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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Similarities in the Doctor Incarnations

Christopher Eccleston set the stage of incorporating more diversity in the Doctor Who reboot being from the northern part of the United Kingdom. This was extremely diverse for the UK because everyone is to try to be posh and speak like the Queen does because that gives them status both economically and socially. Otherwise the Doctor is still a white British male who isn’t ginger yet. Though the Ninth Doctor didn’t seem to bring anything back from previous versions he rather built a new persona. The only thing he brought back was his know it all attitude that he carried otherwise the clothing was ‘normal’ for the Doctor. Nine was very rebellious and seemed to be trying to move on from any connection to his past.

David Tennant being Scottish brought an even broader audience because he is a more popular actor who brought more viewers. Though still not ginger the Tenth Doctor brought a new style of acting and clothing. Ten went back to an odd outfit with a suit, long coat, and converse but it is still not as out there as a long scarf or a celery stalk. He did however, bring back a lot of the fifth Doctor with the glasses and they each dash around but appreciate beauty in the things around them. They each also stand with their hands in their pockets in tense situations which gives a casual appearance. Ten also aligned with the First Doctor in his final days by becoming selfish and trying to avoid regeneration and moving on.

Matt Smith brought a youthful feel being the youngest Doctor ever cast. This many would say is an age chosen by the Doctor to hide an old weary soul. Smith portrays the Doctor a lot like the second Doctor because he is goofy, can be physically awkward, and his love of hats. This Smith has credited to being that the Second Doctor was the Doctor of the stories he watched after being cast due to not having Doctor Who while growing up. Eleven also kept a suit but had sand boots instead of converse and later adopted spectacles for a few episodes to go with Five and Ten. Smith when cast as the Doctor wasn’t well known but this role brought him to fame.

Peter Capaldi again being Scottish brought some variety to the Doctor. Capaldi is the oldest doctor cast other than John Hurt who only has appeared a few times playing the War Doctor. The show did play some on Capaldi being from Glasgow with Clara making a few jokes here and there. Twelve being older than his two previous incarnations showed that he is accepting the maturity that he showed in his earliest incarnations. In season eight Twelve had a style that reflected the Third Doctor with a look almost of a magician. And in season nine he adopts a ‘disheveled “cosmic hobo”’ look like the Second Doctor. However, he shares a lot of traits with the Third Doctor like the love of invention and a sense of flamboyance with dramatic pointing or poses.

Jodi Whittaker being female also brings another sense of diversity into the Doctors incarnations. However, she is still white so maybe the 14th Doctor will be a person of color. In her outfit, she adopts the stripes of the Fourth Doctor on her shirt, the long coat of the Tenth and Fourth Doctor, the boots and suspenders of the Eleventh Doctor, and high waisted trousers like the Second Doctor. So overall most of her look comes from previous incarnations. But still not ginger! So, we will see where the Thirteenth Doctor takes us and how she acts compared to her previous incarnations.

Image: tonyblews.co.uk

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.

 

Regeneration Continuity

In one of David Tennant’s final adventures, a team of his most famed companions/allies is formed.  The team consisting of Harriet Jones, Rose Tyler, Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane Smith, and Martha Jones come together to aid the Doctor in stopping the end of the world.  This gallery of characters were iconic during the adventures of previous incarnations of the Doctor and Tennant’s edition of the Time Lord.  Their presence in “The Stolen Earth/ Journey’s End” helps provide a storybook ending to Tennant’s run as the Doctor, but is it’s unfair to the characters that the viewers grew to love during the tenth Doctor’s adventures.

Rose Tyler traveled with both Christopher Eccleston and David Tennant’s version of the Doctor.  She added continuity to a somewhat abrupt change to the iconic role.  She anchored Tennant in the first few episodes of season two, and she also gave the viewer some continuity within the show.  At the end of Tennant’s run, we are given closing points for Rose, Jack, Sarah Jane, Martha, and Donna.  This bookend for the series was beneficial in that it gave the show a “mini-reboot,” but it hurt the show in that the eleventh Doctor didn’t have a continuity point from the tenth Doctor, and seemed very lost in his first adventure.

Rose was a dynamic character that the viewers already knew, and this made assimilating the new Doctor much simpler.  In Matt Smith’s first episode, he acknowledges his former versions of himself, but not his former companions.  This feels out of character for the Doctor, and it hurts the chance for these former companions to appear alongside the eleventh regeneration of the Doctor.  Without watching ahead, I think this is a disservice to the characters that travelled with Ten, and it also hurts the mythology of the famous television show.

Favorite Fan Video

This video is great because it takes a show that is usually fun and quirky and puts an interesting darker spin on it. One of my favorite parts of Doctor Who is the constant question of how much influence the Doctor should have on the course of history. Is he making the right decisions? Would the universe be better off without him? How far is too far? And should anyone have that kind of power? My favorite episodes are the ones that explore this fine line between good and evil. I think this fan video highlights this well.

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.

Pitting Women Against Each Other Part Two

In my previous post I discussed the issues with female representation in the episode School Reunion and I will now address the issues with S2E4 The Girl in the Fire Place.

In this episode the Doctor, Rose and Mickey find themselves on a broken down spaceship with windows that lead into France in the 1700s. What they later find out is that the ship’s crew is using human body parts to repair their ship and that the windows are all moments in Madam de Pompadour’s life since they need her brain as the final piece.

The first couple times the Doctor fleetingly meets Madam de Pompadour, otherwise known as Renette, she is a child. When he meets her a third time though she is a woman and she almost immediately kisses him and he is thrilled yelling out,

DOCTOR: I’m the Doctor, and I just snogged Madame de Pompadour. Ha, ha!

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Renette is set up as a love interest for the Doctor from the get go and since Rose had already been well established as a love interest, this forces the audience to pit these two women against each other.

Later on in the episode the Doctor and Renette have a short conversation where he goes into her mind in order to find out why the crew wants her. He becomes enamored with her and when she invites him to a party he accepts, seeming to forget about Rose and Mickey who are in grave danger. When Rose ask him why he would leave them in harm’s way his simple explanation is that he “invented the banana daiquiri a few centuries early.”

The Doctor and Renette only get closer as the episode goes on and by the end he considers bringing her onto the TARDIS and making her his next companion. When he goes to the future to pick her up though he misses her by a few minutes making that impossible.

The issue with this episode is that it diminishes a strong woman in history by making her a love interest through lazy writing and cheap tricks. The Doctor is almost a thousand years old so meeting Renette would have been a tiny speck of his life to him. On top of that, he had only met her twice as a child for a few minutes before they are suddenly making out and running off to parties together. It’s a love story that makes no sense. Why create a love triangle that the writers never intended to follow through with?

It’s unfortunate that the writers of Doctor Who make almost every woman that meets the Doctor fall in love with him. An incomplete list of these women would be Rose, Sarah Jane, Renette, Martha, and Amy. Why can’t a woman want to travel with the Doctor simply because she loves adventure and wants to explore time and space?