Archive for SJ Kyle

The Russell T. Davies Parent Trap

“When you wake up, you’ll have a Mum and Dad.”
-The Doctor, Big Bang Two

One of the elements that Russell T. David bought to the show in the reboot was the companions’ family, which are used to ground the character in reality and show us more about the character by showing us the nature and nurture elements that made the companions who they are.

Rose was raised by a single mother.  They were poor, but Jackie did her best for her daughter, standing up to the strange man who abducted her, putting herself in danger to protect her and most impressive, letting her do the right thing even though it goes against what Jackie wants and her instinct to protect her baby girl.

Rose’s father died when she was very young, but through the magic of the TARDIS, we get to meet Pete Tyler.  Pete is likable and gave his life up to save his wife, child and world despite failing as a husband, father and man in other areas.

To be honest, I never warmed to Pete Tyler from the alternate world (hereby known as Pete 2.)  He was not a father and did not seem willing to take on that role until Doomsday when he saved her but considering he didn’t return with Jackie and Mickey in Journey’s End, I feel that really had more to do with Jackie giving him an ear full.  He just lacked what made Pete 1 a good man.

Her parents are perfectly crafted to see why Rose is how she is through both nature and nurture.

When Pete was alive, Jackie needed to be constantly yanking on his lead to keep him from wasting money on crazy schemes, to keep him from cheating with every other woman who even glances at him and knock sense in to him.  Because of that, Jackie’s view of men was that they were on good-for-nothing animals that have to be controlled, something that without a strong male role model to counterbalance this, she imprinted on to her daughter.  That is part of the reason the Doctor amazed her so much.  “He’s not a boyfriend, he’s better than that.” (The Christmas Invasion.)

But Pete wasn’t completely useless.  Although he wasn’t always moral when it came to getting his leg over, he had a strong sense of right and wrong, a sense of adventure and an open mind when it came to things that are possible in the Whoniverse.  These are three qualities that Rose did not get from her mother.

 

Martha’s mother is shown as a villain for most of the series, working with some shady seeming people poisoning her against The Doctor.  She is not doing this to get the Doctor, but her love for her daughter is being used against her.  She is a pawn in the Master’s game, trying to protect her daughter but ultimately working against that.  Francine gets her redemption by not killing the Master.

Martha’s father had far less screen time than her mother.  We first see Clive siding with his young gold digging girlfriend over his aggressive ex-wife in the fight that ruined his only son’s 21st birthday.  It’s a quick flash of the family but it shows a lot about Clive.  He is a man in a mid-life crisis trying to have fun now that he’s free from Francine’s iron fist and being taken for a fool by this other woman.  I had very little sympathy with him but when it comes time for him to play his part in the Master’s plan, he warns Martha, even though he is very clearly putting himself at risk.  He, like Pete before him, is willing to give his life to protect his family.

 

Donna’s mother is also a very dominating woman.  She loves her daughter and wants what’s best for her but instead of encouraging her, the way The Doctor does, Sylvia is constantly nagging at her in order for Donna to improve her life.  Sylvia was never really given a chance to shine like the other mothers but we saw her potential in how quick and resourceful she was to save her father from ATMOS.

Donna’s father, Geoff, died between The Runaway Bride at Christmas 2006 and season 4 in 2008.  Geoff was meant to be in season 4 as Donna’s ally under Sylvia’s iron first, however the actor Howard Attfield passed away in early production so Wilfred Mott was re-modelled from the extremely minor character in The Voyage of The Damned to Geoff’s role as Donna’s grandfather and the other side of the generation gap.

Geoff and Sylvia Noble were meant to be together and that would have made them the first only parents-of-a-companion to be together during Russell T. Davis’ era.

 

…Except they wouldn’t have been.

 

Jackie and Pete 2 were paired up at the end of Doomsday.  There are cultural and social differences that make them different people.  They can’t just replace the dead spouse like nothing and it never come up again or cause problems later in the relationship.  It’s implied they are still together in Journey’s End but I don’t buy it.  Pete 2 didn’t join Jackie and Mickey.  Surely they could afford a babysitter so Pete 2 can come and save his daughter?  I don’t see him ever accepting Rose as his and rescued her in Doomsday because Jackie told him to and I don’t see Jackie/Pete 2 lasting.

 

And they aren’t the only parents hurried stuck back together at the end of the season.  It is heavily implied Clive and Francine got back together by how Clive talks about protecting his family in The Last of the Timelords?  Stockolm syndrome! Yes, it may be the Master who has them prisoner but they are prisoners together and there is that strong traumatic bond.

They are not working over the issues that went wrong in their marriage that led to the divorce.  They will still be there.  Clive and Francine along with daughter Tish were left traumatised by the year that never was with Martha, implying lasting affects when she returned in season 4.  If those two have rekindled their relationship, it’s probably not all that healthy or won’t stand the test of time.

For Martha, her parent’s divorce, or rather it’s dramatic aftermath, was why she needed the escapism of The Doctor’s lifestyle.  It was not a childish “I want them to be back together because” but because all members of the family was relying on her and no one was looking out for her because they expected her to keep it all together.

A better ending would be for her family to see how much they are hurting Martha, for them to find a better way to deal with their issues rather than screaming in the street and putting everything on Martha’s shoulders.  Having three fifths of the family scarred is not how families should solve their problems.

 

With divorce as common as it is today, teaching kids that their parents will magically get back together at the end of the season is a bad idea.

The annoying thing is, in The Sarah Jane Adventures, RTD does this story right.  He has Maria dealing with her parents divorce but through character development she accepts it and the show doesn’t just stick her parents back together at the end of Maria’s arc because…that’s what happy endings look like.

Love After The Doctor

“Well… there was this one guy. I traveled with him for a while. But he was a tough act to follow.”
– Sarah-Jane Smith, School Reunion

With this quote, Russell T. Davis points out why he shouldn’t have made The Doctor a romantic hero.  From Mickey Smith to Rory Williams, nu-Who always had the competition for the companion’s attention, attractive men with decent qualities of their own, but did they stand a chance when The Doctor were ruining all other men for these women?

Sarah-Jane herself, had one canon relationship in her spin-off show.  That storyline opened with the kid companions tracking her on a date because they were freaking out by her ‘strange behaviour’ lately.  This shows that Sarah Jane has pretty much given up on love after The Doctor but the quote implies that she has seen other men between Doctor 4 and Doctor 10 and none of them interested her.

Not that there is anything wrong with her not being interested in romance…but then she goes all giddy and bashful when Jack Harkness says ‘Hello.’  She’s not fourteen!

Likewise Rose seemed to close herself off from love after Doomsday, focus on getting back to The Doctor and hearing those words he never got to say.  On one hand I hate hate HATE the ship and the character and that going back to that finished storyline only opens plot holes but on the other: this incredible young woman knows what she wants, fights impossible odds to get it and succeeds – more or less.

Martha Jones is a woman who tracked down the deliciously handsome and heroic Doctor Thomas Millican who is good with children, does relief work and got engaged to him within a half a year because he’s dreamy, good with kids, died for her in another reality and played by Tom Yummy Buns Ellis.

So why did she end up with Mickey Smith of all people?  Mickey!  Smith!  …Well they both change and grew throughout their experiences with The Doctor.  The Doctor did to them what he does for his companions and brings out their best, their heroic side.  He has shown them things that others may find hard to believe.  Like when Donna Noble spent a year searching for him after rejecting his first offer to travel with him and she had no romantic attachment to him whatsoever.

Unlike Sarah Jane, Martha found a suitor that understood the world she lived in and could live in it too.  She didn’t have to keep secrets or risk him not believing her.

When it comes down to it, experiences changes people and traveling with The Doctor would be quite an experience. We’ve seen characters that change just because their lives were touched by The Doctor: Harriet Jones, Craig Owens, Sally Sparrow, Amy’s friend Jeff, Lady Catherine de Souza and the members of LINDA.

The experience made them see the same things at a different angle and that will apply to what they look for in a partner and their relationship.  It’s not all about love.  Love is just a part of it.

Love is a powerful story telling tool but the stories of Sarah-Jane’s return and Martha could be told without the romance.  At least with Sarah-Jane it’s undertones to appease the shippers but Martha’s story could have been so much stronger if her story wasn’t mutually conclusive with a love story.

It does make sense that Martha was ‘the rebound companion’ as she was always good, but finding that self-belief that one could argue she had in Smith and Jones and The Doctor’s been chipping away at since making her feel second best.  However having her interest over The Doctor and jealously over Rose be romantic it makes Martha slightly petty.  When Donna meets Martha, Donna sees how good this young woman is and ups her game, not competition with Martha but to earn her place on the TARDIS which she does in one act.  Having a series with Martha trying to prove that she is worth that ‘one more trip’ and make that a more stable position on the TARDIS would be far more interesting, speaking to anyone who ever felt ‘not good enough.’

I hope with the new companion we see new interesting character arcs being explored and experiences change her without it been driven by romance.  It’s not needed, it’s been done more than once and rather than building up a doomed romance they can put in fresh plot and character moments.

Lucy Saxon: But He Was So Good To My Father

This is heavily edited from the original post.

“There was a time when we first met, I wondered…
But he was so good to my father.”

Lucy Saxon
“Sound of the Drums”

For me, this short, rather simple line does not just sum up Lucy Saxon in a nutshell but it’s possibly one of the scariest line in all of nuWho. This was the line that revealed seemingly normal woman was not Harold Saxon’s wife but The Master’s. She is aware and supportive of his evil deeds.

That one line shows us The Master’s ‘in’ to get Lucy’s loyalty but it’s the past tense that is really unsettling. Instantly I assume The Master killed his father-in-law and Lucy is oblivious. It’s logical. By giving Lucy reason to grief, he can comfort her and gently slide into the the hole in her heart and take over that power vacuum.

Lucy is an important part to the new introduction of The Master as a shorthand of how they see humans. Where The Doctor befriends humans, falling in love with some and generally treats them as equals ignoring or ignorance of any Time Lord privilege where The Master marries a woman through manipulation only to help him achieve his end goal.

Though Lucy is used as a plot device (character arc device?), abused by the character she spent most of her scenes and have very little lines, she is not neglected as a character. Alexandra Moen is acting if small background screen she’s in. She has a character arc. True, most of that is off-screen in the year between Sound of the Drums and The Last Timelord but we are given hints of the physical, mental, emotional and possibly sexual abuse she’s gone through without it going too dark for the kiddies and hints to her strengths and weaknesses in her actions and the few times she’s allowed to talk.

I always felt that Lucy would be excellent for companion in End of Time. After rejecting Lady Catherine in Planet of the Dead, The Doctor needed a reason to be working with someone and stopping Lucy from killing The Master seems in character, even for the Timelord Victorious. Lucy would be a brilliant way to show The Doctor what he’s becoming going down the Time Lord Victorious path because she already seen where it leads. It would be an interesting an new dynamic of a Doctor and companion genuinely not liking or trusting each other but helping each other through issues.

Have The Doctor raise the question what Lucy might be like if she met him first.

Have Lucy raise the question what Rose, Martha and Donna would be like if they met The Master first.

And give Lucy a chance to say those words with understanding in her voice:

“There was a time when we first met, I wondered…
But he was so good to my father”

Not Just A Nurse

This article has be edited from the 2012 version.
Some comments me no longer be relevant but are still wonderfully insightful and well worth the read.

Being part of the Whoiverse on Twitter, I noticed an askew version of Rory Williams being played, making Rory a Doctor rather than a nurse.  These were rarely Amy Choice dream versions of Rory and their own character development of where they thought Rory was going or should end up to be happy.

Though I’ve seen far stranger breeches of canon, this one really bothered me for a while because I found Rory being a nurse, a powerful metaphor for the character’s personality and relationship with The Doctor.

In the medical career, Nurse to Doctor are different career paths.  Your art teacher can’t go to teaching biology and vice versa without extra training and although one may be considered ‘better’ than the other, they are both providing different rolls.

In Doctor Who, the roll that Rory provided was not the same as The Doctor’s.  The Doctor was the hero and Rory was the heart, as best seen in The Doctor’s Wife.  Rory was the one comforting Sexy while she died, while The Doctor’s attention was on the threat.  This is the case in the medical profession.  The doctors’ focus is treating the treat and saving the life while the nurses’ focus is caring for the patents as well as assisting the doctors.

Upon reflection this choice in the RP world irked me so much as I took offence on behalf of friends and family members who are nurses.

On a second look and with hindsight of Rory’s story, I do get why role players would want the character to not just progress in that direction but be a lot cooler than the Amy’s Choice version of Rory.  It’s his ending.  In The Angels Take Manhattan, he raises his death count by 3 or 4 depending on how nit-picky you are but his final death isn’t about him.

He pretty much joins the ranks of Women in Refrigerators with that death being no more than a catalysis for Amy to pick growing up over staying in Neverland and completing her personal story arc.  The only clue is the gravestone, which granted should have been a pretty big clue but it was so quick.  We had no reason to suspect that Angel was there.  He didn’t go down fighting.  It’s a pointless death, which works into The Doctor’s character arc of one episode…

Rory is more than how he died, more than someone with a “girly job” and I can understand why roll players will want to advance the character in another direction that “I want my wife to love/respect me.”  We want our favourite characters to be loved, to have respect from their loved ones, that put them through painful and sadistic trials we can imagine, just for them to come out the other end with Mary Sue level of ease… maybe not the last one.  Maybe.