Tenth Doctor: Human Nature/Family of Blood (dual review)

human-nature

Writer: Paul Cornell

Director: Charles Palmer

Producer: Susie Liggat

Companion: Martha Jones (Freema Agyeman)

Summary: The Doctor has been pursued by The Family of Blood, alien beings who possess others.  To escape them, he uses the TARDIS’s Chameleon Arch on himself, turning him human. Before doing so, he gives Martha a watch that contains all his memories. They travel to a school in the year 1913. The Doctor has once again taken the name of John Smith and is posing as a schoolmaster, while Martha is posing as a maid. But now he’s not posing as a human, the Doctor actually is human, with no knowledge of his lives as a Time Lord. He believes that by doing this, he will be able to escape the Family, but he is mistaken. The Doctor has forbidden Martha to open the watch unless it’s absolutely necessary. But will the Doctor even want to return to his old life?

Review: I really love this story! The Doctor has spent so many lives with different humans, yet he has always been apart from them. In this story, not only is he among humans, but he is human. His new life means so much that when he has to return, he doesn’t want to. He fears the end of his humanity. For the first time, he cannot rely on his cleverness or his courage.

Martha is great in this episode. In fact, it’s my favorite episode featuring her. I don’t mind her falling in love with the Doctor. This is a true highlight of Tennant’s era.

Continuity: The Doctor encountered a dwarf star alloy in “Warrior’s Gate. The Family of Blood’s fate is similar to Borusa in “The Five Doctors”, forever trapped in time. The story introduces the Chameleon Arch, which plays a key role in “Utopia”, the episode that reintroduces The Master.

Trivia: This is an adaptation of Paul Cornell’s Seventh Doctor novel Human Nature. The Doctor says his parents were named Verity and Sydney, which are references to Doctor Who’s creators, Verity Lambert and Sydney Newman.

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