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Recap / Doctor Who S30 E6 "The Doctor's Daughter"

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Attractiveness. It runs in the family.

Donna: Not what you'd call a natural parent, are you?
The Doctor: They stole a tissue sample at gunpoint and processed it. It's not what I'd call natural parenting.

Original air date: May 10, 2008

The one where future husband and wife get to act together as father and daughter...

Hoo-hoo-hooo boy...

Let's just say the one where the Doctor bore a child without gettin' jiggy with it.

Written by Stephen Greenhorn.

In which an important and fascinating new character shows up... but not for long.

Martha was saying goodbye, but the Doctor's hand-in-a-jar violently teleports the TARDIS to an alien planet. (In case you're wondering why he keeps that thing next to the control panel, there's a very good reason for it.) Since the "Doctor Detector" only does that sort of stuff in rare situations, it could only mean two things: either the Doctor himself is on that planet, or something exactly like him.

The planet, called Messaline, is inhabited by two different species: Humans and Hath (walking fish). Only five seconds after stepping off the TARDIS, the Doctor and his companions are held at gunpoint by human soldiers, and the Doctor is forced to put his hand into a strange machine. There is some whinging, and then out of the machine steps a very pretty blonde girl — fully dressed and made-up, able to wield a gun, played by Peter Davison's daughter and snarky to boot.

The machine is for cloning, made for creating soldiers for either group of the planet's inhabitants. The hand-in-a-jar made the TARDIS arrive a bit too soon, which caused the Doctor's DNA clone to be on the planet in the first place. The Doctor realises that this is, for all intents and purposes, his daughter now. He's extremely freaked out by this and tries his best to see her as a thing: a clone, a temporary echo, a "generated anomaly". Donna calls him out on his Jerkass behaviour and shortens "generated anomaly" to "Jenny", which the girl likes as a name. She merrily calls the Doctor "Dad". Jenny shows herself to be a remarkable soldier, implanted with all the instincts and history knowledge she needs for combat, much to the Technical Pacifist Doctor's aggravation.

They all travel together to the humans' base. Along the way, Martha is kidnapped (and soon befriended) by the Hath, but Jenny causes an explosion, meaning the Doctor and Donna can't get her back. Here the storyline splits.

The Doctor and Donna are locked up in jail because the Doctor opposes the commanding General's plan to wipe out the Hath, and Jenny is tossed in for defending them. She tries to get to know the Doctor a little, and quickly points out that if he was a soldier, and if he has killed, and if he won a war... what's the difference between them? She has two hearts like he does, and she just wants to live for what she feels is right. Before that happens, they find out that the humans are fighting the Hath for control of the Source. Jenny kisses her way out of jail, and frees the Doctor and Donna. They remain one step ahead of the humans, trying to get to the Source.

Meanwhile, Martha finds out the same from the Hath, and decides that the quickest way to get to the Source is over the top of the planet. Escorted by her new Hath friend, she travels the dangerous planet, avoiding swamps and fires. Her friend saves her from some form of alien quicksand and dies in the process, but Martha makes it to the Source... just as the Doctor and company arrive at the other door.

Of course, they're followed by various humans and Hath, both shooting at one another as well as our heroes.

The Doctor finally explains to Donna why he's being so cold to Jenny: he used to be a father (and grandfather), before the Time War, when he murdered every member of his species. Seeing Jenny just reminds him of all this.

Donna, who has been noticing weird plaques above all the doors, uses her Super Temp powers to put 2 and 2 together and figures out that the colony is not more than a week old. The mutual histories were merely warped by continued use of the cloning machine. The Source, originally thought to be a mythical creator, is actually a terraforming device. The Doctor explains this to the mostly-bewildered clones before throwing the Source to the ground, destroying it. This subsequently releases the terraforming gases onto the planet's surface.

Perhaps justifiably, the human General tries to shoot the Doctor. Jenny steps in front of him, Taking the Bullet, and dies in his arms. The Doctor has the chance to shoot the General in revenge but doesn't. Instead, he demands that "this world of human and Hath" be founded on "the man who never would" harm another soul. After a few minutes of waiting for regeneration, a heartbroken Doctor, Martha and Donna leave. Martha says "There is no regeneration. She's like you, but maybe not enough," to which he replies "She was too much like me."

Travelling back to Earth, Martha expresses her happiness at not being involved in any more death and destruction and warns Donna about the dangers of companionship. Donna laughs it off, saying she wants to travel with the Doctor forever, and she and the Doctor head back out into the wide galaxy, while Martha goes back home. Just before the credits roll, however, it turns out the Doctor didn't wait quite long enough. Jenny wakes up (with the same face), revived by either regeneration or the terraforming gas, and, much like her father, rambles on for a few minutes as she takes the last spaceship on Messaline to head out and travel the stars.


  • Action Girl: Jenny. She was born to be a soldier, and has the added advantage of being a Time Lady.
  • Actor Allusion: A complicated blend of this and Real-Life Relative. Georgia Moffett, who plays Jenny, is Fifth Doctor Peter Davison's real-life daughter. Peter Davison is David Tennant's favourite Doctor and pretty much the reason he became an actor in the first place. Georgia Moffett is now David Tennant's wife, and their first child together was a little girl. OR, as it's phrased on Georgia Moffett's page: A Doctor's daughter who played the Doctor's daughter and then had the Doctor's daughter. If that sentence confused you, join the club. And if it didn't, you've probably been watching this show too much.
    • As a matter of fact, Moffet was also friends with the daughter of Colin Baker growing up. Which means that a Doctor's daughter who played with the Doctor's daughter, played the Doctor's daughter, then had the Doctor's daughter. Confused yet?
  • After the End: Subverted. The planet looks like it's the ruins of some apocalyptic war outside, but it's actually a brand new planet and the settlers never got around to filling them in.
  • Androcles' Lion: The Hath trust Martha because she helped one of them with a dislocated shoulder.
  • Armour-Piercing Question:
    • Played for Laughs with the Doctor's insistence that he's not a soldier.
      The Doctor: I'm trying to stop the fighting.
      Jenny: Isn't every soldier?
      The Doctor: Well, that's... that's... technically– I haven't got time for this.
    • And then played much more seriously with their discussion about what happened to the Time Lords.
      The Doctor: There was a war.
      Jenny: Like this one?
      The Doctor: Bigger. Much bigger.
      Jenny: And you fought? And killed?
      The Doctor: Yes.
      Jenny: Then how are we different?
  • Badass Adorable: Jenny kicks ass while smiling and giggling.
  • Badass Pacifist: "I never would, Cobb. Remember that. I. Never. Would." Turns out the Doctor is even scarier when he isn't willing to kill...
  • Batman Grabs a Gun: The Doctor almost loses his control when Cobb shoots Jenny, but manages to restrain himself.
  • Big Bad: General Cobb.
  • Binary Suns: Messaline has three suns, as shown when Martha goes outside.
  • Casting Gag: The Doctor's daughter is played by Georgia Moffett, who is the daughter of a former Doctor.
  • Character Title: Jenny is technically "The Doctor’s Daughter".
  • Cloning Blues: Averted. None of the clones have any angst about being clones.
  • Covered in Mud: Martha doesn't have an enjoyable time getting to the Source.
  • Custom Uniform of Sexy: Not only did Jenny come out of the cloning machine wearing a slightly sexier uniform than generic fatigues, she came out of it wearing makeup.
  • Dark Reprise: When the Doctor talks about Gallifrey and the Time War, a darker, sadder version of Series 3's "This is Gallifrey" plays in the background.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Jenny, in the Doctor's arms, as she was being accepted as his daughter. Before she revives after he leaves...
  • Discontinuity Nod: The cloning machines are suspiciously reminiscent of the infamous "Looms" from the New Adventures novels.
  • Disney Death: Jenny appears to die, but she comes back in the end. Granted, she is a Time Lady, but the audience (and the Doctor) are led to believe she does not possess the ability to regenerate.
  • Exact Words: Cobb told the Doctor and his companions that the war with the Hath had gone on for "many generations". Turns it it had only gone on for roughly a week; the cloning machine can create hundreds of "generations" of soldiers every day. Also a bit of Fridge Horror when you stop and realize what that means — human beings (and presumably the Hath) don't really die that quickly or easily. Considering there's no one around to correct the mistaken mythology that the clones have all created, this means that every last person who was part of the original expedition died. Probably quite violently in the initial bout of mistrust-caused upheaval, and that the cloning machines were initially used as a last resort by both the humans and Hath to tip the balance when their initial numbers were getting very thin. It also means that both sides of the survivors of the initial expedition had gotten so mistrusting of each other that they literally programmed the clones to think fighting each other was their main goal and purpose for existing. Talk about brainwashing.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Russell T Davies has stated that this episode "does exactly as it says on the tin".
  • Fanservice: Georgia Moffett in a tight T-shirt and leather pants!
  • Final Solution: Cobb wants to use the Source to wipe out all the Hath.
  • Fish People: The Hath are humanoid fish that use water mask things.
  • Foreshadowing: Donna echoes Rose by saying she'll be with the Doctor forever — and we all know what happened to Rose, don't we?
  • Forever War: The fight's gone on for hundreds of clone generations. In other words, just over seven days.
  • Future Imperfect: The human/Hath creation myth is actually their arrival by space flight on this planet. It might have to do with the "countless generations", even if the terraforming ship only landed there last week.
  • General Ripper: Cobb. Donna even calls him "General Nutjob".
  • Genius Ditz: Jenny in regard to her Time Lord senses, which she's initially unaware of. Her ability to flip through a corridor of deadly moving lasers clearly couldn't be done by a normal human being, or even a super soldier (none of them seem to want to try it). It's likely she was using something similar to the Ninth Doctor's ability to slow down his perception of time, which allowed him to move through fast-moving fan blades in "The End of the World".
  • Good with Numbers: Donna names the trope, talking about herself, because she's a "super temp".
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Jenny takes a bullet for the Doctor. Or so he thinks. She wakes up after her apparent demise and sets off to explore the universe and have adventures, just like dear old Dad.
    • Martha's Hath friend jumps into quicksand in order to get her out and sinks (he doesn't come back).
  • Human Aliens: Jenny is a Time Lady cloned from the Doctor by a different sort of human alien.
  • Internal Homage: Inexplicably fully-dressed clones previously appeared in "The Invisible Enemy".
  • Kiss of Distraction: Jenny lures a guard to the cell door, kisses him and simultaneously grabs his gun, making him open the door. Donna wants to try it on the next guard, but the Doctor shoots her down, to her annoyance.
    Donna: I have picked up a few... womanly wiles over the years.
    The Doctor: Let's save your wiles for later, in case of emergency.
  • Laser Hallway: Jenny uses She-Fu to navigate through one of these.
  • Like Parent, Like Child: Jenny's final scene has her steal a ship and run away to the stars. Does that sound familiar, Doctor?
  • Meaningful Echo: "It's not impossible. Just a bit unlikely."
  • Mistaken for Romance: Donna and the Doctor, yet again, are mistaken for a couple by Cobb, and they again deny it. Cobb thinks Donna is "the Doctor's woman", and Jenny feels the need to double-check.
  • Mobile Fishbowl: The Hath breathe a nutrient liquid, and have to wear a mask containing a flask of it while in Earthlike atmospheres.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Or the title, technically. Jenny's only the Doctor's daughter in a biological sense, and she isn't born until this episode.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Doctor inadvertently reveals more of the map... leading to preparations for a war to get to the new-found temple. Whoops.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The Doctor insists to Jenny that she doesn't have to kill General Cobb to protect their group, and after some thought she listens and opts to spare the general when she has a clear shot. This lets General Cobb later shoot and seemingly kill Jenny in front of the Doctor, putting an end to their travels together before they could begin and burdening the Doctor with the thought that another child of his is dead.
  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Jenny spends half the episode trying to convince the Doctor he's being a hypocrite because he was a soldier, in a war, and committed genocide to end it. On the other side of it, she discovers that she's more a Martial Pacifist like him.
    • Martha's interactions with the Hath deliberately parallel the Doctor and Donna's interactions with the humans, to show the lack of differences between the two sides.
  • Opposite-Sex Clone: Jenny was created from the Doctor's DNA. It's justified since Time Lords can regenerate across the sexes.
  • Punny Name: Donna bases the name "Jenny" on the Doctor's "generated anomaly" comment.
  • Put on a Bus: Jenny takes off at the end of the episode, ready to have adventures of her own. While she hasn't returned to the TV series as of 2018, she did get her own Big Finish series, available here.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Martha falls into one, and Peck has to get her out because it was sucking her down into it.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: All the weapons, cloning machines and other technology both sides are using are remnants from before the war, and considering the war's been going on longer than anyone can remember, it's all in pretty good condition. This is ultimately revealed to be a subversion, since "longer than anyone can remember" turns out to be all of one week.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: Unusually for the series, the Hath speak only in their language, with no translation. Martha can still understand them, though.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Was Jenny brought back to life by the Terraforming gases or did she inherit her father's ability to regenerate?
  • Running Gag: "We're not a couple."
    Donna: We're not even the same species. There's probably laws against it.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Jenny takes a bullet for the Doctor, who, unbeknownst to her, would just have regenerated.
  • Sequel Hook: Jenny's final scene has her stealing a ship to be a hero like her father.
  • Show Some Leg: Done straight (Jenny kissing the guard) and defied, with the Doctor telling Donna to save her "wiles" for an emergency.
  • Skewed Priorities: Cobb tells the Doctor that "his woman" will die first if he causes trouble. They're both more annoyed by someone else calling them a couple than him threatening to kill Donna.
  • Stable Time Loop: The TARDIS sends them to Messaline because it's detected Jenny; it arrives a bit early, setting up Jenny's creation.
  • Super-Soldier: The clones are born programed with military tactics and history.
  • Taking the Bullet: Cobb tries to shoot the Doctor and Jenny gets in his way.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Donna says she'll be with the Doctor forever — Rose said the same thing.
    • "Can't be much further..." [falls in quicksand]
  • Theme Naming: The two named Hath are Peck and Gable.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: The Doctor tries his hardest to impart this to Jenny, whose first instinct is to gun down the soldiers chasing them. When given the chance to shoot Cobb, she decides not to.
    The Doctor: Listen to me. Killing. After a while, it infects you. And once it does, you're never rid of it.
    Jenny: But we don't have a choice.
    The Doctor: We always have a choice.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Jenny, who had evolved into a true Martial Pacifist, becoming very much like her father without the Time War trauma... or so it seems.
  • Truly Single Parent: The Doctor, of course. The "mother", so to speak, is the cloning machine.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: The map scene is split between the Doctor with the humans and Martha with the Hath.
  • The Unintelligible: All we hear when the Hath "speak" is bubbly noises, but Martha seems to understand them — either because of the TARDIS translator or from observing their body language.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Averted with the Hath. Martha resets the arm on an injured Hath soldier who got hurt in the cave-in. The other Hath soldiers wait for her to set the bone and when their comrade cries in pain, they turn their guns on her. Then he reveals his arm is okay and he's okay and they put the guns down. They also take her back to their base and welcome her as a guest.
  • We Need a Distraction: The mouse is for distraction of guards.
  • Wham Line: "This war's gone on for seven days."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Jenny. It's worth noting that if the date 60120724 is July 24, 6012, than this is a full thousand years after we know various races have access to time travel. So Jenny conceivably could be anywhere (or anywhen) by now. The comics reveal that she ended up travelling across the universe until she found a long disused Time Lord bowship and used it to travel in time, meeting her dads (Nine, Ten, Eleven, and Twelve).
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: The Doctor is initially ambivalent toward Jenny, though it's less to do with her being a clone and more of a mix of the fact that she was cloned specifically to be a soldier and her reminding him of the family he used to have. He even refuses to consider her his at first and says she belongs with Cobb and his men. With Martha and Donna's encouragement, especially when Donna shows him she has two hearts, he warms up to her and comes to accept her as his child.
  • Worth Living For: Martha had hoped Jenny would be this for the Doctor. "There's always something worth living for, Martha."
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The story takes place over roughly half a day of constant skirmishing and the soldiers clone en mass once, with one more small batch at the beginning. How did they burn through more than six hundred generations in less than a week? Alternately, massive Fridge Horror.

Alternative Title(s): Doctor Who NSS 4 E 6 The Doctors Daughter