Friday, 21 August 2009

Doctor Who - The Doctor's Daughter

The Doctor: 'You need to get yourself a better dictionary. When you do, look up 'genocide'. You'll find a little picture of me there, and the caption'll read, 'Over my dead body''.

This could have been a great episode. I loved the idea of the seven day war and the concept of two opposing armies, continuously being recreated, for the sole purpose of fighting a never ending war. I also liked the idea of the progenation machine taking the Doctor's diploid cells, splitting them into haploids and then recombining them to form Jenny—the Doctor's daughter. But the episode just wasn't long enough to do all of the plot elements justice. They should have either made it a two-parter, or shaved off some of the unnecessary plot divergences. It may have felt less rushed that way.

Atmosphere wise, this definitely felt reminiscent of the Tom Baker era, what with all the running around in darkened caverns, men in rubber suits pretending to be aliens, and solving problems with clockwork mice. Having Georgia Moffett (the fifth Doctor's real life daughter) play the tenth Doctor's on-screen daughter, also added to the feeling of continuity. But why was the Doctor's reaction to Jenny so odd? Normally he's fascinated by other beings, and if last season's 'Last of the Time Lords' taught us anything, it's how desperate The Doctor is to connect with someone of his own kind. Surely he should have embraced her as his daughter immediately?

I'm not even sure why he considered  Jenny's birth so unnatural—wasn't he created in much the same way? Or isn't 'The Loom' strictly canon? Regardless, Jenny was both beautiful and kick-ass (so no complaints there)—though her metamorphosis from killing machine into running-around-the-place-trying-not-to-kill-people Time Lord felt a little rushed. It would surely have taken her more than ten minutes to overcome her programming? Still, her death was moving, and both Tennant and Moffett, respectively, turned in excellent performances, with the Doctor finally acknowledging Jenny as his daughter—just in time to watch her die.

Except she didn't. Rumour has it that it was at Steven Moffat's behest that she survive (a rumour he's neither denied, nor entirely confirmed), but if you're going to go to all that trouble of resurrecting her, then why not use her again? I'm writing this review half way through the 2009 season of specials, and we still haven't seen hide nor hair of her. (Excluding voice-over duties in 'Dreamland'.) Georgia Moffett has gone on record as saying she'd be more than willing to reprise the role—so why hasn't it happened? Why bring her back to life, have her escape, and then not use her again? It makes no sense.

Martha's storyline, sadly, felt a bit redundant. Despite being a soldier, it took her just five minutes to get captured by the Hath. Without all that cool UNIT training, she'd no doubt have been caught in two minutes. Likewise, the death of Peck seemed a touch contrived. I liked Peck as a character, but why didn't he hold onto Martha's leg for just a few seconds longer? She could have pulled him to safety with ease. He wasn't sinking that fast. It was almost as if they killed him for effect. Which of course is exactly what they did, and what this particular showrunner can't seem to stop himself from doing. Not everyone has to die, Russell. There are other dramatic devices designed to elicit pathos. Try one of those for a change.

Regardless, I'd like to see more of Jenny. She was flirtatious, brilliant and had a real zest for life. And now that the Doctor's got used to her being his daughter, there's the potential there for a great partnership to develop. Plus, she's almost a Time Lord, isn't she? Imagine the possibilities of that. He could teach her so much. Plus, I'd like to know why she didn't change form when she regenerated. There are so many unanswered questions and potential story tangents as yet unexplored. Let's hope they don't ignore the opportunity. In short: More Miss Moffett please, Mr Moffat!

Other Thoughts:

—How did Donna know that the Doctor had two hearts?

—Georgia Moffett is daughter of Peter Moffett (AKA Peter Davison, the fifth Doctor).

—The progenation machine was a neat way of giving the Doctor offspring without him actually having to have sex with anyone.

—I loved the part where Donna offered to use her feminine wiles on the soldiers—only to have the Doctor talk her out of it. Ouch!

—Georgia Moffett, as well as auditioning for a part in 'The Unicorn and the Wasp', was originally considered for the role of Rose.

—Hath Peck and Hath Gable? Presumably named after Gregory and Clark?

—So the progenation machine can create people, can it? Fully clothed people? Wearing makeup? That's some machine.


Doctor: 'I don't know where we're going, but my old hand's very excited about it.'
Donna: 'I thought that was some bloody alien thing. You're telling me it's yours?'
Doctor: 'Well...'
Martha: 'It got cut off. He grew a new one.'
Donna: 'You are completely impossible!'
Doctor: 'Not impossible. Just a bit unlikely.'

Donna: 'But... this is a theatre.'
Doctor: 'Maybe they're doing Miss Saigon.'

Donna: 'He saves planets, rescues civilizations, defeats terrible creatures... and runs a lot. Seriously, there is an outrageous amount of running involved.'

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