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The family of blood (Doctor Who spoilers)

...it was good. I don't think it quite lived up to the promise of the first half, though. While there was plenty of great characterisation and acting, and superb dialogue, the resolution and all that followed it didn't work for me. The resolution was rushed and seemed like an anticlimax. The dénouement showing the Doctor as avenger was ... defensible in terms of his established character, but when the rest of the characterisation is so spot on, merely defensible just seems weak. And the patriotic button-pushery in the epilogue definitely really did seem out of place and out of character for the Doctor, who doesn't really make a habit of going back to check what becomes of the characters after an adventure. What's next, the Doctor going to Jo Grant's place for a cuppa tea? It sort of worked, as button-pushery always does, but I resented that it did. It added the syrupy aftertaste of altogether too much American TV drama to a series that, usually, is better than that precisely because it doesn't do that sort of thing. Might as well have had the Doctor transformed and redeemed by LUUUURVE, which I'm glad to report he wasn't.

Still, those bad moments were very few - probably adding up to less than the time it took me to type them up. In all, Human Nature and The Family of Blood gave us 85 minutes of outstanding, award-worthy TV drama and five minutes of slightly dodgy stuff at the end. Not bad at all. Best of Series Three so far.

Afterthought: I'd like to read the novel some time. But even apart from the novel, the idea of the Doctor living a human life has been done before, e.g. in the "Winter" section of the Big Finish audio Circular Time, which is the best bit of that collection of short stories.


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