Jump to content

3-9: "The Family Of Blood" 9.7.2007


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.

262 replies to this topic

#1

WAnglais1

WAnglais1

    Fanatic

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 8:03 PM

Just beautiful.

I can't stop crying.

#2

Lantern7

Lantern7

    Stalker

  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Staten Island, NY

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 8:11 PM

I'm not shedding tears, but it was a good episode. And damn, you do not want to fuck with the Doctor, like, ever. "You want eternal life? Great...I'll give you fuckers eternal life!"

Also, don't mess with Martha. When Joan (that was the matron's name, right) brought up her skin color, I think I actually muttered, "Oh, shit."

And damn, the Family was creepy. I think the lesson is that you don't need CGI to make monsters. All you need is actors to make with the creepy, and extras dressed like scarecrows to shamble around.

#3

SassyCrumpet

SassyCrumpet

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 8:12 PM

Oh, the angst! I admit I crush on the character of the Doctor, and have for years, but I can't recall ever crying so darned much during a DW episode! Either I'm turning into a sentimental old fool or this was just a really well done emotional episode. I'm still too stunned to really analyze the best/worst moments of the show. I feel completely spent...and completely satisfied!

#4

Mod Suit

Mod Suit

    Fanatic

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 8:15 PM

I have now cried at DW more than any other show. What the hell? I had no idea I would have such a gut reaction.

But I'm fascinated by WWI anyway. I was a mess by the end.

Also: I adore angsty, dark Doctor.

#5

jellybabiesrus

jellybabiesrus

    Video Archivist

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 8:16 PM

"What are you going to do?" Oh, I don't know. Sacrifice my last hope of personal happiness to save humanity? Or WATCH A COMMERCIAL FOR 'MANEATER'?

Fucking Sci-Fi channel absolutely excels at finding the worst possible moment to break for a commercial.

On the plus side, this is the first episode that has actually made me cry. More than once. Tennant was heartbreaking. If you give him something to work with, he can actually do more than bare his teeth and shout.

Best ep(s) of the year.

edited because it's 'bare' not 'bear'. That would be the Colbert Report. hee.

Edited by jellybabiesrus, Sep 7, 2007 @ 8:18 PM.


#6

D.C.

D.C.

    Stalker

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 8:35 PM

The rewatch made me realize an important thing the Doctor and John Smith have in common.

For some reason, I didn't get the first time that John Smith is heartbreakingly lonely. It's not just that he loved Joan for herself--which he did--it's that he really wanted community and intimacy with somebody...anybody. That flash through his potential future really drove it home to me for some reason. But John Smith didn't have any trouble at least trying to do something about it, reaching out to Joan being the most obvious example. And he didn't have any trouble expressing despain at the thought of losing the intimacy he had so recently gained, or anguish at the potential of that loneliness returning if he were to become the Doctor. Though I thought, in general, you couldn't really see the Doctor in John Smith, I wonder if that was him leaking through the same way he leaked through in Smith's dreams, expressing what the Doctor wanted to express but can't.

#7

LaraAriadne

LaraAriadne

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 9:14 PM

Yeah, I totally cried. A little bit when the Doctor was trying to get Joan to go with him and then the full on water works when Tim was being honored all those years later. How old was Tim supposed to be anyways? He looked so so young, too young to have joined the military in time for World War I.

Also, interesting how the Doctor didn't consult with Martha, at least that we saw, when he pleaded with Joan to come with him, and for all intensive purposes when speaking to Joan, acted as if Martha wasn't even his current companion.

One of the things I didn't like was the writer's characterization of Martha as this love sick girl. I like the character and I like the actress, and I think Martha has more sense than to be pining away for some Timelord. I'd be much happier if their relationship was one of mutual respect and trust, slowly earned over time and adventure.

On the other hand, I loved the John Smith/Doctor/Joan dynamic. Also thought the lingering shot of Joan in the empty house was masterful, the way it suggested her dreams of a life and family with John Smith were totally over.

And finally... so that's what I've been seeing everytime I look into a mirror!

#8

pile of monkeys

pile of monkeys

    Video Archivist

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 9:20 PM

This episode was just heartbreaking. John's unwillingness to give up his life to become a lonely stranger, his eventual acceptance of what he had to do, Joan's rejection of the Doctor's offer to travel with him. Her strength in pointing out that he brought death to their town, the her quiet dismissal. Just... amazing. When we saw what became of the Family, I was reminded of the Doctor's conversation in School Reunion with Finch (that was ASH's character name, right?): "I used to have so much mercy." You can see how this Doctor is different. Weary, lonely, a little veangeful. He's angry, but in such a quiet, scary way. And the epilogue with Tim and the ceremony. The tears just flowed. I sort of wished we could see more of Tim, maybe they run into him in his teens or 20s and he travels with them for a while.

This was my favorite episode of the season so far.

#9

Shanna Marie

Shanna Marie

    Stalker

  • Gender:Female

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 9:27 PM

Fucking Sci-Fi channel absolutely excels at finding the worst possible moment to break for a commercial.


And they seem to make the cuts to insert commercials using a chainsaw.

Yeah, I cried, too. I'm not even going to try to pretend it's ragweed.

And upon a rewatch (so glad I taped this), I noticed that not only is there a distinct difference in body language, voice, accent and facial expression between John Smith and the Doctor, but there's a subtle difference in body language, voice, accent and facial expression between John Smith and the Doctor pretending to be John Smith on the Family's ship. It's like there's a slight Doctorish gleam in his eyes, even as he's pretending to be this terrified human (though I think one clue is that Smith was never quite that bad a bumbler, except perhaps when women were involved).

And after the smackdown on the Family, I'm thinking we have a strong candidate for Best Badass in next year's Tubeys.

#10

Millie

Millie

    Couch Potato

  • Location:Chicago

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 9:32 PM

My heart, it is broken.

When The Doctor begged Joan to go with him I was shouting, NO NO NO. I thought that was a selfish dick move on his part. Joan is too good for the Doctor. Joan and John, on the other hand, made an awesome couple and would have had may nerdy kids (which is good).


And finally... so that's what I've been seeing everytime I look into a mirror!


I thought the Nena song had be following me around all these years.

And after the smackdown on the Family, I'm thinking we have a strong candidate for Best Badass in next year's Tubeys.

That was creepy, scary and awesome all at the same time.

Edited by Millie, Sep 7, 2007 @ 9:39 PM.


#11

theschnauzers

theschnauzers

    Stalker

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 9:35 PM

I honestly marveled at DT's acting range in this one episode. I can't possibly say enough about it, as well as the entire cast in this episode. There's much elsr to praise in this episode as well, but I think they've all been mentioned already.

As to Tim and his age in 1913/14 -- World War I did not end until 1918, so Tim could have gone into the British military being of age for service and still fought in that war; and it wasn't uncommon for underage boys to enlist in the military during WWI. As to when the epilogue took place, in very well could be the present, as some WWI vets have lived that long in the U.S., and I suppose that is the case in the U.K. as well. But it was a nice touch to have Ten and Martha there, and appropriately wearing the red poppy in the lapel as a sign of rememberance of the casualties from WWI. But it was definitely a nice closing touch.

#12

jellybabiesrus

jellybabiesrus

    Video Archivist

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 9:50 PM

And upon a rewatch (so glad I taped this), I noticed that not only is there a distinct difference in body language, voice, accent and facial expression between John Smith and the Doctor, but there's a subtle difference in body language, voice, accent and facial expression between John Smith and the Doctor pretending to be John Smith on the Family's ship. It's like there's a slight Doctorish gleam in his eyes, even as he's pretending to be this terrified human (though I think one clue is that Smith was never quite that bad a bumbler, except perhaps when women were involved).


Agreed. I was listening to the Podshock podcast on iTunes this week, and Paul Cornell was the guest. He made particular mention of the fact that, at the first table read for 'Human Nature', David Tennant introduced himself as playing John Smith, not the Doctor. That says a tremendous amount about his approach to the material, and why he was so successful with it. 'Successful' is not really the word I'm looking for, but it will do.

Also, I don't know the name of the actress playing Joan, but she was fantastic. I want to see 'Joan' return some day.

#13

arizonamyrie

arizonamyrie

    Stalker

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 9:54 PM

Yes, this is definitely my favorite two-parter to date of the new series.

I loved seeing the John Smith Montage and was pleased that sciffy didn't cut the Tim montage either at the end. In an episode that seemed to be partially about things coming to an end, it was fitting to keep it in.

There was so much "fright" in Smith when he knew he had to step up to the plate and become the Doctor again. It's as if he knew that not only would he be losing the woman he loved, he'd be hurting her as well, and he wasn't willing to do that. He just wanted to be John Smith. While the writers did not fully bring out his empathy towards Joan, it was hinted at throughout that montage with everything.

The episode in general seemed to be about people stepping up to what they were meant to do. Smith was meant to become the Doctor, Joan was meant to love again, and Tim was meant to save his friend. I have a weakness for seeing a person's youth in their age - byproduct of work - and seeing that so well portrayed here is what actually brought me to tears.

And my mom was touched by Smith's death in the montage and quality of DT's acting and makeup there. So, that's really saying something for her to actaully watch a TV show that isn't Dr. Phil or Who Wants to be a Millionaire.

#14

dradiscontact

dradiscontact

    Channel Surfer

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 10:01 PM

I like how they showed the Doctor's fury indirectly. Listening to a matter-of-fact recitation from Son-Of-Mine on what he did to them brings home how powerful a Timelord truly is, more so than seeing his actions would have been. You think that the family has all the time in the universe to rue how they underestimated the doctor.

I wished Martha would have ripped Matron for her racist comment, or point out that, in a few years time, they wouldn't find much glory in war. Watching those fearful boys take on the army of scarecrows takes on a new poignancy when you realize that soon they would be chewed up in the trenches.

#15

Radagast

Radagast

    Fanatic

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 10:09 PM

Watching those fearful boys take on the army of scarecrows takes on a new poignancy when you realize that soon they would be chewed up in the trenches.


The fact that they're literally fighting straw men is interesting as well, from a literary point of view...

#16

arizonamyrie

arizonamyrie

    Stalker

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 10:11 PM

I like how they showed the Doctor's fury indirectly. Listening to a matter-of-fact recitation from Son-Of-Mine on what he did to them brings home how powerful a Timelord truly is, more so than seeing his actions would have been.

Yes. Sometimes the silence can be golden. And what's strange is that when he does get that furious, he seems to bottle it within himself as well, almost as if he is afraid of what he is truly capable of if he lets it out.

I wished Martha would have ripped Matron for her racist comment, or point out that, in a few years time, they wouldn't find much glory in war.

But Joan didn't find glory in war at all - in the first half she commented on how she was a widow at a young age because of war, and in fact, disproved of the boys training with the guns.

Watching those fearful boys take on the army of scarecrows takes on a new poignancy when you realize that soon they would be chewed up in the trenches.

Yes, word. I think what got to me most with the scene was the music - it was meant to reflect that these were just boys, and here they were firing rifles at alien beings. Fighting aliens is something the Doctor normally does, not the boys taught by his human doppelganger.

#17

Kaffyr

Kaffyr

    Fanatic

  • Location:Chicago
  • Interests:Doctor Who, Caprica Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Project Runway, Eureka, Leverage, White Collar, Burn Notice, reading, science fiction, reading science fiction, journalism, the 4th estate, DEMOCRACY, Canada, Who fanfic (about and with which some folks undoubtedly have problems), government policy wonk stuff, and music, music muuuusic.

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 10:20 PM

Murray Gold deserves much praise for this two parter, especially for tonight's chapter. The score in Family of Blood - the gruesomely, cheerfully martial bars playing behind the scarecrows as they marched to the school, the boys' hymn playing behind the volleys that brought the creatures down, the staccato tune playing as the students scattered into and away from the building after Smith told them to retreat - it seems to me to be some of his best, most vigorous and intelligent stuff this season, and probably last season as well.

It's odd: I was so very impressed with DT tonight; touched and saddened by his John Smith, impressed by the way he brought the Doctor back and doubly impressed by the scene between Joan and the Doctor - but I did not cry. I was too intent on watching him, and her (You Are Dismissed, Doctor. And Diminished. Good Woman!) and perhaps too surprised by how good I found it all, to waste energy on crying, if that doesn't sound too hard or dry.

But when I heard the minister say "Age Shall Not Weary Them" and watched Tim recognize the couple across the green, I lost it. Completely lost it, and I'm tearing up right now.

#18

arizonamyrie

arizonamyrie

    Stalker

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 10:31 PM

But when I heard the minister say "Age Shall Not Weary Them" and watched Tim recognize the couple across the green, I lost it. Completely lost it, and I'm tearing up right now.

Even hearing you describe it makes mine well up with pride and sadness a bit.

And I agree with the music as well - so much intensity and yet it never overpowered the scene. You knew it was there if you listened for it, and if you didn't, then the music just heightened the emotional awareness. Brilliant in general.

#19

D.C.

D.C.

    Stalker

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 10:32 PM

I think I heard someplace that the minister was played by Paul Cornell's wife, who is an Anglican minister in real life.

#20

Cygnia

Cygnia

    Fanatic

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 10:43 PM

How bad were the commercial cuts, if I can dare ask? I had to TiVo the episode and I want to know how much cringing I have to do beforehand as to what was lost (and I finally need to sit the Beloved Hubby down to see HN, so hello double-shot!).

#21

wingnut540

wingnut540

    Channel Surfer

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 10:50 PM

question -- How did son-of-mine know the fates of the others? He may have been the last to have sentence carried out and so saw what happened to the others, but how did he know that the the Doctor visited his sister once a year, every year? I suppose the Doctor might have told him before the suspension in time that he would do so. Still..

However, that said I liked it very much. And so glad that others have too. I ususally come here to find out why I shouldn't have liked an episode as much as I did. (With the exception of Daleks in Manhattan. No way I could have liked that one.)

#22

BoobTubeJunkie

BoobTubeJunkie

    Couch Potato

  • Gender:Female

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 10:50 PM

That was powerful stuff. I was a little worried for myself for crying so much at the end, so imagine my relief to come here and find I'm not the only one.

On a more lighthearted note,

Millie: I thought the Nena song had be following me around all these years.

After watching this, I flipped to USA and watched Psych. Imagine my surprise when they mentioned The Red Balloon Nanny Agency and start playing the Nena song in the background. It was funny, and I needed a laugh after the Doctor Who angst, but I was a little freaked out by red balloons making appearances in both shows. The red balloons really were following me!

#23

Flipote

Flipote

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 11:04 PM

Oh, dear. I'm a wreck - Paul Cornell writes a script that pushes all my buttons, and David Tennant acts the hell out of it (the rest of the cast were also quite strong). I have to say, though, was anybody else hating Ten a little at the end?

#24

Irish Wolf

Irish Wolf

    Fanatic

  • Location:The 13th Colony
  • Interests:SF (especially Star Trek and its various incarnations, and the new, good Battlestar Galactica), and Autism Activism ("Aut Disce, Aut Discede", y'all!).

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 11:14 PM

I'm not one to get all misty over a TV show, as a rule, but: "I just want to be John Smith! With his life, and his job, and his love - why can't I be him? Isn't he a good man?"

...I think I got something in my eye...

#25

fast german car

fast german car

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 11:14 PM

I loved this episode. The Doctor revealing he was just acting like John Smith when handing the watch over to the family was a definite "Hell Yeah!" moment.

#26

Kaffyr

Kaffyr

    Fanatic

  • Location:Chicago
  • Interests:Doctor Who, Caprica Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, Project Runway, Eureka, Leverage, White Collar, Burn Notice, reading, science fiction, reading science fiction, journalism, the 4th estate, DEMOCRACY, Canada, Who fanfic (about and with which some folks undoubtedly have problems), government policy wonk stuff, and music, music muuuusic.

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 11:15 PM

Flipote,

I have to say, though, was anybody else hating Ten a little at the end?

*raises hand*
Yes, here. Not surprising, I suppose; he's so fucking alien.

#27

D.C.

D.C.

    Stalker

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 11:27 PM

I'm not one to get all misty over a TV show, as a rule, but: "I just want to be John Smith! With his life, and his job, and his love - why can't I be him? Isn't he a good man?"

...I think I got something in my eye...

Yeah, that's the part that got me. Actually, it was the repeating of, "Isn't he a good man? Aren't I a good man?" that pushed me over the edge. It was like the thing that mattered most to him was being good, and that he had done his best, but it wasn't good enough and now he was being punished for it. I kept wanting to pat him on the hand like a little boy and say, "Yes, dear, you are good. You are!"

Hard to believe John Smith was only three months old, though we got enough hints of that last week.

#28

arizonamyrie

arizonamyrie

    Stalker

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 11:27 PM

I loved this episode. The Doctor revealing he was just acting like John Smith when handing the watch over to the family was a definite "Hell Yeah!" moment.

We'll have to remember that for the 2008 Tubeys.

ETA - as for getting misty-eyed over John Smith, I think that partially shows DT's talents as an actor. He can take this character that has a limited backstory (and it's written to be that way) and make something so memorable out of him in only two episodes. Now THAT takes talent. So many actors would fall back on the script and try to make the character a lesser version of their primary character. Not DT.

And I have to agree with seeing Smith frightened, as well as realizing that the boys were kids firing guns, were two other distinct spots that were very emotional for me.

Edited by arizonamyrie, Sep 7, 2007 @ 11:33 PM.


#29

MatthewMcIntyre

MatthewMcIntyre

    Video Archivist

Posted Sep 7, 2007 @ 11:30 PM

I think I heard someplace that the minister was played by Paul Cornell's wife, who is an Anglican minister in real life.


Inspired by, but not played by. Female vicars turn up a lot in Cornell's work.

You can read Cornell's original novel, and his account of adapting it for TV, here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk...s/human_nature/

#30

Flaregun

Flaregun

    Couch Potato

Posted Sep 8, 2007 @ 12:08 AM

This was just an amazingly well done episode (until the denouncement, when they suddenly started throwing four or five different endings at us one right after the other; as someone else said somewhere, this ep. has more damm endings than Return Of The King).

That scene of the schoolboys shooting their guns with tears in their eyes always gets me, that entire sequence is just devastating; the hope raised that the invaders they slayed seemed to be lifeless automatons, that "[they] killed no one" and so their innocence is preserved (at least not for another year or so), only to then have to confront an innocent looking little girl who kills the headmaster right in front of them. They know (on some level) she's no innocent little girl, she's an evil monster, but how the hell could John Smith, or the Doctor, or anyone else, order these children to shoot this thing in the shape of a little girl after what they'd just been through? It's just an unbearably cruel, impossible situation.

And yet..., as much of an anti-war, anti-violence message it is, as much as Baines/SonOfMine sledgehammers the point home by reminding us beforehand that this school has been drilling these kids in preparation for being slaughtered in the most stupid, pointless, unjustifiable war in human history, I can't help also seeing another side to that whole scene: that when the wolf is at their door, they're cut off from help, and their school is under attack, these kids are not helpless victims. They're prepared to defend themselves from a very real, very grave threat. The Headmaster could have easily been portrayed as a monster, sending his students to slaughter, but instead he ends up looking rather heroic, rallying the students to their defense, trying to save their lives. At the very least he's certainly more useful here than John Smith is. I can't help but suspect that, if this episode took place not in 1913 but in 1938, when Hitler was annexing half of Europe unopposed and Neville Chamberlain was waving around pieces of paper containing empty promises of Peace In Our Time, there would have been a very different, more ambivalent tone to these scenes. The horror of schoolboys being thrust into war too early would have been there as strong as ever, but the scene of them being trained at the machine gun, preparing themselves for the inevitable conflict, and of them all rallying to defend themselves and their school from the very real wolf at their door, turning their home into an armed fortress, well I think there would have been something almost reassuring about those scenes then. And yet, in the end, the whole thing would still have been horrifying, and sickening, and heartbreaking.

And then, of course, there's just about everyting else in this episode. Way too much to cover right now, but I've got to at least mention Tennent's performance. He was also great in Part One, but it's really here that I think he earns a BAFTA, (British version of Emmys/Oscars) and whatever the hell other acting award he might be eligible for.

How old was Tim supposed to be anyways? He looked so so young, too young to have joined the military in time for World War I.


Believe it or not, the actor, Thomas Sangster is 17 years old, so if his character is the same age as him he would indeed almost certianly join the Army when the war starts in a year's time, even though he barely looks 14 here. (Actually, I think he's only supposed to be about 15-16 here, and will probably indeed lie about his age to join up (even though he knows full well what hell awaits him; sense of duty, can't stand to sit idly by while all his classmates are fighting & dying for their country and all that). BTW, when I first saw the ep, I didn't realize that the soilder whose life Tim saves at the end was Hutchinson, the one who last week bullied him, beat him and was an utter racist prick towards Martha, and that by the end of the war Tim not only saves him anyway but apparently outranks him.

And they seem to make the cuts to insert commercials using a chainsaw.

How bad were the commercial cuts, if I can dare ask?


There was actually nothing at all cut from this episode (well, maybe a scene or two of people walking up to a building was trimmed down somewhat), but I noticed that Sci-Fi had a way of placing their commercial breaks right at abrupt cuts from one scene to another, so that the effect wound up looking like scenes were cut off/picked up right in the middle to make room for commercial breaks. So you missed nothing, but the commercials screwed up the pacing but good.

As to when the epilogue took place, in very well could be the present, as some WWI vets have lived that long in the U.S., and I suppose that is the case in the U.K. as well.


Apparently the number of WWI vets still alive worldwide is just barely in the double digits, but it would seem that that scene has to be sometime very close to the present because it's only been in the past couple of years the Anglican Church has had female ministers.

Something I alluded to in the previous episode thread: in the UK, the teaser for this ep, shown during the closing credits of Human Nature, included quick flashes of the images of John Smith & Joan at their wedding, of them holding their firstborn child, and of them walking with their family. There was no context to indicate whether these were dream images or if perhaps they were real, and this episode was going to get into alternate realities, changing the timeline, or if John Smith would simply get to enjoy his life for a few good years before finally eventually having to open the watch. This led to all sorts of wild speculations (one of my favorites was when someone noted that Susan, the first Doctor's initial companion, who was described as his seventeen year old "granddaughter" back in 1963 although this supposed family history was never since explained or followed up on, would actually have been the perfect age to be the daughter of one of John Smith's children).

Edited by Flaregun, Sep 8, 2007 @ 12:14 AM.