Doctor Who – The Doctor’s Daughter

Now that’s a provocative episode title, isn’t it? I mean, we know that the Doctor used to have a family, but they were all lost in the Time War before we got a chance to meet any of them apart from Susan, his granddaughter, who was travelling with him when we first met him. So what’s it all about then?

At the end of the last episode, just as the Doctor was going to say goodbye to Martha, the Tardis appeared to take off by itself. This episode followed straight on from there, and the Tardis soon landed in a moderately traditional tunnel. The three travellers have barely had time to wonder where they are, never mind work out why the Tardis brought them there, when a bunch of soldiers turn up waving guns and generally being menacing. Well, not that menacing, as they appeared to be led by Chris from Skins, though he’s working under the name of Cline.

Chris from Skins Cline shoves the Doctor’s arm into some dodgy bit of technology, which takes a tissue sample and does some fancy extrapolation, which leads to the glowing blue chamber next to it opening, out of which steps a young woman. Donna asks where she came from, to which the Doctor replies

From me. She’s my daughter.

His new daughter smiles and says “Hello, Dad”.

But before they can get to know each other, the tunnel is raided by some fish-headed aliens fitted with breathing bottles filled with a bubbling green liquid – the Hath. In the chaos that follows, Martha is taken by the Hath and the tunnel is blocked.

It seems that the two races have been fighting for generations – originally, the colony was a joint effort between humans and Hath, but relations broke down and they’ve been fighting ever since, using the generator machines to create new soldiers instead of colonists. Both sides want to find and take control of “The Source” – believed to be some incredibly powerful, err, thingy containing the sigh of the creator.

While Martha gets to know the Hath, the Doctor gets into one of his trademark arguments with the human commander, Cobb. When a bit of twiddling reveals hidden areas in the electronic map of the tunnels, Cobb gets ready to find the source and have a bit of a war. The same details are revealed to Martha and her new friends at the same time, so the Hath are getting ready for much the same thing.

Meanwhile, Donna’s been chatting to the Doctor’s daughter, and suggested that “Jenny” would be a good name for her, as she came from the generator. The Doctor’s not all that happy about being a dad again, and thinks that Jenny is just another soldier. But Cobb thinks Jenny’s been infected with the Doctor’s pacifism, and locks her up with the Doctor and Donna, which gives them more time to get to know each other. A quick check with the Doctor’s stethoscope confirms that Jenny has two hearts. Is she a properly constituted Gallifreyan, with all that implies? The Doctor isn’t too sure about that. Jenny confronts him – isn’t he making strategies and plans like any general? Are they really so different? He’s lost for words for once.

While Martha is persuading her Hath friend to take the surface route to the hidden temple where the Source is likely to be found, Jenny deals with their guard, who just happens to be Chris from Skins Cline by snogging him and pinching his gun. As they escape, Jenny asks what the Doctor does. She explains about the planet saving, creature defeating and the like and adds

There’s an outrageous amount of running involved

Which has to be one of the truest statements ever made by a Doctor Who character. Apart from what she says when the Doctor reveals to her that he’s been a father before, and that he lost his family.

You talk all the time, but you never say anything[1]

The Doctor warms to Jenny, being much happier when she not only doesn’t kill Cobb, but does some fancy acrobatic laser dodging.

They soon find the entrance to the “temple”, which proves to be no such thing – it’s a spaceship, in full working order. Martha joins them, though her Hath friend died on the way, after saving her from sinking into a pit of quicksand, or some such nasty stuff.

Could the ship possibly be the one the colonists arrived on? Surely not – they’ve been there for generations. But Donna puts three and three together and makes, err, a bigger number. She’s been wondering about all the labels with long numbers on were about, and why they seemed to be counting down as they got closer to the ship. Then she sees a numeric display, and realises that the numbers are dates. The Doctor looks, and works it out – the labels show when a section of the tunnels was completed. And the colonists have only been there a week. All the generations that have fought and died were created by the machines in no time at all, but it was plenty of time for the truth to become warped beyond recognition.

The Source isn’t anything mystical, it’s a terraforming device. As both armies arrive, the Doctor tells them what’s what, then says

I’m the Doctor. I declare this war is over

and throws the sphere of funny gases to the ground. It bursts, and the transformation of the planet begins. All the soldiers on both sides lay down their weapons, awe-struck. Well, apart from Cobb, who was looking forward to a good bit of genocide, and shoots at the Doctor. But Jenny gets in the way. And she dies in the Doctor’s arms. Knowing she’s been created from his genetic material, he hopes she will regenerate, but nothing happens, and so the Doctor and Donna take Martha home.

In the Tardis, the Doctor explains that it was Jenny’s existence that made the Tardis go to the planet, where they arrived a little early, and so caused her to exist. She was brought on by paradox.

Martha goes home, and the Doctor and Donna return to the Tardis.

Back on the planet, Chris from Skins Cline and a Hath are watching over Jenny’s body. And she suddenly exhales some glowing stuff, opens her eyes, says “Hello, boys” and promptly steals a shuttle. She can’t hang around as there are

planets to save, civilisations to rescue, creatures to defeat, and an awful lot of running to do

So, the Doctor still has a daughter[2], though he doesn’t know it. Will they meet again? I hope so. She was a lot of fun, and it’s always good to see someone challenge the Doctor, and push him just a bit…

This was an interesting one – I didn’t know what to expect, and when Jenny was revealed to be not excatly a clone, but not a natural daughter either, I thought it was in danger of being a bit of a cheat, but it all worked very well in the end. And the Doctor has had to face up to the realisation that the part of him that loved his family isn’t as dead as he thought it was. In a show full of great lines, perhaps Martha had the best one, where just before they part, she says

..all those things you’re prepared to die for. I thought you’d found something worth living for…

Will all this have a lasting effect on the Doctor? Keep watching to find out. Next week we’ll be meeting Agatha Christie and a large wasp. Sounds like it might be a lighter episode. Which is probably just as well, as there’s a Steven Moffat two-parter coming up that will apparently break the scare meter.

[1] I might adopt that as the new strapline for Losing it[1] :cheesy:
[2] I should mention that Jenny was played by Georgia Moffet, daughter of Peter (Fifth Doctor) Davison, so the Doctor’s daughter was indeed the Doctor’s daughter.

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