Geez, it seems like forever since we left David Tennant as Doctor Who. It’s only been two months, but since series twelve has been one of the most thunderous and controversial in the program’s history (we liked it!), it sort of feels like a lot longer. Since our kid’s been watching the show with us since Jodie Whittaker took the role, tonight he got the first-for-him experience of seeing an alien menace’s first appearance after he’d already met them. The “space rhinos” are the Judoon, an aggressively grumpy bunch of cops-for-hire with disintegrator guns that our son says “look like they turn people into molten lava,” and the Doctor has to save about a thousand suffocating humans from a Judoon platoon on the moon.
I hate to overshadow the debut of Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones, because she’s a great actress playing a fun character, but I was really thrilled – thirteen years ago! – to see Roy Marsden taking a guest role in the show. This was Marsden’s only appearance in Who and I wanted to say just how much I enjoyed seeing him as a hospital consultant who was really looking forward to retiring to Florida before the Judoon’s search for a fugitive alien criminal ruined his day. It’s not too late, BBC. Marsden seems mostly retired, but maybe he could play one of Graham’s old buddies from his bus driving job in series thriteen!
But since the character of Martha should get a little more mention in her debut story, I’ll say that I really love the way the Doctor is watching her reactions to the adventure and the chaos. He talks a big game about wanting to be alone, but he’s really looking for a new companion. He’s on the frames of the action as Martha keeps cool under pressure, uses reason and logic to deduce that something is providing them with some air to breathe, and shows compassion by closing Marsden’s characters eyes after they find his body. She’s being all the things that a companion should be. The Doctor frequently needs a clue-by-four; had he left Martha to her squabbling family, he’d need a whole lumber yard.