Doctor Who: The Doctor’s Daughter

Recap

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.

Episode Thoughts

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.

Nitpickers’ Corner

  • 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?

4 thoughts on “Doctor Who: The Doctor’s Daughter

  1. Some nice concepts, but a shame about the handling of the episode. They really did fumble that generation aspect.

    Maybe I wasn’t paying much attention, but if the terraforming sphere could instantly transform the planet, like it did when it was smashed, then why was it just left sitting on its own little pedestal for a week first slowly releasing its gasses?

    And if it needed to do that first to prepare the planet, then why did it not immediately release everything inside it when it was safe to do so, rather than wait for the Doctor to smash it?

  2. I assumed they’d left the terraforming sphere there because they never got round to deploying it before the war broke out; still, having such an advanced device that can be deployed across a whole planet simply by smashing it is questionable at best.

  3. Personally? I liked the episode,especially due to the fact that Doc revealed to Donna that he had a family once,on Gallifrey back in the days before the Temporal War. And now he said he can’t bond with Jane because he “doesn’t want to suffer another loss” and that “she (meaning Jane) is just an anomaly”. Tho reluctantly and hasitantly at first,he afterall accepts Jane as one of his own.

    The issue with “generations upon generations lost in the war with the Hath” is clearly visible,so it really is a shame the writers didn’t bother showing what happened with the ones fallen in battle.

    All in all,one of the better episodes of The Doc,tho the end is a bit veigh and leaves a great deal of “dead space” for a possible spin-off with Jane herself being a lead character. I for one would be happy to see it,and if she has at least a part of her dad’s powers (and I KNOW she has a lot more to her than firstly visible) it would be a beginning of a new Doctor Who chapter. Maybe I try writing something myself,with Jane as the lead heroine in it. 🙂

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