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Woobie / Doctor Who

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"Can't I ever have peace? Can't I rest?"
The Twelfth Doctor, "Twice Upon a Time"

Doctor Who has its share of Woobies.

The Lives of the Doctor

Hell, the Doctor's been a woobie from the start. Let's see: Forced to run from their own people, they've found themselves placing the people around them in danger, and despite their best efforts to keep them safe have failed in one of the biggest Tear Jerkers of all television, have tried time and again to bring out the innate goodness in all life and then end up forced to kill once they realize there's no other way, and have continually been forced to regenerate, which doesn't always end well...

  • The First Doctor made his granddaughter Susan - the only family he had left - leave him so she could be happy (he tried to make it look like he was okay with it, in truth it was heartbreaking for him; note the awful moment in the very next episode, where he forgets that Susan has left).
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  • The Fifth Doctor was a kind, gentle soul who wandered the universe with the desire to see its wonders and had the genuine belief that there was real good out there. The universe rewarded this world view with high body counts wherever he went, a companion dying, and another one leaving because the brutality was getting too much to handle.
  • The Eighth Doctor in "The Night of the Doctor". He is so upset by the fact the Time Lords are becoming so hated a woman refuses to be saved by him that he would prefer to die with her. And he dies as he renounces the title of the Doctor. The story also makes his Big Finish adventures canon and considering all that he went through in them...
    • Eight in Big Finish Doctor Who outdoes all the other Doctors on Woobieness, having one of the most horrible lives. He saves Charlotte Pollard, then discovers her existence is destroying history. He tries to pull a Heroic Sacrifice to save her, then has his TARDIS turn on him for preferring to destroy her, then killing Charley and saving history. Eighth then has to exile himself to a universe without time, which he says is like losing a limb. He finally returns but his companion C'rizz dies and Charley decides to leave him when he's too flippant about the matter. Then she decides to stay...but due to amnesia the Doctor thinks she ran off upset at him. The ending of "The Girl Who Never Was" easily outdoes "Doomsday".
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    • The finale of the New Eighth Doctor Adventures, "To the Death", easily outdoes New Who finale sadness. The Doctor's great-grandson Alex Campbell and Lucie Miller die defeating the Daleks and the Doctor leaves utterly broken. And "The Night of the Doctor" confirms that he never gets better, but just gets bleaker and bleaker in subsequent stories.
  • The Tenth Doctor is infamous for being this. The Series 4 finale, "Journey's End", gave him so much misery it managed to top the last three seasons combined.
    • On that note:
    • Ten's Woobieness can actually be partly attributed to David Tennant's eyes. Those things are enormous. And beautiful, but we won't go into that.
      • Especially, especially in "Midnight", when he's immobilized by an Eldritch Abomination and is being forced to repeat everything it says. The way he manages to convey so much terror and anguish with his eyes alone makes that episode downright hard to watch. Of course, "Midnight" really deserves its own section here...
    • People may call a lot of it out as Wangst, but really, Ten has the best reasons to cry at season finales. In Series 2, he loses the chance to tell Rose that he loves her when they're about to be separated by a dimensional barrier forever (at least until the end of Series 4 which greatly negates the woobie) Series 3, his best friend-turned-nemesis dies in his arms... And then of course he gets a prophecy of his own death, the root of which turns out to be a lovely, sweet old man who Ten kind of wished was his dad earlier on.
      • The "former best friend dies in his arms" one gets even worse; the Master chose to die just to spite the Doctor. Just to make him feel the pain of being the last member of his species again.
  • The Eleventh Doctor was destined to be a woobie: Somebody on the Doctor Who macro community ihasatardis took a photo from the filming of Matt Smith's first episode and gave it a woobie spin. Suddenly even the rabid Ten fangirls wanted to take Eleven home and feed him cookies.
    • Woobieness highlighted oh-so-badly (as in "Oh, god...*sniffle*") in "The Hungry Earth": The Doctor tries to save Amy from getting sucked into a hole in the ground, but fails. Oh, god, his expression says, "Don't leave!"
    • And all of this is just the emotional trauma. Throw in all the times he's been electrocuted, irradiated, exsanguinated, electrocuted, possessed, poisoned, Mind Raped, shocked, and otherwise subjected to physical agony, and the Woobieness reaches epic levels.
    • The interesting thing about Eleven is that he tries not to let himself be the Woobie too much of the time. "The Lodger" in particular shows him putting on a brave face. This probably makes him a Stoic Woobie.
      • It comes through even clearer later; not only does he face a situation that he knows will kill him three or four times (depending on how you count it), on the few occasions when events from his previous incarnations have come up, it's clear that he's still just as tormented by guilt as Ten was — he's just much better at hiding it.
    • In "Amy's Choice", the Doctor says "There's only one person who hates me as much as you do." but doesn't elaborate until later. Hint: it's himself.
    • "The God Complex" points this out: after finally starving the Minotaur to death - something the Minotaur wanted, and who can blame him? - the dying Minotaur describes what sounds a lot like him...and then his Famous Last Words are "I'm not talking about myself". Guess who's translating for him?
    • This scene from "The Rings of Akhaten". Also a Moment of Awesome for both character and actor.
  • In "The Day of the Doctor" the War Doctor takes Eleven's place as the woobiest of all his incarnations, due to how utterly broken by self-loathing and sadness he has become because of all he has seen and what he will be forced to do to save what's left of the universe. He's spent his life rejecting his title and fighting the Time War, seeing untold suffering throughout space and time. He even wants to die as he destroys Gallifrey. And even though he ends up helping to save Gallifrey it will take centuries before the other Doctors acknowledge him, as they think of him as a monster that destroyed his race. But then Eleven learns what really happened and vindicates the memory of his past life when he affectionately calls him "Captain Grumpy".
  • The Twelfth Doctor positively loves to play up his stoicism and no-nonsense approach, but we get plenty of moments in each episode that prove he's a fearful and worried man who's not so above it all.
    • First, understand that he is an imposing, aloof, older-looking Doctor: tall, Lean and Mean, in severe dark suits much of the time (though this look softens via a hoodie and fluffier hair later) with Big Ol' Eyebrows and No Social Skills, and Hates Being Touched. In both the show and the Expanded Universe, he constantly creeps out and puts off the people he encounters via his appearance and mannerisms alone; it's one reason Clara initially has a hard time caring for him the way she did for Eleven. Because most people go by first and second impressions and he's cagey about revealing his sweeter nature, he is one of the loneliest and broodiest Doctors despite being incredibly loving and compassionate, with a remarkable capacity for forgiveness. It's so hard to be different...
    • In Series 8, he starts off recuperating uneasily from a particularly difficult regeneration — he narrowly escaped his actual death. At first he's at somewhat of a loss when it comes to who he is, what he was, and what he should do now. He inadvertently alienates a lot of his friends and allies with his colder and detached demeanour — while not fully grasping why. We accidentally learn on one occasion that fear really has been one of the driving forces behind his life, ever since he was a scared little child. He and Clara run into serious trust issues. As if that wasn't enough, the season's Story Arc sees an old and familiar adversary surface once again, tease him about the current location of Gallifrey, threaten him with a nearly no-win scenario, outright kill some of his allies, and make a creepy revelation about cunningly manipulating him and Clara from behind the scenes. The cavalcade of misery culminates in the post-season Christmas Episode, where he very nearly breaks down into tears while meeting a dream version of Clara who's elderly — alone for many decades and wondering whether her friend would ever visit her again. The resigned and quiet way he apologises, calling his own mistakes and misunderstandings stupid and being visibly desperate for a miracle, could melt the heart of even Twelve's biggest detractors. Luckily, the moment when he feels nothing could get possibly worse, is when things finally start turning for the better.
    • Alas, things get worse again in Series 9. While Nine through Eleven managed to repress and even forget the horrors of his days as the War Doctor — yes, Gallifrey stands, but there's all the other atrocities he committed — Twelve cannot, as a heartwrenching monologue in "The Zygon Inversion" makes clear. In "The Girl Who Died", he admits he hates losing everyone he comes to care about, and losing people in general; he runs about the universe to try and escape the pain even though it never works. His Chronic Hero Syndrome intensifies; he wants to save whomever he can, damn the consequences. His desperate, rash rescue of the Viking girl Ashildr in a way that also makes her immortal turns into a gigantic case of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished as she becomes a dark woobie. As the season approaches its climax, Ashildr betrays him — and it accidentally results in Clara's death, whereupon he has a massive Freak Out. Then he's transported into a giant torture chamber by none other than his own people, the Time Lords. Firmly at the Despair Event Horizon and completely alone, he lets grief and rage overwhelm him and becomes a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: he chooses to fight his way out and turn his back on his people and beloved homeworld just to achieve the means to spirit Clara away from her death (a fixed point in time) and considers mind wiping her to keep her safe rather than paying heed to her wishes and accepting she's gone. He no longer cares about the safety of the universe. He only fully returns to his best self when he is the one memory wiped — he remembers their time together but not her, and they are separated forever. At last, the Christmas special throws this poor old dog a bone: He's reunited with River Song; it's bittersweet as he knows how she'll die...but. A night on Darillium lasts twenty-four years, and the ending implies he stays with her all that time, loving her the way his younger selves could not.
    • After this, the 2016 Christmas special that leads into Series 10 confirms that he's still emotionally tender over his last goodbye to River Song, confirming that they indeed enjoyed 24 years of happiness, trying to put the best face on it that he can and move on.
    • Series 10 starts by establishing he's been more or less stuck on Earth for 50+ years, having taken an oath to guard a mysterious vault and its dangerous prisoner beneath a university campus, under the guise of a professor. He only has a "valet", Nardole (a cyborg); he's tied down to his promises. Then he meets curious cafeteria worker Bill Potts and takes her under his wing, ultimately making her a companion. Their friendship and travels give him a new lease on life, but "Knock Knock" reveals he's still lonesome when she's not around. And when he risks his own life to save hers in "Oxygen", he comes out of the experience incurably blind — which compromises his ability to watch over that vault. For some reason, he can't just use his regeneration energy to solve the problem...and he can't bear to tell Bill what's happened to him, to spare her guilt. As a result, he ends up almost dying in a lab explosion until Bill, who's found out about his blindness, decides to sacrifice humanity's freedom to the Monks to save him! They solve that crisis together, but then comes "World Enough and Time", which relates to the prisoner, Missy (aka the Master), the old adversary of Series 8 mentioned above. He has become so lonely after all his losses that he is desperate to redeem them and takes a chance on a distressed spaceship — one that leads to Bill having a hole blown in her chest and being spirited away by sinister nurses. He races to rescue her, only to find that Saxon, Missy's previous self, has already had Bill converted into a Cyberman and has apparently wooed Missy back to the side of evil. And just to make everything absolutely perfect, in "The Doctor Falls" he ends up getting electrocuted by a Cyberman, but suppresses the ensuing regeneration for two weeks without anyone knowing, not wanting to change again. He decides to go out by making a last stand against an army of Cybermen, taking everything they can throw at him, then blowing both the Cyber-army and himself to kingdom come, preferring to die rather than change. He wakes up to find himself alive and back in the TARDIS, still on the brink of regeneration, and repeatedly refuses to go through with it, feeling he's changed too often, too many times. He doesn't know that Missy decided to join forces with him, but was killed by Saxon, or that Bill was saved by Heather, who turned her into a being like herself, and she laid the Doctor to rest in the TARDIS, inadvertently giving him just enough life to come back, before the two of them went to see the universe... just that everyone's gone, and he's about to become someone else again.
      • "Twice Upon a Time" provides further context on his refusal to change; it's his sense of Who Wants to Live Forever? surfacing, seeing everyone else die while he just keeps on going, caught on the perpetual treadmill of saving the universe without respite or rest. It's kindness, in the end, that convinces him to go through with it one more time, both showing it and being witness to it. And before he finally goes, he has his memories of Clara restored, and gets the chance to say goodbye to Bill.
  • The Thirteenth Doctor might appear cheerful, but don't be fooled. She has plenty of moments where she is so devastated, you just want to hug her.
    • In "The Ghost Monument," she stakes all her hopes of getting Yaz, Ryan and Graham off of the planet Desolation on being able to find the TARDIS. But when she is unable to find her ship in the location it was supposed to appear in at the end of the episode, her face crumples and she looks absolutely devastated at having let her new friends down.
    • In "Arachnids in the UK," when she drops Yaz, Ryan, and Graham off when she is finally able to get them home to Sheffield, she is only barely able to keep up her cheerful tone because she realizes that this means she will be travelling alone, and she really Hates Being Alone. Fortunately, the fam also is reluctant to leave her, so this episode is when they officially start travelling with her for real.
    Yaz: What're you going to do now?
    Thirteen: Oh, you know. Back in the box. There's loads to see.
    Yaz: By yourself?
    Thirteen: (sadly) Yeah, I suppose.
    • In "Demons of the Punjab," because it is ultimately a fixed point in time and would strongly impact Yaz's personal timeline if it is changed, Prem, Yaz's grandma's first love, has to be allowed to die. Thirteen has one heck of a Thousand-Yard Stare as she walks away from Prem, and she flinches when she hears him being shot.
    • In "It Takes You Away," she befriends the Solitract, a lonely sentient universe, but because it is not stable enough to let anyone stay in it, she ultimately has to leave it. Even though the Solitract did spend most of the episode trying to lure and trap people from the main universe within it, Thirteen can't help but feel sad when she has to leave it.
    Thirteen: Shame. Made a new friend, a whole conscious universe, then I had to say goodbye.
    • In the first part of "Spyfall," the Doctor finds out that her friend O was actually the Master all along, and she is absolutely gutted. She crumples into herself and is uncharacteristically speechless. Throughout the Master's speech, she looks like she is about to vomit because she is so shaken.
      • Towards the end of the second part of "Spyfall," she visits Gallifrey to see if the Master was telling the truth about it being destroyed again. She looks utterly horrified as she stares at the wreckage of her home planet, and then, after listening to the Master's geolocked message saying that he destroyed Gallifrey because of a terrible secret the founders of Gallifrey had been keeping from all of them, she snarls and angrily tosses the disk away, leans against one of the TARDIS pillars, and stares off into the distance. Later, when Yaz asks if they can visit her home, Thirteen pastes on a thin smile, says that maybe they can visit another time, quickly walks away and stares off into the middle distance, away from the fam.
    • In "Fugitive of the Judoon," we learn that Thirteen apparently regularly visits the wreckage of Gallifrey whenever she drops Yaz, Ryan, and Graham off.
      • In this episode, Thirteen discovers that the titular fugitive that the Judoon are looking for is an incarnation of herself who does not remember her and who Thirteen has no memory of. After she finds this out, she spends most of the rest of the episode looking utterly confused (though this doesn't stop her from constantly arguing with this other incarnation of herself, as is usual when the Doctor encounters other incarnations of themself). But when she leaves the other Doctor's TARDIS, she walks with a Thousand-Yard Stare, looking desperately in need of a hug because now not only does she have to deal with her planet being destroyed again, she also has to deal with a huge identity crisis.

Those True Companions

  • She'd been skirting woobiefication for a while, but Donna's mindwipe in "Journey's End" finally propelled her fully into this trope. In a way Donna might actually be a woobie from her first appearance: She has a horrible relationship with her mother, her shouting at everyone is a cover for her very low self-esteem, and now she's in love and getting married... to a man who is poisoning her with the coffee he makes for her everyday (a gesture that probably touched her at the time), so she can be the chemical key to unlock the hatchery for a bunch of starving omnivorous spiders... She's always had it pretty bad when you think about it.
    • "All that attitude, all that lip, because all this time... you think you're not worth it." Poor Donna.
    • The end of "Journey's End" is especially sad when you take into that this episode was the first time we see her actually feel good about herself for once then her memories are ripped away from her. And despite massive fan outcry over this, any chance of this being corrected died with Ten's regeneration. She does marry a loving man and lives very comfortably, the latter thanks to the Doctor, but she doesn't regain the character development she lost.
  • A number of companions fit into the woobie category, Victoria and Nyssa being examples. (Deborah Watling, who played Victoria, has said as much in interviews.)
  • Sarah Jane Smith. She spends most of her time with the Doctor being beaten up, tied up, blinded, and otherwise abused, and the capstone is that when at the end of her time with the Fourth Doctor, instead of dropping her home in South Croydon, he leaves her in Scotland.
    • Fauxtastically shanghaied by a Well-Intentioned Extremist? Check. Possessed by Shelobus of Borg? Check. Made to hallucinate some of her worst fears by a military scientist seeking to facilitate the conquest of humanity? Check. Nearly turned into a psychotic Audrey II? Check.
    • And then there's all the crap she's put through in The Sarah Jane Adventures.
  • Fans of Adric tend to see him as a woobie rather than The Scrappy; his parents died at some point before his first appearance note , then his brother was killed in front of him. He's constantly trying to prove himself to the Doctor only to be scolded when he messes up (and even sometimes when he doesn't; there's a moment in the Doctor Who Missing Adventures novel Cold Fusion where the Doctor ignores and then chides him for asking if he's okay after having a seizure), repeatedly fails to save people (including his mentor and his brother in his introductory story, which itself contains a bit of Reality Subtext since Matthew Waterhouse's own older brother had committed suicide just 2 years earlier), spends nearly all of "Castrovalva" being Mind Probed by the Master while desperately fighting to keep him from hurting his friends, pretty much everything that happens to him in "Kinda" (is left to his own devices by the Doctor, which included being a played-completely-straight Only Sane Man trapped in a research station with at least one Ax-Crazy and being assaulted by an entire native tribe intent on killing him while stuck in a transport robot that feeds off his brain waves) and then he dies alone thinking he'd just failed to save the world. Oh, and he was almost turned into a vampire. And when he was tired of being an outcast (see quotes below) and wanted to leave the TARDIS crew to go back to E-Space, the Doctor blew up and argued something to the extent of "you can never go home again."
    The Doctor: What's the matter?
    Adric: I'm fed up.
    The Doctor: Why?
    Adric: I'm tired of being considered a joke!
    The Doctor: Oh, no one thinks that!
    Adric: Then why am I constantly teased?
    The Doctor: Well, everyone's teased from time to time!
    Adric: Yeah, but not as often as me...
    • The Big Finish Doctor Who audio The Boy That Time Forgot, debatable canon aside, cranks it up quite a few notches, especially when we learn the true nature of how he survived "Earthshock": The Doctor's subconscious guilt had taken over during block transfer computations, creating an alternate universe for the freighter to crash in harmlessly, leaving our young Alzarian all alone in a jungle world without humanoid contact for 500 years and eventually turning him into a crazed insect-king abomination in time obsessed with revenge and just wanted someone to love him again. Oh, Adric...
    • In the end, the worst part is ultimately the fact that you can't take Adric in your arms and tell him everything's going to be okay...because it won't be.
  • Rory Williams is also a case of going from a Butt-Monkey to a Woobie. The first time we see him, he's just Amy's (pathetic) male friend (the one the Doctor identifies as not being the "good-looking one"), who seems to be an Unlucky Childhood Friend, perpetually bound to come in second to the Doctor. Amy leaves him on her wedding night to go travel the universe with the Doctor. When they finally pick Rory up to go along with them, he ends up basically being the Butt-Monkey for all of his first episode. By "Amy's Choice", though, we grow to see him more as a Woobie who barely believes his luck that he's the Victorious Childhood Friend and just wants things to be normal. By "Cold Blood", his woobie-fication is complete: he pulls a Heroic Sacrifice for the Doctor and dies telling Amy that she's beautiful. When he returns at the end of the series, Amy can't remember him, and just after she does, he accidentally kills her. Then he spends 1894 years guarding her body waiting until she comes Back from the Dead. And they've killed him again since. There's a tweet out there where a fan asked Moffat if he was going to kill Rory once every season.
    Moffat: Once? JUST once??? Where's the fun in that?!
  • Amy Pond herself hasn't had an easy time of it — abandoned by the Doctor as a child, growing up obsessed and thought to be mad with four psychiatrists, gets mind raped by an angel, gets dragged underground thinking she's going to be buried alive, fails to save van Gogh, has her boyfriend die in her arms before being erased from history, then she finds him apparently revived, and just after she manages to remember who he is, is shot and killed by him. To top it all off, her family got eaten by a crack in time before she ever met the Doctor!
    • No wonder Eleven/Amy/Rory has become such a popular One True Threesome in fandom. These 3 Woobies suffer so beautifully together.
      • Then there was "A Good Man Goes to War". Dear God, was she put through the wringer in that one. And just watch this prequel for "Let's Kill Hitler".
      • "The Girl Who Waited" and "The God Complex" make a near-perfect double whammy. After "The Girl Who Waited", you want to hug Rory and the two Amys. Not so much the Doctor, but don't worry, he's likely added it to the near-endless list of things he hates himself for. Then comes "The God Complex": The Doctor breaks Amy's faith in him, and breaks a part of himself too.
  • Fitz Kreiner, from the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, is such a woobie it's ridiculous. He's half-German and was born four years before World War II and therefore spent most of his childhood being beaten up by other kids and even bullied by his schoolteachers. (No wonder he's Book Dumb.) His dad died and his mum went insane and then died, and even though he's shown to have a very close relationship with her, he later makes Gallows Humor jokes about the fact she tried to kill him shortly before she died, which, he says, makes it better. (Actually, and quite understandably, he almost cried when she tried to kill him.) He is generally a total Sad Clown. And then he starts traveling with the Doctor, gets brainwashed by Chinese communists, gets separated from the Doctor and ends up spending over a thousand years being utterly miserable, is turned back into his normal self, the over-a-thousand-years-old version of himself is still out there and shows up and is a total woobie who just misses the Doctor and dies horribly... Then Fitz has a serious breakdown over the fact he's just a copy, is brainwashed into being Sickeningly Sweethearts with a girl who just wants to use him... also, more or less every other book, he gets a girlfriend, and it never lasts, sometimes because she dies. Also, he's everyone's Butt-Monkey, evil triplets made him remember being born, he has moments of feeling really bad for dead evil monkeys and suchlike, he gets kicked around by nasty sorts a lot, he's really clumsy, his relationship with the Doctor is adorable but horrendously codependent... There's even a poem about his woobieness, and, good God, I somehow missed the Nazi thing! Long story short: you don't want to be Fitz, but you do want to give him a big hug and a cup of tea.
  • Let's talk about Rose for a sec, shall we? It's one thing to know that your dad's been dead since you were a baby, but suddenly being able to go back in time and save his life only to find out that he's supposed to die in order to keep the timeline stable and save the rest of that reality from being eaten by Clock Roaches? JESUS. On top of that, she later gets separated from the man she loves by a supposedly unbreakable barrier between dimensions, and nearly two seasons later when she finally crosses the universes to see him again, he's dead. "But I came all this way..." Luckily, she helped repair the timeline.
  • Also there's Martha, who only thinks of the Doctor but he never returns her affections. Her most woobie-tastic moment is probably when they land in the early 1910s and the Doctor becomes human. Martha's a servant and isn't treated well because she's black (or a Londoner, she jokingly claims) but doesn't leave the Doctor's side. She's then forced to watch him fall in love and says quietly "He had to go and fall in love with a human... and it wasn't me."
    • Not to mention Walking the Earth during "The Year That Never Was", needing to live in constant fear of The Master as she travels the planet constantly, telling people stories about the Doctor... who is being tortured aboard the Valiant, with her family also there being treated as The Master's slaves and her being aware of it all this time... Of course, by this point she's graduated to Iron Woobie due to her enduring courage and resilience.
  • Mickey Smith. In his first episode, "Rose", he is attacked and eaten by a rubbish bin and replaced by a plastic duplicate. After he is rescued by the Ninth Doctor (who is always mean and condescending to him) and escapes in the TARDIS, he is dumped in an alley with his girlfriend, Rose, and is clearly traumatized by the ordeal. The Doctor then offers Rose, and only Rose, the opportunity to travel with him, leaving Mickey alone and the last person to have seen Rose before she disappeared. Over the next year, Rose's family make his life a living hell, as they believe he murdered her and are quite public in voicing this opinion. As a result, he becomes a embittered recluse. When Rose returns in "Aliens of London", she does not see him to apologize, although she is able to convince him she is sorry and the two briefly reconcile. However she still acts like a jerk, getting angry with him seeing someone else even when in the last story she considered herself "available".
    • He even gets more pitiful in "Rise of the Cybermen"/"The Age of Steel" 2-part episode, where we find out that his grandmother died, and he blames himself because she slipped on some loose carpet he was supposed to staple down. He also only gets to talk to the parallel world's version of his grandmother for a few minutes before he is kidnapped. Also during the second part, his counterpart, Ricky, dies, causing his allies, as well as Mickey himself again, to blame him for his death. Also at the end of the episode convinced that there is more purpose for him in the parallel world, stays behind, and the Doctor can't ever come back to get him. At least now he has another chance to staple that carpet.
  • Katarina. Acolyte to a priestess who is a world-class bitch until her whole city is sacked, and then she goes more than five thousand years into the future into a world she cannot possibly understand. She is held hostage by a desperate criminal and ends up having to space herself and him to keep the Doctor from diverting from their mission.
  • Ace reaches this a few times in her last season, especially in "Ghost Light" when she tells the Doctor about how her best friend Manisha was killed by racist boys who firebombed her flat when she was 13.
    • And while the "Remembrance of the Daleks" novelization has Manisha and one other person in the family surviving and going to live with relatives elsewhere, it also has Ace getting flashbacks to the fire and the hospital room at any sign of racism.
  • Jamie plays the jumpy, overprotective, hopelessly loyal Team Normal (he's a piper) to two super-geniuses, which more than occasionally gets him treated as useless — and then his woobiness is cemented by his ultimate fate: he's subjected to Victory-Guided Amnesia and sent home. To Scotland in 1745. The last we see of him, he's being shot at. The Expanded Universe mitigates this just a little - no telling of Jamie's future lets him die there.
  • River Song had a pretty awful childhood, to say the least: she was taken from her mother in the first days of her life, grew up all alone in an orphanage while being heavily indoctrinated by the Silence. Then when she saw her mother again for the first time, her mother (who at that point had no idea River even existed) shot at her. The rest of her life was spent watching the man she loved, along with her parents (who never got a chance to raise her), forget about her. Also, she died after having her worst fear come true and ends up trapped in a virtual world. As subjective as she is, it is hard to not feel a bit sorry for her. And then there's her most recent appearance in "The Husbands of River Song", set after she loses her parents and before her death, which reveals that (at least sometimes) she doubts that the Doctor ever truly loved her. In the end, she spends twenty-four happy years with the Twelfth Doctor before that death, because he does (sniffle).
  • Captain Jack Harkness. He lives for millions of years, ends up as a giant face, his friends die on him, and the Master kills him painfully and repeatedly. Poor Jack! But at least two of his best friends, The Doctor and Martha, were at his side when he finally did die for good.
  • Clara Oswald has had many of these moments; many have emphasized her kind-hearted and antiheroic traits equally.
    • Her Oswin Oswald duplicate from "Asylum of the Daleks". Stuck in the Dalek Asylum for a year, she thinks she's trapped in an escape pod from a crashed ship when she's really a Dalek herself.
    • "Clara Prime" has a few sad or depressing moments even before she meets the Doctor, especially the loss of her mother while she was still a teen. She grows more distant from her own family after that (outside of her gran) and her anxieties are made all the worse by her trying to hide her sensitive side from people under a cheery and waggish surface, as she actually seems to dislike the very idea of being seen as a woobie and not having her life under control).
    • The final stretch of Series 8, starting with "Dark Water", turns her into an explicit Woobie with more than a bit of Broken Bird subtext. By the next episode, while she and the Doctor narrowly succeed in saving the Earth and humanity, she has lost the man she loved (and thrice in a row, at that !), she's been in a state of shock and depression, and she is showing minor signs of Survivor Guilt or blaming herself for things that she ultimately couldn't change. To top it all of, though the Doctor made sure nothing can happen, she nearly betrayed him, out of anger, grief and confusion. As annoyed as he is that she would dare to try such a thing, he forgives her instantly, recognising that she's simply not thinking straight and is on the verge of completely losing it. Though he helps her as best as he can whenever they're together throughout the two-parter, it's clear from the ending of the second episode that both of them have been deeply shaken by recent events. Though they eventually reunite for a Christmas adventure, both of them had inadvertently lied to each other about being fine and needing to move on, and parted ways for six months. One can only imagine what a hard time they had with coping, especially Clara. She's parted with her best friend, lost her loved one, gained a new duty she needs to sort out, and was thoroughly traumatised by her experiences; that she holds up at all is a minor miracle. The Twelfth even overcomes his deep-seated aversion to hugging and gives her a kind hug before they part, sensing that poor Clara needs it more than ever. Yes, the Twelfth Doctor. That says a lot !
    • In Series 9, the fallout of Series 8 becomes clear: She becomes the Doctor's Distaff Counterpart, more willing than ever to risk her life for adventure and for others, especially the Doctor. So she is almost killed by the Doctor when Missy "installs" her into a Dalek casing and claims this Dalek has killed Clara, and is almost unable to convince him otherwise. She encounters the Doctor's ghost after he heads into the past to stop a villain and, communicating with his living self, tearfully begs him to find a way not to die. She is a prisoner of the Zygons — trapped in a pod and mind-linked to a commander who has assumed her form, finding herself trying to keep this double from killing her friends (including the Doctor). She is infected by an evil sleep crust-based lifeform. Finally in "Face the Raven", a misguided heroic plan results in her making a Senseless Sacrifice. She dies fearing that her dear friend will become a warrior again out of anguish. When he pulls her from time at the moment of her death, she's horrified and heartbroken to learn he's undergone billions of years of torture and risked the entire universe just to save her. In the end, she ends up with her own TARDIS and companion, and has more adventures before returning to her final death, but so far as the viewer knows she never sees the Doctor again after one last meeting in which he does not recognize her, owing to his memory wipe. That said, if the Curator of "The Day of the Doctor" is THE Doctor he may recognize her one last time, very far down the line, from his perspective.
  • Bill Potts, the principal companion of the Twelfth Doctor in Series 10, may beat all previous revival companions for the most woobieness in the fewest episodes. Her mum died when she was a baby, she never knew her dad, and her foster mother is emotionally distant. She relates more to her dead mother, speaking to her and treating her as one would an Imaginary Friend. She wants more out of life than just dishing up chips, but has little means. The Doctor, serving as a lecturer at the university where she works, takes her under his wing, tutors her — and then she learns his true nature when she loses a woman who might have been her soulmate to a sentient fuel puddle that absorbs her into itself, and he must help turn her away. Despite his desperation to keep his secrets secret, she convinces him not to mind wipe her, and he takes her on as a companion instead. From there, she undergoes several near-death experiences (twice in "Oxygen" alone). She must endure six months of the Monks' conquest of Earth on her own because she gave them control of humanity to save the Doctor's life, before being severely tested by the Doctor himself over where her loyalties lie in this new world, and almost loses her life in a Heroic Sacrifice stopping the conquerors. Finally, by agreeing to help the Doctor with a risky plan to rehabilitate Missy, she ends up having a hole blown through her chest, being imprisoned in a sinister spaceship hospital for years while only minutes pass for the Doctor, and finding only one friend there — who, just as the Doctor's finally arriving to save her, betrays her and has her converted into a Cyberman who can still feel emotions, along with pain. The Doctor can't turn her back, can't do anything about it, only give her comfort and support. And just to put the cherry on top, she ends up finding his dead body after he makes a Last Stand against the other Cybermen, leaving her devastated. However, her grief summons up her old soulmate, now properly integrated with the puddle, who returns Bill to human form by turning her into the same kind of being she is, and helps her lay the Doctor to rest in the TARDIS, before the two of them set off together to see the universe. And although she doesn't know it, she gives the Doctor just enough life for him to come back and eventually regenerate.

One-off Woobies

  • Autloch from "The Aztecs". He has had serious qualms about Human Sacrifice as long as he's lived, but the other priests view it as vital. Then a Rule 63 reincarnation of Yetaxa shows up and vindicates him—no, Tlotoxl has unmasked her as a fake.
  • That female slave in "The Romans". Also Tigellinus. And super-woobiedom is likely in store for Tavius, as well, in the form of a Cruel and Unusual Death at his master's hands.
  • Haroun, Maimuna, and Safiya from "The Crusade":
    Haroun: Last year my house was a fine and happy place. A gentle wife, a son who honoured and obeyed me, and two daughters who adorned whatever place they visited. Then El Akir came to Lydda and imposed his will. He desired my eldest daughter, Maimuna, but I refused him.
    Barbara: So he took her?
    Haroun: Yes. Well, when Safiya and I were away he came and burned my house. My wife and son were put to the sword.
  • Any decent person under Villain with Good Publicity Ramón Salamander in "The Enemy of the World", especially those thirty-odd people in the shelter.
  • Madeleine Issigri, and her father Dom as well, from "The Space Pirates". Caven, the pirate leader, has long since coerced her into becoming an accomplice by the time of the story. Then it is revealed that he's had Dom imprisoned in his own mine since she was a little girl.
  • All Mirror Universe people in "Inferno", including many a Jerkass Woobie and Lone Dalek.
  • Winlett and Keeler from "The Seeds of Doom". Imagine being transformed into a crazy plant with a Utopia Justifies the Means instinct. And it's even worse for Keeler because his boss wanted to see what would happen.
  • The last Yellow Kang in "Paradise Towers". Imagine you're living in a Death World of a building, and all your friends have died. Furthermore, your remaining peers don't respect you until after your death.
  • Kingpin and Bellboy from "The Greatest Show in the Galaxy". With Flowerchild, Juniper Berry, and Peace Pipe dead, they're the only ones left who resist the Gods of Ragnarok, and they've been all but destroyed themselves.
  • The Game Station Controller from "Bad Wolf". The poor woman was wired into a giant broadcasting satellite at the age of five, used as the WetwareCPU by the Daleks, but she turned out to be a hero by defying them and helping the Doctor find out where they were.. Even so, she deserved a hug from having spent a life wired up to a broadcasting station that does nothing but broadcast Bad Future rehashes of bad reality TV and game shows.
  • Lazlo, from "Daleks in Manhattan" and "Evolution of the Daleks". He's already working in a menial position during the Great Depression, but okay he's with a girl he's crazy about and who's crazy about him. He sees her off to her show, is hanging around her dressing room, and then he hears something in the props room. Cue later in the episode, when we find out that he was kidnapped on the Dalek's orders and because he wasn't sufficiently intelligent, they decided to turn him into one of their pig/human slaves. The good news is that he escaped before they could steal his mind. The bad news is that he now has a pig's face and spends his time hiding in the sewers and watching his girlfriend in secret because he doesn't want her to see him like that. Oh, and he's going to die soon, because the pig-slaves just don't live very long. The Doctor does manage to fix the dying thing, but he still has a pig's face, although the good people of Hooverville give him a place to stay.
  • Jackson Lake in "The Next Doctor". First off, he found he is not in fact the Doctor - who he thought he was is one big lie. Why does he think he is the Doctor? Not just because of a Cyberman data base, no; he saw his wife get killed, and the trauma of it made him WANT to be the Doctor so he didn't have to face the pain. Don't worry, in the end it turns out okay. The Cybermen kidnapped his son and the Doctor saved said son. Now Jackson Lake can have a family with his son and Rosita!
  • Vincent van Gogh, from "Vincent and the Doctor", does a pretty good job of solidifying himself as a Woobie in just one episode. Everyone he knows hates/fears him for being insane, the villagers blame him for the deaths of the Krafayis's victims, he curls up on a bed crying when he learns Amy and the Doctor are leaving because they're the only people who have ever been really nice to him, he mentions, in passing, that children throw rocks at him because they're "frightened" of him, and when Amy and the Doctor refuse his parting gift of a painting (they think it's too valuable), he assumes it's because they hate it. They take him to the present-day art gallery and show him that everyone will love his work. Indeed, Amy, fully aware of van Gogh's impending suicide, spends the episode dedicated to convincing him not to do so. She and the Doctor are so convinced they've succeeded, they rush back to the museum to see the "new" van Goghs... only for the museum to be exactly as they left it. Amy, having recently and unknowingly lost her One True Love, gets a Heroic BSoD as she realizes van Gogh still commits suicide, and she's saved only when the Doctor delivers his Aesop: "The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant. And we definitely added to his pile of good things."
    • And then there's the reason he commits suicide: he has a vision of the TARDIS exploding, causing him to believe that the only two people who cared about him, who made a difference in his life, are dead. He dies without ever learning the truth.

Monsters Need Hugs Too

  • Hrostar, Hlynia, Prapillus, and all the other Menoptra enslaved in the Crater of Needles in "The Web Planet". And one's heart will break for the Optera, too, seeing how circumstances have forced them into an environment so foreign that their very bodies didn't develop properly.
  • The K-1 Prototype from "Robot". Forced by the Scientific Reform Society to go against its programming and violate the First Law of Robotics, then forced to kill the scientist who made it. Then, it absorbs an energy blast and grows to enormous height, and has to be destroyed. And all this time, only one person ever showed it kindness, a fact the Doctor lampshaded.
  • The Marshchild from "Full Circle". It's a young Marshman that is terrified of the Doctor when it first encounters him, only to (foolishly) let its curiosity overcome its fear and follow the Time Lord, right onto the Starliner: a stranded spacecraft filled with humans that fear and hate its kind. If the sight of it cowering and whimpering when it finds itself surrounded by hostile humans isn't bad enough, there's a subsequent scene in which it's trussed up in a net, screeching and whimpering in terror; and then a scene of the Doctor attempting to protect and comfort it, at which point it starts making noises that sound disconcertingly like a cross between the grunts of a pig and the sobs of a baby. To make matters worse, despite the Doctor's attempts to save it, it ends up dying a horrible, pointless death in the laboratory of the Starliner's resident Mad Scientist, its last moments alive spent groping towards a video monitor on which it can see the face of the one person who showed it kindness: the Doctor.
  • "Dalek": A Dalek as a Woobie? It's the first Dalek seen in the revival series. Tortured into near-insanity; alone in the universe of space and time; cut off from orders and companionship; forced to pollute itself to regain power; adapts to survive, in the process becoming "no longer pure Dalek". Cannot kill its enemies; admits fear and disgust at itself. Then is finally Driven to Suicide. "This is not life. This is sickness." A different set of values, but definitely a Woobie.
  • In addition to the aforementioned Dalek, there's the Ood in "Planet of the Ood" (lobotomized and sold as slaves), the Krafayis in "Vincent and the Doctor" (abandoned, wounded and blind, on an alien planet), or the Minotaur in "The God Complex" (kept imprisoned for god knows how long, and compelled against its will to feed on innocents even though all it wants to do is die). In the latter two cases, it's the Doctor himself who reassures them that it'll be okay.
  • That poor tyrannosaurus in "Deep Breath". Eats the TARDIS, gets dragged through the time vortex and dropped off in a frighteningly unfamiliar place (Victorian London) where she spends a while confined to the Thames, being gawked at by the pudding-brains. The apologetic Doctor promises her he'll get her back to her own time...seconds before she's burned to death for a small bit of optic tissue, much to his distress.
  • Sweet Heather, aka "The Pilot". A lonely student at St. Luke's who longs to be anywhere but where she currently is, she and Bill Potts fall in love — but then the former is possessed by a sentient puddle of starship fuel and turned into a creature who has all of space and time to explore, but can't forget the promise her human self made to Bill not to leave without her. She effectively becomes a Stalker with a Crush in this form. Eventually Bill and the Doctor realize what she wants is not to hurt Bill, but to make her a passenger, but that's a dangerous fate in any case. The Doctor convinces Bill to sever the promise so both women can be free, but Heather is awash in tears as she does the end, eleven episodes later she's gained control of her old self and abilities. Tracing Bill via those tears, she frees her from a Fate Worse Than Death, and they travel the universe together...after they unknowingly provide the means for the Doctor to live anew.


  • Ianto Jones is a very woobie character in the Whoniverse. Let's see...
    • Ianto's actor, Gareth David-Lloyd, stated in an interview that he believed that, in desperation to get and keep his job at Torchwood for Lisa's sake, his character had been getting it on with Capt. Jack since the beginning. After Lisa's death he just sort of never stopped sleeping with Jack because he needed something to hold onto. Which makes a heck of a lot more sense then Ianto just randomly hooking up with Jack a few episodes after his GF was murdered by his friends. Of course, by now feelings beyond "something to hold onto".
    • He has a controlling father who Ianto says broke his leg. Or there's the way he dies just as he's getting his life and relationships in order.
  • Toshiko Sato spends most of her time pining for a man who makes no secret of the fact he's having sex with dozens of other women 24/7 yet doesn't even look twice at her. Falls in love with a woman who turns out to be a heart-eating baddy. Finally gets the man she loves to agree to go out with her and he winds up dying. He then comes back as a zombie, replete with heaping loads of angst. And finally she has to comfort him as he's about to die WHILE dying herself. Oh yes, and she also gets brainwashed into falling in love with someone, so technically she's been raped as well. Seriously, if there's a female character in the history of the Whoniverse who's had it tougher I can't think of them.
    Owen: Give me one good reason why I shouldn't keep screaming!!
    • We also have the whole reason she joined Torchwood in the first place. Her mother is kidnapped and she's forced to steal top secret info in order to free her. Then of course the kidnappers refuse to let Mum go to force her to steal more. Then she's arrested and thrown into a UNIT prison for who knows how long with no trial. Jack eventually comes to her rescue but only if she'll work for him. She'll be allowed to send an occasional post card to her mother....
      • Granted, she was actually only bound to Torchwood for a five-year term, after which Jack was willing to let her go, but then consider that she dies not too long before her contract with Jack expires. Even a 2010 edition of "Torchwood Magazine" states that Toshiko was the member of Torchwood least compatible with the work she did ("Greeks Bearing Gifts" can attest further to that), and yet she still held onto her duty and her friends (notice that of all the team, she's the one most frequently displaying Undying Loyalty to Jack). That poor, poor woman...
  • And then there's Owen, whose first encounter with Jack involved his fiancée dying through alien parasite, being repeatedly told that it didn't happen and that it was him going crazy, got his heart broken by a time-displaced pilot, got savaged by a Weevil deliberately after being abandoned by said pilot, got shot in the shoulder for trying to bring her (and the two members of the team stuck in the 1940s) back, was forced to euthanise a giant space whale, was mindraped into a more nerdy persona (even if he didn't remember it), got killed by a doctor that he actually respected, came back as an asexual zombie just because his boss wanted the codes for the morgue (well, and because "I didn't want to give up on you", but still...), got possessed by The Grim Reaper and had to fight it off in order to stop it from completely coming through into our world (which, okay, was also a Moment of Awesome) and is finally trapped in a nuclear reactor, still completely conscious as his body slowly decomposes.
    • There are also hints in "Adam" that his childhood wasn't exactly ideal; the memories of his mother he mentions when Jack is trying to get rid of Adam hint at abuse, or at the very least an extremely dysfunctional childhood.
      • Upon remembering her kicking him out of the house, at around 14 years of age? "That's the nicest thing you've ever done for me, Mum." God...
      • And the "nice" thing she did? She packed his bags for him.
  • Jack himself is quite woobie-ish. At the age of about fifteen or so, his father dies and his brother is taken in an attack on his home planet. His mother blames him for the loss of his brother. He fights in a war and him and a friend get captured by the enemy, and his friend is tortured then killed in front of him. After that Jack joins the Time Agency, where they wipe two years of his memories. He then meets up with the Doctor, gets shot by Daleks, resurrected, left on an empty space station and has to time-jump to the mid-1800s, where he discovers he can never die. Then he is blackmailed into working for Torchwood but has to take over when the whole team is killed by one of their own. After creating a new team, he is pretty much betrayed by all of them over time, then killed when they stage a coup to open the rift. After saving the world, he leaves with the Doctor, who he loves and has been waiting for for over 150 years, only to discover that he was left on the space station on purpose, the Doctor can't stand to look at him (in fact he even gives the TARDIS the crawling heebies) and he is stuck being immortal. He then spends a year in captivity being tortured by the Master. When he comes back to Torchwood, his brother (who he had been searching for since the beginning) comes back evil. The brother buries Jack alive, so he spends 2000 years dying and coming back, and kills two members of Jack's team.
    • Then there's Children of Earth wherein he gets blown up, comes back to life in agony as his skin and tissues grow back, watches Ianto die in his arms, and then has to kill his own grandchild to save millions and in the process gets (even more) estranged from his only daughter.
      • Not to mention reliving the "buried alive" schtick, as shortly after his body regenerated the cell he was held in was filled with cement.
    • According to John Barrowman himself, to Jack, Owen and Toshiko were his students, almost like adopted children - he was "guiding them", so to speak, something which upon examination can be seen in his relationships with them (while Gwen and Ianto are more like partners to him, to Owen and Tosh he was frequently The Mentor). Ponder that, and then consider how much it must have hurt to lose them the way he did (through his own failings).
    • Speaking of Children of Earth, Anti-Villain John Frobisher, most especially in his final scene.
  • Gwen is falling into this trope, too. She tried desperately to save her father only to lose him during Torchwood: Miracle Day.

The Sarah Jane Adventures

  • That Graske in the Trickster's service.
  • Lady Jane Grey.
  • Sarah Jane herself. Her best friend, her parents and her fiancé all have to die as a result of the Trickster's interference (made worse because the Trickster brought them back as a part of his nefarious plans, forcing her to lose them all over again). Then there's The Lost Boy, when she's so distraught by Luke being taken away (and her near incarceration) that she nearly shuts herself off from her team. That's not the last time she faces the prospect of losing Luke and in "Goodbye Sarah Jane" she also faces her own mortality in one of the most heart-breaking stories on the show.
  • Clyde Langer, as seen in "The Mark of the Berserker". His dad (a loving but often rather selfish man) walked out on the family when Clyde was ten (with his wife's sister), and moved to Spain. Because of this, he tries to act tough to the point that he hides some of his talents (such as skill at cooking and talent at art) from his friends out of insecurity. When said Disappeared Dad returns (having run away because his girlfriend is pregnant), he's forced to confront these issues... which results in temporary Mind Rape and emotional manipulation before he's finally able to reconcile with his dad and realise that his friends are still there for him... It's for all these reasons that this troper considers "The Mark of the Berserker" to be one of the most powerfully emotional SJA stories ever made (after the "Trickster" stories, of course).
    • He's a Woobie again in "The Curse of Clyde Langer". Everyone who has ever known him suddenly turns on him for no reason at all leaving him homeless and friendless.
  • The Skullion slaves from The Man Who Wasn't There. Made to operate a simulation of a dead man (lest they be tortured, maybe lethally if Harrison got really mad at them) so that their tormentor to make us want Frick and Frack's computer.
  • Kudlak. Imagine recruiting warriors for years and then learning that your AI commander couldn't understand peace, and so withheld from you the fact that the war's been over ten years. Ten years eaten by the locust unnecessarily.

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