The Companion Departures - #5: Perpugiliam (Peri) Brown
This is certainly an interesting departure - we don’t actually see it happen, we hear about it afterwards. So why isn’t it down in the depths with Dodo or Liz’s departure which also are only referred to after the fact? Mainly because that’s the only thing that these departures have in common, the apparent departure - and death - of Peri at the end of Mindwarp is absolutely the focus of that particularly story in The Trial of a Time Lord, so one can hardly say that the character is just casually written out the same way that Dodo and Liz were. Peri has an extremely dramatic apparent departure on screen. The actual departure - including the resolution which comes afterwards - is very unique and which - spoilers for those who haven’t seen the 2015 season of Doctor Who - ends up sharing some similarities with Clara’s departure.
There’s an impending sense of inevitable tragedy throughout Mindwarp as the Trial format works magnificently in this story. The Doctor’s lack of memory from being taken out of time allows for some brilliant foreshadowing (if that’s the right word) by the Valeyard as he is able to tell the Doctor that he’s in for a nasty surprise when they get to the end of the adventure - something that works better than any trailer ever could (even if the trailer included a clip of the Valeyard saying that very line). When the apparent death does occur on screen - including the Matrix screen - it is quite shocking. Some (many?) fans prefer this ending and feel the resolution that the Matrix evidence was fabricated to be a cop out. However there were plenty of clues - both on screen and off screen - that should have alerted anyone paying attention to the possibility - if not the probability - that Peri’s death at the end of Mindwarp did not actually happen. First, the events are not witnessed in person by the Doctor but he’s watching in on a television screen the way the audience is; related to that the possibility of the Matrix’s evidence being tampered with is present throughout The Trial of a Time Lord. Thirdly, there’s a illogical jump in the evidence presented, where Crozier spends the entire story (as well as much time before it) trying to solve a physical problem of finding a skull that is large enough and yet compatible for Kiv’s brain, but after the Doctor is taken out of time and space, suddenly Crozier is able to transfer the contents of Kiv’s mind into Peri’s brain - a more subtle clue that the ending was a fabrication, but a clue nonetheless. Finally, the people who believe that Peri did and should have died at the end of Mindwarp obviously missed the memo about Doctor Who being an optimistic show, as there was never any chance that a companion’s fate would be that horrific, without any positive side to it whatsoever. In no way is her death a cop out, to anyone paying attention, the probability that it was a fake was always there.
Another question is hoow likely was it that Peri would agree to marry Yrcanos? Under the circumstances that we know of, very likely. The Doctor and the TARDIS has been removed from the planet and given that she was stuck there, who else was she going to spend her time with - Crozier? The old Thoros-Betan who was just happy when Yrcanos didn’t shout? We know that Yrcanos wanted Peri (this isn’t a Andred and Leela fancy each other out of nowhere scenario), and they do spend some quality time together and they do get along. Under the circumstances, I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine that Peri takes the best offer available to her. Although I think the Doctor envisioning Peri & Yrcanos with a pink heart around them upon hearing the news is perhaps a tad fanciful on the Doctor’s part - but then he’s an old romantic at heart. Just ask Cameca if you don’t believe me.
Posted by Luca on Sunday, February 7 at 8:09 pm