It’s the most successful “Doctor Who” in a dozen episodes (ish) and succeeds by giving Freema Agyeman her own arc, Catherine Tate pure supporting to David Tennant, and another potential for Tennant. So apparently the show needs four leads. If they could keep up this level of success.
And The Doctor’s Daughter is a great success. Though “Daughter” is a bit of a misnomer.
Writer Stephen Greenhorn contributed what ended up being one of last season’s best episodes—and one of the better Earth ones—and Daughter is similarly strong. Though there’s also director Alice Troughton, who gets just the right performance out of every scene, which is important.
Not having seen the original series, I don’t know if there’s similar earlier “Doctor Who” to this episode, but it plays like a “Star Trek: The Original Series” episode. Two of them, actually.
The “Star Trek” version has Kirk (David Tennant), Spock (Catherine Tate), and Bones (Freema Agyeman) beaming to a planet. They find themselves held at gun point by some paramilitaries who then make Tennant put his hand in a Theranos machine. Turns out it’s not just DNA coding him, it’s using that DNA to make an offspring; Doctor DNA with some preloaded warfare programs because they’re cloned to adulthood. So not really Daughter, though Tate rejoices in joshing Tennant about fatherhood—okay, so maybe Tennant’s Spock and Tate’s Kirk—anyway, there’s an info dump about Tennant being a dad in the old series or something and I’m once again almost ready to go read about this stuff but I keep refusing to do the work.
And also—very late mention—Georgia Moffett is the name of the actor playing the daughter. She goes from not talking to being awesome very quickly. Greenhorn writes the heck out of the scenes where Tate and Moffett bond—oh, yeah, Tate’s definitely Kirk in this one.
Meanwhile, Bones (Agyeman) is off with one of the enemy who she got stuck with when she stood too close to some red shirts and then got trapped when an enemy who she helped.
The enemies are these fish guys. They look like Muppets. Agyeman would do great with Muppets. She’d also do great with a “Martha” spin-off where she gets to run the show because she’s amazing in her subplot. It’s like they included it as an apology for last season.
It’s a lovely adventure for her character, who’s been stuck in a support role for way too long.
And then there’s a perfect finish.
There’s a little too much melodrama but the cast handles it but even before the end just gets magnificent it’s still pretty great so you can forgive it. This episode’s really good.
It’s so good Nigel Terry’s rather bad human villain can’t even bring it down. But acting showcase-wise it’s all about Agyeman and Moffett. For this episode, it’s their show.