Doctor Who – Human Nature/The Family of Blood

My thoughts on the two-parter from this week and last:

Wow.

The best novel of the 7th Doctor New Adventures line becomes not only the best story of this season, but in my opinion, perhaps the best episode of the revived ‘Who” to date: A perfect almalgam of old-style story with the new-style romantic-hero Doctor.

Tennant gives a heartbreaking performance as John Smith, especially as the realization that he is a fictional construct is dawning — he sobs and rages against the unfairness of it all. Then giving us flashes of the Doctor’s glib verbosity, constrasting the two characters clearly, and then finally the stone-cold look of an impassive and angry god as he enacts his punishment upon The Family, reminding us that, for all of his wit and heroism, that is simply the mask of a very powerful alien being, not even remotely Human.

Joan’s final refusal to join him as a Companion, pointing out that people died simply because he chose to come there at random — on a whim, to use her words — was a nice indictment of the casual manner with which the Doctor seems to view the “collateral damage” of his adventuring…an echo of Clive’s statement from the 2005 Christopher Eccleston series, that the Doctor “brings chaos in his wake, and his only constant companion is Death.”

But most of all, as I said — this story fuses the very old-style Who elements of spooky-scarecrows and alien body-snatchers attacking the Academy (a variation on the traditional “base under siege” Who plot, mixed with a bit of historical and set in a uniquely British bit of culture), with the more mature emotional realism of the new Who (the Doctor — or rather the part of him that is John Smith — wanting to be ordinary and no longer lonely).

Earlier this season I said that the show felt like it had come into its own….with this story, it has grown up.

8 Replies to “Doctor Who – Human Nature/The Family of Blood”

  1. I totally agree…

    that he was hiding not to save himself or martha…but to save the agressors of the plot from his vengeance was a particularly good touch.

    I was really expecting a saxon mention all throughout…but im glad it never showed.

  2. I was partially expecting that the kid (Lattimer) would end up *becoming* Saxon, having absorbed some of the Doctor’s essence via the watch. (Which would be a nifty solution to the “you’re the last of your kind/you are not alone” conundrum)

  3. I agree. We thought they were excellent. And, as with School Reunion (where he uncannily mimics Tom Baker), we get to see Tennant do both his normal Doctor and a whole other character with only vocal and facial changes–and he’s brilliant.

  4. Well if saxon is the “master”…

    he was last seen falling into the power core of the tardis in the american tv movie…

    the same core that rose opened near the end of the first season of the new series…

    perhaps they will refer to that….perhaps not.

  5. Possible Spoiler theory. Avoid if you dont really want to play connect-the-dots.

    Its also been noted… That the doctor absorbed all that Tardis energy to save Rose, but killing himself and forcing a regeneration, which left him ver weak and out of action during the first Christmas special until a whole bunch of energy seemed to excape from his body.

    At which point he was fine. But this energy is in our current modern age, the same as Saxon, and perhaps this energy was in fact ‘The Master’.

    Its worth noting that on that bulletin board, the person who put that theory together pointed out that this plot was underway from the first christmas special…

  6. You know, i like both the Eccelstone Dr. and the Tennant Dr. For different reasons…But i must say, that i LIKE the fact that Tennant’s Dr. takes some goddamn responsibility for things. I like the “No second chances” doctor. None, of that namby pamby “Do i really have the right?” Doctor who made such a bonehead decision on Skaro so long ago, and it has cost him and cost him over and over again.

    Oh dear. I’ve just had a bad thought….

    So. The time lords are gone. (With one exception) and other than these mysterious “Time Agents” we keep almost hearing about, It seems as if few of the other races have full on time travel capability.

    Time travel would seem to be somewhat rare.
    One wonders, who these sinister Time Agents got their time technology from…
    One cannot help but wonder if it was the Master who gave it to them in exchange for certain work on his behalf.
    Jack used to be a Time Agent.
    Jack is missing a section of his memories.

    Oh, this is not good.

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