Saying goodbye to Martha :(

Throughout the series and episodes that I have watched during the course of this term I fell in love with Martha.  Literally from the Shakespeare episode I knew that i liked her more than Rose.  I realize that this is not a popular opinion nor realistic to many long time fans of the show due to the large role she had to follow up.  Rose was probably the best character to continually pull attention to and hook the audience due to her love for the Doctor and his eventual love for her.  The sob story stuff was a hit to everyone except me.  I hated Rose, she treated Mickey like crap, left her mom stranded alone and only cared about herself throughout time and space.  Too often she abandoned Mickey and others to follow her interest in the Doctor and would do anything for him.  Including look into the heart of the TARDIS.  Probably the worst way to end the suspenseful BAD WOLF thing they had going btw…  After she goes away (finally) they had to introduce a new female character to accompany the Doctor and continue tradition.  Luckily the producers had their heads on straight and decided to included a person of color as the main companion to the Doctor.  Martha to the rescue! In her to short of time on the show ,in my opinion, she was able to rationally change the Doctor and his perspective on many things.  Donna even says that she did him some good.  I hate Donna too by the way.  Only because shes loud and not Martha :-).  Martha brought a lot to the table and helped progress the story-line.  Most notably her addition to the racial diversity of the cast but also the long consistent flow that seemed to develop with Rose.  She loves him, he loves her but doesn’t show it well, he’ll do anything for her, has to save her… blah blah blah.

At the end of the day I feel that Martha Jones did the Doctor a lot of good and opened his eyes a little bit into how he affects the companions during and after he leaves them.  She didn’t let herself get stuck in the loop and continue to follow the Doctor like a puppy but rather made the grown up decision to help her family and stay at home.

Basically whenever a new character is introduced I am less and less excited because it isn’t Martha and all i want is for her to come back and have more adventures with the Doctor. 😦

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The companions I’ve experienced in “New Who”

When i first started watching Doctor Who was in this class.  So my first companion that i was exposed to was Rose.  Within the first couple episodes I realized that I liked her personality and what she brought to the conversations and show as a whole.  I also was very thrilled when Mickey came on adventures as I enjoy his sarcasm and how he butts heads with the Doctor.   As I progressed through the series with the ninth Doctor I started noticing how awfully Rose treats Mickey and then started disliking her more and more.  Whenever she comes around he is like a little puppy and it’s so obvious that he loves her and would do anything for her.  She doesn’t seem to care because she’s so overwhelmed with the Doctor and always leaves him hanging.

The next companion that i was exposed to was Donna.  I HATE Donna.  She is so annoying, loud, and rude.  She is the epitome of childish, she has only been in one episode and yet she complained to the doctor, yelled and begged that guy to marry her and nagged throughout the episode.  I did not enjoy that episode at all and just wanted it to end.

Finally, Martha entered the picture.  The heroine of the series of female companions in my opinion.  She is humble and nice and loves the Doctor.  The first episode that I saw her in was the Shakespeare episode.  When she entered the conversation she always raised an important question or helped continue the episode as well as added an extra layer of diversity and often brought it up in episodes.  Clearly I am biased because she is easily my favorite.

Diversity in Doctor Who

Since Doctor Who rebooted in 2005 it has made strides in representing diversity on television.  Strides that can’t be said for many other television shows.  We open with episode one, “Rose” set in England, 2005, on a rare scene for television.  Rose is a working class woman who really is working class, not a dramatized version of this.  She lives in a small apartment with her single mother and wakes early every day to clock-in at her job in a department store.  She’s casual, dressing in clothes that certainly aren’t the height of fashion for the time, she isn’t dolled up in makeup only a professional could do, and what’s more; she isn’t the tiny waisted, long-legged pretty girl we’re used to seeing on TV.  Rose sets the pace for the growing diversity we’re about to be treated to in “Doctor Who”.

Not long after we get Captain Jack Harkness, the first openly pansexual in the history of “Doctor Who” who equally and openly shows attraction to men, women, aliens, and the non-gender conforming.  This was a huge leap for sexual and romantic diversity in “Doctor Who”, and one of the very first times queer people could see themselves in a character on television that wasn’t harmful.  

Next comes Martha, the first black companion on “Doctor Who”.  She’s intelligent and able to keep up with the Doctor’s rambling better, perhaps, than most other companions.  For people of colour, Martha is a big deal.  She’s a strong, woman of colour, in a leading role on one of the most popular television shows of all time.  With Martha, the television series continues to push forward for more diversity in their cast.

The next three companions, Donna, Amy, and Clara continue to portray strong female leads with diverse histories and personalities.  Along the way we meet a couple more sexually diverse characters, and characters from all different walks of life.  

Now we come to the most recent companion, Bill, who is both a woman of colour and openly gay.  She is one of the very first leading characters like this on television, a huge influence for women, people of colour, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.  We finally have a leading character that many minorities can view themselves in in a positive way.

Soon we’ll be treated with something that came unexpected: a female Doctor.  Jodie Whittaker will soon take on the role of the Doctor and make history as the first female Doctor.  Many people are very excited about this.  We get a leading female, and also confirmation that Gallifreyans, or at least the Doctor, experience gender fluidity, which could be a nod toward the transgender community.

But when it comes to diversity, is it enough?  Though Doctor Who has done a great job positively representing different groups of people, we still are left itching for more.  Several groups who wish to see any kind of representation on television have been left out.  Doctor Who has come a long way, but I believe it can, and should, go much farther.  I hope that as the episodes continue to air we will continue to see a rise in representation in the cast.      

Martha Jones: The Companion

Martha Jones is the 10th Doctor’s second companion. Jones is an acquired taste. Some people say that Jones is too forward because she does not like to be the damsel in distress.  Martha likes to think of herself as the Doctor’s equal. She does not want to be looked as the companion that is dependent on the Doctor.  Martha looks at the Doctor as her partner and not as some powerful alien. She argues with the Doctor with a purpose. Martha does not like to be bossed around if it is not necessary. However, I think it is obvious that she is a dominating force when she on the show, but she is still just a companion. Martha does get in situations where the Doctor must rescue her. She also is seen to have a temper,

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but I believe it because of her strong personality. She doesn’t like to know that there is nothing more that she could do to help the Doctor. A lot of the “Whovian” fandom dislike Martha because she fails to be a Rose or a Donna. Despite this, Martha works harder than any other companion. She leaves her medical career to continue helping the Doctor with his crazy adventures. Martha is loyal, reliable, and she’s strong. She is by far the best companion that the doctor has had.

 

Martha Deserved Better

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Six years ago when I watched Doctor Who for the first time I did not like Martha very much. I found it extremely annoying how she always pined after the Doctor and I, along with the Doctor, viewed Martha as a rebound companion after he lost Rose.

Re-watching the third season though, I ended up liking Martha. Looking back on my old opinions of Martha, I’ve realized that they probably spawned out of racism that I wasn’t previously aware that I had. In truth, she is intelligent, brave and has a great sense of humor. Also, she had enough self-respect to leave the Doctor as soon as she realized that she deserved better than being with a man who made her feel like “second best,” and I respect that.

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While it’s great that the show was diversifying itself by adding Martha as the “first” black companion (some would argue that Mickey was actually the first), it failed in properly representing the black community in a few ways. The first being that the writers avoided addressing racial issues in episodes that take place in the past. The most obvious example is in S3E2 The Shakespeare Code when the Doctor and Marth first arrive in Elizabethan England. Martha is immediately concerned about how she’ll be treated being black.

MARTHA: I’m not going to get carted off as a slave, am I?

DOCTOR: Why would they do that?

MARTHA: Not exactly white, in case you haven’t noticed.

DOCTOR: I’m not even human. Just walk about like you own the place. Works for me. Besides, you’d be surprised. Elizabethan England, not so different from your time.

The writers had the opportunity to make some great points on racism and use their hugely popular show as a way to spark a conversation. Instead they chose to take the easy way out and dismiss her as though her worries are completely invalid. It’s also offensive that the Doctor assumes he knows what she’s going though and compares his experience as an alien with the outward appearance of a white man with that of a black woman’s.

The second way that the show failed in diversity with Martha is that the Doctor was mildly racist towards her. He never showed her the level of respect that he did towards Rose or would to Donna, Amy, and Clara. When the Doctor first met Donna he invited her to travel with him with no stipulations and she, of course, turns him down at first. When he meets Martha just an episode later though, he specifies that he is only going to take her on one trip and then right back home. The audience is supposed to think that this is because his heart is still broken over loosing Rose, but if that were true, why didn’t he give Donna the same condition?

He also never gave Martha a proper goodbye. After traveling the world alone for a whole year telling everyone she could about the Doctor in order to save him and her family being imprisoned and enslaved by the Master, she deserved his utmost respect. Instead she just receives a “thank you” whereas, in comparison, Rose got a Doctor substitute and Donna got a winning lottery ticket.

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Overall, Martha isn’t a popular companion and is often overlooked by fans. This is probably partly because she came after the love interest Rose and hilarious Donna, but is also partly because of racist bias. Hopefully the show starts to diversify its companions more and uses these opportunities to address social issues.

The New Companion

Martha Jones is introduced in the 2007 series of Doctor Who, Martha is the replacement of  Rose. But the thing about Martha that is different is she’s black. This is Doctor Who’s first black companion. She first appears in Smith and Jones, When the hospital she works at is teleported to the moon medical student Martha helps save the day alongside an alien time traveler known only as the doctor. I think that having a doctor is has a different race was a big step. No only does it expend the audience but it also shows how Doctor Who understands the lack of diversity that it is known for, so they decided to make a change. 

 I think that is a positive change because we never really seen a main role of a person of color in doctor who, just little parts. So now that we see a main role played by an African American woman I believe that it grabs the attention of more people. but the changed may not be good for everyone. the original doctor who fans may not appreciate the change because they are so use to the companion being white. But it also may be original fans they may like the things because they wanted more diversity in the show.

As we continue to watch doctor who from beginning episodes to the later ones we definitely began to see more diversity. So I think that having a black companion is a big step to something even bigger, maybe even a doctor of color? With Martha we see a strong companion who is trying to replace the place of rose. In early episodes like Shakespeare Code when the doctor and Martha goes back in time, no one really pays attention to the color of skin. I believ that was a statement, showing that we shouldn’t pay attention to things like that.

The 10th Doctors Need for Companionship

Through the entire series of Dr. Who, the doctor has usually had a companion with him. With the end of season 2 of New Who, you get a glimpse of a companionless 10th doctor who shows his dark side. Starting out in the beginning of season 2 you got a glimpse that this doctor was less forgiving and if push came to pull he wasn’t afraid to do what needed to be done. Then towards the end of The Runaway Bride you see a darker side of the doctor where he is just watching the emprise suffer and the only thing that snaps him out of it is Donna yelling at him. Then towards the end of the episode Donna tells the doctor that he needs to find someone (a companion) in which the doctor disagrees. She then tells him he does because sometimes he needs someone to stop him and then he agrees with her. This shows that even she sees that he can get out of control at times and that he may need reeling in.

The doctor is also visibly still upset about losing Rose, whenever her name is brought up he gets very quiet and sentimental. Him being by himself I believe is only making it tougher for him to accept that she is gone. We caught a glimpse of him with Martha and how he seemed much more like himself when they were together. This is what leads me to believe that the Doctor needs to have a companion with him so that he can move on from the previous one. Martha I believe will be a good companion for the Doctor because it shows that she is compassionate, which means she will help keep the Doctor in line and in check. With that in mind, I believe that the 10th Doctor should always have a companion not only to keep him in line but also for him to lean on.