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The Doctor Who Scene That Went Too Far

"Doctor Who" has been a science fiction staple for many years. Though the original series was unsuccessfully rebooted with the 1996 movie (via TV Insider), its legacy lived on, and it eventually returned in 2005 with Christopher Eccleston playing the titular role. Since then, it has been a constant in sci-fi media, introducing more Doctors to the universe and bringing in a new generation of fans that love the show to this day. 

With so many stories, monsters, planets, and companions, there are several moments that quickly come to mind when one thinks of "Doctor Who." Not all of these are amazing, though. For every awesome adventure, there is one that isn't as well-received. For every heartwarming interaction, there is one that is utterly heartbreaking. Fans of all ages can scour through their personal "Doctor Who" database and argue which scenes are cringy — who can forget the Abzorbaloff? — and which are downright emotional. However, there is one scene that many find hard to watch. Even years after its airdate, it still manages to bring fans to tears.

Donna's memory is erased

Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) becomes the Tenth Doctor's (David Tennant) companion in Series 4, though she is introduced in a prior episode. Donna eventually gains Time Lord DNA, and though she helps save the world, the transformation is too much. Despite her protests, the Doctor is forced to erase her memories of their time together. 

In a Reddit thread, u/potatotheory cited this farewell as the saddest of the series, and many agreed. After u/Aayin expressed the unfairness of it all, u/Dimanovic suggested that this hits so hard because Donna is meant to represent the audience. To them, the writers are "intentionally speaking to the audience, a bunch of normal people," who see themselves in Donna — particularly in her insecurity. As they watch Donna lose what makes her important, viewers can't help but think that they are destined to say goodbye to what makes them special or happy. They all have to go back to their mundane lives, just as Donna does. 

Furthermore, Donna's departure also had fans thinking of the Doctor, whose existence is strife with tragedy. U/SamuraiPanda201 explains that the Doctor is looking for a relationship without emotional entanglements — as what happens with Rose (Billie Piper) and Martha (Freema Agyeman) — and Donna gives him the friendship he needs. The loss of Donna is tragic, fans said, because the Doctor learns that "no matter what, he was going to lose people, because that's part of life." For viewers, this "Doctor Who" scene paves the way for more heartbreak and sorrow, for both the Time Lord and them.