I had to post this in light of the most recent Doctor Who episode. I’ve got nothing against Clara, but when she (*spoilers*) came back “to life” at the end, it was an emotional disaster for me. It’s not that I necessarily wanted to see her go, but it was such a brilliant ending for that character, to have her (*spoilers*) scattered across time and space. To bring her back out of that downplays the beauty and heart ache the writers have so expertly concocted. She would have been a more memorable character had she ended there. But that’s just my opinion. Let me know what you think in comments.
But sometimes this “Whoops, I’m not really dead” devise does work, and I’d like to share a few of my favorites. Here are my top 5 almost-deaths.
Shaz Gets Stabbed
Ashes to Ashes (2008): Episode 7 of season 1, when the police catch up with their suspect Gil Hollis (Matthew MacFayden) outside at night, the suspect panics and unintentionally stabs young police officer Shaz Granger (Montserrat Lombard), who already by this point in season one, the audience has grown to love. Luckily, the doctors are able to patch her up.
Captain Jack’s Extermination
Doctor Who (2005): By the time we reach the season finale of season 1, Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) has been in five episodes, and the audience has grown fond of him. So when he is cornered by a dalek, viewers’ hearts sink as they hear that familiar voice say “Exterminate,” to which Jack responds, “Yeah, I kinda figured that,” and embraces his death. It isn’t until the end of the episode that Rose uses the power of the TARDIS to bring him back to life, a fact that is not apparent to the Doctor, or indeed to Rose. Thus begins Jack’s invincibility.
They Keep Killing Rory
Doctor Who (2011): Rory Williams (Arthur Durvall) has been described by Chris Hardwick as South Park’s Kenny. He dies in a dream reality, he dies and is erased from time, he dies multiple times in the hallways of the TARDIS. The writers know that the audience loves Rory because he’s the loyal and on the whole more sane than either the Doctor or Amy. So, they keep finding excuses to bring him back to life.
Danny Gets Blown Up
Hot Fuzz (2007): Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), Nicholas Angel’s sidekick throughout the entire money meets a surprising end in an explosion that takes out the entire police station after they think they’ve locked up all the criminals. Even though we think we see Danny’s gravestone in the end, all choked up to see Nicholas there with a boquet of flowers, Danny shows up at his side, and we see that the gravestone is really that of Danny’s long-dead mother.
Sherlock Makes the Jump
Sherlock (2012): The season 2 finale begins with John Watson confessing that Sherlock is dead. We then see the events leading up to this, asking ourselves is Watson lying? Does he not know the truth? Or is Sherlock really going to die? In the end, Moriarty does convince Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) to jump off a building to save his friends, but not before Sherlock calls Watson to tell him that he’s a fake, that he’s never been able to solve mysteries, that it was all a trick. In the end, we see Watson at Sherlock’s grave, but who’s that lurking a ways off, and how did he survive?
Would love to know your favorite almost-deaths in British TV or film. Leave comments!