So I finished watching Series 4 with my father, the second time I’ve sat down with it and watched each episode in order. And unless I undergo some radical change in my personality or suffer extensive brain damage, this will be the last.
Please don’t get me wrong. There were some stunning shows in this season, and Tennant, as always, was in top form. But nothing could justify what happened during the end of Donna’s time aboard the TARDIS. I don’t understand how RTD let this one slip by. He actually authored Jorney’s End, so his role in making Donna trump everything the Doctor is must have been active. It disappoints me. What a foul way to start the Doctor’s long lonely year.
Why would RTD write Donna to be cleverer than the Doctor, even for a short borrowed piece of time? Since when does half human, half Time Lord equal most powerful being in the universe? (I’m ignoring the 8th Doctor’s revelation that he is half human himself. I never bought that bit of contradictory cannon.) By making Donna so clever that she can confound many Daleks with a little ten-key know how, RTD was saying that the Doctor has been incredibly dense or totally inept all these years. Why didn’t the Time Lords come and borrow a human during the Time War, if they’re the key to outwitting these Dalek monstrosities? Or are all Time Lords too dim to recognize the potential of a human/Time Lord in meta-crisis? How is it that Doctor Donna has powers only surpassed by Rose when she looked into the time vortex? And why on earth wouldn’t Davies play up the skills of each companion in the story instead of undermining every one of them, and the Doctor to boot?
A separate concern. Poor Rose, trapped in the alternate universe, having to watch Donna flounce off with the Doctor (although that trip would be short lived), and discovering quite soon that her human Donna Doctor has a sassy bitchy complaining streak. Boo, RTD. At least remove the Donna personality before handing over that human Doctor to Rose.
Burrunjor warned me of Doctor Donna in the comments section of my last article, and I thank him for providing me with a chance to brace myself before I entered this mess of a storyline.
But Doctor Donna is especially upsetting, and it isn’t fair for me to conclude my reflections on Donna Noble based solely on this episode. I want to look at her evolution during her time on the show. She showed the most hatred of the Doctor during her first appearance in Runaway Bride. Partners in Crime was markedly better, although there were several instances of complaining and shouting. I think it’s fair to say that there was an overall dip in her obnoxiousness after that, with several tantrums that showed up like spikes, keeping her nice and prickly. But what a finale! It dismantled the good will I had built up towards her in an instant, and made me regret every kind thought I had had towards her.
What is it about Donna that I find so objectionable? The unfairness and meanness, I think. With almost all other companions, I’ve felt fairly positive about their attitudes and contributions to the Doctor’s wellbeing. Heck, even Turlough, who was secretly contracted to kill the Doctor by the Black Guardian, assisted him better than Donna. At least he didn’t bicker him to death. And even fan-hated Peri didn’t come close to insulting the Doctor as many times as Donna. I don’t understand the double standard, although I suspect it has something to do with Donna being perceived as a strong woman. Ha. A thought just came to me.
I would love for Donna Noble to travel with the Sixth Doctor sometime, preferably on an extended journey, and preferably when he’s hungry and cross or has just regenerated. Tennant is far too sweet to her, and inexplicably very forgiving.
So I guess I’ve got my fix for sitting through the Doctor Donna nonsense. Revenge fantasies and alternate story lines. Contemplating my options, I wouldn’t mind a restored Donna visiting the Doctor now, as played by Capaldi. I think just his eyebrows and stare would probably do the trick to shut her up. This is the happy ending I’ve been waiting for. Ahhhh.
What was your opinion of Series 4 and Doctor Donna? Are there redeeming qualities I’m missing? Even after the finale, I’m willing to consider any evidence or impressions you’d like to share. Please leave a comment below. Thank you for reading.