The Doctor’s Daughter was both a fun and powerful story, managing to insert solemn and compellingly-explored moral themes into what was at the same time a fun romp about the Doctor’s cloned “daughter”. Jenny was simply awesome. Apart from being completely gorgeous, Georgia Moffett’s character was sweet, adorably exuberant, feisty and spirited. Who, honestly, watched Jenny seduce the guard to steal his gun, or somersault her way through the laser beams, without a broad grin on their face? (By the way, where did she learn to seduce like that? Surely she didn’t get it from the Doctor…?) I think the audience would have been left exceedingly fond of Jenny by the end of the episode, looking forward to seeing her begin travelling with the Doctor. I was, at least. She would have made an excellent companion to the Doctor, I think. At the very least, her character had too much potential for nothing more to be done with her, especially given that very suggestive final scene. It’s an enormous shame that her character has been all but forgotten about ever since, and too much time has passed for something substantial to be done with her. Even a one-off appearance would have been nice (would still be nice?)
Another great aspect of this episode was its exploring of the Doctor’s feelings about the Time Lords and his lost home. The Doctor at first refused to accept that Jenny was a Time Lord, considering that to call her a Time Lord would be an insult to the memory of his lost civilisation. “You’re an echo, that’s all. A Time Lord is so much more. A sum of knowledge, a code, a shared history, a shared suffering. Only it’s gone now, all of it. Gone forever.” Tennant portrayed, as always, the Doctor’s pain and suppressed trauma over the loss of his planet and people really powerfully, saying so little but expressing so much. Tennant does that very well. The Doctor warmed to Jenny when he saw that she was more like him than he realised, although uncertain how he would deal with being constantly reminded of the Time War if Jenny were to come with him. The Doctor admitted something very telling when he agreed with Donna when she said “You talk all the time, but you don’t say anything.” The Doctor grieves in private. From the rare instances where we see the Doctor open up about the Time War, it’s obvious that his grief and pain is simply too much to bear talking about, to even bear thinking about. So what do you do when you’re in emotional suffering but find things to distract yourself with? That about sums up the Doctor of the revived series.
Donna was exemplary in this episode. Again she showed what a caring and compassionate person she is when she made the Doctor see Jenny for who she is, his daughter; and in her not unsuccessful efforts at getting the Doctor to open up about his feelings (something I think Martha would not have had success in doing). The writers have really put a lot of attention into making Donna a quality companion whom the audience cares about, and Donna truly is a great companion to the Doctor as a result, in every sense of the word. Donna also showed her resourcefulness in figuring out the mystery behind the numbers printed everywhere, showing she’s more than just a good mate to the Doctor.
The setting was really intriguing, and the war between the humans and Hath made for a great opportunity to discuss the futility of war and the morality of fighting. I sometimes find it remarkable that, after all this time, the Doctor still holds to his lofty, some would say naïve, pacifistic ideals. Surely after 900 years and having seen war and bloodshed everywhere he goes, and having engaged in his fair share of violence himself, he would be jaded and resigned to the reality of an unrelentingly violent world? I think, in this story, we’re given a compelling answer to that particular question: it’s exactly because of all the violence the Doctor has seen and done that he continues to so abhor it. He said, very tellingly, to Jenny: “The killing. After a while, it infects you. And once it does, you’re never rid of it.” He’s as good as admitting that his own experiences in war, probably one war in particular, caused him to develop a terrible revulsion of violence, and repelled him from ever contemplating violence again. Excellent writing in any case, particularly the very powerful “I never would” moment. Wonderful stuff.