Doctor Who in Review: Season Four, Episode #6 – The Doctor’s Daughter
The hit BBC series Doctor Who is now in its fourth season on the Sci-Fi Channel, and since we’re all big fans here at ComicMix, we’ve decided to kick off an episode-by-episode analysis of the reinvigorated science-fiction classic.
Every week, we’ll have our best Who-philes go through the most recent episode with a fine-tooth comb (or whatever the "sonic screwdriver" equivalent might be) and call out all of the continuity checks, names dropped and storyline hints we can find to keep in mind for future episodes. We’ll post our analysis each Monday, so you have ample time to check out the episode once it airs each Friday at 9 PM EST on Sci-Fi Channel before reading our review.
Missed a week? Check out our "Doctor Who in Review" archive or check out any of the past editions of this column via the links at the end of this article.
Keep in mind, we’re going to assume readers have already watched the episode when we put fingers to keyboard and come up with our roundup of important plot points. In other words, SPOILER ALERT!
Let’s begin now, shall we?
Season Four, Episode #6: "The Doctor’s Daughter"
IN BRIEF: The Doctor, Donna Noble and hijacked former companion Martha Jones arrive in an unknown location when the TARDIS takes off on its own accord. Upon their arrival, armed men force The Doctor to provide a DNA sample, and just a few moments later we’re introduced to Jenny, a female clone of the Time Lord. There isn’t much time for a family reunion, however, as a battle breaks out with the Hath, a fish-like species at war with the humans over ownership of the base. Martha is separated from The Doctor and Donna, tempers flare and The Doctor, Donna and Jenny (The Doctor’s new "daughter"), as well as Martha and one of the Hath, race to discover a mysterious object called "The Source" hidden deep within the base.
In the end, it turns out that the humans and the Hath have only been fighting for a week, but the rapid rate at which they’re cloning new soldiers has caused more than 20 generations to to be born and die in a single day. The Doctor starts up The Source, a terraforming tool, but Jenny is fatally wounded in the aftermath. The Doctor says goodbye to the daughter he hardly knew, but after The Doctor and his companions depart, Jenny wakes up and sets off in a spaceship of her own — determined to explore the universe like her "father."
GIVE THE DOCTOR A HAND: We always thought it was a bit creepy when Jack Harkness was carrying around The Doctor’s dismembered hand from two seasons ago (in the Christmas Special titled "The Christmas Invasion"). Now that The Doctor is carrying it around in the TARDIS, well… it’s still pretty creepy. You have to hand it to Donna, though, she’s developing a real knack for taking in stride the unique situations that develop when you’re around The Doctor (i.e. "Yes, that’s my hand, but I grew a new one").
FOR THE LAST TIME, WE’RE NOT TOGETHER: Yet again, The Doctor and Donna Noble find the need to point out in this episode that they aren’t romantically involved. But while they aren’t a "couple" per se, The Doctor and Donna continue to have an interesting relationship — one that seems fairly unique even by longtime Who fans’ standards. Other than someone like The Brigadier (who we discussed at length in last week’s review of "The Poison Sky"), The Doctor’s companions have rarely been as outspoken and willing to say what’s on their minds as Donna has shown herself to be. Of course, maybe it’s that willingness to argue with each other that has everyone thinking they’re married!
A TIME OF WAR: In this episode, we learn a bit more about The Doctor’s involvement in the "Time War" that killed most of the Time Lords and the Daleks, as The Doctor tells Jenny and Donna that he had been forced to kill during the war. Previously, we learned that The Doctor led the final battle of the Time War, and during our review of "The Sontaran Stratagem" we discussed at length what we know thus far about how various species and characters were affected by the War.
THE CREATURE REPORT: While the Hath makeup and effects are great from the neck up, everything below that point seems a bit too, well… man-ish… for a fish-like species, don’t you think? Even so, the demise of Hath "Peck" (Martha’s companion) choked us up a bit. Oh, and the credits list two of the Hath as "Hath Peck" and "Hath Gable" — a play on Clark Gable and Gregory Peck, we can only assume. But why?
FAMILY MATTERS: After spending much of the episode trying to convince The Doctor that he should consider Jenny his daughter, he explains that his resistance to the notion is the result of having had a family in the past — and losing them. While some might wonder where that revelation came from, the idea of The Doctor having a family harkens back to the very first episode of Doctor Who, "An Unearthly Child." For much of the first few seasons, The Doctor traveled with his granddaughter, Susan Foreman, as well as two of her teachers. The Doctor has also mentioned having a family several times throughout the new series, such as the time he told former companion Rose Tyler that he "was a dad once" in the episode titled "Fear Her."
NAME GAMES: Jenny becomes the latest character to ask The Doctor about his real name in this episode. Thus far the most significant clue we’ve been given about this running plot point might be the prophesy revealed in "The Fires of Pompeii," when an oracle states that The Doctor’s name "burns in the stars, in the Cascade of Medusa."
ROMANCE AMONG THE STARS: While we’re usually not the sort to dabble in the real-world dramas that occur behind the series, we thought this one was worth noting: According to various reports (including David Tennant’s page on Wikipedia), Tennant is currently involved in a serious romantic relationship with Georgia Moffet, who plays his character’s "daughter" in this episode. Now that you know this, go back and re-watch the episode — especially the death scene. It puts a whole new, extra-skeevy spin on some of the dialogue between The Doctor and Jenny.
KEEPING IT IN THE FAMILY: While the headline for this section could just have easily been used for the previous one, we assure you that this item won’t be nearly as sketchy. It turns out that the actress who portrays Jenny in "The Doctor’s Daughter" is the real-life daughter of Peter Davison, The Fifth Doctor. Whether we’ll be seeing more of her is the big question, though. According to the Doctor Who Wiki, Russell Davies intended to kill Jenny off at the end of this episode, but Steven Moffat — who will be taking over for Davies next season — insisted that she live.
CHINESE WHAT? Maybe it’s just me, but has anyone else ever heard of the term "Chinese Whispers?" The Doctor mentions it around the episode’s 35:10 mark, and while we get the reference, we’re just curious if this is a term that’s really in wide use today.
QUESTIONS UNANSWERED: The big question raised in this episode has to be what’s in store for Jenny, The Doctor’s "daughter." Since the Doctor Who creators aren’t the sort to include major, unresolved plot points without those points carrying some meaning down the road, one has to wonder what role this new, female Time Lord (or at least, the genetic duplicate of one) will play in the show’s future. Could Georgia Moffet be Tennant’s successor? His next companion, perhaps?
FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF THE NEXT EPISODE, "The Unicorn and the Wasp": Martha’s gone, but maybe that big wasp means that we’ll finally learn why all the bees are disappearing?
Thanks to various ComicMix contributors for help with this week’s analysis. Credit also goes out to the good people at The Doctor Who Wiki for information related to several of this week’s story notes.
Screencaps courtesy of SciFi.com.
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