“In Defense Of” is a new recurring feature here at Japiba, in which I defend the unloved, unappreciated and generally unsung heroes of the television world (I fear this very soon will lead to my having to defend Riley. It will be six words: “He had neat hair I guess.”)
But today is not Riley Day. Today is devoted to a character who is not so much unappreciated by fans as she was heinously underused by the writers. And that character is Martha Jones.
In order to properly defend Martha I must first explain a few of my greatest problems with the writing style of Russell T. Davies.
He also gave us this bullshit.
The Doctor lost Rose to another universe in Series 2, never to see her again until Series 4 at which time I became a screaming anger monster and they ruined any good will I had toward her character (mother..fucking…Clone…Doctor…). Because of points one and three, point one here referencing the RTD commandment “Everyone wants to bone the shit out of Ten” (which, in fairness, is mega ultra super truth, and, oh my, my clothes just fell off thinking about it), RTD made the season’s new companion desperately in love with the Doctor and kind of shitty about it.
Which is tragic, because there was so much good about her.
I am sometimes unfairly hateful towards Rose Tyler. I realize this, and it is entirely to do with Series 4, as well as the fact that when the Doctor was going to say “I love you” back to her, I totally thought there was an implicit “as a friend, Needy Nellie.” But as a character, I feel Rose was very much along for the ride. She lacked a capability that I require in my companions, as well as the ability to smack the Doctor down when he needs it.
Martha was different. Martha was that all important word that so many faux-strong female characters lack: she was capable. She could handle herself. She was smart, so smart. She didn’t sit there in awe. She did something about it. She was useful, not merely as a deux ex machina when needed, but because of her actual proper skills and intelligence.
And that is why her bullshit schoolgirl crush on the Doctor was not only an affront to an otherwise rich character, but a huge slap in the face to what could have been a far more excellent season.
Which it was. Quality-wise, I’ll take Series 3 over Series 2 any day, as long as you let me keep “The Satan Pit” two-parter and “Girl in the Fireplace” (see, Moff knew Ten didn’t fucking love Rose like that). And at the end of it, after saving the goddamn world and giving us fancy Tinkerbell Jesus Doctor…
as seen here
…she is unceremoniously sent home following a “you go girl”-esque monologue about how he’ll never love her back. Which was great and all, truly, you go girl, but after an entire season spent among the stars and other worlds, it was ultimately wasted on an unrequited crush. They made her a loser. And that wasn’t fair.
So, lift your glass (I know you people; you have a glass already today) for Martha, the unsung companion. Because they almost had her so right.
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