Poorly written. The villains are insane and dumb, casually walking into gunfights despite acknowledging their human frailty, nearly incinerating the thing they've traveled through time to find... And then they supposedly live eternally, even though we already know they die without consuming a consciousness every 3 months? This show always tries way too hard to make the Doctor seem merciless.
All the same, the acting was great, especially from the Family and David Tennant.
The Family of Blood was a perfect episode of Doctor Who and I really enjoyed watching the conclusion to this two part story which was extremely well written. There was a lot of action, drama, intrigue, character development and plot progression. It was awesome to watch Martha try to help The Doctor remember who he was along with his new love interest who had read his journals. The Family was scary and merciless making for some great action scenes. I liked how every thing played out and the ending was awesome! I look forward to watching what happens next!!!!!!!!!
The scenes with the Doctor in his human form having to decide on his future path – Human or Timelord were touching. I have said previously – I do not believe he would ever have become human in the first place - he is not only a Timelord – he is the Timelord. Would he really have given that up? However, this decision is different. Can he now give up something he has always, at some level, desired? To progress, to live, to grow old and ultimately die; a normal human existence. The ending destroyed the episode for me. It was well done; I just did not believe it. If he is anything, the Doctor is compassionate and caring. That’s why he does what he does – when he stumbles across trouble through time and space – does he run and hide? No, he stays and saves the day! Ok, would not be much of a show if he didn’t, but that’s not the point. He has struggled with his conscience so often through the years. He even doubted he had the right to destroy the Daleks. Has he really become so cold? If they were that easy to beat – why was he running so scared at the start of the story? Why was he so scared he chose to become human, so he could hide from them? To be kind, so he didn’t have to kill them? I just do not buy it - sorry.
I really liked "Human Nature" (the previous episode), but this just didn't work for me. It was a little too scattered. And maybe I'm just picky but John Smith was working my very last nerve. I agree with Martha he's "rubbish as a human." I mean what are we supposed to do with that? I was so happy when the Doctor started coming back I didn't know what to do with myself. And that little kid who was mildly telepathic, whatever. Also, I really did not feel how everyone was either using or talking down to Martha. Her character was completely pushed to the side. Almost, sort of, even by the Doctor. And I was not happy when he invited Nurse Redfern to be his companion (how would that work!?). With Martha all in love with him and stuff. But I REALLY love Jessica Hynes, so much that I can't even hate any character she plays, not even Redfern (at least not much). And the son in the Family of Blood was just way too much for me. So off base. How happy was I too see Martha back in her jeans, leather jacket, and ponytail? ECSTATIC! Martha saved the episode for me. LOVES HER!!!!!
Anyway, at least it's over. Can't wait for BBCAmerica to start playing season 2 AND Torchwood. YAY!!!!
While extolling the many virtues of Human Nature last week, I speculated that we might be celebrating the arrival of the best Doctor Who story since the series returned if Part Two, The Family Of Blood, was of similar quality. So. Was it? Let's discuss.
John Smith, the human manifestation of The Doctor hiding in a village in Edwardian England, and Martha are being pursued by the malevolent Family Of Blood, a murderous race who want the essence of a Time Lord to extend their lives.
Martha is desperately trying to convince a confused Smith that the time-and-space-travelling adventurer of his subconscious, The Doctor, is his true form, and she needs him to return to defeat The Family - but she needs to find the stolen fob watch which contains his life patterns.
The boy who stole the watch, Tim Latimer, brings it to them in a deserted house, and even Smith's girlfriend, the matron, Joan, believes Martha to be speaking the truth. Smith is faced with the personal dilemma of opening the watch, in the knowledge that he would most likely cease to exist. He decides to make that sacrifice, and The Doctor destroys The Family's spaceship and gives them the immortality they crave - in a form that they can never do any harm to anyone else.
The Doctor asks Joan to travel with him in the TARDIS, but she rejects him as a result of his role in the death of many innocent villagers.
Young Latimer, with the power of foresight given to him by the watch, narrowly escapes death in The Great War, and goes on to live a long life. The Doctor and Martha return to Earth to visit him as an old man before continuing their travels.
Now, that rough outline of the second episode perhaps doesn't sound that special - but there was so much more beneath the surface that made this one of the finest written and acted characterisation pieces in any Doctor Who.
There were so many great scenes. Early in the episode, there was Martha battling to hold off The Family on her own with their laser gun. This was a great story for Martha, with more to do in two episodes than some previous companions had to do in two series! Without "The Doctor" for most of it, she was left to effectively take the lead against a more-advanced race, and had to cope with her own feelings of hurt that her beloved Doctor in his human form had fallen for another woman.
Plenty for Freema Agyeman to get her teeth into, and she didn't fail to deliver. If, as rumours have it, her first series is also to her last, that would be a sad loss to the show. I think both actress and character still have much to offer.
Another extraordinary scene was the scarecrow soldiers' attack on the school, defended by armed pupils. The sight of pre-teenage boys firing rifles at their assailants was a chilling reminder that lads of not much older went off to war in real life in that time period and, in fact, still do today all over the world.
From a filming perspective, it was one of many superbly-realised action scenes overseen by director Charles Palmer, who has made a big impression this season, and we'll hopefully see more of his work in Series 4. It rather reminded me of a brutal scene in the first episode of Genesis Of The Daleks, which saw men in gasmasks being gunned down in a trench, and made a vivid impression on this young man of eight or nine in 1975.
Curiously, although the scarecrows were made of straw, seeing their innards splatter out as they were shot was surprisingly effective. It sounds like a funny scene, though was anything but, and the excellent direction and lighting was a large contributory factor here.
The scary scarecrows themselves worked marvellously well throughout the two parts. From Ailsa Berk's clever "lolloping" choreography to the malevolent tilting of the head to the actual design, they were a triumph. The production team could have got them very wrong, but they were very right.
Also "very right" was John Smith being given a foretaste (via the watch) of what his human life could be like - through marriage and children until death. This was the life The Doctor can never have (and, deep down, doesn't really want as "he could have changed back"). Making David Tennant up as an old man was another great job from Niall Gorton and his prosthetics team, as it was with Mark Gatiss in The Lazarus Experiment.
The closing scene of The Doctor and Martha returning to Earth to visit the elderly Latimer was touching, but perhaps the finest scene of the episode - and maybe the entire series - was The Doctor meeting Joan after despatching The Family.
This was a significant scene because it clearly showed the arrogant side of The Doctor. Having been partly responsible for the devastation which befell this innocent village upon which he descended, he then assumes Joan will be grateful for the opportunity to travel with him in the TARDIS - and without any mention of poor Martha, who has constantly risked her life to save him. Joan's quiet and dignified dismissal of him with a "you can go now" was an even better put-down than Jackie Tyler's slap of the ninth incarnation.
Superb stuff from Jessica Hynes as Joan - I think she would have made a fascinating short-term companion - and David Tennant was absolutely immense here again, in his dual roles as John Smith and The Doctor. And it was the former which was arguably the more likeable of the two in this episode. The portrayal of Smith's struggle to grasp what was going on and then make the decision to give up his life enabled Tennant to underline the range of his ability.
I'm rather inclined to gloss over rather unconvincing elements of the plot, notably The Family's sudden demise. Having The Doctor "just press buttons" on their spaceship to make it blow up was a slight let down, and you could argue that the whole premise of the story was rather elaborate if The Doctor could just revert to Time Lord status, and had the power to confine The Family to "a life sentence" straight away.
That said, I wouldn't be up all night worrying about things like that when there was so much to enjoy. The idea of "giving those who seek immortality what they wish for" was actually explored at the end of The Five Doctors. It's a rather-chilling prospect, and the little girl trapped in the mirror was another intriguing concept.
There was a nice nod for fans with a snatch of Ring O' Roses (as accompanied a similarly-malevolent little girl from Remembrance Of The Daleks) and a reminder that a fanboy runs this show! And is making a pretty fine job of it . . .
This was the best story of David Tennant's tenure as The Doctor for me, and possibly the finest since Caves Of Androzani. Nine and a half out of 10, and surely even the blinkin' majestic Steven Moffat can't top this little gem next week. Can he?
With the Family now aware of the Doctor's hidden identity, the school must defend itself from the coming onslaught. It's soon clear, however, that they need the Doctor back. But can John Smith really give up the life he has?
Possibly the best two-parter since the end of the first year, and at least as good as Army of Ghosts/Doomsday last year. By far one of the best performances by DT that I've seen, which is saying something since he tends to turn in brilliant performances week in and week out. The story with Smith and Joan was just ripe for tragedy and that was lovely, if a bit difficult to watch. The little montage of his life was a nice touch. It reminded me of "Father's Day" when the Doctor noted he'd never have a night like the one where the couple had first met ("2 in the morning. Street corner..."). And Joan's question to him at the end really hits home. Usually one gets the feeling that the TARDIS is finding these places of badness and taking our hero there, but this is one of those times where he really brought it with him. It's part of the darkness of being the Doctor. Fortunately, the Doctor provides us with plenty of levity to more than balance that out.
One more thing I'd like to say about this one was I enjoyed the message about the tragedy of the boys being exposed to war. It's the sad truth of our world that such young men throughout history have seen such brutal things and this episode really drives that home. Maybe even a bit unsubtly. But it's still a good message.
the double episode of „human nature" and „family of blood" has been really amazing because it showed a completely new face of the doctor and took quite some time to explain what was actually going on, why the doctor would be a changed person and martha would have to live in an environment where she was treated like dirt. the explaination though was brilliant. to be honest, i didn't care too much about the school story but more about the interaction between „john smith" and martha and joan. what happened there was so heartbreaking at times. martha unnoticed by „john smith" as much as she is unnoticed by the doctor, in one reality because she wouldn't fit his sociological pattern in the other because he would still mourn for another woman he has lost. it was wonderful but then again really sad to see the doctor so happy, not having to carry so much weight on his shoulders, just living a normal life and by that maybe something he's been dreaming of: settling down, falling in love, ... . the scenes where he wanted to know why he couldn't just be „john smith" and asked martha if she wanted him to be lonely, broke my heart. There have been a few scenes before where he spoke about his loneliness and about how he would survive all the people he loved but this one was the most touching. it's good to know that inside the doctor there is a „john smith" and he shows quite often in the actions and in the behaviour of the doctor but then again, it's tragic how much the doctor would like to be him, to settle down, find peace, have a family, get over loneliness and dare falling in love (one of the most touching scenes is when martha tells him that he hadn't given instruction for the latter and „john smith" is shaken because it hadn't occured to the doctor considering it) and it was scary to see how much darkness lies in him as well. those episodes have been plain beautiful and brilliant, teaching us so much about the doctor and about how much martha cares for him ...
My friend has seen every episode of all versions of the doctor and had told me this was a very special pair of episodes. I watched the first one and was very interested, but the finale was outstanding. It showed the doctor as multidimesional and how he struggled with being human. Just when you thought the episode was over there was a complete wrap up, which was different and gave more insight into the doctor.
A classic pair of shows and in my humble opinion the best two I have ever seen. Hopefully the rest of this season measure up to this level.
I enjoyed meeting Mr John Smith. He was an interesting and 'human' character. Martha was brilliant as his protector and servant attempting to keep her independence whilst being subservient.
The character of Nurse Joan Redfern was as wonderful as Reinette seen in season two's 'The Girl in the Fireplace'.
The Doctor can be at his emotional best when he is in love, even when he is no longer the Doctor.
I was surprised that I found the Scarecrows as menacing as I did, although they were very similar in movement to the clockwork men in the 'The Girl in the Fireplace'.
I dislike how the aliens in Doctor Who that seem to require a physical movement as part of their characterisation to distinguish them apart from the ‘goodies’.
The head bending to the shoulder was distracting and reminded me too much of a dance, similar to the Nurses in the movie/game ‘Silent Hill’.
John Smith deciding whether to loose his life as a human and give it back to the Timelord within was magnificent.
And Nurse Joan Redfern continuing the theme started of late by Saxon reminding the Doctor that his choices can effect and even cause the death of innocent lives.
This is by far one of my favourite episodes of Doctor Who.
I hope they are able to adapt further books if this is quality of the material.
The show in my view had become stale during season three.
But it seems to be turning a late corner.
I am a recently new fan of Doctor Who, i just started watching during David Tennants first series. I have been able to watch them all now, including Christopher Eccleston, with the help of UK Gold.
This episode is the best i have seen so far. The second in the two part followed Martha's attempts to bring back the Doctor, after he turned himself into a human, to stop him being tracked by the enemy.
This episode was special, in that it showed a side to the Doctor that i have never seen, the human. although it wasnt really him, John Smith made comments that you could imagine the Doctor saying, such as how he has a lonely life.
The story was fantastic, tear-jerking at places and scary (especially the scarecrow army!!). I hope the series carries on like this!
Wow. This episode really was fantastic. It nearly had me in tears at the end, that's how good it was. David Tennant did a an amazing job as John Smith, the emotuion put in at the end when he was deciding whether or not to open the watch was heartbreaking.
I also like the glimpse he had of what would happen if he remained human. It really emphasised how tough the Doctor's decision was and really how lonely he is in life.
The very end was touching. I'm glad Latimer survived the war and the bit at the war memorial was so sad. I mean, I always feel sad when I hear For the Fallen but after the story that had been told, it was extra sad.
The scarecrows were also very cool. I find scarecrows in general to be scary, but when the start killing people, I get extra freaked out.
Other highlights: the Doctpr's punishments for the Family of Blood. They were very inventive and quite harsh. It shows just how unforgiving the Doctor can be once you cross him. I like it that by hiding from them he was being kind and that because they wanted to be immortal, he made it happen. They will live forever, just not how the intended.
A marvellous epsidoe, a highlight of the series. Ten out of ten
Excellent, the guest cast were superb in this episode and Tennant was excellent as the doctor / John Smithh. I like these two parters. They give the story a lot more time to develop before the usual mad ending. I liked the old Doctor Who where stories carried on over 4 or 5 episodea. Hopefully we will start seeing some of that here soon. There have certainly been a lot more two parters this series.
The special effects were ok. BBC could do with giving the producers on this show a much bigger budget, rather than wasting it on the usual rubbish (Hustle and spooks excepted) they waste our licence fee on!!
first there is the struggle of a man to retain his humanity, john smith is human, with all his flaws, he want to be happy but there is a price to pay, not by him but by the universe as a whole: the family of blood would live forever
the center part is about how he tricks the family, for me it was a bit of a cheat, a soft part with holes painted over (if he can fool the family so easy why change at all?)
the last part is difficult, we have seen the doctor as a force of good, now we see how different he is. If there is anything proven here is that the doctor does not really understand humans, he may look like one, he is not, his invitation to joan was (unintendend) cruel as jou can get, and her words hit like a hamer. Even more chilling is the speech by the son of the family, it shows a side of the doctor we do not see much, a godlike force of nature, it leaves us thinking, is it punishment, is it revenge for john smith, i do not know. we are left remembering that the doctor is not human, and i guess that was the point
I enjoyed the first part, and had high hopes for the second ... and those who have compared it to The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances are so right - it was intense but instead of ending on a high, with the Doctor's Everybody lives! cry, we have instead the damning indictment by Joan, asking if anyone would have died, if he hadn't chosen them on a whim?. The Doctor made a charming and honourable man, not an idiot, not rubbish, but most definitely human - he showed fear, love, courage, leadership, honour - in fact, as a human, the Doctor was much as he was as a Timelord .... without the resignation, the eternal lonlieness and the darkness within. No wonder John Smith didn't want to return to it. I was chilled when the Doctor dealt with the Family of Blood, and here is why He never raised his voice. That was the worst thing. The fury of the Time Lord. And then we discovered why: why this Doctor, who had fought with gods and demons, why he'd run away from us and hidden. He was being kind. This is the heart of the 10th Doctor. And the scene at the memorial service was his soul.
Having just watched Family of Blood again I fully believe it is one of the best Doctor Who episodes ever! It was a fitting conclusion to the excellent Human Nature, as John Smith resisted becoming the Doctor as he became aware of the consequences, losing the woman he loved and spending his life alone without a family. It was also really moving in parts, mainly the Remembrance service at the end. I think it dealt with WW1 very well and it made you really think, especially Baines talk with the headmaster. It was brilliantly acted, David Tennant showed what a fantastic actor he is. You really felt for Smith, and you realised just how angry he was at the end when he imprisoned the family. (I bet now everyone is going to be looking in their mirrors!). Freema Agyeman was excellent as well; hopefully these 2 episodes well go some way to silence her critics! Baines was seriously creepy! He freaked me out! (as did the little skipping girl!) This shows what an excellent actor Harry Lloyd is. Thomas Sangster was also brilliant!
I think you get the idea now, Family of Blood was fantastic! Next up Blink, this looks quite scary! Fingers crossed it will be as good as this episode!
Brilliant absolutely brilliant, I thought that the first part was special but the second half was a riveting episode, definitely one of the Doctors oooopppps sorry Mr Smiths greatest adventures.
Mr Smiths sacrifice left me with a very large lump in the throat and I almost shed a tear. David Tennants performance was fantastic as John Smith and his scenes with Miss Redfern over the double bill are some of the memorable as we see the Doctor fall in and lose love.
The family blood also impressed, especially the siblings whose screen time as the big bads where effectively sinister.
The next chapter of season 3 has a lot to live up to
'He’s like fire and ice and rage... He’s like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun… He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and he can see the turn of the universe... and... he’s wonderful.' (Spoilers)
I'll be honest, I had concerns about this episode. The second parts of Doctor Who two-parters don’t always live up to the promise of the first (with the exception of Doomsday). But I should not have been concerned. The Family Of Blood more than lives up to the promise of Human Nature, crafting a beautiful, atmospheric and downright heartbreaking episode. Escaping from the village hall with the Family and their scarecrow soldiers hot on their heels, John Smith, Martha and Joan head back to the boarding school. As the soldiers lay siege to the school and the Family find the TARDIS, the watch is returned and John Smith has to make an important decision: open it or don’t open it? Does he become the Doctor and save the day or does he stay as John Smith, have a life of happiness… and condemn the world to warfare and bloodshed? No prizes for guessing the answer but the journey they all take to get there is quite wrenching.
As you can expect, David Tennant once again knocks it out of the park. In this episode he has to deal with the realization (as John) that he is a fiction and that the life he has- the job and Joan- have to go in order for the Doctor to save the world. The flashes of the road not taken- his marriage to Joan and their children- is quite poignant, knowing that its what they could have- but won’t. Similarly, there’s a nice little flip back to the Doctor when he holds the watch and explains to Latimer why it was calling him. His final revenge upon the Family was extremely harsh- the chains, the event horizon, the mirror and the scarecrow- proving that you don’t mess with a Time Lord and expect to get away with it. One wonders whether he wasn’t particularly cruel because he knew- on some level- what was being taken away from him. Plus we get that beautiful and (I have no doubt oft-quoted) speech of Latimer’s about the Doctor. Freema is again strong as Martha, facing up to the Family four-to-one at the dance and standing up to Joan when Nurse Redfern suggests that Martha (as a maid and as black) could never train to be a doctor. Her admission to John as to why they need the Doctor is a heartbreaking one, acknowledging what she feels- like its any surprise to the viewers- yet also knowing that he doesn’t recognise it.
Also continuing her brilliant performance from last week, Jessica Hynes is again excellent. There are so many moments that stand out; when she grills John about Nottingham, hoping to refute Martha’s claim that the Doctor is an alien; when she jumps in with an explanation of why Baines is heading for the school; the scene between her and John whilst he decides what to do and her final scene with the Doctor where she tells him to go. Thomas Sangster is also good as Latimer, given more to do and also given the wonderful speech about the Doctor, which he really does justice to. Harry Lloyd is again sinister and sexy as the Son-Of-Mine Possessed Baines, standing out when asking the Headmaster whether the boys of the school will thank him when they realise the grubby reality of war. Similarly, Rebekah Staton stands out as Mother-Of-Mine but the little girl with the red balloon sounded quite wooden- one of my few complaints about the episode.
The scene of the attack on the school where the pupils take arms against the scarecrow soldiers and machine-gun them down (to the growing strains of a boys choir singing ‘To Be A Pilgrim’) was affecting and potent, moving to the point of tears. Indeed, to see some of the boys crying as they shoot was powerful- and Smith’s realization that this is an horrific thing to be doing (made worse by the parallels to the coming war where many of the boys would fight and die). At first the scene in the trenches of World War I seemed a bit disjointed but rounded off to a beautiful and again emotionally affecting finale at the war memorial where the proper respect is paid to those who fall in war. Even Martha and the Doctor have a poppy.
There are a few things that niggle me slightly about the episode- mostly to do with the fact that the watch is used (in the same manner to the sonic screwdriver) to get out of scrapes a little too easily- but its only minor and doesn’t detract from the overall effect of a frankly stunning episode. Paul Cornell’s script is tight and covers all bases whilst Charles Palmer’s direction is strong and assured. The music is also particularly noteworthy in this episode- particularly the militaristic strains as the scarecrows convene and the school prepares. And next week’s episode looks great. Make the most of them- there’s only four left!
Joan: “The Timelord has such adventures but he could never have a life like that”
John Smith: “But I could”.
With an ending as tense as Martha and Joan held at gunpoint by two members of the called The Family Of Blood and John Smith struggling to fathom their demands for him to change into a Timelord, you really had to wonder how his women would get away from being murdered like many others and that answer comes sooner than later.
Still holding the watch and determined not to see any potential blood shed, Latimer opens it up long enough to get the sniffing Family distracted and proving her assertiveness much more effectively, Martha soon pulls the gun on her old mate Jenny as John Smith and Joan manage to get everyone out of the village dance hall.
There’s a delicious bit of goading between both the supremely nasty Baines and the more frightened Martha as the two of them try to scope out the other’s weakness and while Jenny is free thanks to the Jack Straws, we’ve already come to the conclusion that the people whom the family have possessed are now long dead. It helps later when punishment comes their way.
With everyone out of the hall, the only real sanctuary for John, Joan and Martha seems to be the school, which would strike you as odd seeing as even Martha more than realises that the school would be the very first place the family would look for The Doctor.
At the school there are a multitude of things going on so the least interesting one is John actually setting up the kids to help fight off The Family and the Jack Straws and more to do with the personal stuff all circling the building.
If Martha had a hard time beforehand convincing Joan that her would be husband was too different for the ordinary life, then she really doesn’t have to try too hard here as given her near death experience at the village hall, Joan seems more in the frame of mind to believe anything really.
Okay she has a hard time believing that a black woman can be a doctor but Martha soon puts that one to rights and soon enough Joan is quizzing John about intimate details regarding his childhood, to which John can barely muster a reasonable answer for. You’d think at this point this is where the penny would begin to drop for John that perhaps there’s truth behind both Martha and The Family’s assumptions but it takes a while before he’s forced to admit anything extraordinary about him.
As for The Family, it didn’t take them long to get to the school and soon enough Baines is at his snarky and commanding best as he violently demands for John Smith to be handed over to him and callously kills Mr Philips when he tires of the Headmasters demands for him to stop. Suffice to say, it’ll take more than a cane to stop this particular problem.
Much more assertive in her mission is that little girl with the red balloon known as Lucy Cartwright who manages to sneak into the school and makes the simple deduction that Smith is attempting to draw The Family into a trap of his but more notably she also figures out where that smell of Timelord is coming.
When he isn’t brushing off John Smith, Latimer then keeps using the watch as a neat way of distracting The Family and in some ways pissing them off too as him and Lucy have their own little confrontation before the girl gets hit with a big ray of light and Latimer scrams from the scene.
Now that The Family are closer, Baines summons the Jack Straws to actually attack and the rather terrified students take aim on them with the still annoying Hutchinson deducing that no human lives have been taken after he labels Latimer a coward for disappearing earlier. Hutchinson is one of those annoying macho types you kind of hope would just disappear but low and behold, the several opportunities there are for him to be killed are never taken. I know it’s because he’s rude to Latimer but the guy just continued to annoy me in all of his scenes.
Still though, the war loving Hutchinson is nothing compared to little killing machine Lucy who humours the Headmasters stupidity and arrogant assumption that she’s harmless before she does him in and with the Headmaster dead, everyone is forced to retreat as The Family try to find Latimer and that watch he’s nicked.
John, Joan and Martha however are clever enough to actually escape their clutches while Jenny scrambles her noggin long enough to remember her human friendship with Martha and more importantly where the girl would often go in the woods during her spare and once she does, The Family have yet another advantage up their sleeve.
Already this lot have possessed important enough members, summoned Jack Straws to life, killed and seriously frightened enough people so while they may not have completed their quest for immortality, you can’t exactly say they’ve been slack in their efforts to do so you have to wonder what else can they use against John Smith?
The answer is of course finding the TARDIS and holding it to ransom which seems a bit lame seeing as they are unable to enter it and Smith himself in his deepest of denials is unable remember it too. Out of all of their ideas, it’s not necessarily their most inventive of ones but seeing as they are having trouble ensnaring Latimer, I guess they’re a bit desperate.
Once in the woods and away from earshot, John is finding himself faced with too many things he can’t ignore but doesn’t want to acknowledge either. When Martha asks him if he recognises the TARDIS, he’s all too quick to admit that he does and his biggest incentive to remain blissfully unaware, Joan is the one who now knows that her John really is The Doctor.
That was already conveyed when he couldn’t answer stuff about his childhood but she recognised the TARDIS immediately and was taking all of Martha’s warnings on board. At this point you can see Joan trying to wrap her head around the reality of soon losing another man she loves and it’s pretty heartbreaking stuff to put it mildly.
Then again so is David Tennant’s performance as John simply asks Martha why he can’t stay the way he is and her mixture of determination to get The Doctor back and sympathy for John is nicely displayed. Joan then interrupts by showing them a safe place hide for the time being.
With neither the watch or John Smith in their hands, The Family really have little options left so they decide that not only will they use the TARDIS as a hostage but also to open fire with a slew meteorite like explosions causing panic and just generally looking quite evocative as well.
Inside the house, the three of them are met by Latimer who is quicker to show John what he really is and also manages to realise that while there may be destruction wherever The Doctor, there’s also some good points too but even with this knowledge, Smith is still having a hard time coming to terms with this.
When he grills Martha about her use to The Doctor, she opens up about The Doctor’s loneliness and her unrequited love for him which I have a feeling will not sit well with some viewers but either way, it’s easy to understand why John wouldn’t want a life of destruction and loneliness. Look how appalled he was that The Doctor never considered him falling in love when coming up with his plan of hiding from The Family.
If you’ve also bought a tabloid this season and watched the exclusive trailers we’ve had before “Smith And Jones” and “42”, you’ll have noticed scenes of John and Joan getting married as having children and settling into old age together but these are only of what would happen if John Smith remained himself. Anything else might get a jump the shark moment but they are beautiful no less.
Getting the alone time they need and mulling over what could’ve been, Joan is obviously the one who points out to John that he is The Doctor and he can’t hide from it and despite her own desire to be with this man, Joan urges him to change back and stop The Family before any more lives are destroyed. It’s another great scene between Tennant and Jessica Hynes and although you know it’s gonna happen, you still feel for Joan no less.
The Family on the other hand with all the destruction they’ve inflicted in the space of two days get exactly what they deserve and because The Doctor and John Smith can’t blame Martha for what has happened, it’s them who bear the brunt of his anger but not before The Doctor pretends to still be Smith long enough for them to be given an empty watch and him being pushed aside and able to hit all the right switches. The Family were clever and goaded enough to steal the TARDIS; The Doctor is also clever and enraged enough to blow up their invisible ship. It seems fighting fire with fire is a best solution after all because it’s Baines who lets us know well and truly what fate has for them.
The Family caused devastation just so they become immortal and enough people have died because of their ruthless pursuit of a Timelord. Oddly enough they get their wish of immortality but at such nasty prices with Clark being bound in unbreakable chains, Jenny thrown into an event horizon, Lucy trapped in a mirror and Baines forced to be a scarecrow. And I thought what Simon Pavagne got in the Angel episode “Hell Bound” was suitably nasty. These fates are arguably just as bad.
Weirdly enough after an abrupt final scene in which The Doctor naively offers Joan a chance to be a companion and she sensibly declines, the emotional continuity between The Doctor and Martha is kept to a minimum. He thanks her and pretends not be privy of her crush on him while giving Latimer the empty watch.
Funnily enough this episode then ends on Latimer’s point of view as during World War One, his excellent guessing manages to save him and the more cowardly Hutchinson from being blown up and in 2007, during Poppy Day his much older self spots The Doctor and Martha watching him from afar. I’m not really sure why they do but it’s an interesting way of ending the episode so no complaints from me.
Also in “The Family Of Blood”
I’ve noticed that stirring music from the BBCi trailers was being used for the “Previously On” bit. It’s probably the most intriguing score from Murray Gold this season.
Jeremy: “I’ll shoot you down”
Martha: “Try it, we’ll die together”.
Harry Lloyd who plays Baines is also Will Scarlett in Robin Hood. Paul Cornell has scripted two episodes in the show’s first season.
Headmaster: “You speak with someone else’s voice, who might that be?”
Jeremy: “We are the family of blood”.
Joan: “Then tell me in this fairytale, who might you be?”
Martha: “Just a friend”.
A new description came for The Doctor this week when Smith called him a “Romantic Lost Prince”. It’s more simplistic than Latimer’s description later on.
Hutchinson: “Latimer you filthy coward”
Latimer: “Yes sir, everytime”.
Lucy: “You’re funny”
Headmaster: “Now take my hand”
Lucy: “So funny”.
How did Joan know what happened to the Cartwright’s when her, John and Martha were hiding in their cottage?
John Smith: “Why can’t I stay?”
Martha: “Because we need The Doctor”.
John Smith (re The Doctor): “What exactly do you do for him, why does he need you?”
Martha: “Because he’s lonely”.
Joan finally read to the very end of John’s diary which explains why she was more open to The Doctor being something more than Smith or Martha’s imagination.
Latimer (re The Doctor): “He’s like fire and ice and rage and the night. He burns around the centre of time and can see the turn of the universe”
John Smith (re The Doctor): “He won’t love you”
Joan: “If he’s not you, I don’t want him to”.
After two thirds of the season, Martha finally has a proper change of clothing and once again wears her hair down. Not to be overtly fashion but it suits Freema with her hair down.
Jenny (re The Doctor/John Smith): “He’s made himself into an idiot”
Jeremy: “Same thing isn’t it?”
Jeremy: “We wanted to live forever so The Doctor made sure we did”.
I wonder if The Doctor asking Joan to be a companion came to fruition after the idea of him asking Reinette in “The Girl In The Fireplace” was scrapped.
Joan (to The Doctor): “He was braver than you in the end, that ordinary man you chose to die”.
Martha: “If you want I can go …”
The Doctor: “Time to move on”.
Chronology: In the present day, is it the same day as the one we saw with Francine in “42”?
Well after such a brilliant start, there was always the pressure of “The Family Of Blood” not being able to deliver the goods and luckily all of those fears got allayed pretty quickly. It’s every bit as chilling, emotional and thought provoking as the previous episode and with some truly startling moments, this season and series has hit an all time high and with four episodes what other great heights are there to be achieved?
Eagerly I waited for a week for family of blood to be shown in the Uk so I could watch it in the internet in the USA - and it was worth the wait.
Well-written, well-acted, filmed wonderfully, and exactly the reason why this show can last for more seasons to come.
Even with the over-the-top-silly scarcrows, the basic story of the Doctor giving up being a Timelord to stop "the family" is well done! Not just a typical invasion themed show this one, but one about the Doctor and what he must ultimately sacrifice in order to be a Timelord...the human side that lives within is shown to be kind and loving, as we knew he would be if he was born of this Earth.
But for John Smith, the choice was a difficult one, but for his companion, much harder...how do you tell the man you love that you love him when he has turned himself into someone that only knows you as a servant? How do you watch the man you love fall in love and be with someone else?
Rose would not have made these decisions, she would have mucked it all up from the word go!
but in the end - it's about the Destiny of the Timelord and not the journey of the people around him.
the final shots of the episode - touching at the heartstrings of every man who has fought in the wars of men, and touching to the women who've lost their men to the wars of man....
I deliberately didn't review part 1. I felt it would have been unfair - like judging a painting before the first stokes had dried.
The scenes between Tennant and Jessica Hynes (Matron) were more powerful than you'd expect to find in a weekly science-fiction series. Hynes is a superb actress, doing more with a character in two episodes than most actresses can do across seasons.
Freema continues to delight - playing Martha with just the right mix of fear, bravery and desperation. I won't say this is the best arc in the series because we don't know how many years it'll continue. What I will say is that is belongs up there with Army of Ghosts/Doomsday. Bravo.
Great!!!Loved it Loved it Loved it. Have been a doctor who fan for ages, and I have to say, this is the best series so far, and that's including all the way back to the 60s. Bring on the Master
A brilliant episode, definitely the best of series 3 and in the top 3 of the complete new series. Also, finally, a two-parter where part two lives up to the promise of part one!
This one had it all: suspense, scares, romance and love, courage, friendship and ruthlessness.
Another episode where Martha proves she is more than an able companion, she manages quite well without the Doctor and is very brave.
In addition to an excellent script, the acting in this episode was superb. David Tennant got a chance to be emotional and 'human'. Martha had to bare her soul and their scenes were very moving, though not as moving as the scenes with Matron. Excellent supporting cast too. Baines was scary, the scarecrows were a great idea and allowed the boys to fire their guns and display the related tension without thme having to actually shoot people (a point explicitly stressed in one scene). Latimer was a great character too and the Remembrance Day ceremony was a nice touch as well as very British.
This episode is probably one of, if not the best episode, i have ever seen of the Doctor who since i started watching. I think that this is because it goes further than an adventure, you see the Doctor in a new light after this episode.
The episode revolves around the fact that the watch is no longer in the Doctors possesion and as such he is helpless as an army of scarecrows advances on the school. Can he find the watch in time and will he be able to give up his current life. As John Smith falls in love and grows acustommed to his life, he has to make the decision to leave it all behind and once again assume the role of the doctor, this particular part of the episode was very well potrayed and even mislead you to a certain extent.
At the end of the episode, you see a side of the Doctor that is uterly ruthless, in his methodical disposal of the family , he becomes far more intimidating that if he had destroy. It shows how if the doctor want to he can indeed be a very powerful enemy.
Once again i find myself warming up a lot more to Martha, i feel that the Doctor is as well, she certainly plays the part of the companion excellently and is far from useless.
The ending of the episode gave me chills with the speech given , and with the twist with Latima's future.
Overall a brilliant episode and one of the reasons i watch (and try to convince everyone around me to watch) Doctor Who.
since this episode was so brilliantly constructed, I'm gonna try to not focus on the fact that I am getting seriously worried about the music of doctor who confidential (hung up? seriously what is wrong?)
Anyway, this story is brilliant. Everything about it wreaks of class. It is great to see David Tennant play a different but similar character to the doctor who isn't bound by all these codes of character that the doctor usually follows. John Smith is a human being like all the rest of us, its like seeing the doctor's life from a different perspective and I must say it is amazing.
Anyway, off David Tennant's superb performance. I'm starting to like Martha a bit more. Towards the beginning of the series, I and I'm guessing a lot of a people were a bit wary of the new assistant, although I was willing to let her have a chance unlike some people. The problem to begin with was that Martha stuck close by the doctor at all times so she didn't really get much of a chance to develop. But here Martha is thrown in the deep end, the doctor isn't there to help her, she's fighting the family alone until the doctor re-becomes himself. Its a very dramatic piece, everything's very tense as john smith is told that if he dies then everyone else will live. And the doctor's departure, it was just so very well written, I could barely tell it was written originally for sylvester McCoy, David just gives such a brilliant performance.
In fact everyone gave great performances, the kid that played Tim, and I really liked the actors that played the family. In a humourless and it a lot of ways creepy militant band of villagers possessed by aliens. As I said in the summary, it is a very epic tale, and one of the most nerve wracking we've seen (the end of doomsday aside).
There's just too much for me to praise in this episode. But I really need to say that was an amazing speech about the doctor from Tim there, which explains why they wanted to fit it into almost every trailer for the series (I originally thought he was referring to the master's revival, only a couple of episodes away!)
I'd be pretty stupid if I forgot to mention how the doctor disposes of the family members. It was a dark side of the doctor that we have seen before, there have been occasional moments throughout the last 44 years that we've seen the evil bastard in the doctor, and in the end of this episode he was particularly ruthless, and that's why I loved the ending so much, instead of the usual ending of the enemy convientiently dropping dead before someone other than the doctor had to deal with it, we see the doctor's cruelty which he tries to avoid, it was really well done.
Anywho, I loved this episode, its one of the best we've ever seen (just hope the return of the master is this good)
Blink I'm not sure about, love and monsters I didn't like and this is also doctor lite, but it was written by steven moffat and I sorta like the plot description on wikipedia, so I've got my hopes up
A very emotional episode.Well written and acted and a tearjerker.The scene where John Smith was holding the watch when he had to accept it and become the Doctor again was so emotional. What became of the family of blood,a sort of be careful what you wish for and summed up everything Tim said about him.Has a dark side as well.
The ending.Emotional seeing old Tim see Martha and the Doctor again having survived the war.
Amazing episode and amazing acting defintly a series classic
This wasn't as good as part 1 but it was still a pretty good episode. it's a good scene when john smith learned he must become the Doctor in order to stop the family. it's good having hi agonizing over making a difficult decision. The ending was also quite emotional when we see the boy fight in the war and see him years later when he is an old man at a memorial service and he sees the Doctor and Martha there. the only problem with this is episode is that once the doctor was restored he dealt with he family a little too easily, it thought they'd put up a decent fight at least. This episode was still great though.
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