Spoilers for "Doctor Who" coming up just as soon as I pop a fish's shoulder back into place...
While "The Doctor's Daughter" was a significant improvement over the Sontaran two-parter, focusing more on the season's greatest strength -- The Doctor and Donna together, with Donna understanding our local Time Lord almost better than he knows himself -- I still had some issues with it.
The first is this ongoing "The Doctor is not a soldier" theme we've had for three episodes running now. It's been such a concentrated burst that I have to think it has something to do with Russell Davies' endgame for the season, and I'm not a fan. Yes, one of the fundamental tenets of "Doctor Who" is that The Doctor uses his brain as a weapon instead of a gun, but it's in fact so fundamental a part of the character that I would think it doesn't need to be spelled out at this late date. And if the idea is to illustrate The Doctor still coming to grips with his role in ending the Time War (and committing dual genocide to end it), it's one that would have worked far better as an Eccleston story as one with Tennant, as one of the key differences between Nine and Ten is that Nine was consumed with his guilt over the deed, where Ten had the memories but not quite as much emotional baggage. I love Tennant in the role, but stories like this one really make me wish Eccleston hadn't bailed after a single season.
(A question for the long-time "Who" fans: in general, how has the franchise dealt with emotional carryover from one incarnation of The Doctor to the next? Ten obviously still felt affection for Sarah Jane, but in general, when the old school Doctors regenerated, how much did they care about things that were important to their prior versions?)
Beyond that, the arc of The Doctor coming to accept Jenny as his "daughter" and inviting her to come hang out on the TARDIS, followed by her apparent death, was so predictable that even her resurrection (without regenerating into a new form, interestingly enough) couldn't really save it. I liked the chemistry between Tennant and Georgia Moffett (not surprisingly, they're rumored to be dating in real life), but this was plotting by the numbers.
And yet... I loved Martha befriending the Hath in spite of the language barrier -- and the entire design of the Hath, who could have been rubber mask people but were somehow expressive with those eye blinks and gill flaps and bubbling respirators -- and felt moved by Martha's pain at realizing that her Hath friend had died to save her. (Frankly, I was more moved by her grief than by The Doctor's at the apparent death of Jenny.)
And, as mentioned above, I again enjoyed the hell out of The Doctor and Donna together in close quarters. One of the larger problems with the Sontaran two-parter was that it kept them apart for so long, and with an extra Companion on board for this trip, the producers got to send Martha off to bond with the Hath while Donna got to stick close and again show that she's more observant than we or The Doctor give her credit for. I'll admit, though, to not entirely following her explanation of the human/Hath war only lasting seven days; have they been doing construction even while they were fighting?
Overall, there were enough good things in this one to outweigh the more problematic parts, and I'll be curious to see if Jenny was a one-off character, or if Davies (or Steven Moffatt, for that matter) plans to bring her back down the road.
As always, a reminder: please respect the American broadcast schedule and do not discuss, either specifically or vaguely, any episodes that have aired in Great Britain but not here yet. Anything that's even slightly spoiler-y will be deleted.
What did everybody else think?