"I'm not impossible. Just a bit unlikely."
IN THIS ONE... On a world of clones at war, the Doctor spawns a daughter.
REVIEW: Bit of a tear-jerker this one, though watching it repeatedly takes away from the effect. See, we're almost at the point where the season gets really good, but only almost. The plots still have some big problems that get progressively harder to bear, even though the character stuff might work quite well. The theme of asexual reproduction is with us once again (that's EVERY episode this season to this point), and it dovetails into one of the season's other themes, that of the Doctor turning people into soldiers/weapons. While this leads up to Davros' speech in the finale, every time it comes up before, it's actually to show how the Doctor DOESN'T. Martha joined UNIT, yes, but means to change things from the inside, and in this episode, while I'd have rather had her WITH the Doctor and Donna, she plays his role on the Hath side of the Messaline's conflict, an ambassador for the human race, a friend a Hath is willing to die for, and a general peacemaker. Similarly, the humans may have created a soldier, Jenny, from the Doctor's DNA, but he teaches her a better way, and it ultimately inspires her to follow in his footsteps, aboard a different roundel-equipped craft. Evil must be fought, to paraphrase the second Doctor, but the methods are important. The Doctor "never would" except he has, in various ways, but those ways matter, they're not indiscriminate or gratuitous.
The Time War looms large in this episode, as Jenny reminds the Doctor of his people (she's at least Gallifreyan if not a Time Lady) and of his dead family especially (so Susan definitely died in the conflict, it would seem). Why he rejects her is a complex question, and Tennant manages to give one of his best performances showing that very complexity. There are the petty justifications, like the fact she was created against his will and is not of his culture, but these are quickly dispelled by Donna-as-family-therapist. Closer to the truth is his contempt of her and her war, which fall well short of his people and theirs. Truer still is the notion that she reminds him of that part of himself that WAS a warrior, and that's the thing he can't bear. It's quite nice to see him warm to her, be proud of her, be willing to bring her along. And heartbreaking for her to die in his arms after sacrificing her life for him (and yet somehow just a touch less harrowing than Martha's mirrored loss of her Hath friend on the planet surface). We see something of the Doctor in Jenny too, of course, not that it's immediately apparent Georgia Moffatt is Peter Davison's real-life daughter (and now Tennant's real-life wife, how's that for insane Doctor Who connection). She's got his enthusiasm and ability not to take danger seriously, and that's what charms us. It's really too bad she never made another appearance; the episode seems to promise we'd catch up to her some day.
But while the four main characters are enjoyable - and the Hath sort of endearing - the plot is complete bollocks. First of all, there's way too much shooting and running around disused factory tunnels. That kind of action tends to bore me quickly. Then, there's the shocking twist that all these generations of clones at war since before anyone can remember only really started their conflict a week ago. That just doesn't work, guys. The idea that soldiers on both sides are numerous and being killed continuously, requiring more troops to be created, is undersold, but that's not the main problem. The main problem is General Cobb who, aside from being a one-dimensional antagonist (having a programmed motivation will do that), talks of a pacifist outbreak "three generations ago", which I guess means at most the day before, and so is old enough to remember several generations. It should be clear TO HIM that the conflict hasn't actually raged for decades or centuries. Furthermore, he's the only old person in the entire story, so... was he created that way? Or are the "generated anomalies" (what does that even MEAN?) affected by accelerated decrepitude? What, is Jenny old and dead before she leaves the system? So fine, they wanted to give Donna another super-temp moment, but she could have been "good with numbers" without this whopper of a twist. You're already asking us to accept people with simple firearms who have technology that creates people out of thin air in seconds and terraforms an entire planet in less than a minute, yo.
VERSIONS: The deleted scenes on the DVD include an interesting conversation between Jenny and Donna about the Goddess the humans worship, linking the "breath of life" to Jenny's resurrection and her "sigh" to the Doctor's disappointment in his daughter. They should have kept it in. A longer rousing speech from Cobb wasn't as missed.
SECOND OPINIONS: My original review, G.I. Jenny, talks at length about the season's recurring themes in relation to this episode.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Jenny is a charmer, and the three other leads give good performances. Once again, I'm forced to express disappointment at the plot itself.