has been watching Serena the Teenaged Witch and Hannah Montana episodes but she is very ill with mono and can’t even stay awake, swallow or sit up so it is all she can do but she did manage to get these episodes on her own. Things are changing very quickly in our real culture.

  • Martine

    I think for a more in depth analysis and character comparison, you should have counted the episodes of series 2 with Rose as well. The dynamic between the Doctor and Rose changed with the regeneration of Eccleston into Tennant, and I would be curious to know if there was a difference with the first series according to your parameters…

  • Perturbed

    In “The Beast Below”, Amy may well have been a damsel-in-distress. Nevertheless, it is she who ultimately resolves the episode’s conflict. I think that has to count for something.

    In addition, Amy’s capture in “Hungry Earth” MUST be offset by her escape and attempted rescue of the Doctor, as the two episodes are the one adventure dealing with the same foe.

  • TD

    That’s a fascinating graph. I’m curious though, why did you not include season 2 in your analysis?

  • Azar

    The only trouble I have with your comparison is that in almost every situation where you had Amy listed as being a damsel in distress, the one who ultimately saves her from that situation is not the Doctor or Rory, but AMY herself. (There are exceptions, granted.) Your analysis doesn’t seem to take this into account.

    To wit:

    The Beast Below – she’s captured only to be put in the “voting” booth, wherein she is in no real danger because the Smilers know that everyone chooses to forget. Only after the Doctor joins her in the booth and pushes the “protest” button is there real danger, and then she and the Doctor are in it together.

    The Time of Angels – Of the two times you cited that she needs to be saved, one of them she again saves herself by figuring out how to turn off the image of the angel during the blip in the tape. The second one I will concede.

    Flesh and Stone – Conceded, but this is a continuation of the second instance in “The Time of Angels,” so should it really be considered separately?

    Vampires of Venice – Is in the process of rescuing herself (by among other things kicking Rosanna in her perception filter) when the Doctor and Rory come bumblingly charging to the rescue. Half conceded.

    The Hungry Earth/Cold Blood – Rescues not only herself by picking the Silurian scientist’s pocket, but also one of the other male captives. When she is taken hostage again later, so is the Doctor, so that would count as equal danger, wouldn’t it?

    The Pandorica Opens – Again, half conceded. Amy is doing a pretty good job of holding the Cyberman off on her own until the drug in the dart starts to take effect. Also, it should be noted that the Doctor is unconscious for most of this after being electrocuted by the cyber-arm. Does that count as equal danger for the two of them, at least, if not Rory?

    While I don’t think it was intentional, you seem to have judged damsel-in-distress status or no for companions of the RTD era by the episodes overall (ie: Rose’s kidnapping and drugging by the mortician in “The Unquiet Dead” is not counted as damsel in distress when I would have done so) whereas Amy is judged based on if she had even one moment of needing to be rescued in her episodes, regardless of who did the ultimate rescuing or whether or not it was a dominant theme of that episode. I appreciate the attempt to be unbiased, but quite frankly don’t believe it’s possible for any of us truly TO be because we’re all individuals who see things filtered through our experiences and perceptions. I’m merely offering mine. :-)

  • BevWKY

    I was sitting back wondering if anyone else was going to challenge this “little” post before I spoke up. 😉 Here’s the thing, I only discovered The Doctor since last Christmas when they had that marathon but since then I suppose one could say I’ve definitely become a fan and have since seen all of the newer three Doctor episodes. And fairly well versed in the universe.

    So I only have one major question in response to all of this, Karen. Are you a fan and have you actually watched all of these episodes or are you simply getting your information off the Internet?

    And, yes, it is an important distinction. 😉

  • Karen

    Yes, I am a fan and I have watched all the episodes. I’ve been watching it for two years now. I have the first season with 9 on DVD. Rose Tyler has been in it for two round of episodes, but I could show only one round for each campanion. From the comments, there are some minor things I had forgotten.

    So, Rose was a damsel once in the Unquiet Dead? That would make her three out of thirteen episodes. Martha and Doctor alternated in 42; altnerations cancel each other out. Amy was a damsel four times in the Weeping Angels 2-parter; I had forgotten when all the clerics had disappeared, and the angels were going after blind Amy.

    With Rose, she and Doctor still experienced 3x the number of equal danger situations. Altnerations are more positive, in my opinion. Due to the weeping angels, Amy Pond was a damsel nine or ten out of thirteen episodes.

  • BevWKY

    Okay, the reason I ask whether you’ve seen all of them is that it is difficult to talk about them with someone who hasn’t them, particularly given the topic you’ve chosen. You’ve charted an interesting comparison, Karen, and as far as I can tell, it’s pretty much accurate, give or take a few of the things that some have already mentioned.

    What it doesn’t take into consideration and therefore might be unfair to the series is the character arcs that happen – with each companion, with each regeneration of The Doctor and even within this new reinvention of The Doctor overall. Because for one thing, your chart has got them listed out of order.

    Rose was first and originally stuck with a very wounded Doctor pretty much fresh out of the Time War. He wasn’t anybody’s Prince, nor was he about to be seen as needing help from anyone or giving it to anyone. She was pretty much on her own, survival-wise. Then he changed on her and she had to adapt to a completely new Doctor that wasn’t nearly as warlike but actually needed something from her. And not just help.

    Then along came Martha and he had to do the adapting to both a companion who had a crush on him and one who was actually a medical doctor and not simply a “shop-girl” who could keep up in running with him. He liked that Martha could literally save his life at times but he also didn’t always appreciate that she made him uncomfortable in the relationship department.

    Which made Donna rather a relief because Donna became his best friend, possibly the first one he’s ever had. Why? Donna took nothing off of nobody and frankly I’m not sure she would even bother to save The Doctor if she thought he didn’t deserve it. Meaning if he did something she didn’t approve of. Which made him work for her approval and that was good for his ego.

    All of which leads us to Amy and the brand new Doctor. Not Amy the grown companion, but Amy the child who waited. I cannot help but find it significant that the one companion, at least in recent memory, that hopefully ends up traveling with him as a married woman – have they said yet whether Rory is going to be on next year? – is the one he first met as a child right after regenerating. That he obviously sees more as a child than any of the rest. Oh, he knows she’s now grown up but I can’t help wondering if what’s being labeling here as “damsel” situations from this last season in Amy’s case are in reality more a parent/child relationship working itself out.

    Now if next season, she continues in this pattern, that would be another thing. Just some thoughts. 😉

  • Persiflage

    I have to vigorously disagree with your assertion that Martha Jones developed an inferiority complex as a result of the Doctor’s treatment of her – that’s completely untrue. She dealt with all the rubbish the Doctor dumped on her with considerable dignity, determination and fortitude. No other companion has EVER been forced to be the Doctor’s servant for months at a time in an era where someone who’s not white would be regarded as subhuman. But not only did Martha put up with “John Smith’s” despicable behaviour (if you remember he fired her for trying to make him realise he was the Doctor, manhandling her out of the room) – not to mention the equally despicable behaviour of Joan Redfern and the school boys, but she did her best to protect the Doctor, Joan and the boys when the Family turned up, and she carried on travelling with him afterwards. (If he’d treated me the way John Smith behaved, I’d have insisted on being taken back home once they left Farringham – not to mention kicking his rear for him!)

    It’s also worth noting that Rose had to swallow the TARDIS’ power in order to save Nine and then it nearly killed her, that Donna had to have the Doctor’s brain in her head to save both the Doctor and the wider universe and then it nearly killed her, and that Amy got locked in a box for a couple of millenia, and then only had to remember the Doctor’s existence.

    Martha, on the other hand, had to walk a post-apocalyptic Earth for an ENTIRE year, watching people suffer and die – and as a trainee-Doctor at that, which must have been double traumatic since she probably couldn’t help most of the people whom she met – and then she had to fool the Master and his minions into getting her aboard the Valiant at *just* the right moment to save the Doctor, Earth AND the rest of the universe from the Master – and she had no kind of super-power from the TARDIS or the Doctor, just words and her faith in a man who’d treated her as second-best.

    Tell me, where’s the inferiority complex in that?

    What’s more, Martha walked away from the Doctor three times, dignity, sanity and health fully intact (Last of the Time Lords, The Doctor’s Daughter, and Journey’s End), and she had the Doctor at HER beck and call post-series 3, when she gave him her mobile phone, telling HIM that he should come running when she called.

    Yeah, definitely NOT seeing an inferiority complex.

  • BevWKY

    What’s more, Martha walked away from the Doctor three times, dignity, sanity and health fully intact (Last of the Time Lords, The Doctor’s Daughter, and Journey’s End), and she had the Doctor at HER beck and call post-series 3, when she gave him her mobile phone, telling HIM that he should come running when she called.

    Yeah, definitely NOT seeing an inferiority complex.

    I must’ve missed the “inferiority complex” comment in the post on the first readthrough. Definitely not there in Martha. If anything, there was probably uncertainly about where she stood with The Doctor, but, heck, who else knows where they stand with him? Even Captain Jack, the one person who certainly doesn’t have a problem with his own ego, never quite knew where he stood with The Doctor until it was spelled out and he had to flat out chase the man down and demand an answer to get that.

    Of course, that was because The Doctor was actually avoiding him but still. Next to The Doctor, who doesn’t come off as appearing “less” at some point or another. That is the entire point of the character. In many ways, he is a British Superman. OTOH, it also doesn’t mean that the companions don’t have their own moments of super-ness, with or without powers. 😉

  • Karen

    I had avoided writing about character arcs because that would inevitably draw a more subjective conclusion. My brief comment about Martha having an inferiority complex is a good example of why I focused on the quantity of situations rather than the quality of character. I wanted to be as objective as possible, so I counted the number of situations and avoided character analysis. My opinion of the character does not alter the number of situations. My main goal is that the people now in charge of DW will read this article and choose to change the quantity of Amy Pond’s conflict situations for the next round.

  • Persiflage

    Karen, I don’t understand how you can claim Martha has an inferiority complex when there’s nothing in her episodes to show that. She has moments of doubt about her relationship – which is entirely natural and only to be expected given the shite way the Doctor behaves towards her. But as you yourself point out, Martha is rarely the damsel-in-distress – far more often it’s a case of Martha and the Doctor being in equal amounts of danger, and she saves his ass not to mention his life (literally not metaphorically) on several occasions.

    And do you really think Moffat’s going to make those kind of changes (even assuming he’s seeing a need to do so – because I don’t think you’ve been any more fair to Amy than you have to Martha in ascribing the situations when Amy’s in danger. Sure, she got into danger often – but just as often SHE was the one who saved the day) based on one fan’s PoV? (Even assuming he sees your post…)

  • BevWKY

    My opinion of the character does not alter the number of situations.

    Possibly not, but it could very well affect the goal you’re stating for yourself:

    My main goal is that the people now in charge of DW will read this article and choose to change the quantity of Amy Pond’s conflict situations for the next round.

    Because I’m not sure how one can expect to “change” something like the writing in a TV series in this fashion without taking into account the fact that character/story arcs happen or how the completion of one as convoluted as this last season could very well affect the roles the actors have to play in the first place. Considering that they could very well go in a completely different direction next season to begin with, isn’t is a little presuptious base all this on just one season?

    Persiflage also makes a very good point on how unfair you are towards both Amy and Martha. For example, I went back and looked at how you worded some things:

    Episode 1: The Eleventh Hour – there does seem to be equal danger until the end when Amy Pond collapses and falls unconscious. Even though she manages to remember and conjure up the true image of the escaped prisoner, thus saving everyone, she is nonetheless unconscious throughout the whole thing.

    So if she’s unconcious for a minute or two, it doesn’t count and negates everything else? Weird.

    Episode 2: The Beast Below – in the middle of the episode, Amy Pond is captured and held prisoner by evil government robots. She becomes thus a Damsel-in-Distress.

    Which seems to me to be completely missing the point that she is the one who puts the pieces of the puzzle together in the end and therefore keeps The Doctor from killing the creature. Using her mind also doesn’t count as saving the day or in any way cancel out getting captured at some point in the episode? Also weird. You do realize just how many times The Doctor himself gets taken prisoner in any given episode? Usually at least once, sometimes twice or more. But, hey, can’t have the female getting taken prisoner, can we now.

    Okay, I’ll quit with The Time of Angels/Flesh and Stone combo. Here’s the quibble I have with summing those up as Amy being damsel-in-distress through most of them – River Song was in both. Compared to River Song, Amy was definitely back to being “the child who waited again” and not simply his companion. Pay close attention to how River treats Amy in them if you don’t believe me. In fact, those two episodes are most certainly part of the overall story arc for the year in that respect. So, is Amy really in-distress or in-training in that one? Because sometimes they’re two sides of the same coin.

    All I’m trying to say is that being objective with “just the facts” is great as long as it doesn’t lead you astray by stripping all the useful information out of the equation being used and you are talking about characters that are developing over time.

  • Karen

    I do not know what you mean by “in-training” Rose, Martha, and Donna could also be considered “in-training” in all the episodes I listed because they were the new companions in those episode. However, the type and quantity of danger situations they experienced is very different from that of Amy’s. “Distress” refers to direct danger.

    There is nothing wrong with pointing out the facts, which I did, and asking for a change in the next round of episodes. There is also nothing wrong or presumptuous in letting those people know how we feel and know what we want. After all, a large portion of the Doctor Who fandom protested through letters and emails a cartoon advertisement of Graham Norton that blocked a third of the screen in “The Time of Angels” I am following past precedent.

    As a writer, I know there are different ways to convey the same statement. There is also a difference between how a character is regarded by others and
    between the danger situations she experiences.

  • BevWKY

    I do not know what you mean by “in-training” Rose, Martha, and Donna could also be considered “in-training” in all the episodes I listed because they were the new companions in those episode. However, the type and quantity of danger situations they experienced is very different from that of Amy’s. “Distress” refers to direct danger.

    Yes, she was in a certain degree of danger. Of course, she was. Heck, on a certain level, one could argue that anyone who steps foot into the TARDIS with The Doctor automatically puts themself in danger all the time. But being “in danger” or “being captured” does not necessaily make someone a damsel-in-distress or a prince-in-distress.

    The problem is that you’re picking and choosing which moments you want to use as “in-danger” moments, regardless of where the storyline might be going otherwise. And in this particular case, by not taking the overall storyline and character arc of the entire season into account and how it impacts that specific episode duo and everything that happened to Amy in it, you’re not seeing the bigger picture that she was “in-training” for what she was going to have to ultimately do, i.e. remember the entire universe.

    Are you honestly telling me the knowledge of how the season ends in no way impacts her “damsel” status? At all? Maybe not for that episode but in the overall tally you’re keeping? Because if it doesn’t then I’d have to wonder about your accounting of “in danger” moments. For both the companions and The Doctor. Like I said before, heck, he’s captured almost once an episode. People are pointing weapons at him all the time. He gets tied/locked up. It’s not always about being in any real danger but if we counted all those moments, there’s no way the companions could keep up. Ever.

    The man doesn’t even carry a gun. 😉

  • Karen

    Again, all of the companions have been “in-training” their first season. How can Rose, Martha, and Donna NOT be considered “in-training” when they had no previous experience alongside the Doctor? Donna’s Christmas episode – one adventure – does not count as experienced or knowledgeable.

  • BevWKY

    Again, all of the companions have been “in-training” their first season. How can Rose, Martha, and Donna NOT be considered “in-training” when they had no previous experience alongside the Doctor? Donna’s Christmas episode – one adventure – does not count as experienced or knowledgeable.

    Okay, but they’re in-traing for what exactly?

    ‘Cause they ain’t in-training to become Time Lords, that’s for sure.

    Maybe to save the world or universe? Well, didn’t they all help him do that on a almost daily basis before getting any training at all from The Doctor – simply by adding their own unique personalities and abilities to his? By being a very human check against his very alien Time Lord nature? Regardless of how many times they’re put “in danger” – him included? In fact, in many different ways, this is exactly why he says he needs companions and doesn’t need to be alone. So, tell me what that thing is that each of them were in-training for individually, and, yeah, I could see it. Otherwise, I’m not sure I can see perfectly normal character change and development as “in-training” for anything.

    With Amy and that overall arc of this last season, however, there is something extremely specific happening – she has to learn to remember. It comes up over and over again and those threads are highlighted through flashbacks in the finale. It is specific to that “child who waited” story arc and quite possibly why she appears to be much more passive and “in-danger” at times than any other companion so far – her job has been to record information not always act on it. Will that change in the future?

    We don’t know yet. She’s only had one season to evaluate. That’s all I’ve been saying.

  • Matthew C

    Amy has become such a boring character. All she ever does is flirt and make sassy comments.

  • modge

    Is there books telling about dr. who??thanks^^