The Doctor’s Daughter

* Oh gawd. I remember the controversy beforehand about the deliberately provocative title, although it all seems a bit of an over-reaction in retrospect. Even if she had turned out to be his actual daughter, it wouldn’t have been a big deal – we could have got to meet Susan’s mum. Instead she’s a generated anomaly, who is given the name “Jenny” in much the same way as Frances Barber’s character in Red Dwarf‘s Polymorph. And she’s played by an actual Doctor’s daughter, who has since become an actual Doctor’s wife, and had the actual Doctor’s children and grandchildren.

* The whole thing about the descendants of colonists fighting a war across so many generations that the history has become mythologised, to the extent that technology is being mistaken for ancient symbols and relics = The Face of Evil, isn’t it? This time, there was the twist that this had all taken place across seven days; on second viewing, the clues were there right from the start with the soldiers using the term “generations” as their only unit of time. It stands out a mile.

* This episode hinges on the juxtaposition of The Doctor’s pacifism and Jenny being a soldier, but the central argument that the Time War makes them not so different after all is flawed. The Time War was an anomaly in The Doctor’s life, and he’s haunted by what (he thinks) he’s done, whereas Jenny was literally bred for war. After the revelation that the last action of the Time War was one of peace, the comparison is even wider of the mark.

* Meanwhile, Martha becomes the God of the Hath, and then lures one of the poor sods to his death. Generally speaking, I found Martha’s segments with the Hath much more interesting than the Doctor battling some generic shouty humans and his family issues, but what’s the point of bringing her back if she’s going hardly going to appear with the Doctor? Torchwood put her in the background during her stay there too – what a waste.

* It’s all very sad when Jenny dies, as it is whenever some potential new companion gets hit with the “you can come with me” curse and dies. But the thing is… she’s not his daughter, is she? A parent/child relationship is about more than just genetics; Donna’s earlier analogy about her friend and the turkey baster proves the opposite point to the one she’s trying to make. It’s tricky, because The Doctor should obviously be upset, but given that both he and the audience have only known this woman for forty minutes, the sight of him responding by pointing a gun at someone’s head doesn’t seem justified. The subsequent grandstanding is slightly undermined by the inherent silliness of the instruction to base your society around “a man who never would”.

* You can tell that the resurrection scene is tacked on, and it’s yet another detraction from the episode’s big emotional climax, but we can at least be grateful that they never got round to following up on it. Yet.

RATING: 5

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