Dear Steven Moffat: The Power of Three

Dear Steven,

I don’t suppose you deserve this letter, not after what you’ve put me through these past seven days. I’m now a member of the vagrant community; a community leader to be sure, rallying people to make the best of doorways, railway bridges and covered walkways, but of no fixed abode nonetheless. It rained all day on Sunday. These were monsoon conditions, and I confess that as I stood in the downpour, watching the blood from my weeping sores mix with the rainwater in burgeoning reservoirs, the wet chill soaking through to my aching bones, I questioned whether you were more a hindrance than a help to me for the very first time.

Amy and Rory had similar feelings toward The Doctor in this week’s companion story: a tale gene spliced with the kind of Russell T Davis episode we’d long left for dead. Years ago, attempting to preserve Amy and the man she’d settled for, the Galifreyian ganglinoid gave them a nice bit of property and encouraged them to settle into a normal life. Having dull stamped their existence he left. That, surely, would have been that but The Doctor couldn’t stay away and now, nearly a decade on, his infrequent visits are causing mass disruption to their rote domestic grind.

They can’t commit to social engagements, work, not even a Game of Thrones box set, because the TARDIS may appear at any moment and pull them into the temporal maelstrom. Many of us would be grateful to be frequently liberated from the twin shackles of work and socialising but these ungrateful bastards were now beginning to feel unable to commit to both lives. The Doctor’s apparent indifference annoyed them, though surely not as much as I was annoyed when the police hammered down my door, ready to take me into custody for refusing to obey that obnoxious cease and desist order of yours.

As I vaulted out of the bath, wrapped the vintage lace dressing gown around myself and crawled through an open window, the door being turned to splints by an over earnest constable, I thought about Amy and Rory’s dilemma and how I’d live with just one foot in the now. In fact, as I shuffled along that outside ledge, eventually finding a foothold that allowed me to clamber onto the roof and begin a run across the tops of those terraced houses, I realised that my gilded thistle had a point. If you’re married, domesticated and on Earth long enough to cultivate full-blooded relationships with other humanoids, then you’re no longer suited to the companion life.

I suppose what made this so depressing was the realisation that The Power of Three was a plumb metaphor for growing up. At some point we’re all faced with the obligation to put away childish things and commit to some kind of God-awful future. If I felt pain while watching the episode, nose pressed to the window of my local Curry’s, a stray cat pawing at my leg, it was both recognition at how hard it is to let go of that exciting, care free part of your life, and how deep that puss’ claws had sunk into my flesh.

When Amy first left Earth behind she was running away from commitment. To be on the verge of marrying Rory must have been terrible for such a free spirit – what a drip he was back then; a tie to a life of plodding mediocrity. There was no competing with her childhood fantasy and the promise of the universe. Things are different now. Chris Chibnall, showing a little more promise on this assignment than in those past, turned in a script that understood the companion’s dilemma very well.

The Doctor can pick you up and drop you back as though no time has passed easily enough, but it’s not practical to do so too often, because Amy and Rory must be seen to age like the rest of us. This means that The Doctor’s companion has but two choices: either a) they agree to stay with him indefinitely and never look back or b) they’re dropped back at intervals that allow them to keep step with their time bound peers. The Doc, in a bid to keep hold of the Ponds while allowing them a semblance of normality, had opted for option B, but real lives demand continuity and commitment; impossible if you want to travel with you know who.

Chibnall was good enough to provide a stark reminder of why The Doctor’s Pond party must end soon; a fact movingly acknowledged by all concerned. The only alternative to letting them go (or watching them die horribly at alien hands) would be to stay with them on Earth but we don’t tune in every week to see our favourite Timelord vacuum floors, play keepy uppy and watch television. That’s the character of our empty lives and we turn to our hero to escape. In other words Steven, this band must break up and what a funny feeling it provokes: God help me I think I’m going to miss Rory. What’s happened to me, Steven? I’m broken.

That’s it for now. I dread what’s to come. I’m about to lose the only woman in my life, perhaps the only one I’ve ever loved. I think I may be as unhappy this time next week as I was pleased when Donna left the show. You might have expected me to mention the cube invasion plot, those haunting cameos from Brian Cox and Alan Sugar, the reappearance of UNIT or the brigadier’s daughter, hell, even that missing Zygon adventure, but you know what, none of it really mattered. This was about losing two friends, Steven – one of whom I desperately wanted to explore.

I suppose you may also have wondered how a homeless man on the run, without a sovereign to his name, has the time or means to write this letter. Well, I suppose it’s a mystery, like Amy’s episode narration and the small matter of when and why she recorded it and to whom she was speaking.

Yours in time and cyberspace,

Ed

The story so far:

This time last year:

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