You Are Not Alone
IX: Human Nature/The Family of Blood
Sweet Tinkerbell Jesus, what a tremendous story. You know, I've been called a lot of things on this beat: wordy and florid, pretentious and overly earnest (I prefer to think of myself as post-ironic), and they're all true, but nobody's ever called me a particularly huge fan of the show Doctor Who. I don't think of myself that way. I mean, I like it, but I haven't seen most of the episodes more than once, and I never would have started watching it without the recapping assignment. Which would have sucked, because I love writing about this show, and I got to see The Second Coming and Queer As Folk and learn firsthand that Russell Davies is a wonderful man who does not hold grudges. But the #1 thing that would suck about me never knowing this show is that I wouldn't have seen this story. It's one of the best things I've ever seen on TV, and I'm including everything I've ever seen on TV when I say that. It is phenomenal.
Martha's mandate, to care for the Doctor's human heart, is kicked into overdrive: she's been covering for him on more than the usual emotional level for the last three months, in a time and place that would be uncomfortable for almost anybody. Taking Donna's warning to heart, the Doctor has turned himself human -- again, a theme in every episode -- in order to hide from his vengeance. If the Aubertide Family will just die off, there will be no need for him to get Old Testament on their asses. He knows: he's like fire and ice, and rage. He's like the night and the storm, and the heart of the sun: he's ancient, and forever. He burns at the center of time, and he can see the turn of the universe. He is terrible, and wonderful, and there are risks involved with power. His heart is endangered. By falling in love, he endangers his other heart as well. And the god suffers too: the most compelling part of his Last Temptation vision is that everybody's safe. Companions, Smith, the soldiers and boys, and Joan: he no longer has to be a hero.