The Doctor's Daughter Reviews
Hell Hath No Fury
A Poor Relation
announcement of the title of this story DW fandom had been going mental.
It was going to be sacrilege to the show to give him a daughter.
And anyway, his first companion was his Granddaughter, so where's the problem?
Anyway it was a trick. She wasn't really his daughter. Just an artificially genetically created person. Technically part of him, but not really his daughter.
So what did it do for the story? Well it added a layer to what at the end of the day was fairly standard sci-fi stuff. Not bad stuff, pretty enjoyable, but maybe not as good as what we had seen before. The concept of the story was fairly old hat.
Maybe they were counting on the who daughter stuff to make up for some of the stories failings? For example the Hath masks. These looked OK but were all a bit static and dry looking. Maybe too colourful aswell?
So I enjoyed
it overall, but not blown away. Its interesting to know this new character
will be out there somewhere just waiting for a spin-off show!
Landing in an underground alien world, the Doctor becomes separated from Martha thanks to a gung-ho soldier who has the right to call him "dad"! Martha's separation leaves her in the hands of the fish-faced Hath, meanwhile Donna and the Doctor get to grips with daughter Jenny and her fellow soldiers. Both sides turn out to be fighting towards the same objective in a conflict which has seen countless deaths over generations. Will the Doctor's Daughter just become one more casualty of war? And what secret do the numbers on the walls hide?Firstly, I'm not going to explain anything about Jenny's origins. This may seem odd because it is a "secret" that is revealed before the title sequence so it is by no means the big twist at the end. However, it hasn't been revealed in the official promo material, so I'm not going to be the one to spoil it for you.
You'll be wondering whether Jenny is Susan's mother, or an imposter, or perhaps a step-daughter, or maybe even a parallel relation created by a rift in time. You'll no doubt have twigged that the TARDIS's erratic behaviour at the end of The Poison Sky was a kind of automatic homing system designed to bring the Doctor into contact with his offspring, therefore suggesting she is the real deal, but I'm afraid you can be teased for a few more days yet.
This episode was nothing like what I expected, for many reasons. Firstly the explanation behind Jenny was actually the last thing I was hoping for. But am I a traditionalist desperate to keep the Doctor's past life a mystery? Or am I so fascinated by Susan's part in the Doctor's life that I am eager to find out why he ended up taking her away from Gallifrey? All I will say is that I had decided upon one particular theory, and I was disappointed when the plot went in the other direction.
The Doctor says in this episode that he's dealt with the loss of his family once already, and now finding this daughter being a solider at war, he doesn't want to go through it all again. This harks back nicely to Tomb of the Cybermen when he first discusses them. But of course we knew of his granddaughter long before Tomb, so it's always somewhat surprising that talk of the Doctor's family makes fans prickle. I suppose it's because Susan was so much of a mystery that her presence never actually gave us any additional information about the plight of the time-travelers. All we knew is that they can't return home for some reason, but they hope to one day. Not once does Susan refer to "mother" or "father", presumably because it's too upsetting. Or maybe she simply never knew them.
Ignoring the emotional question of whether or not the Doctor truly has any living relatives, it is also a big question as to whether or not he is the last of the Time Lords. The arrival of Jenny with her twin hearts, razor sharp mind, and physical prowess shows that there is someone else to demonstrate just how brilliant Time Lords (or Time Ladies) are.
I think the main thing to say about this story is that it has something in common with Utopia. The story is weighted towards the key revelation about the character of Jenny, and the rest is largely secondary. If you chop the Master reveal off the end of Utopia then you're left with lots of savages running around in a quarry. The same is partly true of The Doctor's Daughter because the plot is relatively light if you take Jenny out of the equation, however the difference here is that the central premise is still interesting in its own right and the twist is extremely good. Whilst you could tell the story of the war without her, you can't tell her story without the war. Therefore I think the episode has more validity as a piece of science fiction than Utopia, which didn't have a great deal to link the presence of the Master with the woes of humanity in the far future.
The Hath are quite a good alien. Perhaps it would be a little too generous to suggest they're a convincing alien culture - their masks lack the lively animatronics of the Judoon, or the human eyes and mouth of the Sontarans, and therefore they do seem quite static. However they're quirky and I have a massive soft spot for a fun alien race. One gripe I do have is the fact that the TARDIS doesn't translate these aliens' speech. Only aliens without the mental capacity for complex communication (such as the Zarbi) have previously foiled the TARDIS's telepathic circuits. The Hath are clearly a sophisticated culture and there's no reason why their bubbles shouldn't be turned into words!
And so to the real focus of the episode: Georgia Moffett. She is quite simply breathtaking. She is the heart and soul of the episode. Phenomenally beautiful, extremely charming, lively and a brilliantly natural actor. She has now knocked Carey Mulligan off the top of my list of Guest Stars Who I Wish Were Regulars. She has some great lines, and is just a delight alongside David Tennant. In fact, so dazzling is her presence and so powerful her impact, that it's easy to forget Martha and Donna are even in the episode - although the latter does solves the mystery of the numbers.
The twist in the tale is thought-provoking, if a tiny bit preposterous, but this is Doctor Who and we've happily believed far stranger things. It's a very good concept and the short story feel to it serves to give breathing space to the characters' relationships which need to be explored.
The thoughts and feelings which Jenny forces the Doctor to deal with are very interesting but some of the scraps of information thrown our way do produce more questions than answers. This is no bad thing as the whole series has been driven by mystery since it started.
I suppose the title of this episode is almost a curse. Fans may be excited by it or fear it regardless of the explanation behind it - and it would never have been possible to hide the title until the day of transmission. However, when you see the episode you'll realise there was only one title possible. To have called this episode something related to the aliens, such as The Hath Paradox would have been to belittle the superb character of Jenny and the brilliant consequences and possibilities that this story leaves in its wake.
Excellent, interesting and exhilarating Doctor Who.
The Doctor's Daughter Guest Preview
Since the announcement of the story title the questions on all fans lips has been "is it a trick title" and "if not, how?"
The answer is revealed even before the title sequence kicks in but it takes the rest of the story to play out all the details.
Bit of a first for the revamped Doctor Who (at least since the end of Frontios into Resurrection of the Daleks in the classic series) in that last week's story ends on a cliffhanger despite the stories being unconnected.
The Doctor, Donna and Martha arrive on a distant planet at war, we're quickly introduced to both sides and our heroes are separated. Martha unwittingly joins the Hath (a kind of fishes head on a humanoid shaped body that comunicate by blowing bubbles in a little glass cylinder in their mouths) and the rest are taken by the humans.
A rather gloomy episode unfolds of the battle between the two sides but, like Utopia before it, this is really a backdrop to the relationship between the Doctor and Jenny, 'the daughter' of the title. There's some nice moments toying with both their differences and their similarities and Donna works brilliantly as a relationship councellor between the two.
David Tennant is especially superb and acts his socks off here as a man sickened by war. The 'will he, won't he' scene will leave you holding your breath.
You'll see the ending coming a mile off and, although it lifts the mood, it feels a bit rushed and bolted on.
Not a classic
but a strong story with a satisfying twist to the war plot.
Next episode - The
Unicorn and the Wasp
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