We Shall Remember Them

DW3 Human Nature b

John Smith, Gone But Not Forgotten

I thought that there was, quite simply, no way that “The Family Of Blood” could live up to the greatness of part one of the story, “Human Nature” that was shown last week. The second half of all bar one of the two-parters that have graced our screens over the last three years have been a little bit weaker than its preceeding installment. Additionally, Human Nature was such a fantastic 45-minutes of TV that it was always going to be nigh-on-impossible to top. I was ever so wrong. The ever interesting polls that are held after each transmission over on Outpost Gallifrey, show that of the 37 episodes of new Doctor Who, these two now sit in positions one and two with an average score (among the fans) of over 4.7 out of 5.0…. and for a fickle community, that;s quite an achievement.

Where the first part had served up a feast of mouth-watering delicacies, the second part provided proof that there was still plenty left to savour. The “family” were an inconguous bunch given their human form but collectively had an unnerving disposition about them as the revelled in the hunt for the Time Lord DNA. The younger viewers would have been kept hugely entertained by their evilness (take a bow, Harry Lloyd) and also by the army of scarecows but it was probably the older viewers who enjoyed this the most. The backstory of the futility of war was laid out before us in some powerful scenes (for a show like this) when the children were forced into defending the school from the attacking hordes. There is something deeply disturbing about showing children crying with fear in what is, ostensibly, a children’s show. Later on, from the moment John Smith broke down in tears when he realised the sacrifice he was going to have to make, till the very end where we see Latimer as an old man at a Remembrance Day service, we witnessed the most emotionally charged Doctor Who there has ever been.

The “no second chances” aspect to the Tenth Doctor’s persona was apparent in the way he treated the Family to their respective fates, although perhaps this was more to do with the darker character of the Seventh Doctor, for whom the story was originally written than it was to do with “darkening” this series. While on the subject, special mention needs to go to David Tennant who delivered a most impressive performance throughout but especially when the character of the Doctor bubbled to the surface of John Smith, and during the scenes that he and Jessica Hynes played out together, which were incredibly touching. The fact that I had been genuinely disappointed at the return of the Doctor’s persona is testament to the fact DT had delivered something special (if not, award winning) in his role. While the final defeat of the Family was so straightforward that it has left many wondering why he couldn’t just have done that to start with and saved himself the bother of becomming human, I prefer not to worry about such nuances and just revel in the story. Follow that, Stephen Moffatt.

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