Season 29 Episode 9 – The Family Of Blood, by Paul Cornell

May 11, 2008

review by Martin Odoni.

Sigh. Yet again, part two doesn’t come close to the heights of part one. Much of the eipsode is just a frantic runaround, the anti-war/anti-racism messages are again laid on far too thick, as is the unashamed sentimentalism. The solution is equally unashamed technobabble, and seeing the Doctor defeats the family so easily, it immediately leaves you wondering why he bothered going to the lengths of becoming human to avoid them in the first place. The explanation that he was trying to avoid inflicting a horrible comeuppance on them is contrived; he’s inflicted terrible fates on other enemies in the past. And surely the Doctor would prioritise protecting others from the terrible fates the family will inflict. In fact, on reflection of all this, the Doctor’s behaviour for much of the story seems quite cowardly.

I quite liked aspects of the ending, including the ruthless punishment the Doctor inflicts on the family; the old ‘immortality-is-a-curse-not-a-gift’ moral is recycled from The Five Doctors but at least it’s demonstrated rather than just announced this time. Martha is good again, although her moping about the Doctor not loving her is now really getting on my nerves.

It’s still an okay episode, and a good two-parter, but after part one, it could have been so much more. 6/10.


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