Monday, 10 June 2013

Review: Doctor Who 4.6: The Doctor's Daughter

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The Doctor's Daughter who played The Doctor's Daughter
in The Doctor's Daughter and then had The Doctor's Daughter.
Doctor Who - Season 30, Episode Six - The Doctor's Daughter
Written between 30th and 31st March 2013

We had a good run of gushing, I suppose. But for me this era of Doctor Who is very hit and miss, so you shouldn't really be very surprised. Especially when it comes to The Doctor's Daughter, which is an episode so steeped in problems that it's practically wading in them. As usual, it's not the total shitstorm that the typically hyperbolic fandom would have you believe, but at the same time it doesn't come away smelling of roses. (Look I made a reference.)
     The Tardis crew are swept away by the sentient machine, which drops them on the planet Messaline, the sight of an everlasting war on a subterranean world between humans and the fish-like Hath. There, The Doctor's DNA is used to make an easy-grow soldier called Jenny (Georgia Moffet, who got together with Tennant while making this episode. Aww.) and he has some paternal issues to get over when he discovers that she's a Time Lady. Separated, Martha and the rest of the gang make their way to the Temple, where they work out that the war has only lasted seven days and that the myths arose due to the easy-grow solider machines pumping out generations of clones. Jenny gets shot and The Doctor makes an egotistical speech, but thanks to Moffat meddling she revives later on, disappearing off into the sunset.
      I'll say now that there are a few ideas that I rather like in The Doctor's Daughter - the seven day war arising out of inappropriate use of cloning technology is rather clever, and is a decent extension of sci-fi ideas. It is a little shot by the character of General Cobb; all the clones we see are fresh and young, whereas Cobb sprouts all the myths despite looking like an old-timer. I personally like the theory that Cobb was always a nutjob, and that the seven-day war was just the perfect opportunity for him to kill some people.
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Where the fun sci-fi breaks down into rubbish.
     The episode is guilty of what I would call over-sensationalism. There are often remarks made by fandom pertaining to the idea that RTD tended to appeal more to the tabloid press during his final series, and this episode seems to be this on a plate. A title like "The Doctor's Daughter" is meant only to get fans excited to see Susan's mother or something deeper in the show's mythology. Instead we got a silly story about a sexy clone and a war with the fish people.
     Whereas the three episodes of Torchwood that saw Martha's return were three of the best of that series, these three in the parent show have been less than so. And on that front, it was because Martha was criminally underused and consistently kept out of the action, making me wonder why she was brought back in the first place when it obviously effed up some of the contracting. The Doctor's Daughter promised so much, but it ended up giving us so little.

Thanks.

NEXT TIME: Agatha Christie fun in The Unicorn and the Wasp.

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