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Doctor Who Companion Profile: Martha Jones

Martha

Martha Jones

Portrayed by: Freema Agyema

Doctor(s): Tenth Doctor

Tenure: 16 stories, “Smith and Jones” (March 2007) to “Journey’s End” (July 2008)

Background: Dr. Martha Jones is a medical student when she encounters the Doctor at her hospital, mid-investigation. What else is a girl to do after her workplace is transferred to the moon but begin time traveling with a charming alien who saves her life? In contrast to Rose, Martha comes from an upper middle class background and is a driven career woman. When given the opportunity to have an adventure or two and be home in time for rounds the next day though, she jumps at the chance.

Family: Martha has a younger brother, Leo, who is turning 21 when we first meet her, an older sister, Tish, and parents Francine and Clive, who are divorced, and not peacefully so. The voice of calm and reason in her family, Martha seizes the opportunity to leave these responsibilities behind for a while to travel with the Doctor. Francine is distrustful of the Doctor and is duped into helping the Master capture him. Tish is dubious as well at first, though she ends up helping him and Martha save the day in “The Lazarus Experiment”. Though Leo escapes, the rest of Martha’s family ends up in servitude to the Master on his airship, the Valiant, putting them at the center of the eventual time distortion undoing the Master’s reign and leaving them among the very few to remember that time.

Personality: Martha is curious, very intelligent, and a pragmatic thinker. She’s fierce and intrigued by the Doctor, but stands up for herself when he refuses to commit to her continued role as his Companion (he offers her the key to the TARDIS and tells her that she was “never just a passenger”). Martha was sometimes blinded by her one-sided love of the Doctor but she also had moments of deep security and self-confidence. In a lot of ways she is much tougher than Rose, having been arguably been tasked with far more challenging duties.

Special Skills: Medical training, endurance, and social skills. Her determination always seems to push her through.

Best Story: “Utopia”/“The Sound of Drums”/“Last of the Time Lords”, particularly the third episode. From her first story, Martha proves how tough and adaptable she can be. This is tested to the extreme in “Last of the Time Lords”, where she is responsible for saving the world, tasked with a year-long quest that proves just how much the Doctor has grown to trust her.

Worst Story: “Daleks in Manhattan”/“Evolution of the Daleks”. The second episode is actually pretty good, but watching “Daleks in Manhattan” you might never have guessed that. It’s not a bad episode but the pig slaves and tiring side story about showgirl Tallulah and the missing Laszlo drag it down.

Highlights of tenure: Carrying out the Doctor’s plan in “Last of the Time Lords”. Her defiant smile as she tells the Master what she’s done is a truly powerful moment that shows just how strong Martha really is. She’s also great in “Human Nature”/”The Family of Blood”.

Lowlights of tenure: Martha had the tendency to jump to conclusions very easily, as in “The Shakespeare Code” when she assumes Shakespeare is offensively referring to her in terms she considers racist. Though these conclusions are often correct, it’s still a somewhat problematic trait.

Memorable Quotes:

The Doctor: “We might die.”
Martha: “We might not.”
The Doctor: “Good. Come on”  “Smith and Jones”

– “You had to, didn’t you? You had to go and fall in love with a human. And it isn’t me.”  “Human Nature”

– “I traveled across the world. From the ruins of New York, to the fusion mills of China, right across the radiation pits of Europe. And everywhere I went I saw people just like you, living as slaves! But if Martha Jones became a legend then that’s wrong, because my name isn’t important. There’s someone else. The man who sent me out there, the man who told me to walk the Earth. And his name is The Doctor. He has saved your lives so many times and you never even knew he was there. He never stops. He never stays. He never asks to be thanked. But I’ve seen him, I know him… I love him… And I know what he can do.”  “Last of the Time Lords”

Other Notes: Dr. Martha Jones is notable for being the first black female (or main) Companion (Mickey, the very first black Companion, has a very brief tenure traveling with the Doctor). She was a great follow up to Rose- fierce and honest, and completely relatable. After all, how many of us have had an unrequited love? But Martha really stands out because she never backed down from a fight. Ultimately Martha is a great role model: a doctor, a passionate fighter, and the girl who walked the world to save humanity.

Tressa Eckermann

 


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