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The Family of Blood

This was a drawn out and occasionally boring episode. The resolution of the threat is almost incidental to John Smith, who gradually realises who he really is but wants to remain human. The Doctor, it seems, longs for an ordinary life.

There's much to think about in this story. We return to the theme of the lonely God. John Smith likes his ordinary life. He can see a future with Joan. From his dreams he realises that some aspects of the Doctor's life are horrible. He scoffs at a man who did not think to include love in his list of instructions to Martha.

Human Nature

The Doctor and Martha are on the run from the Family and are hiding in England in 1913. The Doctor has taken the extreme step of becoming human to avoid detection. As part of transformation he "forgets" who he is and takes on the persona of a school teacher named John Smith. But the Family track him down. Unaware of who he really is, and with Martha unable to change him back, the Family try to scare him into reverting into a Time Lord by threatening to kill his friend or his lover. His choice. And the episode ends.

42

The Doctor and Martha materialise on a spaceship in trouble. It's orbiting a sun, unable to escape its pull and there's 42 minutes left until it crashes. The Doctor and Martha save the day in a thrilling story, involving a living sun, with just seconds to spare.

This episode features a couple of firsts. I'm sure this is the only episode title that is a simple number. (And 42 is surely a hat-tip to Douglas Adams.) It's also the first episode I can recall being told in real time, 42 minutes being the approximate length of an episode.

The Lazarus Experiment

The Doctor drops Martha off at home, her stay in the TARDIS apparently over. He leaves, but promptly returns, wondering what some guy on the TV meant by changing what it means to be human. Martha and the Doctor attend a party, along with most of Martha's family. The host is the guy who turns out to be Professor Richard Lazarus and uses a machine to turn back the clock. He steps out of it looking 40 years younger.

Evolution of the Daleks

A satisfactory, but not outstanding, conclusion to the two-part dalek story. It was not quite as good as Daleks in Manhattan but it did explore new and very interesting territory.

Daleks in Manhattan

After a slightly dull episode, Daleks in Manhattan was a magnificent return to form. The four daleks of the Cult of Skaro have survived Doomsday and escaped via their emergency temporal shift to 1930's New York. They ponder why humans always survive, their city of New York is replicated across the Universe, while Skaro is destroyed and they are all that is left.

In a similar fashion, when the Doctor first sees a dalek during this episode, he laments that they always survive and he always loses everything.

Gridlock

The Doctor extends Martha's "one trip" to one trip to the past and one to the future. They travel to New New York (the second time we see this city). A rather unsatisfactory story based around an apocalyptic view of gridlock (taken to the nth degree) evolves to a rather dull ending. This is offset by some interesting bits: spotting a few guest stars, the Doctor reminiscing about Gallifrey and the final meeting with the Face of Boe that climaxes with his mysterious final words to the Doctor: "Know this Time Lord. You are not alone."

The Shakespeare Code

The Doctor and Martha travel back to London in 1599 and land near the Globe Theatre. A rollicking adventure with three witches, William Shakespeare himself, many, many references to literature (past and present) and lots of humour ensues. An excellent episode even if the primary storyline (prominent literary figure) bears a strong resemblance to The Unquiet Dead.

Smith and Jones

Just two days after The Runaway Bride we get another episode. It's a more proper start to the series, reflecting the fact than in England several months (not two days) elapsed between the corresponding initial screenings, with Martha Jones, the new companion, joining in this episode.

The Runaway Bride

The Doctor finally returns in Series III. The new episode follows on immediately where the last episode left off. It was played as the Christmas Special in England, but we had to wait until the end of June. As befits a Christmas Special, it's big, loud and funny. Catherine Tate as the Doctor's companion (of sorts) is hilarious.

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