Posted By Kathleen David on August 27, 2007
This is where the season, for me, kicked into high gear. This episode just rocked for me on so many levels. I am so sorry that the conclusion is not going to be shown until I believe September 7th. It was kind of a sucky time to break the series.
Human Nature is based on the book by Paul Cornell which I read when it came out from Virgin Books. I thought it was one of the best Doctor Who Novels in the Virgin run of the series and it is one of my favorites of all the Doctor Who novels. This episode takes the book to the next level and what is nice it that Paul Cornell got to write this and the next episode.
Here we get to see David Tennant stretch his acting muscles as does Freema Agyeman. This is a very different episode of Doctor Who than we have seen up to this point. More of a character study with a menace lurking in the dark to up the stakes to a rather fever pitch before the episode ends. Of course spoilers behind the cut but I really ask to not discuss “Family of Blood” in the comments (Yeah I know it is hard to do).
I am grateful that I can finally talk about this episode.
I sort of had an unfair advantage going in since I read the book. I though that David Tennant did a wonderful job of making John Smith so human (a proper British Man and School Teacher) and he makes the Doctor so alien. I think you forget that watching him as the Doctor because the alien nature is really such good acting that it is in the back of your head but nothing calls it out into the stories unless it is in the script (like the first time Sarah Jane sees the TARDIS and then him). Freema Agyeman had, in some ways, the harder role. She had to play Martha fitting in with the society of the time which didn’t treat servants the best.
I loved the instructions the Doctor left Martha with to make sure that he doesn’t do anything he shouldn’t. I also love her saying that he didn’t cover all the bases and what should she do now. She knows that she had to do something.
I also like that we don’t really find out what happened until later in the show. John Smith has a bad dream but until we see Martha’s point of view, we only have the dream to try to figure out what is going on with the Doctor. I love the idea of the Doctor being in the watch. And that John Smith is a very real human.
Thomas Sangster gives a brilliant performance as Tim Latimer. The bright kid who plays dumb because he is picked on by his upper class mates. The way the older boys were treating him was not out of line for what happened to the younger kids at these sorts of schools. Harry Lloyd did a great job as Baines. Both as the human bully and as the alien inhabiting him. I didn’t see Robin Hood until after I saw this so the Will Scarlet connection when backwards for me. I see a great future for both of these young actors.
Overall I almost screamed at the end of the episode knowing I would have to wait a week until the next one. Unfortunately the American audience has to wait a little longer.