When the Doctor becomes the target of a relentless group of hunters, he realises that desperate times call for desperate measures, and decides to hide in 1913 England- as a human. With his DNA rewritten and his memory sealed into a pocket watch, the Doctor begins his life as the headmaster of a public school, with Martha as his loyal maid. But even with all the instructions he left behind for her, how will Martha cope when he starts falling in love, much less know what to do when their pursuers finally catch up to them?
- The Family: a race of aliens who seem to resemble smoke in their natural state, but who can take over inanimate objects or human bodies. The leaders appear to a nuclear family of a mother, father and two children. Using stolen technology they can travel in time and space, but they have a lifespan of only three months or so. They can sense particular life forms, and for some reason have come after the Doctor.
I liked the setting for this episode, and the acting was certainly better than it often is, but even so, I have to admit that overall it wasn’t particularly marvellous. The main plot felt far too contrived for its own (the whole idea of changing the Doctor into a human just feels wrong, especially if it can be achieved so easily), and putting himself into a watch that was just going to lie on the mantelpiece seems idiotic in the extreme. I’m not too fond of seeing love stories in this series, either; I’m not saying it should be totally stone cold and frigid, but it seems that everything has to be ‘sexed up’ these days, with the Doctor in danger of turning into Captain Kirk in the bedroom. Whilst we’re on the subject, let’s go back to the lovey-dovey Rose of last year; in principle I’m not against the idea of the Doctor and his companion being in love, but I feel it should be a subtle and understated emotion, not something that has to be shoved in our faces lest the less observant viewers fail to notice it.
- If the watch containing the Doctor was so vital, why was it just lying unattended on the mantelpiece instead of being kept safe in Tardis? I could understand if it needed to be within a certain range of the Doctor for some reason, but even then, surely having Martha hold onto it would have been better?
- Is it me, or does the fact that the Doctor could so easily become human feel wrong somehow?
- On a similar note, why go to these lengths in the first place- surely the Tardis is up to running away from the Family for two or three months? The Doctor could always drop Martha off home and then lead them a merry chase.
- Since this is a two-parter, I’ll leave further observations for after next episode.