Martha'll do juuuuuust fine

For many, the big question with Series 3 is: How do you follow Rose Tyler? Even you don't agree that Rose was a good companion (and I know some of you are in that camp), her place in the Doctor's heart is undenyable. After the Catherine Tate scare in The Runaway Bride, enter Freema Agyeman as Martha Jones.
Watch out, spoilers may follow.

I mentioned the Catherine Tate scare because we've had a lot of antagonistic companions in the past, so her Donna could have been in that mold and definitely a change of pace from Rose. And while the dads might have liked looking a Romana I's luscious hair, or Tegan's short skirts, or Peri's... uhm... jazzaerobics outfit, as soon as they opened their mouths to complain, the magic was gone. They were basically companions whow were wasting this great opportunity.

Thankfully, Martha's not in that mold. She's a medical student that has what the Doctor's looking for in a travel companion: Adaptable, clever and charming. He wasn't always this fussy mind you. The criteria pretty much used to be: "Walked into the TARDIS by mistake". Martha is all that and a bag of crisps. I was frankly astonished at how easily she became part of the Doctor Who universe. Immediate acceptance from me.

Like Rose, she's charming, clever, adaptable and rather nice to look at. But more than that, she's useful. I'm not saying Rose wasn't, but she definitely started out as more of a damsel in distress. From the word go, Martha takes charge at the hospital, restarts the Doctor's system, and is instrumental in the defeat of the plasmavore. Where Rose had a background in sales (not that there's anything wrong with that), she should have a lot of medical know-how. There's also the idea that she's already seen a lot of gore, so she won't be screaming at every dead body... and it won't seem callous.
Freema Agyeman apparently has a martial arts background, but that hasn't been used yet. Don't know if it will, but I'm all for it.

With Rose came the Estate, Jackie and Mickey. Will Martha's family also be a recurring feature? Instead of a one-parent home, Martha grew up in a larger family. In Smith and Jones, they seem to be an integral part of her world, using her as a central hub for their disputes. When she boards the TARDIS, it's practically to escape them.
Given that they don't appear for at least the next 4 episodes, I don't know if Russell T Davies is purposely not going the domestic route to differentiate her journey with Rose's. I'm half expecting them to all be killed the next time someone invades London.

As for the relationship Martha and the Doctor, it seems like she fancies him right now, but he won't ever reciprocate her feelings. It's easy to give someone the wrong impression......but that was just a genetic transfer to confuse the Judoon. In the following episodes, she comes to realize that it's not really what she thought, and probably won't want to compete with Rose on that front. Nobody wants to be the rebound. And that's fine. It keeps the show kind of sexy, but I don't think it'll cross that line again.

Now, there's a good chance that Series 3 won't be Martha's story. Series 1 and 2 were very much about Rose, and with all the Time Lord business being mentioned, maybe it's time we got to know the Doctor a little bit. If it's about him this time, then Martha may seem like a cypher at times. After three episodes (I'll be watching Daleks in Manhattan over lunch), she has yet to disappoint me. She's solid, entertaining, and definitely not wasting the opportunity afforded her. And she isn't being written as Rose redux, in my opinion. She knows when to be quiet, she's not as awestruck by the Doctor, and she's used to managing people. Long life to Martha Jones!

Other thoughts on Smith and Jones:
-Who else thought of revamped Sontarans when the Judoon showed up?
-Weren't the effects beautiful? And I'm glad Martha could appreciate them without stuttering through a scene.
-Martha restarts the Doctor's hearts... a thinly veiled metaphor?
-The loss of the sonic screwdriver, though not permanent, provides some great moments as the Doctor realizes doors can be locked without using a gadget.
-Scene I could have done without (in the interest of at least appearing objective): The Doctor shaking radiation out of his body and into his sneaker. One strictly for the kiddies.
-Favorite line: "It's bigger on the inside." (as the Doctor mouths those same words) "Is it really?"

Doctor Who Week Celebration Extra! Offer's still on the table. You post about Who this week and I link to that post. Don't be afraid to whizz, ding or otherwise nudge me. In the meantime, guess who's got her very own blog? That's right, Martha Jones. New Who has made it a habit to take the Whoniverse to the web, with sites for UNIT and Torchwood and, of course, Mickey's paranoid website. Martha's just on MySpace, which makes a lot of sense, really.



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