The Companion Departures - #6 - Nyssa
Terminus is one of the most underrated Doctor Who stories of all time and as such Nyssa’s departure is also often underrated. Yet it is a departure which is original, emotional, poignant, and serves the character well. It is a very logical “fate” for Nyssa and makes for a companion departure that is immensely satisfying as a result. And no, I’m not saying that because Nyssa drops her skirt (although that isn’t a negative either). Nyssa’s departure is one of the most selfless, yet non-tragic acts any companion has done in the history of the show. She stays behind on Terminus to take a very hard life so she can use her scientific skills and knowledge to help the sick. She leaves her companions in the TARDIS (basically, the only “family” she has left) and gives up seeing the wonders of the universe for the sake of staying in a dirty, grimy, bleak space station that is filled with contagious, sick people. And yet, her decision to do this isn’t a stretch at all, but the sort of thing that the audience could always see the character doing. It’s difficult, in hindsight, to see a more satisfactory departure for this particular character - if she was going to leave the Doctor, it was going to have to be for martyrdom reasons, one way after another. Given that her departure is the first to follow the death of Adric, it was always unlikely that they would have killed off a second long-time companion.
There’s been fan speculation that Nyssa would ultimately have married one of the Vanir or perhaps persuaded Olvir to stay and help, and started a relationship with him. I believe the latter is more likely than the former, especially since the fate of Olvir and Kari is left unclear in terms of what they would do next. Either way, I imagine that the Garm would have presided over the wedding, and how cool would that have been?
Posted by Luca on Sunday, January 31 at 7:36 pm