I’ve had one of the most exhuasting weeks ever. My son is sick with glandular fever a week before A levels, my partner’s been away and we’re in the middle of a complicated, exhausting period of household renovations. It’s also the hottest day of the year so far, and after two abortive efforts to get up and do something useful I’ve admitted defeat and taken myself off to bed.
All this is probably colouring my reaction to The Doctor’ Daughter (see below)
Yes, Tennant was wonderful. And we’ve seen it all before – every expression, every sigh, every facial tic, every modulation of the tone of voice. I’m even sick of writing him, let alone watching. I love DT to pieces but I’m beginning to feel that the people who make the show have a very limited view of his strengths. Maybe every time he angsts the ratings go through the roof but it’s getting to ridiculous levels.
Come on, you people. This character has enough to be miserable about already. He has lost his planet, his species and the love of his life. He is tortured by guilt, and every time he begins to pull himself out of the swamp something comes along and sucks him back under. I just DO NOT BUY IT ANY MORE.
They made this mistake with Jack in Torchwood. Not content with killing him horribly (usually more than once) in every episode, they had to make his last remaining relative a total psycho and bury him alive for 2000 years. It’s not that I can’t handle Jenny dying (and she didn’t, anyway). More the way it was done. If I’d written it that way, my betas would have sent it straight back for a rethink.
There were all kinds of meaningful and emotionally convincing ways they could have bumped Jenny off. For a start, less than a week ago on this planet there was an outbreak of Byzantine Space Fever, or whatever. Or she could have been caught in the crossfire of some skirmish, stung by a bee (oh, that’s where they all went!), or stepped on a land mine. But no, they had to have that old guy shoot her completely out of left-field, for no apparent motive other than to give the Doctor a dramatic illustration of the point that Violence is Bad (and don’t mention that I got a hard-on last week admiring the Valiant, will you?)
And what was going on with Martha? She’s a bloody qualified doctor, for heaven’s sake, and she’s done God knows how many shifts in A&E, she knows Time Lords can regenerate (she saw the Master’s death), yet she just wrote poor Jenny off without even undressing her to take a look at the wound! It’s not that she has a problem with treating aliens. We saw that with the Hath and his dislocated shoulder.
So, basically it seems to me that credibility was completely thrown to the winds so that the poor old Doctor got another chance to do Teh Angst Big Time. Five and a half hours? He’d written Jenny off in five and a half seconds.
Arguably, in a show as crazy as Doctor Who, credibility will always be something of a moveable feast. But I think there’s a point at which you feel that a situation’s just being set up to deliver an emotional payoff without any of the intelligence or forethought we have a right to expect. And this episode, for all its beautiful moments of connection and promise of resolution, made me feel for the first time ever that Tennant might be turning into a liability, because he isn’t being allowed out of his angsty box – a victim of his own success. I now feel very pessimistic for the finale, and I’m wondering whether even the prospect of his reunion with Rose is being set up just to give us an even more agonising let-down when he’s left alone once more.
And if they let him go through all that and then come out with some trite remark about life always being worth living (why the fuck would he think that, under the circumstances, when he was ready for the Daleks to kill him a while ago?), I just might throw a brick through my telly.
I hope I’ll feel better tomorrow.