Saturday, April 10, 2010

As for the companions, each made her mark. The first real romance in Doctor Who history, between Billie Piper’s Rose and the Doctor, gave the series a whole new audience. As Martha Jones in season 3, Freema Agyeman became the first black companion, and as a medical student training to be a doctor, she was higher in the middle class than Rose. Catherine Tate as Donna brought yet another dimension, which is hard to describe: she was part of some great comic moments with Tennant, who also does comedy well ( their most comic episode, about Agatha Christie, is one of my favorites in the entire series), but she also brought a particular kind of human vulnerability within her sassiness.

Still, it’s worth noting that both Rose and Donna saved the Doctor’s bacon and the universe by becoming almost godlike, and both paid a heavy price, while Martha was humanly heroic, and survived her TARDIS time—though (as Donna noticed) she was transformed from a healer into a warrior. Just part of the doubleness of the Doctor and his disciples, and one of the paradoxes of the Doctor’s journey.


liminalD said...

"Martha was humanly heroic, and survived her TARDIS time—though (as Donna noticed) she was transformed from a healer into a warrior..."

Except when she was left crying in a puddle on an alien world midway through season four ;)

I think you're right. Rose's story in the first season was quite strongly echoed in Donna's story in the fourth, both escaping from unsatisfying, fatherless lower/middle class lives to go travelling in time and space, one saw the creation of the Earth in her first trip, the other saw it's destruction in her first trip, though both were having the time of their lives prophecies revolved around the death of each, and both ultimately became a unique space-time phenomenon (the Bad Wolf entity and the DoctorDonna) with 'god-like powers' as you said, saving the world and the universe from the Daleks when the Doctor was not able to do so. Strong parallels there, and while both eventually 'died,' Donna's fate is undoubtedly the more tragic.

When I think about it, maybe this is why I like Martha best. I'm not sure I like the 'from healer to warrior' theme there so much, certainly within season three I saw her story as being more one of a growing sense of one's own self worth, she didn't need to develop superpowers to save the world, she learned languages, travelled the world, gave people hope, realised that it was up to her to do something to make the world right and went out and did it, and then when she realised she was selling herself short by pining for someone who was too wedded to his misery to notice her, she walked out on him with her head held high. I think the world needs more strong role female role models like Martha Jones. Unfortunately, her treatment in season four wasn't quite so empowering, as noted above, but I think RTD had to downplay Martha's greatness to make Donna look like the best thing since sliced bread ;)

Captain Future said...

I agree with your analysis of Martha (although I don't have a favorite companion), but our last view of her in the final Tennant episode is as a warrior--though her pairing off with Mickey was pretty neat. Smith and Jones again!