May 24, 2008

Season Four Saturdays: The Doctor's Daughter

(WARNING: Spoilers follow, with long-winded explanations as to reasons why this contains spoilers)

Personally, when I blog, I prefer not to include spoilers. Part of it is that I hate writing spoiler warnings, but quite frankly - I enjoy the challenge of being able to describe a work without needing to hit major plot points.

Unfortunately, I can't do that with "The Doctor's Daughter", because most of my quibbles hit directly on plot points . So, I have to spoil it, and I hate doing that. Even bad episodes deserve some measure of anonymity, some measure that allows for fans to make a decision for themselves. So if you do not want this episode spoiled, please feel free to move on, delete this from your feed reader, etc.

Of course, the short form is that I enjoyed this episode much better when it happened to Data...and was titled "The Offspring"....and appeared on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Jenny, the Doctor's daughter of the title, really isn't - she's basically a glorified clone, created from the Doctor's genetic material. Yes, I am being a little fannish when I say this, but it takes away any real dramatic or emotional engagement - there's no real "punch" to the story. (Imagine an episode of My Two Dads minus Greg Evigan...on second thought, better not). There are some good scenes - some of the emotional fallout from the Last Great Time War, the implications that Time Lords are more than just biology, and Donna becoming more of a moral/humanizing element to the Doctor - but all in all, this is disappointing.

(In a way, I almost wish that Donna and/or Martha had been engaged to serve as a genetic "mother" to Jenny. It might have made for some more interesting dynamics, and some better storytelling choices. Even the departure at the end...lacks some punch)

It also has quite a few familiar - almost to the point of cliche - story beats. Let's count off the obligatory story elements that you'll see in this story:
  • The Conflict/War That Makes No Sense
  • The Denial That She's My Kid
  • The Splitting of Companions Into Two Different Camps
  • The "The Enemy Is Just Like Us" Parallel Scenes
  • The Inevitable Bonding
  • The Explanation That Seems to Make Sense, But Doesn't Really
  • Not One, But Two Moments of Noble Self-Sacrifice
  • The One Character That Still Doesn't Get It
  • The "I-Won't-Kill-Because-I'm-Better-Than-You-Are" Speech
  • The "She's Just Like Her Father" Moments
and so on, and so on....

Easily the most disappointing episode of Season 4.

However, next week's episode is a different story.

No comments: