You know, I am somewhat used to Doctor Who in its modern incarnation being able to get recognizable British actors for the show, but this one actually had a more than one.
First, two from Game of Thrones: Harry “Viserys Targarean” Lloyd and Thomas “Jojen Reed” Sangster, and Sangster caught my eye a wee bit faster since I just saw him (much older) on an episode of The Queen’s Gambit earlier today.
But then there’s Jessica Hynes, the actor and writer who co-created, co-starred in, and co-wrote the BBC comedy Spaced. Her partner and co-star on that show was Simon Pegg, and he’s done some Doctor Who himself.
But that’s enough of that because the real problem is the Doctor is on the run from someone called the Family of Blood. These folks are apparently dangerous. So dangerous, he has to take drastic measures, one that requires Martha to take care of things.
See, the Family can follow the Doctor and the TARDIS through time and space. So, the only thing the Doctor can do is hide, and the best way to hide is to be…not the Doctor. He has this machine, see, that can transform him into a different species. He chooses human, and the TARDIS will take him somewhere in time and space where he can just blend in for a while. Martha will be given what looks like a pocket watch that will hold the Doctor’s original form and memories. He won’t even remember he’s a Time Lord. He just knows he has to keep Martha nearby, and she can watch over him and the TARDIS.
And so, in 1913, the Doctor ends up as a teacher at a boarding school. Martha is a maid working there, and the Doctor thinks he’s John Smith, romancing the school nurse Joan Redfern (Hynes). Martha has a 23 point set of instructions, but there’s a problem.
See, the Family found them, and they start kidnapping some local humans to have physical bodies. They have disintegrator pistols and can sense the presence of a Time Lord. Martha knows she has to open the watch. The Doctor is slipping up a bit, dreams of his old life (recorded in a journal complete with sketches of past faces), and name dropping stuff that normal human John Smith shouldn’t know.
Of course, doing that sets off the Family, starting with the son who assumed the form of a racist, elitist student (Lloyd) who looks pretty darn good when he tilts his head and sniffs when someone opens the watch. A local farmer, another maid, and a little girl round out the family as the Father, Mother, and Daughter. Now, if Martha can open the watch, all is well.
But another student (Sangster) pocketed it while Smith was berating him a bit and when he opens the watch and gets flashes of the Doctor’s life (as well as his own future in the trenches of World War I), that just draws the Family. And Martha, even with a sonic screwdriver, can’t get the Doctor to remember anything.
So, when the Family corners the Doctor at a dance, taking Martha and Joan hostage, the Doctor can’t remember what he was, and that’s just as well since he can’t change back anyway.
Man, this Family of Blood is gonna get it in part two…