The Doctor’s Daughter
The Doctor’s Daughter was the sixth episode of the fourth series of the BBC Wales version of Doctor Who. It was significant for introducing only the second known genetic relative of the Doctor seen in a televised episode. Additionally, that character’s fate at the conclusion of the episode left — atypically for most guest characters — obvious narrative possibilities for her return to the program.
From a production standpoint, it was notable for its interesting casting. In giving the part of Jenny to Georgia Moffat, the production team had cast the daughter of an actor who had played the Doctor to play an on-screen daughter of the character. In addition, this episode marks the first meeting between David Tennant and Moffat; a year later they started dating, and married on 30 December 2011, nine months after Moffat gave birth to their daughter, Olive. In retrospect, not only is Moffat the Doctor’s daughter twice, but she is also in a way the Doctor’s wife, as well as the mother of the Doctor’s daughter.
The Doctor’s TARDIS continues to fly out of control as the Tenth Doctor’s attempts to gain control of his vehicle fail repeatedly. Martha and Donna are having trouble keeping their balance. The console smokes and sparks and the ship bucks violently, hurling its occupants about. The Doctor’s severed hand bubbles furiously. Seeing this, the Doctor comments his old hand is “liking” their unexpected trip. Donna is horrified by this; she thought it was just a “freaky alien thing” and not the Doctor’s hand. Martha explains that the Doctor’s hand got cut off and he grew a new one, making Donna call the Doctor impossible. The Doctor, however, says he’s not impossible, “just a bit unlikely”.
The TARDIS finally lands, allowing the occupants to catch their breath. The Doctor, Donna and Martha depart from the TARDIS to find themselves in what seems to be an underground bunker. The Doctor is the most confused of the three as he has absolutely no idea why the TARDIS would bring them to a place like this. Martha says she loves stepping out of the TARDIS and into a new world, confusing Donna as she had been yelling at the Doctor to take her home. Having a laugh, Martha and Donna talk about the feeling of seeing new worlds, saying it’s like having a hamster stuck in your throat.
Suddenly, armed men arrive and order them to drop their weapons; they raise their hands to show they are unarmed. However, the lead soldier, Cline, says the Doctor’s hands are “clean” and has the other two soldiers take him and force his hand into a machine near by; the Doctor is confused, wondering what’s wrong with clean hands. The Doctor jokes, knowing it “isn’t going to take my blood pressure”, as Martha and Donna ask what they are doing to him. Cline explains everyone gets processed. In between yelps of pain, the Doctor figures out the machine is taking a sample of his tissue and is using it in the “cabinet” device attached to it.
The machine releases his hand and Donna and Martha look down at his hand to see a y-shape of skin missing from his hand. The cabinet opens with a hiss of smoke and out of it comes a young blonde girl in combat attire, who is given a gun by Cline. As the girl preps her weapon, both Martha and Donna wonder who she is, and the Doctor explains she’s his daughter. The girl smiles at him and says, “Hello, dad”.
As the soldiers set up explosives on the walls of the tunnel, Cline questions the Doctor’s daughter on how ready she is for combat. In the meantime, both Martha and Donna wonder how she can be his daughter. The Doctor explains the machine took a sample of his diploid cells, which were split into haploids, then recombined in a new pattern and grown “very quickly, apparently” into the young girl in front of them.
Just then, someone breaks in and Cline yells it’s the Hath. Each of the armed sides fire at the other as the Doctor, Donna and Martha hide. Just as the two soldiers with Cline are shot, Martha is captured by a Hath. Cline orders the explosives to be set off. Despite the Doctor’s protests, his daughter obeys and sets off the explosives, sealing the tunnel, separating them from Martha and the TARDIS. Angry, the Doctor demands to know why, to which his daughter explains is because they shot at them. She calls Martha’s capture collateral damage, believing him lucky; he still has Donna, but Cline lost his men. Angered, Donna tells “G.I. Jane” Martha isn’t collateral damage; they decide to go look for Martha. However, Cline points his gun at them; he’s confused as they don’t have marks or a will to fight, seeming to not understand the concept of pacifism. He explains that they’ll be taken to General Cobb for interrogation.
On the other side of the rubble, Martha regains consciousness to find herself undamaged and next to the TARDIS with her would-be kidnapper, who’s injured. Martha instructs the Hath to be still while she examines its injury. She finds it has a dislocated shoulder, but is confused if she is completely correct as a Hath is not a human. More Hath soldiers arrive and point their guns at Martha; she explains her status as a doctor and that she will not leave a patient in an injured state. She relocates the injured Hath’s shoulder and the other Hath think she lied. However, the recovered Hath shows them she did help, having its comrades lower their weapons. Picking herself up, Martha greets them. “I’m Doctor Martha Jones, who the hell are you?”
Elsewhere, the Doctor and Donna are being escorted to Cline’s camp and ask where they are. The answer is that they are on Messaline, or what’s left of it. Donna then wonders what name the Doctor’s daughter has, only to find out she doesn’t have one. The Doctor calls her a generated anomaly; she was bred with military knowledge and common sense, but no name. Donna decides to name her Jenny based on it, which she accepts. Donna asks the Doctor about the name, only for him to give an indifferent answer. Donna says he’s not much of a natural parent, prompting him to remind her that his DNA was stolen at gunpoint and processed. He asks her if he can extrapolate a relationship based on an accident, to which Donna points out, “Child Support Agency can”. He retorts, “Just because I share certain physiological traits with simian primates, that doesn’t make me a monkey’s uncle, does it?” Jenny misunderstands the conversation, defending herself, “I’m not a monkey… Or a child”.
They arrive in the camp to find the human group lives in a theater; Cline orders them to stay still while he talks to Cobb. Donna is shocked by this, but the Doctor jokes, “Maybe they’re doing Ms Saigon“. Cline walks over with an elderly man, whom the Doctor addresses, “General Cobb, I presume?” Cobb explains the Doctor and Donna were found in the eastern tunnels and with no marks, going on to explain there were pacifists three generations back before they lost contact; he wonders if they are generations from the pacifists. The Doctor decides to pick up on this easily given lie and says that they are from the eastern zone and asks who the Hath are.
In the meantime, Martha has been brought back to the Hath camp and is given a warm welcome due to helping one of their comrades. She is a bit uncomfortable with the attention, but is glad they are not trying to kill her.
Back in the human camp, Cobb explains long ago the buildings were built into the ground as the environment is too hazardous. Donna finds a fault with the story; there are windows, leading to confusion as to why there any constructed at all since outside is too dangerous. Cobb explains Hath and humans decided to build a new society together, but the dream died; the Hath wanted Messaline for themselves, forcing the first colonists to use the machines to produce soldiers and began the war. The Doctor wonders what they are fighting for and Cobb explains a myth about how a Goddess created the universe, looked at her work and sighed. That sigh was caught in some form which is now referred to as “the Source”. They believe the Source to be lost in the maze of tunnels they show the Doctor on a holographic map. Recovering it could allow them to exterminate the Hath and win Messaline for themselves.
Meanwhile, the Hath are showing Martha an identical holographic map. Martha appears to at least partially understand them thanks to the TARDIS translation circuits; she had never gone somewhere in time with the Doctor where English was not spoken. She points at a section of the map, believing it to be where they are; however, all she earns in return are sighs of exasperation due to being wrong.
Back at the human camp, the Doctor wonders if the map covers the Hath part of the city as well, which Cline answers yes; he says it will help them find Martha. Cline says they have more important things to do, but when it’s morning, they can use the machines to create a platoon. Donna is mortified at the idea of using a machine to have offspring, apologizing to Jenny as she does not see her as a real person. Jenny defends herself by saying she has free thought and will, making her just as real as Donna and the Doctor, wondering how they differ (which is how they were born). Cobb shows pride in Jenny, wishing he had more soldiers like her. Yelling in success, the Doctor explains there is a suppressed layer of information and uses his sonic screwdriver to reveal a previously unknown route to the Temple where the Source is located.
At the same time, the Doctor’s meddling with the human’s map has accidentally allowed the Hath to see the new route on their map as well. Martha explains what they are seeing in surprise, but the Hath think she has done something to help them and they pat her on the back, congratulating her for her help. Martha looks on as the Hath wave their weapons. Horrified, Martha thinks she has started a war.
Cobb begins ordering his soldiers to prepare for a final battle for “peace in their time”. However, the Doctor points out he is contradicting himself as peace and genocide are opposites. Cobb believes that they mean the same in war, but the Doctor tells him, “You need to get yourself a better dictionary. When you do, look up genocide. There’ll be a little picture of me there and the caption will read, ‘Over my dead body!'”. Cobb simply mocks the Doctor for showing his army the way to the Source and orders Cline to take arms, threatening to kill his woman (Donna) if he interferes. Both the Doctor and Donna dismiss the idea they are together before Cobb orders Jenny imprisoned with them as she’s “from pacifist stock” and can’t be trusted because of such.
Once inside the cell, Donna notices that there is another plaque with numbers and wonders what they mean. The Doctor tells her they make as much sense as the story Cobb told them, prompting Donna to wonder if it’s true. However, the Doctor points out that “the Source” may exist, but might not be something mythological; it may be a weapon. Donna becomes as equally worried and is annoyed they “gave directions to Captain Nutjob”. The Doctor decides they have to come up with a plan to escape and stop the ensuing bloodbath; Jenny looks at him in confusion. Equally confused, he asks why Jenny is staring at him. Jenny says that despite saying he is not a soldier, the Doctor is making plans like a proper general. The Doctor tells her that he is trying to stop the fighting (without violence). Jenny tells him every soldier is.
Annoyed and not knowing what to say, the Doctor puts the idea aside for now and asks Donna for her mobile, saying it’s time for an upgrade. The Doctor takes out his sonic screwdriver, and Jenny says he has a weapon now. Further annoyed, the Doctor tells her it’s not a weapon (as it cannot wound or kill) while she laughs that she will learn so much from him as he is “such a soldier”. Speechless, the Doctor tells Donna to talk to Jenny, but Donna is enjoying watching this and encourages Jenny to keep going. The Doctor calls Martha and is relieved she is alright and explains he, Donna and Jenny are as well. However, he becomes grim when he learns his meddling with the map gave the Hath the same directions to the Source as Cobb. The Doctor instructs Martha to stay where she is and to be safe as Martha’s phone battery goes dead.
Meanwhile, Martha and the Hath she healed, Peck, are studying the tunnels as she wonders if there is some place where she can recharge her mobile. Peck works the controls and converts the map into 3D, delighting Martha. Noting that the distance above ground is shorter than the distance through the tunnels, she plans to beat both the humans and the Hath to the Source, inviting Peck to come along with her.
Elsewhere, to force the Doctor to realize that Jenny is actually his daughter, Donna uses his stethoscope to show him that she has two hearts, proving she is the same species as him. The Doctor, however, insists that Time Lords are defined by their shared tragedy and therefore Jenny is not a Time Lady; Jenny is confused by this as she had only the knowledge of this planet in her head. The Doctor explains that it all vanished in the Time War, a war MUCH bigger than this one; he admits to killing in the war, which he greatly regrets. Jenny then asks how they are different.
In the meantime, the Hath have found their side of the entrance into the Temple and use a battering ram to create a shortcut. Martha and Peck reach a hatch and escape to the desolate surface while Martha berates Peck for using foul language when she says he couldn’t resist seeing the surface.
Back at the cell, Jenny seduces the guard and then holds him at gunpoint to force him to open the door. Amused, Donna tells the Doctor, “I’d like to see you do that”. The Doctor only gives an embarrassed look as they escape. They reach the exit of the camp, only to find another guard. Donna offers to distract this one, but the Doctor tells her that she should save her “womanly wiles” for an emergency; Donna knows he is lying, but agrees. Using a toy mouse, the Doctor distracts the guard, but Jenny knocks him out with a karate chop. Annoyed, the Doctor tells her to “stand still, don’t hurt anybody”, while he searches the guard for a copy of the new map.
On the surface, Martha falls down a scree into quicksand. Peck leaps in to save her, but begins to inescapably sink himself. Martha is devastated and weeps bitterly as the wind howls and her friend disappears beneath the surface.
Elsewhere, the Doctor, Donna and Jenny have found the secret entrance. Donna finds a plaque, asking for a pen and paper from the Doctor as she notes the plaques are counting down the closer they get. Jenny notes they’re always thinking (which is new to her, having been bred to follow orders) and asks who the Doctor is, only to get “the Doctor” as an answer; she wonders if he’s an anomaly, too. The Doctor says he’s not, while Donna says “You’re the most anomalous bloke I know”. Jenny asks what they do; Donna says they save planets, rescue civilizations, defeat terrible creatures and do an awful lot of running – “seriously, there’s an outrageous amount of running involved”. This leads to a conversation about Jenny’s future, and to her happiness, the Doctor wants her to join them. They get the door open just as Cobb’s army arrives and seal it shut behind them.
After Jenny runs ahead to scout, the Doctor explains to Donna his previous parenting, the pain of losing the Time Lords and his family, and the fact that he is reminded of them when he sees Jenny. They come across a security grid and the Doctor shuts it off just as Cobb and his men break through the door. This gives Jenny an epiphany: follow her dad or shoot Cobb. She shoots a pipe to release some steam to buy time, but doesn’t make it back to the Doctor in time as the security beams come back on. Jenny abandons her gun and flips through the beams, astonishing the Doctor and Donna. The Doctor yells to Cobb that if the Source is a weapon, he’s going to destroy it, while Cobb threatens the Doctor’s life, saying one of them will die, but not himself.
The Doctor, Donna, Jenny and Martha are reunited in the temple, which the Doctor realizes is the original and fully functional spaceship. This puzzles him as the ship is obviously well-maintained, despite having supposedly being abandoned for years. They find a computer that says the mission commander of the colonization plan died of Byzantine fever and the human and Hath divided into factions over the resulting power vacuum. Donna stares at a digital clock on the wall and suddenly realizes what the numbers are… dates; the city was built in sections outward from the spaceship and the dates (which aren’t counting down, but counting out) mark when each section was completed. The clock shows it’s been a week since the ship landed. The machines allow for as many as 20 generations in a day, distorting facts into fiction as more and more died. They suddenly smell flowers and race to the very top to find a garden kept alive by the Source, a terraforming device to make hostile environments habitable.
Cobb’s army and the Hath army arrive and the Doctor explains they no longer really know why they’re here as their history is getting more distorted the more it’s passed on, like Chinese whispers. The Doctor, surrounded by both armies, declares the war over and smashes the Source to release its gases and start the terraforming process. Both armies lay down their weapons in awe of the new planet forming around them. Jenny wonders what is happening and the Doctor tells her the gases will escape to the outside, triggering the terraforming process, and a new world will be born.
However, Cobb, full of malice out of being denied his murder of the Hath, takes a shot at the Doctor. Jenny takes the bullet instead. Both the human army and the Hath army look on in sadness as Cline and two soldiers hold Cobb down. Donna asks Martha if Jenny is going to be okay. However, when Martha takes Jenny’s pulse, she gives a grim look, signifying she won’t make it. Jenny dies in the Doctor’s arms, happy that he invited her to travel with him. The Doctor cries, saying that if they just wait, maybe Jenny will regenerate. However, Martha gently says that she must not be enough like the Doctor to regenerate. The Doctor replies that she was too much like himself.
After he lays her head gently on the ground, the Doctor grabs Cobb’s gun and holds it to the General’s head, shocking Martha and Donna as he despises guns and violence. Cobb is equally shocked, but further shocked when the gun is lowered. The Doctor looks him straight in the eyes and says in a soft, cold tone, “I never would”. Yelling in grief, the Doctor asks that both armies let the idea of a man “who never would” be the foundation of the Hath-human society that must now emerge. The Hath and humans ask the Doctor to allow them to give Jenny a proper funeral, to which he sadly agrees.
Later, the Doctor concludes that Jenny’s creation was the reason the TARDIS had brought them to Messaline. The only problem was that they had just gotten there a little too soon; thus they ended up creating Jenny in the first place – “Paradox, an endless paradox” the Doctor quips. He returns Martha home, where Martha and Donna talk about traveling with the Doctor. Donna tells Martha, “I’m going to travel with that man forever”, before returning to the TARDIS. Martha hugs the Doctor and bids him good bye, and the Doctor bids good bye to Dr Jones, returning to the TARDIS.
Back on Messaline, Hath Gable and Cline look at Jenny’s body in sadness. Suddenly, she breathes out a glowing cloud of green and gold and revives, just as the Doctor had hoped. She smiles and says, “Hello boys”, before running off into the ship. Gable and Cline follow her to find she is taking one of the escape shuttles to leave the planet. A concerned Cline asks her what she is doing over the intercom and Jenny asks if he is going to tell her dad on her, saying she is has a lot to see, planets to save, rescue civilizations, monsters to defeat, and an awful lot of running to do.