I appreciate the Doctor Who team keeping the best ’til last. The season offered a lot from the get-go, but the quality seems to have got better and better over time. Following on from ‘Human Nature‘, ‘The Family of Blood‘ offered a satisfying conclusion to a complex tale, with action, excitement, explosions and poignancy aplenty.
The Family continued to offer some top grade evil, though the Doctor almost out-eviled them at the end with his diabolical punishment for each member. The whole plotline with the nurse got quite heart-rending in the end, with the fob watch offering a glimpse of a happy (if foreshortened) future for the Doctor as a mere mortal.
The assault on the school mirrored the tragic violence yet to come in the Great War, where soldiers instead of scarecrows would fall like ragdolls under the withering fire of machine guns. John Smith realised the terrible wrong inherent in exposing such young men to the horrors of war… In the following year, soldiers would go to war expecting to spend only weeks or months on the front, treating the whole affair like some minor skirmish or a game of war. By 1918, the effects of the Great War would scar the consciousness of Great Britain forever.
The Doctor’s sneaky activities in the Family’s ship reminded me of the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) in his earlier days, the butterfingered clown knocking into and falling over things with minimal provocation.
Stirring stuff and a very welcome distraction indeed!