The only time I ever saw my sister cry about TV was over the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood, which casually and callously murdered fan favorite Ianto Jones after spending nearly a year promoting his bisexual awakening and relationship with Captain Jack Harkness back in 2009. She didn’t just cry; she bawled. Sobbed until I thought she was going to be sick. She was coming to terms with her own bisexuality, and it was the first time her heart had been punched in the guts when it came to queer rep. I should have warned her, grizzled old lesbian wood witch that I am, having lived through a cool 215 dead lesbian and bisexual TV characters in my life — but Ianto and Jack made her so happy!
Doctor Who has been especially terrible with murdering its LGBTQ+ characters over the years: Ianto, Tosh, Bill Potts, River Song, Jenny and then not-Jenny, and a whole host of gay guest characters who say they have same-gender partners and then immediately get run through by some Cybermen or Reapers. Equality!
Anyway, the point is that I do not trust any Doctor Who writers, and it is with deep trepidation that I’m letting you know that one of my main dreams recently came true: Yaz finally admitted that she’s in love with Thirteen. It’s something the show’s been messing around with since Jodie Whitaker donned her time-traveling suspenders and hooded cloak back in 2018, and Yaz reluctantly, tardily said it out loud in the New Year’s Day special, “Eve of the Daleks.”
It went like this:
Dan, played by John Bishop, who also played Emily Fitch’s dad in Skins and looks shockingly like my college boyfriend, watches Yaz watching The Doctor and asks, “You ever told her?” Yaz makes a face like “ever told whomst what, good sir!” but then sighs and wonders “Is it that obvious?” Dan says it might not be obvious to a “good-hearted weirdo” (speaking for good-hearted weirdos everywhere: IT IS), but yeah, it’s pretty clear. Yaz says she’s never told anyone, she’s hardly even discussed it with herself, but after the events of Flux, which led into the New Year’s Day special, it’s getting harder to ignore. Their longing looks are getting, well, longer. And Dan thinks The Doctor knows, which is why he later outs Yaz, telling The Doctor that Yaz likes her (like likes her).
The Doctor kinda tries to pretend that she doesn’t know what Dan means and doesn’t reciprocate Yaz’s feelings anyway, but she clearly does (to both). At the end of the episode, she looks over at Yaz looking up at the glowing night sky, has an “oh fuck” realization, and looks away.
On the one hand, Yaz saying the thing that’s been apparent for so long — and really being one of the first characters in history to actually say the thing, instead of having writers ignore the chemistry between two women on-screen while queer audiences gnash their teeth in frustration — was heart-poundingly satisfying. On the other hand, where’s it gonna go? Jodie Whitaker’s time as The Doctor is almost up. Their chemistry has been pretty much side-stepped for the past two-plus years, and it seems unlikely there’s going to be any real time to explore what their feelings mean when there’s Sea Devils afoot, and only two more specials left!
You’re never going to get a really HAPPY ending when you’re a companion of The Doctor, especially not if you fall in love with The Doctor — just ask Rose, who fell in love with more than one Doctor! — but sometimes, if you’re straight, your feelings will at least get a whole lot of exposure. At this point, I just want Yaz to stay alive, and maybe for The Doctor to acknowledge, even in the smallest out-loud way, that she’s got more-than-friends feelings too.
After all we’ve been through, it’s the least the Whoniverse could give to us!
And then there was Clara Oswald. She never openly said that she was bisexual, but…
A couple of things, Vastra and Jenny do end up alive and together, and now have an excellently queer series of adventures in big finish audio dramas.
I have mixed feelings on Dan’s choices, on the one hand don’t meddle and out yaz, on the other I think he very genuinely means well and wants the doctor to stop hurting yaz by ignoring what’s happening, especially since he knows yaz isn’t in a place to speak plainly to the doctor about things.
I am really curious what Yaz’s ending will be, because there’s not enough time for romance. But killing her would be such a shitty and uncalled for narrative choice. Dan’s arc is really only with Diane, so I figure the last ep will be present day, maybe Kate Stewart gets to meet the doctor again, and someone convinces yaz to leave the doctor for her own sake. It would be kinda a repeat of Martha, but if Martha meets Yaz and is the person to help her, the continuity and similarities between them would be a worthwhile emotional outcome.
LHere’s what I saw – I did NOT expect it, not in a million years. But now that it’s happened, and since apparently the Doctor HASN’T explained “everything” as she promised last episode, and since Dan was rapid-fire confronting both of them, and since the co-writer of next episode is reportedly queer, they’re definitely going to have some kinda conversation about it next episode. Plus Jodie basically confirmed that they’d have a heart to heart that was honest, so… Whatever that means…
As the fandom is already aware based upon most fanfics I read, the Doctor is probably not going to go in eagerly AT ALL, especially since now she’s well aware her regeneration is imminent. Jodie’s acting was hard to read after Dan confronted her – her expression could have been anything from heartbreak to resignation, but either way it’s definitely obvious that Dan was right and she knew about Yaz’s feelings before that. Another little Easter egg is during the “good-hearted weirdos” speech, Yaz looks at the Doctor first, but the Doctor is facing away from Yaz so there’s no possible way she caught Yaz’s head movement and looked – she specifically thought to look behind her to see if Yaz was looking at her. “What?” sounds awfully more inviting in that context. When the Doctor looks at Yaz during the fireworks she’s similarly unreadable. It’s an “oh shit” moment but maybe just because she’s like, now I need to address this, not “omg I’m in love.”
I think this is really well-done. I think the Doctor has some feelings about it, but not entirely sure if it’s complete reciprocation (which seems unlikely but possible), or some kind of mush of “not getting involved with humans, too much pain” and some attraction or at least emotional attachment, which is definitely there. Is she thinking, OK, now I need to break Yaz’s heart before I die? Who knows. I think she’s going to tell Yaz that she can’t get involved with her next episode, and then the final episode she’s going to have a short one-liner that explains that she does care deeply about her before she dies. Or maybe not. Jodie said their conversation will be honest. Omg I have no idea.
At the end of the day, it WASN’T queerbaiting because it was actually acknowledged, and regardless of what the Doctor says or does in response, it makes Yaz Thirteen’s love interest, which is so massive it breaks my little gay heart into a million pieces.
Finally – I think it’s really easy to overlook this, but the MAIN relationship dynamic between Yaz and the Doctor is not the romantic feelings, but actually that the Doctor refuses to emotionally open up to Yaz. That’s been there since LAST year’s special and just keeps getting worse. I can’t imagine Yaz ever considering confessing her feelings when the Doctor has been completely emotionally unavailable and blocked-off. To have that conflict finally resolved is going to be so, so satisfying.
Thank you for acknowledging that Dan outed Yaz! I think we were all riding that high of having a canon sapphic character that we didn’t catch on to that collectively at first. I made a post about it on Instagram and the Who Knew? podcast is going to bring it up. I was looking forward to your article, thought you’d be likely to touch on it. While I don’t think Dan had ill intentions, a lot of harm can come from good intent, and all he had to do was stop and think ‘do I have the right?’ (4 ref) He knew it was a secret, and a deeply personal one, and instead of giving her the space to tell the Doctor, he went and told her pretty much right away. I think it may have been handled better with a queer person as a co-writer for the episode, perhaps. Yaz and Dan’s scene was so beautiful, I was disappointed with what happened after. Still quite good… but not perfect. Part of me hopes Yaz finds out and says “you didn’t have the right to do that” or something. Doesn’t have to be a big conversation, but some acknowledgment so that the message from all this is that it’s ok to out people if you mean well. I don’t want Thasmin to happen if it’s at the expense of our beloved Yaz, you know? On the other hand, very excited to see what happens next– but that needed saying. My instagram post is not exhaustive (tried to keep it short) but it’s there if anyone wants to read it.
I don’t think Yaz will be a victim of the D trope. Chibs has been kind to companion exits so far (not necessarily LGBTQ+ characters… but he’s improved since s11 for that at least.) I also recall BBC sharing a BTS pic of 13 in the TARDIS doors during her last episode/finale, caption saying that she was saying goodbye to Yaz and Dan. You’d have to scroll back a couple months though… but it gave me hope, because for a long time, I didn’t see Yaz willingly leaving the Doctor. There’s not exactly a happy history with companions who love the Doctor.
I snort-laughed at “Wibbly Wobbly Gally Pally”!
“and really being one of the first characters in history to actually say the thing, instead of having writers ignore the chemistry between two women on-screen while queer audiences gnash their teeth in frustration”
help me out- are there any prior examples in live-action TV besides Root and Shaw? cases where they weren’t originally gay/bi but the show went with the chemistry they lucked into?
The only other one that’s springing to mind is Petra from Jane the Virgin. They even brought on a whole other Jane for her! It’s maddeningly rare!
Xena and Gabrielle?
My FIRST thought!
BH90210/Gabrielle Carteris, but as a stand in for character Andrea Zuckerman who should have been gaaaaayyyyyyy
To be sung sympathetically to the tune of Back to Black:
You’ve only said goodbye to Ianto?
The gays die just every time
If you love a queer character
Don’t get too attached.
Bi guys, the bois and femmes
Tara, Lexa, Naomi too
If they’re queer and not real
Don’t get too attached.
First of all, “Wibbly Wobbly Galy Paly” literally killed me. That is great! :)
As many others, I’m still recovering from the shock. I really didn’t expect that to happen at all! I wanted a whole lot but, after so long, you learn to protect your heart and don’t have high expectations about TV shows… Oh well, I love a surprise! I was also surprised by Dan’s role in all this. Another thing I never see coming. From one side, it was hilarious how so many (me included) were “hating” him (not really but, you know…) for the last scene in The Vanquishers, only to love him in EotD. :) From another, the outing is troublesome, even if I believe it was done because he cares about them, especially Yaz, and it may really help the situation. He (and the whole universe) could see that Yaz was hurting and that a deep, honest soul-to-soul talk is not the Doctor’s forte AT ALL. Remember he’s the “What’s the point of being alive if it’s not to make others happy” guy. I don’t think that the fact that he was outing Yaz didn’t even cross his mind. He just wants to see the two idiots together, like all of us. But, still. That was disrespectful to Yaz, a breach of confidence. Even if 13 already knew, the choice of talking about her feelings and when to do so was solely Yaz’s. With so little time left, I wonder if they will touch on this. I don’t think so. I’m very curious to see how they will deal with this relationship in two specials. It’d be complicated for any human couple, imagine how much more for the Doctor! Also, following the Doctor’s history in this area and with the regeneration coming, I am preparing myself for a world of hurt…
Ugh! I’m not excited about this at all. The original 7 doctors didn’t have companions that fell in love with them. I’m tired of this in the reboot.
It’s not going to end well for Yaz. It never ends well for anyone who falls in love with or crushes on the Doctor. The Doctor is an immortal, regenerating slightly insane alien. A human will never be a good match for her/him/them.
Sidenote: Dan has spent only a few weeks’ or a months’ time with the Doctor. He’s lived through 1901-1904 with Yaz as the leader of their 3 person team of lost time travelers. He should be much closer and more loyal to Yaz than the Doctor and he also would still be more likely to look to Yaz for leadership than the Doctor.
“He’s lived through 1901-1904 with Yaz”
Thank you! I was trying to process that “four years” thing (I mean, the start of “Eve” was right after “Flux”, so I couldn’t figure what Dan meant by 4 years).
I only watched the first episodes of this doctor on a long flight back in 2019 because they were available and had Jodie Whittaker (!) and the chemistry was there right from the start, I think. To see that the writers went with the chemistry warms my elder lesbian heart that is not used to it. Fingers crossed that they land the ending even if it is not a „happy“ one.
It’s just a shame the Jodie season have been so terrible, I really hope we will get another female doctor in the future.
Yeah, Daleks don’t spark quite the same horror in me, as the words “Written by Chris Chibnall”. TBTG that Russell Davies is coming back!
As a long term fan (It was only after coming out as Bi that I realised why I loved Ace so much – and one writer of the time has said she could have been gay or bi – only it couldn’t be said, not in a country with section 28 in place etc), I love it when any queer character turns up – I’ve probably watched Praxeus more because that’s one relationship that’s still going by the end of the episode
Jack alluded to Yaz’s attraction “You too?” in the last New Year’s episode so I didn’t take in the importance of the moment on first viewing. My feeling is that thirteen is reluctant to acknowledge it for the same reason Ten was reluctant to acknowledge Rose – the companion could spend the rest of their life with the Doctor, but eventually they’ll die and the Doctor would have to go on. Also thirteen was told at the end of Flux that her next death would be the last time – she wouldn’t want Yaz to witness that. As so often the Doctor is doing that thing of not telling companions what’s going on that can lead to complications.
I think that companion relationships don’t work out – that’s the way the series goes, but I can’t help thinking that a good way to get some Bi+ representation on prime time tv would be for Yaz or a future companion to be in love with the Doctor during regeneration and continue that love – even if the gender changes.
I hope Yaz will talk to Dan – I think straight people don’t always realise how wrong outing someone is – if the characters were presumed straight then their friend are quite willing to say “you know she likes you?” – it’d be good to educate the straight viewers on this issue 😅
I would add the River Song was killed off in her first adventure, so her death didn’t land in the same way as other characters; I’m not sure that she was originally going to return after that – Alex Kingston has said in the past that she wasn’t expecting to come back. The Doctor (and us) always knew how she’d die – and she’s also still appearing on audio with Big Finish, (as is Ianto!) – as someone without a Netflix or Amazon account, audio drama has been important to me over the last couple of years. My favourite Torchwood radio play (BBC) had Ianto discussing Jack with an ex girlfriend.
I could write forever about this, but I REALLY hate knowing what’s coming up, so I rarely do. This was fun 😁
Oh no, now i have to go back and watch the past season and a half that I’ve neglected, don’t I…
“You’re never going to get a really HAPPY ending when you’re a companion of The Doctor, especially not if you fall in love with The Doctor — just ask Rose”
Are you kidding? Rose is the ONE companion who did get a happy Endgame ending w/ the Doctor (um, sort of).
Don’t ask me to tell you what episode it was (it was a season finale), but it was Ten was going to regenerate (during his time w/ Donna as companion), but didn’t, exactly. Instead, his regeneration split into a human (one heart) version of Ten, and turned Donna into “Doctor Donna”. Rose got to go off and have her happy ending w/ the human Ten (who had all of Ten’s memories, but human feelings&libido for Rose), but Doctor-Donna was unstable, and Ten had to suck the doctor part out of her (and then, they parted, to save her life).
So, yeah: Rose was the one happy Doctor (quote-unquote)/Companion happy ending.
the only problem with that ending though is shes still stuck in an alternative earth. she will never be able to come back to THIS reality which makes it so tragic. sure she got some version of the doctor but her biggest thing was traveling the universe and seeing it with him.
I was skeptical at first, but what a believer I am now, his spell really worked!
My lover is now faithful to me,
if you are also seeking for help to get your lover back?
email____________________________________ Robin son buckler11 @gmail (com)… …