Review: Doctor Who Episode 197


SPOILER ALERT — Do not read unless you have seen Episode 197, The Doctor’s ———.

So, wow! I was very surprised by this episode — first, that the producers would even consider such a silly, ridiculous plot that just screams fangirl fanfic, and secondly, that I actually really liked it! I love that Martha was there; I love that Donna figured out the numbers; I love that Georgia Moffet’s Jenny was cute and perky and chipper and I still didn’t hate her (I LOVE her, in fact!). I thought the Doctor’s reaction to sudden “fatherhood” as well as his tremendous (and well-founded) fear of losing yet another important person in his life (see School Reunion) was well written.

Unfortunately, the ending of this episode ruined it for me and made a five-star episode a three. It just didn’t make any sense (although I’m holding onto a meager hope that things might be explained better as the series progresses). First of all, Jenny’s “death” and then coming back to life… without regenerating. I can buy that maybe she was gravely injured and then was unconscious while her body healed itself, but wouldn’t at least one of her hearts keep beating? When the 7th Doctor was shot and rushed to the emergency room, he stayed recognizably alive. And if she was really “dead” why didn’t she regenerate, especially since she had the same golden-regeneration-breath that we saw in The Christmas Invasion. She seemed more like what Jack’s potential offspring would be like, rather than the Doctor’s. (Anyone else curious about whether Jack can spawn an entirely new human species?)

And secondly, the whole “the TARDIS brought us here for Jenny [why???] but we were too early which caused Jenny in the first place oh well it’s a paradox.” I expect better from Doctor Who (again, more explanation may be forthcoming). Historically in the series, paradoxes (paradices?) have been bad, bad things — like when Rose held her baby-self in Father’s Day. And time-travel crazy weirdness plots are usually carefully thought out and planned and make sense (see City of Death which was particularly well-done), which is the only reason I can even stand Doctor Who when time travel stories in general usually make me angry and frustrated. That one sentence, throwaway line “explaining” the initial impetus of the entire story just seemed lazy and entirely out of character for the Doctor to just brush off.

Finally, they should have ended the Jenny thread with the golden-regeneration-breath scene. The tacked on “lots of running!” scene could have been boiled down to “plz we can haz spin-off kthxbai.” If there was a spin-off in the works, that would be acceptable, but I haven’t heard of any such thing. Plus, if the Jenny character is ever cast again, if Georgia Moffet can’t play the role they’ll have to explain why she’s regenerated.

It’s a shame, because most of the episode was so very strong!


2 Responses

  1. i think that jenny coming back to life is because she was still in the first 15 hours of generating, like when the doctors hand was cut off and healed itself! just a thought.

  2. That is a really good point, Paul!

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