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The Power of the Doctor Gives Classic Companions Closure

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For her final outing as the 13th Doctor, Jodie Whittaker was joined by a few familiar faces from the history of Doctor Who. As well as Kate Stewart of UNIT, the Doctor and Yaz were joined by Tegan Jovanka and Ace — companions from the show’s classic series. Tegan first appeared alongside the Fourth Doctor and went on to become a companion to the Fifth, while Ace traveled with the Seventh Doctor and was the final classic era companion before Doctor Who was put on hiatus in 1989.

In addition to Tegan and Ace, “The Power of the Doctor” brought Bradley Walsh’s Graham O’Brien back into the fold, following his recent departure from Doctor Who at the end of the 2022 New Year special, “Revolution of the Daleks.” Apart from helping the Doctor defeat the Daleks and the sinister machinations of the Master, Graham finished the episode by bringing together even more of the Doctor’s old friends. Across its many companion cameos, “The Power of the Doctor” offered a sense of genuine closure to many of the Doctor’s closest allies.

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Tegan Jovanka Reconnects With the Doctor

Janet Fielding’s Tegan Jovanka originally joined the Fourth Doctor in his final story, “Logopolis,” in which she unwittingly wandered into the TARDIS. Unaware she was on board, the Doctor took off and only later realized he had gained a stowaway. This story saw the Master kill Tegan’s Aunt Vanessa, an event that would be referenced by Sacha Dhawan’s Master in “The Power of the Doctor.” Things didn’t get much better for Tegan from there.

Not long after seeing the Doctor regenerate, she witnessed the death of her fellow companion, Adric, who gave his life to defeat the Cybermen in “Earthshock.” In the “The Power of the Doctor,” Tegan was reunited with Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor in the form of a hologram. In this form, the Doctor acknowledged the lasting impact Adric’s death had on Tegan, helping her grieve and move on from the pain, and fear she had been left with.

Tegan originally left the Doctor in an emotional moment at the end of “Resurrection of the Daleks,” driven away by the brutality of the Doctor’s life. Her brief reunion with her Doctor in “The Power of the Doctor” helped the two reconnect, proving the Doctor’s compassion for their former companion.

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Ace Addresses The Reason She Left the Doctor

Sophie Aldred’s Ace — real name Dorothy — first met the Seventh Doctor after she had already been propelled through time and space by a time storm, which transported her to the outpost Iceworld on the planet Svartos. Here, Ace found work as a waitress in an ice cream parlor. The Doctor met Ace on Svartos during the 1987 serial “Dragonfire,” which saw regular companion Mel depart as Ace took her place aboard the TARDIS.

Ace would remain the Doctor’s companion up until 1989’s “Survival” — the final story in Doctor Who‘s classic series. That story ended with Ace and the Doctor still traveling together. As such, how the two parted ways has never been definitively addressed. However, “The Power of the Doctor” touched on the end of their travels, with Ace telling a holographic Seventh Doctor she was “sorry we fell out” and “sorry I judged you.” While the exact nature of Ace and the Doctor’s falling out is not explained, it’s a moment that allows Ace to make her peace with her old friend and acknowledge their enduring friendship, even though she has left the TARDIS behind.

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Graham O’Brien Starts a Companion Support Group

Bradley Walsh’s Graham O’Brien was amongst the first companions to join the 13th Doctor, making his first appearance in 2018’s “The Woman Who Fell to Earth.” Graham was reluctant to leave the TARDIS, but ultimately chose to stay on Earth with his grandson, Ryan, rather than remain on board. In “The Power of the Doctor,” Graham’s continuing adventures led him to a meeting with Ace, as they both tried to stop the Daleks.

At the end of “The Power of the Doctor,” Graham had set up a support group for the Doctor’s former companions. While this helped him find closure, giving him a forum to discuss his time on the TARDIS, it also brought together classic companions Jo Jones (née Grant), Mel Bush and Ian Chesterton — one of the Doctor’s first ever companions. UNIT’s Kate Stewart was also in attendance, herself the daughter of the Doctor’s old friend and former head of UNIT, Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart. Kate hinted there may be jobs for the Doctor’s old companions at UNIT — a line of work formerly taken up by Jo under the Brigadier. The scene showed those companions who had left the Doctor had found a new home among each other.

Doctor Who returns in November 2023 on BBC One and Disney+.

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