Doctor Who Commentary: Thoughts on Rory

With the second half of Doctor Who’s series six just two weeks away, I’ve been chewing on a lot of the bits we still don’t understand. Chewing MENTALLY, I didn’t write them down and then start gnawing on the paper. Yet.

Anyway, the bit I’m thinking about today was triggered by two things.

Thing One: I re-watched my favorite episode from the first half of this series, “The Doctor’s Wife,” again recently.

Thing Two: The head writer and producer, Steven Moffat, has said of companion Rory Williams dying (and then not really) in almost every episode that it is actually for a purpose and that Rory really died one time. (When asked at Comic Con Paris why Rory kept dying, Moffat said: “Well, I do bring him back, and he only really died once! (…) But there will definitely be a pay-off for his deaths.”)

It is this last bit in particular that has me interested, and I have a small theory about when that might actually be.

Points to consider:

  • Rory either appears to die or really dies in multiple episodes, starting with the time that he dies in a dream that he, Amy and the Doctor are all sharing. At another point he is erased from existence in Series (season) 5. He gets sucked into the bright light and only when they hit the big Universe Reset Button at the end of the series does he come back as a regular person.
  • We get the (in my opinion, very annoying) information about the “almost people” or “gangers” in the last few episodes of the first half of the current series. Gangers are sometimes “flesh” forms that are mentally connected to the real people they resemble, and sometimes are animate and independent, but still with the memories of their original mental occupant.
  • Amy has supposedly been a “ganger” for the entire series– the Doctor says “since before America,” which was the first episode.
  • When the Doctor, Rory and Amy land on on “House” (the talking planety thing) in the episode called “The Doctor’s Wife” and Rory and Amy get essentially kidnapped by House, Rory is separated from Amy four times. The first three times there is a door closed between them and lots of time passes for Rory while none passes for Amy, until the third time she finds him dead. The fourth time, however, is very different. I’ll get to that in a minute.
  • The Doctor knows Amy is a ganger for a long time but the audience doesn’t… and then Amy’s daughter Melody turns out to be a ganger as well, and Madam Kovarian (the bad lady in that last episode who’s been substituting the gangers, apparently) tells him she’s thrilled to have tricked him twice the same way. If he knew about Amy, then he wasn’t really tricked… except with Melody. Right?

So, given all of these points, I would like to propose that Rory Williams died when he was kidnapped by House in the episode “The Doctor’s Wife.” Remember I said I’d get back to the fourth time he’s separated from Amy? The first three times a door simply closes between them. Amy is confused and upset by the gradually longer time that passes for Rory and we are, I think, supposed to believe this is her own subconsciousness dealing with guilt over how long Rory waited for her in the finale of Series 5 (it was 2000 years that he waited, by the way). But that fourth time… The fourth time she suddenly thinks she is in the pitch dark and cannot see him… Rory runs around the corner and we hear him get hit and then see him lying on the floor in a pool of blood with a gaping wound on his head… and Nephew Ood standing over him. But we hear Rory’s “voice” calling Amy to come to him. Nephew seems to be acting as House’s body at that point and frightens Amy very much; she walks past Rory in the “dark” and finds Nephew, screams, and then Rory pops around the corner again to grab her hand and tell her to move.  They decide that House is messing with their minds and the episode continues.We are meant to think that was House giving her that false call.

Here’s the problem: The other times Rory reappeared, the “false” Rory vanished and we see the empty space where he was a moment earlier. This time, we are distracted and do not ever see the floor where Rory’s body was. It could still be there. This seems out of place, but Moffat likes to plant clues that seem like continuity errors at the time (remember the Doctor with his coat being on and then off again?) all over the place. There is already evidence that something is off with the Doctor himself in this episode (he seems to switch sonic screwdrivers for a single scene, for instance, and have his old blue one again instead of the current green one), so what if we’ve also had a Rory change?

My thought is that there is now an independently moving Rory ganger traveling with the Doctor and is either unaware the switch occurred, or the ganger inherited so much love for Amy that he’ll do anything to save her. It’s also possible he knows that Amy is another ganger and therefore wants to help her more than the “real” Amy; the gangers show a huge amount of loyalty to one another. He could even be helping Madam Kovarian in exchange for ganger rights of a sort. Lots of possibilities.

So there is my thinking.

Side note: I’ve been wondering a lot about Rory and Amy’s changing attitude toward him between the beginning of Series 5 (when she ran away the night before her wedding) and the end when she marries him after he’s been erased from history and then brought back by her own memory. Is it possible that Rory isn’t even real and only exists because Amy believes in him? I also wonder if she genuinely loves Rory at the end, not just because of her own character growth but because the Doctor tells her, as he’s going backward through her timeline, to “live well and love Rory.” So maybe she didn’t love him as much as she could until the idea was planted in her mind as a child, and then how could she help but love Rory? The Doctor planted enough of an idea in her head to recreate the TARDIS and himself, so why not create a true love where there had been only affection? Just something to ponder.

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