Remember this? When I watched Doomsday and cried my eyes out because The Doctor was leaving Rose and he didn’t even get to tell her that he loved her and it was possibly the most heartbreaking scene EVER? Well, that was before I watched the season 4 two part finale.
Let’s start with just the entire concept of Catherine Tate and David Tennant and a doctor/companion friendship and nothing more. No romantic undertones. The character of Donna Noble is coming in at a very close second after Rose Tyler in my list of companions. I honestly prefer Freema Agyeman‘s/Martha Jones‘ role now compared to the love-struck and envious companion she played in season 3. Donna is an outspoken temp who truly believes that there is nothing special about her and often sees more than she bargained for on her trips with The Doctor: a few episodes that come to mind for this are Planet of the Ood, Fires of Pompeii, Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead. For me, Rose is the forbidden true love, Martha is the love-sick friend he made along the way but Donna is truly one of his best friends, not just his family! Interestingly, Donna, so far, has been the only companion the Doctor has had several encounters and near-misses with before they jet off in the TARDIS: first on her wedding day; then he met her grandfather on Christmas Day the year later; and her second encounter with The Doctor was when she went out in search of him. Donna provided some comic relief and truly human and heartbreaking scenes that made this season one of my favorites.
The Season 4 finale had amazing use of companions. Pretty much all of them were there: Rose, Martha, Donna, Sarah Jane, Jack, Jackie, Mr. Mickey. We also saw the return of Penelope Wilton as Harriet Jones. I’ll admit, when Jack came onto the scene I kind of swooned but hey… It’s Captain Jack! The Finale also showed the TARDIS as it was meant to be manned – by six people. Some notable moments from the finale (without giving too much away): Doctor-Donna, TenTwo, *scowl* the end of Stolen Earth (I might have seen it coming but that didn’t mean that I liked it!)
In the larger scheme of things, season 4 seemed to me to be a look on the human condition. Midnight is an excellent example of this. The Doctor is trapped in a bus with a number of civilians when an unknown entity comes on board and latches itself to a human body. This entity repeats what is said around it by different people. The method was the entity would repeat what was said with a delay, then would say it with exact precision and then finish or say something before it was said by the host. Practically all the passengers turn on the Doctor and wish to kill him (simply because he was speaking to Sky before she became possessed) and the possessed passenger. In the end, however, the good aspect of the human condition wins out and one sole passenger makes the right decision, freeing The Doctor from his paralysis.
This decision is one in a number of times we see the what people are willing to do in The Doctor’s name and Midnight is the the first time I’ve seen The Doctor haunted. We also see him hurting in Journey’s End when he himself comes to this realisation. He is reminded of all the people who have died for him: Astrid Peth, River Song, Jenny in The Doctor’s Daughter; and the potential deaths that both Martha and Jack are willing to go to in his name. The Doctor is horrified by what has happened to the people who have journeyed with him.
What I love about TenTwo is that he is essentially human. What I hate is that this human aspect is the reason why he has no qualms about committing genocide. Much like Jenny, TenTwo was born out of war and bloodshed and anger and revenge.
There were some real, “Don’t Blink. Blink and you’ll miss it” moments in this season, with some episodes leaving me scared out of my wits. Tennant has done an amazing job as The Tenth Doctor and I look forward (and dread :() seeing his work in the final episode. The Tenth Doctor era was definitely my favorite and season 4 was easily my favorite from this.
Now… Matt Smith…