Monday, January 31, 2011

"The Doctor's Daughter"

I must say that it's incredibly difficult not to watch this episode with a bit of a smirk at certain moments now that David Tennant and Georgia Moffett, who plays the Tenth Doctor's titular daughter in this episode, are engaged and have a kid on the way. Nonetheless I will try to review this story without reading too much into the scenes and try to view the father/daughter relationship from an in-universe perspective. I will, however, still make dodgy comments where appropriate.
Once again we're on an alien planet but almost everyone who matters is human and the main aliens can't talk because they're worried the morons will get scared. Is it really that hard to give us an alien civilisation? They're starting to take the piss by this point with how repetitive it is. Martha is still with us but spends almost the whole episode in the company of semi-mute fish people who all talk like Pom Pom from Homestar Runner called the Hath who have no personality and it seems like she was written into this episode at the last minute. There's also an extended sequence of her stumbling around in what is obviously a quarry and seemingly intentionally falling into quicksand so that her Hath friend has to save her for no reason. Really it only serves as a distraction in an episode which already feels rushed and overloaded with concepts. The Doctor is forced to give a genetic sample which is recombined into a young woman who Donna dubs 'Jenny' and the Doctor has to deal. That's basically the plot. There's some guff about soldiers and two factions fighting a seven day war which they think has lasted for an eternity because their lives are so short but it's so thrown in that if they were going to do this as one episode they would have been better off omitting it entirely and focusing on the daughter aspect.
It's astonishing how melodramatic and fatalistic the Tenth Doctor has become. He refuses to even acknowledge Jenny as a Time Lord because they're a sum of the lost heritage and all this sort of thing instead of attempting to rediscover some of that company he'd been missing for so long. It's revealed that it's because Jenny reminds him of the loss of his original family and how it's a part of him which he says can never come back. This sounds like something you'd say if you were distraught and not thinking clearly and at least Donna says he's wrong but I think she should have called him out on it more. Why does he have to be such a jerk to Jenny? This is the Doctor, the ultimate equal opportunities man, and if anyone deserves a chance surely it would be someone of his own flesh and blood who is struggling with her programming and what is expected of her. You can go on all you like about how the Doctor's trying to protect himself and so on but that doesn't change the fact that for a lot of the time he treats her unfairly. This Doctor is so unpleasant at times it makes it very difficult to respect him as our hero and protagonist.
With tiresome predictability they kill off Jenny at the end, even though the Doctor has asked her to travel with him, and I find this to be a bit of a cheap shot. If they'd really wanted us to treat this character seriously they shouldn't have done the good old Star Trek syndication method or indeed done an exact repeat of what happened with Astrid in "Voyage of the Damned". Indeed I don't mind Jenny's character and while I don't have a problem with Donna I find the idea of the Doctor travelling with a relative to be potentially a much more interesting idea than the normal 'Doctor plus human he runs into' thing.
So while the seven-day war is interesting it's not exactly original and I recall guessing it about fifteen minutes into the first time I watched the episode, and all the soldiery lore and stuff is underdeveloped and should have been omitted, as sadly should have been Martha. In fact what could have been interesting would be if the Doctor arrived alone and Jenny was immediately produced and we could have gone from there. Sadly it's all too rushed, the character of General Cobb is a deeply unimaginative bad military officer, the Tenth Doctor is too unpleasant and they introduce Jenny and kill her off so it all feels like a bit of a waste of time. I think RTD claimed he wanted this to be a big game-changer for the Doctor or something but it never really seemed to work out that way, and while there's something very weird in hindsight about the girlish excited hugs replete with thankyous that Jenny gives the Doctor, along with "Hello Dad" and the cradling her on the ground scene I suppose I can spare Tennant if the seeds of romance were sprouting in the Tenth Doctor's eyes as he looked down on his pretty daughter because he does 'distraught' pretty well up until he starts shouting or crying at which point it usually becomes angsty and melodramatic. I keep forgetting, RTD, at which point did the Doctor cease to be a weary old man or a mysterious stranger and just became a moody teen? Anyway yes it's kind of interesting but it's rushed and you can tell they were so focused on the daughter aspect that they painted everything else in broad strokes. It's passable, but it feels cheap.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.