Warning! The following contains spoilers for the Doctor Who episode "Can You Hear Me?" Read at your own risk!
Doctor Who Season 12 has thrown a ton of curve balls at fans this season, and the episode "Can You Hear Me?" teased another big change may be coming. Soon after The Doctor and her fam managed to thwart the dastardly efforts of two meddlesome immortals, one companion began to question whether all this running around was really what he wanted to be doing. From the sounds of it, Doctor Who's Ryan might be leaving soon.
For those that missed the conversation, Ryan himself shared these feelings with Yaz right before they hopped on to the next adventure. Ryan told his friend that he wondered what impact all this Doctor-fueled growth would have when he finally returned to the real world. More importantly, he wondered how that maturity and knowledge might impact his life when he returned to a time period in which others were no different than when he saw them last.
It sounded like Ryan was getting that same itch that Amy and Rory got on Doctor Who seasons ago. As much fun as both of those companions had adventuring with The Doctor, there came a point where they simply just wanted to get on with living their lives. It feels like Ryan may be thinking about doing the same thing, though it isn't because of a significant other as far as we know. What has caused this sudden change?
Ryan's feelings may be a result of checking in on his friend Tibo, who was last seen on the basketball court in the Season 12 premiere before Ryan left with the team. Ryan arrived at his friend's flat all smiles and ready to hang, but noticed things were off with Tibo. It turned out Tibo had been going through a rough time in the stretch Ryan had been gone, and could've used a friend during that stretch. Unfortunately, Ryan didn't respond to any texts because he was off-world and across time.
After being unwillingly pulled into the main adventure with the immortals, though, Tibo finally understood why his friend has been ignoring him. He later found a support group that addressed the loneliness and isolation he's been feeling, and it felt like things will improve for Tibo. Ryan, on the other hand, might be dealing with some guilt about not being there for his best friend and others, and is thus questioning what may have happened had he not arrived sooner.
Chris Chibnall teased that Doctor Who Season 12 could end with The Doctor separated from her companions, though he didn't go into detail on how that would happen. It didn't seem like Graham or Yaz are in the same headspace as Ryan, so perhaps that threat is unrelated to Ryan's conversation with Yaz.
I find it hard to believe Ryan would get written off in this context, considering his familial ties to Graham, though dropping one companion would allow Doctor Who to give more story time to those that remain. Right now, the fam has to compete for time as supporting cast members, though Season 12 has found better ways to give them all something to do in adventures when compared to Season 11.
With all that being said, Doctor Who is a frequent tease when it comes to cast departures. If Ryan is back to his normal self and doesn't breach the idea of leaving the rest of the season, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised. On the other hand, maybe he will leave, and Graham will decide to follow him.
When it's time for Ryan to go, it'll happen whether we like it or not, so perhaps the only thing to do is enjoy him while he's here and hope actor Tosin Cole's post Doctor Who career is as successful as past companions.
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