Saturday, 10 May 2008

You big kidders...

As the Watcher prepared to dematerialise from the office on Friday night, thoughts turned to the upcoming Doctor’s Daughter, 24 hours in the future (Earth time).
‘There’s a lot riding on it,’ said a sympathiser.
‘As long as this ‘daughter’ business isn’t a flippin’ swizz,’ replied the Watcher, with some feeling.
Fast-forward 24 hours…

…and it is a flippin’ swizz! Sort of. Well, it is inasmuch as ‘Jenny’ (tch!) hasn’t come floating out of deep back-story to throw the show in a Whole New Direction and change Received Fan Wisdom forever - but did we really think that would happen? Well, the production team sort of hinted… but did we really want it to? You know how your real friends die inside a bit when they get kids: do we really want that to happen to the Doctor? Exactly - and what if this ‘Jenny’ (honestly) turned out to be some winsome, Ace-like, combat-trousered action-bunny with a spaceship and boundless enthusiasm for the endless possibilities of the universe? Er, hang on, we’ve accidentally got ahead of ourselves here…

Not that the Watcher has any problems with Georgia Moffett. Quite the opposite. But ‘Jenny’ is a warrior-clone-thing created from a scratched hand (and wearing mascara, too, noted the Watcher’s companion; warpaint?). You could forgive our man if he should signally fail to bond deeply in 44 minutes, although the Dadshock-savvy script also noted that fatherhood can often stem from such unplanned biological ‘incidents’. Respect to Tennant and Moffett for making it work well enough, then, and hinting at how emptiness inside, rather than a shared wellspring of hope, can still create a connection.

Tennant’s saving this season, wringing everything he can from less than he deserves. The Time War speech was controlled and bitter; his warnings to General Cobb (sounds like a low-rent sarnie shop) were cold and on the edge; and the final confrontation with the gun was chilling and brilliant. For a second there - just for a double-heartbeat - he might actually have shot the bad guy’s face off. Occasionally Tennant lets you see - just around the eyes - what 1,000 years of death and disconnection could do to you. The Doctor seems thrillingly close to tipping over into something very dark, and very bad. There’s gonna be a reckoning, I tell thee…

But as for some of the rest… nyeeaah; just bit too much sci-fi shorthand, perhaps. The seven-day war idea was nice, but unexplored - it was ultimately just another wrong-headed space spat, sorted by a hero who thrives on self-mythology then damns it. So another meaty idea slips by. Is there ever a case for a just war?

And what was Martha doing here? There was enough peril and puzzle-solving for one companion, but not two. Did they just get the (great) Tate in again, after realising they missed a trick not asking her on board after the Christmas special, then divvy out the lines? We need to be told.

And it was a bit tricksy: The Watcher and companion both said ‘She’ll get killed’ the minute Jenny bounced in, and she did… then didn’t! Be braver, script editors! Not that we’re unhappy Georgia Moffett could return. Quite the opposite.

Anyway, next time: it’s The One With Agatha Christie… and we suspect it might be rather good fun…


Jack said...

I loved the Guppy headed army with their luminous green breathing juice. Very impressed that Martha was able to communicate with them so well. Suppose she will never lose the ability to make friends with aliens.

I was worried too about the whole daughter thing but I like her. I'm sure she will cause endless trouble throughout the galaxy and Dad will have to come and bail her out. Bring it on.

Complicated story line with a lot for the youth of today to take on board, stop fighting, family values and again save the planet. Always a moral message in there.

Anonymous said...

Too many story lines, not easy to

follow. could have used one

story line eg. the appearance of a


Did not like her killing mentality

but would like her to reappear.