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3-9: "The Family Of Blood" 9.7.2007


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#241

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Posted Oct 18, 2007 @ 9:08 AM

Was John Smith suppose to just be The Doctor as a human? Yana was certainly nothing like The Master. I almost think that the more negative parts of Smith were put there to remind us that he is different and that he has all the flaws of a man of his time.

Also, I never saw John Smith's fear as being all about death. That was certainly a part of it, but he had just learned that the life he had thought he was living was a lie, a smokescreen for a much greater man. It's a lot to process.

#242

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Posted Oct 18, 2007 @ 9:30 AM

I love, love, love these two episode. My favorite Dr Who episodes of all time (and that's saying a lot -- I have a 20-year-old child named after one of the Doctor's companions, so I've been a fan for a long time.)

So I finally saw this episode--I was away at uni when it aired, and my dad went and deleted it off the DVR before one of my weekends home--and I gotta say: JESUS GOD ALMIGHTY, David Tennant can act!


Agreed -- this was the moment in time when I decided some how, some way I was going to get to England and see Hamlet. What totally blew me away was when John Smith started spouting Doctor-speak and David Tennant changed characters in the middle of a sentence. Wow. I just fell in love with him as an actor at that moment.

If only the rest of the season could have been half as good.

edited because "colud" isn't a word.

Edited by OmeletsMom, Oct 18, 2007 @ 9:31 AM.


#243

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Posted Oct 18, 2007 @ 9:52 AM

His performance here makes me want to see him in something weighty and complex and adult. (Don't get me wrong: Who has a good share of weight and complexity and maturity, and is much, MUCH better than it has to be. But it's not Chekhov.)

The Pillow Books sounds like it could be the kind of thing I'm talking about, but it was a play and as far as I know never recorded in a medium I can see on this side of the Atlantic. Recovery was fine, and he was fine in it, but it was kind of gimicky and about symptoms as much as about people. Does anybody have any other suggestions?

#244

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Posted Oct 18, 2007 @ 10:35 AM

Does anybody have any other suggestions?


I have a secret desire to see him in Amadeus, but we'd have to give him, I think, about ten years. Also, Christopher Eccleston, but that's a whole other story. The part of Salieri requires a lot of complexity and OMG!Monologuing. So the actor has to be charismatic enough that we're willing to sit and listen to him tell the story for 90 minutes.

Makes me wonder how he did Look Back In Anger. I heard he got good reviews for his performance, and I read a plot synopsis and it sounds very complex and very adult.

About the episode and him as an actor, that part got me, too. I love the fear in his eyes-- how he was absolutely terrified about who this Doctor person is. John Smith just can't seem to fathom that there are people dying everywhere and the Doctor is geeking out about something weird and scientific. And you can see it in his voice, body language, and eyes. All in the time frame of one sentence. Phenomenal stuff there.

#245

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Posted Oct 18, 2007 @ 11:37 AM

Also, I never saw John Smith's fear as being all about death. That was certainly a part of it, but he had just learned that the life he had thought he was living was a lie, a smokescreen for a much greater man. It's a lot to process.


Not afraid of death as we understand it but afraid of losing himself, of who he beileved himself to be and the life he thought was his to live. I suppose the closest we have is something like Alzhiemers. The body is still there but the person inside changes. To lose what it means to be yourself, that's scary stuff, indeed.

Edited by Robinhood, Oct 18, 2007 @ 11:37 AM.


#246

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Posted Oct 20, 2007 @ 4:05 PM

If I were to put into words what was so absolutely terrific about the way they wrote Rose's entire arc on the show is that, when she left the Doctor -- in comparison to when she'd first met him -- she had everything she'd wanted but hadn't even dared to dream of (boyfriend had drastically improved, no longer a shop girl, dad no longer a deceased failure, parents back together and in love) but it wasn't enough because, having tasted life with the Doctor, she now wanted more. There's no doubt that she ended the experience way better off than where she when she'd started, but the journey had changed her into someone else, someone who couldn't quite be happy with only all the things she'd thought she wanted.

I see a sort of similar transforming journey for the Doctor in Human Nature/Family of Blood. (I'm not trying to draw a perfect parallel here because I don't really see the pre-Human Nature Doctor as being particularly unhappy with his lot in life.) But having been John Smith, having tasted the sort of basic happiness that comes from being a human in love, the Doctor can't quite be satisfied with everything he's got, no matter how fantastic it is. John Smith was absolutely repulsed by the Doctor-speak that came out his mouth, and I think a teensy bit of the revulsion remains with the Doctor. I think he genuinely wanted Joan to take him up on his offer so that he could still have a connection with the John Smith part of himself. But, of course, he can't -- and the fact that he knows it is the tragedy of this journey.

#247

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Posted Nov 12, 2007 @ 11:30 AM

I rewatched this two-parter in remembrance of, well, Remembrance Day. Cried buckets, naturally. This story just gets more perfect each time I watch it. What the hell, Cornell? I'm sending all of my tissue bills to you.

#248

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Posted Nov 12, 2007 @ 11:38 AM

I know. I watched it towards the end of last week. I've got to the point now where I actually can't watch it. Well, I either have to turn the sound or the picture off. Then I can handle it. I know, it's pathetic.

It really is the most heartbreaking stuff, though. On my (first) re-watch, I thought I'd safely passed through the emotional minefield of the John Smith plot, which really does me in every time, and forgot that it then shows Tim and Hutchinson in the trenches, which makes you fill up all over again. And then the "future" Remembrance ceremony. It's a killer. But a brilliant one.

#249

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Posted Nov 12, 2007 @ 12:58 PM

I was watching a deleted scene today on Youtube and it's even more John Smith abuse. For God's sake, Martha, (and Joan) even if he is 'just a story', you don't let him run off thinking that the killing of Mr. Chambers is all his fault. As for me, I just want to cuddle the poor love. All three, actually, DT for having a cold and judging how emotional he got in filming the finale, this couldn't have been easy either, John Smith for obvious reasons and the Doctor for being such a broken bastard.

#250

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Posted Nov 12, 2007 @ 3:15 PM

There's another deleted scene that might help, though. Apparently, Hutchinson has run away during the shooting at the school and Lattimer finds him in the woods. Hutchinson is distraught and ashamed, but Lattimer pulls him out of it with references to what he saw in the watch, repeatedly and insistently asking Hutchinson, "Do you trust me?" and by basically acting like a good commanding officer. It gives the trenches scene some context that makes you know it's going to be alright.

#251

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Posted Nov 12, 2007 @ 4:23 PM

There were a lot of good scenes from the double episode, my scene just added to the tear-worthy unfairness of it all, the scene you described was Latimer being kickass and the deleted scenes in Human Nature were mostly adorkable, with hatred of pears, 'Gimme Gimme Gimme a Man after Midnight' and babble which I'm sure as hell was an ad-lib from Tennant.

#252

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Posted Dec 15, 2007 @ 6:27 PM

What totally blew me away was when John Smith started spouting Doctor-speak and David Tennant changed characters in the middle of a sentence. Wow. I just fell in love with him as an actor at that moment.


Yes, agreed....I starting smiling because we were getting our Doctor back and then it all fell apart. I felt a bit cheated that we didn't get a mini flashback of John Smith opening the watch and turning into the Doctor.

One of the other sad things about this ep is when John asks why the Doctor needs Martha. And the only thing she can think of is that because he's lonely. It gets me because the Doctor has obviously never told her why she's important to him, what she contributes, etc. To him it's enough that he's invited her along.

ETA: Some people upthread mentioned the vision reminded them of The Last Temptation of Christ. I've never seen that movie, but it did remind me of something else.

Edited by Uberlisa, Dec 16, 2007 @ 4:11 PM.


#253

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Posted Jul 28, 2008 @ 11:10 PM

I just rewatched both parts of this. The school hymn is one that I sang at church a great deal as a child. To hear it over the preparation for the scarecrow battle, and during it, just made me weep.

I think Tennant is brilliant in this and so's Freema Agyeman. But as marvelous as all the characterizations are, it's the feeling of doom I get from it being 1913 with a war no one expected about to start, that clutches my heart.

Damn. This is a brilliant two parter on so many levels.

#254

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Posted Jul 30, 2008 @ 1:50 PM

Agreed. I still think this is my absolute favorite new Who episode. There's a lot of competition, but this one really hits me on multiple emotional levels more than any other.

Edited by ShoppingGirl, Jul 30, 2008 @ 1:51 PM.


#255

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Posted Aug 5, 2008 @ 3:19 PM

Was John Smith suppose to just be The Doctor as a human? Yana was certainly nothing like The Master. I almost think that the more negative parts of Smith were put there to remind us that he is different and that he has all the flaws of a man of his time.


I particularly like the theory that the Chameleon Arch turns a Gallifreyan human, and into what they desire to be. The Doctor desires, but never can be, the Everyman, and that's who John Smith is.

The Master, apparently, desires to be very Doctorish.

#256

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Posted Jan 6, 2012 @ 1:46 AM

I know this thread is 3 years dead, but I just got around to watching most of S3 and finished watching this two parter. And I am just blown away by how much I cried during this episode. I've jumped in and out of NuWho, and waffled if Ecclestone or Tennant was my favorite Doctor, but this is by far Tennant's most brilliant work on the show to date.

I am in love with this episode. I can't even explain why it affected me so deeply, so I'm just chalking it up to Tennant's flawless performance.

#257

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Posted Jan 6, 2012 @ 9:38 AM

Matt Smith is my favorite doctor and DT is actually prob. my least favorite (only because all three are so good) but I think this two-parter is for sure the gold standard when it comes to New Who. I don't think there will ever be anything to top it. It's just perfectly done, and so moving.

#258

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Posted Jan 6, 2012 @ 3:35 PM

Here in the states BBC America is repeating S-3 and we are just now to The Family Of Blood eps. I forgot how much I love Martha. And though DT wasn't my favorite of the Doctor's he does a lovely job in this two parter.

Glad someone resurrected this dusty thread.

#259

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Posted Jan 6, 2012 @ 7:49 PM

Just saw "Human Nature" on BBCA. And yeah, I think these two episodes might be the best of NewWho, well ever. Not necessarily my personal favorites but my gosh so good.

And Thomas Sangster. Now that is a kid that can actually act. He's soooo good and so believable and not annoying like some child actors can be, IMO.

#260

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Posted Jan 7, 2012 @ 11:23 AM

My tribute to how well done these episodes are is that I was only just able to rewatch them. I've had the DVDs for how many years now, but I was never able to bring myself to watch Human Nature/Family of Blood again because they were so painful. In the best possible way. My heart just aches for everyone- John Smith, Joan, Martha, Latimer, and the actors all bring it in these episodes. Plus, Son of Mine is the creepiest villain I've seen in the show, and it's all just how Harry Lloyd carried himself and some camera angles.

#261

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Posted Jan 11, 2012 @ 10:36 PM

Son of Mine is the creepiest villain I've seen in the show, and it's all just how Harry Lloyd carried himself and some camera angles.

Harry Lloyd is an amazing actor. I cannot express how awesomely frightening I found him as Son of Mine, as well as his portrayal of Viserys over in Game of Thrones. I'm glad his talent was noticed by others.

#262

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Posted Feb 23, 2012 @ 5:18 PM

I know this thread is 3 years dead, but I just got around to watching most of S3 and finished watching this two parter. And I am just blown away by how much I cried during this episode. I've jumped in and out of NuWho, and waffled if Ecclestone or Tennant was my favorite Doctor, but this is by far Tennant's most brilliant work on the show to date.


Interesting. I'm a Ten fan, and a DT fan, but while I love this episode and have watched it a gazillion times, I find DT's performance a little over the top in places. I want to smack John and tell him to get a grip more than once. I realize DT is differentiating the Doctor from John, but John is just too much on the whiny side for me to really like him. That being said, the scene where he pretends to be John and then morphs into the Doctor is brilliantly done.

Also, I have to admit the plotting of this one always bothered me. The Family of Blood was short-lived. Wouldn't it have made more sense for him to just keep running for two more months, rather than settle down in one place and put himself through a dreadfully painful procedure to become "invisible" to their sense of smell? It also seems like he had no trouble defeating them in the end, and if he hid just so as to avoid having to fight them, as the ending suggests, he put a lot of humans in danger rather unnecessarily. I like the concept of the Chameleon Arch; I just always felt there could have been a more solid reason for him to use it. And finally, I wish they'd left in the deleted scene with the two boys discussing how they would wind up in the war together; the ending would have made a lot more sense had they left it, I think.

And Son of Mine is indeed creepy as hell. That weird little slant to his mouth is disturbing. Every time I rewatch the episode I'm impressed by him!

#263

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Posted Feb 29, 2012 @ 10:45 AM

I like the concept of the Chameleon Arch; I just always felt there could have been a more solid reason for him to use it.


That is possibly a hold over from the book it was adapted from whereby the Doctor bought the chameleon arch (don't think it was called that though) from some dodgy space dealer and basically became human because he wanted to see what it was like. I think it was supposed to be some reaction to a traumatic incident / angst in the preceeding books (might have been Ace leaving finally I think, but this is the new adventures, everything was angst).

The dealer - for those who are interested and spoiled because I have no idea how it works with the books - had planned the whole thing and was the ultimate villain of the piece, at one point he pretends to be a future regeneration of the Doctor to trick Bernice into giving him information, she catches him out by surreptiously taking his pulse and then calling saying he's a bit 'heartless' which I still remember and makes me giggle though it must be 15 years since I read the book.

There's something of this when he says 'I've always wondered what it would be like' or something in the TARDIS before he uses it. Basically he did it because it seemed like a good idea at the time. And no, he didn't think through the consequences and yes he did endanger a lot of people, but as Joan calls him on both these things I didn't really have a problem with either of these things.