When the TARDIS goes out of control, the Doctor, Donna and Martha end up on a planet where humanity is fighting against the fishlike Hath, with each side breeding troops from a machine that can turn a person’s DNA into a new individual within moments. And when the Doctor is forcibly ‘processed’ by the machine, the result is “Jenny”, a fully trained soldier made from Time Lord DNA. How will the Doctor react to this new addition to his family, not to mention deal with a war that has been raging for generations?
Alien, Planet and Tech Guide
- Hath: Humanoid fish who can operate in a normal atmosphere by breathing from tanks of water (one would have thought these should cover the gills, but they cover the mouth only). The Hath were meant to cooperate with humanity in order to build a new colony on Messaline, but when the commander of the mission died, a power struggle broke out that escalated into full scale war.
- Messaline: An inhospitable but inhabitable planet that was ultimately terraformed when the Doctor deployed (i.e. smashed) a third generation terraforming device.
- ‘The Machine’: A machine which takes diploid cells from an adult, uses them to create haploid gametes and then recombines them. The resulting life form is then rapidly aged from embryo to adult, with military knowledge downloaded into its brain. Unlike cloning, the process creates a new individual which is not identical to its parent, but obviously the gene pool for offspring is very limited.
Jenny’s creation was pretty much as I predicted, but I liked the way her presence added a new dynamic to the Doctor- although the fact that she would be killed off was plain from the start, before reviving her for a potential spin-off. I wish she could have come along on the TARDIS for a while as it would have been a natural and rather interesting move.
As for the war itself, the impact of so many people dying and mass-producing new soldiers through the machine was lost on me due to the offhand way in which it was presented; certainly more could have been done with the concept, with even the twist at the end not seeming all that well thought through. Still, on the plus side it was good to have Martha back again, even if only for a little while.
- Although it was an interesting look at different timescales, I find it difficult to believe that full scale war could break out in a week over who should head the colony (presumably they cooperated on the way to the planet, after all), and that the death rate was so high that each generation only spanned a matter of hours.
- Again, I forgot to mention something from last week’s episode- when Donna was in the captured TARDIS, we briefly saw Rose on the monitor, seemingly asking for help.
- Why didn’t Jenny regenerate into a new body?