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Wow...it's still here! So. New Doctor.

I've been away from this blog for a few years.  My writing had pretty much been laid aside for that time.  I had a lot in my 'real life' to deal with and still do.  But the furor over the casting of Jodie Whittaker as the 13th Doctor reminded me that once upon a time I'd written about Doctor Who, you know?

So here I am.  

I've got a lot of thoughts to think and an essay is probably on the horizon, but I can sum it up in a simple phrase for now.

HELL YES.

I've been hearing a lot of weeping and wailing and the waving of arms in a panic because of the backstory for the Jessica Jones character.  "They can't talk about rape!  They can't use yet another abused woman thing!"

And I say, why not?

It's not "sexist," people.

It's a fact of life that when women are damaged and abused, it's usually because of rape or other sexual or domestic abuses. Stalking.  Things like that.  Making Jessica Jones have a backstory that includes her abuse at the hands of a manipulative individual and suffering because of it going forward doesn't make it sensationalist.  It makes it a truth.  So many women live that truth.  Why is it so hard nowadays to look unpalatable truths in the eye? Why do we think that by not talking about it, not showing it on television, not creating fiction that resembles reality......that somehow that'll make it go away?  That it'll make it easier for the women that have lived it to keep living?

Ask someone who grieves, in the myriad ways people grieve.  Do they want silence?  Pretense that nothing ever happened? Or would they prefer transparence?  To be able to talk about it?  To see that they are not alone in feeling what they're feeling?

My wager is on the latter.

And just for shits and giggles, let's look at the "sexism" side of all this.  I don't get this label at all.  Because I really don't understand how it's okay to allow a man -- like the character of Hannibal -- to take on the mein of a serial killer (since, ya know, that's the basic profile of a serial killer, a white guy, etc., etc.) without saying he's ALSO being subjected to sexism.   Why do all serial killers have to be men anyway?  Most onscreen serial killers are.

Because, Virginia.....MOST SERIAL KILLERS ARE.  It's one of those other "facts of life."  Doesn't make it sexist.  It makes it TRUTH.

And why on earth is it okay to portray cannibalism and serial killing onscreen, but not a story about rape?  Is it because eating people is so out there that it's somehow.....removed.....from real life?  It happens, but we can watch it with an inner sense of "whew, that's crazy shit but the possibility of it is reaaaaaallllly remote"?  And we can't do that with rape?  Is that why we can't let this get on our screens, because it's too REAL?

Well, sad to say.....reality is real.  Television is fiction.  We should be able to watch a story unravel on television (like, you know....normal people-killing...we see THAT all the time and we don't run from it) and we should be able to retain the ability to discern the difference between fact and fiction.

Getting all wigged out about the Purple Man is.....so strange to me.  We don't get wigged out at Hannibal Lecter being a character, and that guy is seriously fucked up.  So ease off on the Purple Man.  He's a manipulative psycho.  Whether he's a rapist or a cannibal shouldn't make a difference.

Lastly....I dislike the idea of a rape "trope."  Rape is a tragic event, one far too common to ignore on screen.  It happens.  What makes any story compelling is not the rape.   What makes a story compelling is HOW a woman deals with the aftermath.    Some drink and drug themselves into oblivion, some become driven for justice, some become angry and bitter, some become blazing champions of protection and good.  If this happened to Jessica, what should make us come back for more is to see her story of trying to put her life together -- sometimes not all that successfully -- and how her past informs her present, her current motivations and lifestyle choices.

THAT will determine a strong female character.  One who rises from adversity, who can DEAL.  Who prevails.

THAT's a story I'm very interested in seeing.

Go read this.

 Her conclusion that "...Russell T. Davies focused the story of Who on the companions, Steven Moffat focuses the story of Who on the Doctor" is definitely one I've mentioned in this blog before. I still agree.

She goes on and says, "RTD’s Doctors got full arcs, yes, but seasons one and two are definitely about Rose and her story. Season three is about Martha. Season four is about Donna, and the End of Time is about Donna and Wilf to an extent as well, as much as it’s about the Doctor’s impending regeneration. Russell T Davies fleshed out his companions and made them people because they had stories to tell, because the Doctor—for all his brilliance—was not the hero of these tales. (Also note that while he didn’t get to do quite the same for Jack in DW, that’s what Torchwood is for.) The companions were the stars. The companions were the heroes. The companions look like giants to the Doctor because they are the reason for the show."

Yes.

Go read.

Thoughts on The Day of The Doctor

It's been a few days since the 50th Anniversary episode, "The Day Of The Doctor," was finally aired.    I've seen it about six times now and I finally feel prepared enough to blog about my reactions to it.   Believe me, there were plenty.

In the weeks preceding the 50th the Whovian community had been atwitter (pardon the pun, for Twitter was indeed the place most of the fangasming I saw was happening) about what promise the episode might hold in store.  Since the Hurt doctor was revealed the theories were flying fast and furious and curiosity was building with each passing day.  The Moffat camp were excited but quiet in general about the plot of the show or where it might take the franchise, but as always the RTD camp was going through various permutations of panic and fevered imaginings about how badly Moffat might screw things up.  Then of course we all learned Billie Piper would be back in the 50th...and then it really got bad.

Quite a few of my past blog posts have definitively underscored my affection, appreciation and respect for Rose and her profound effect on the life of the man, the Doctor -- specifically his Ninth and Tenth incarnations, but even trickling down into the Eleventh's (since Rose was - I believe - the only RTD-era companion shown during Moffat's era.)  Rose is by far my favorite companion for these reasons.

Yes, I adore Rose.  I adore the way she and Nine/Ten were written and how they made each other better.  I love that the storyline was such a heartbeat underpinning everything, pulsing like lifeblood through the show in its first and second seasons, and I love how the loss of it was like watching blood slowly drain away from the Doctor without her.  Angst, tragedy, grief, heartbreak.  I loved seeing the Doctor challenged in such a personal way and I loved how Rose's loss was used as a microcosm of the bigger loss in the Doctor's life -- that of causing the destruction of his home planet, Gallifrey.  But his real loss wasn't even Gallifrey.....not really!  Any loss he suffered in his Ninth and Tenth incarnations was reflected through the prism of the biggest loss he'd ever known -- his sense of self, at what he was capable of.   He had to deal with his sense of personal responsibility for that choice and its consequences, knowing he was a man that could push that button.  He was terrified of what he knew to be true about himself.  He felt all the losses in his life were the universe's punishment for that capability.

But there is still another subset to the RTD camp -- a camp that I am not in, mind you!  This subset (those whose real attachment and investment in the show lies not in the show itself or its overarcing goal, but in the relationship between Rose and the Ninth/Tenth Doctors) were even more panicked about the 50th.  There was much beating of breasts and gnashing of teeth in that camp!  Since Billie's role was kept very secretive it caused a big to-do in this subset.  Was she Rose Tyler?  Was she Bad Wolf?  Would she and the Tenth Doctor get to see each other again and appreciate it this time?  Would they get their proper goodbye or their proper kiss? This subset contains people who are properly angry that Ten and Rose didn't get their happily ever after and don't consider Rose in a parallel world with TenTwo as that happy ending because it's a cheap consolation prize and nothing else but the proper Tenth Doctor will do.

Something I Read About Ten....

Here's something I read written by Halia Meguid, a rather incredible singer who's voice has been featured on Doctor Who and on Torchwood.  She remade a cover of Murray Gold's song, "Doomsday," and added her own lyrics (I've posted the song and the lyrics below.)  Anyway, someone sent it along to Murray and he hired her to do some work on DW and on Torchwood.    She wrote this about the Tenth Doctor:


Favorite Doctor | Ten (David Tennant)

“Oh. Lived too long.”

There aren’t words. Accept no substitutes. I feel no actor has ever put his own soul into a part in the history of this series as much as David Tennant. This was the role he was born to do; as if he had a fob watch of his own, and flicked it open and this star-filled god had been raging inside of him all along. It’s a performance that is completely other-worldly and has no human constraints - except for love. Through Tennant, we see the Doctor’s limitless intellect, his terror, his loneliness, his age, his battle scars. What a horrible shame that, as the writing dragged towards the end of his tenure, the character became somewhat of a parody of himself (I swear, if I heard “allons-y” one more fucking time I would have set fire to my face), but with “Waters of Mars” came a glittering, bloodthirsty depth that had never been seen before. It was such a beautiful and refreshing and frightening moment. I won’t ever quite feel the same way about this show after he left. I am an avid fan of the Classic series as well, so there’s no harm in regeneration, but with Ten gone, it’s a change that’s been hard to grapple with. I suppose it was the first time we got a real sense of the Doctor being an individual man in this life, along with the common string of similarities and morals inherent in all the Doctors. And with Ten’s final words, “I don’t want to go,” for the first time that it really was the death of a single man, rather than the same old Doctor shedding his skin. And then there’s the delight, the sheer giddiness and exuberance at being alive and finding wonder in little things that Ten was so known for in the earlier days of the series, and that he still held out ‘til practically toward the end. He’s still the only Doctor I’ve seen that managed to find something wonderful in anybody, to unlock people’s ferocity and beauty and courage. I miss him.

Source: Halia Meguid, Tumblr

Also, a beautiful song that Halia sang entitled "The Doctor's Theme (Ballad Of A Weary Traveler)" (with music by Murray Gold) just begs for me to post it.  Go take a listen here, it's fabulous!  Here are the lyrics:

Ballad of a Weary Traveller (The Doctor’s Theme)





what does it take for stars to open wide?
the black against the white, so high
in the sky.
i look for a sign.
a girl, she was mine.
i lost her in time,
lost her in time.

what would you say if i were gone away?
if i had never stayed? it’s okay.
i don’t need nobody anyway.

i walk alone, this starlight empty road.
don’t have no place to go, and so
here i roam.
i look for a sign.
a girl, she was mine.
i lost her in time,
lost her in time.

she was a rose, a blemish on my bones.
she was my only home, and so
here i roam.
i look for a sign.
a girl, she was mine.
i lost her in time,
lost her in time.





Another great Doctor Who track that Halia's added lyrics to (& the one that got her noticed) is the famous  "Doomsday."  Go here to listen to it, lyrics below:



is this the end or is it starting?
this dawn, it’s white as bone and stirs
in me some kind of wild, broken lightning

listen this sound, the sea
it’s burning up
and you are not beside me

listen to this sound, the sea
it’s burning up
and you are not beside me

stars in the bruise black sky are dying
they turn to metal in my mouth
and laugh at me for all my crying

listen this sound, the sea
it’s burning up
and you are not beside me

listen to this sound, the sea
it’s burning up
and you are not beside me





Physician, Heal Thyself.....wait....WHAT?

The name of this blog is the title of this post....obviously.

But what I couldn't have known is that the title of this blog would ALSO become the Eighth Doctor's final words.

Wibbly wobbly timey wimey, for sure.  I'm a bit thrilled here all right.  Won't say much more about this.  Just go watch the special.

Amy Pond

Can't say much about Amy that this blogger hasn't said.

Almost Time!

I haven't posted in a while.  Sorry about that. Life's been a bit crazy lately is the only excuse I've got. :D  I'll try to get with it a little bit more.

I'm also thinking about making this a place to post any Who-based fiction I may or may not complete in the future.  I haven't written fiction -- much less fan fiction -- in years and years (decades, even!) and in trying my hand out on it again recently I've discovered that it's tougher than it was.  Much to my chagrin, it truly is like a muscle that atrophies if you don't keep exercising it.  Hopefully my hesitant recent forays into it will bear some fruit.

The Whoniverse has been a busy place.  We're moving closer and closer to The Day Of The Doctor time.  We've learned about newfound classic Troughton-era episodes located in Nigeria.  We've been treated to a few teaser images and other small spoilers about casting for the 50th Anniversary episode.  And for me, I'm seeing a lot of David Tennant's work passing my screen.  I'll be attending a performance of his Richard II in London in December, something that I'm quite ridiculously excited about.

I'm sure I'll get back into the swing of posting thoughtful pieces on DW soon enough.  I might need a refresher series-long watch or two to get the creative juices flowing again.  That's what weekends are for!

Allons-y!

It's Called 'The Day of the Doctor'!

"Oh freedom is mine
And I know how I feel
It's a new dawn, it's a new day
It's a new life, for me
And I'm feeling good..."

-- 'Feeling Good," Nina Simone

The title of Doctor Who's 50th Anniversary show has been announced and it's The Day of the Doctor (henceforth known as TDotD.)  The promotional poster below was also released.  I have to admit I'm totally fangirling about it.

Questions have been put forth regarding the oddness of David's hair because it doesn't seem to match any of his original season hair.  I have a sort of theory about that - my first instinct is that the Ten that shows up in TDotD will be the one from the part of his timeline between The Waters of Mars and The End of Time.  It's a good space to pull him from.  His hair change could be explained, he has no companions, and he's torn and broken and lost.  He's terrified of dying and he's running.   Why not?

However, this is Moffat and it's a damaged timestream we're talking about here.  ANYTHING is possible.

Day of the Doctor 2

What I'm really squeeing about are all the small images between the Tenth and Eleventh Doctors.  There's John Hurt of course, wearing a jacket that looks remarkably similar to the Ninth's.  That's well and good.  I see the Daleks too, but as this is Time War-era that's to be expected.

I'm also loving that Hurt is carrying a RED sonic screwdriver!  According to this article, "We’ve seen a red sonic screwdriver before. It belonged to River Song, the Doctor’s wife.  The first time the Doctor met River was in a planet-sized library. She died almost immediately, but was saved by the ‘red settings’ on a special screwdriver the Doctor had given her just beforehand. Could be nothing more than a photo filter, could be the most important coincidence in the history of the universe."

Hmmm.......

But oooh, I'm really squeeing about the small sign to Hurt's left!  It says simply, BAD WOLF.

YAY!!

Oh, the possibilities!  I generally hate to speculate because let's face it, I suck at it.  I guess and guess and I'm rarely right.  Mostly I'm okay with that because it's the speculation that's fun and not the accuracy of such.  But it's hard to resist throwing out some questions and random thoughts, so I won't.

Bad Wolf only made an appearance in the Tenth Doctor era after the events of Turn Left.  All the rest of it was Nine's.  So.  Hm.  The first question in my head is does that mean that Eccleston has a cameo?  Theories have abounded that he and McGann both might and that would be lovely!   But Moff's said no. So far. Remember that Rule #1 is 'the Doctor Lies.'  Moffat certainly does, and has in the past.  I will continue to hold out hopes until they're dashed.

My first thought upon seeing the poster and the words Bad Wolf was to wonder if this confirmed my initial suspicions that whatever plot TDotD had, it would concern the Time War.  Hurt's 8.5 Doctor seemed to already confirm that but seeing Bad Wolf helped.  Bringing Ten and Rose together at some point and making both of them somehow forget events seemed a bit too far-fetched for me, so this makes me think Billie Piper will be playing Bad Wolf instead of Rose Tyler and that Bad Wolf -- who can see all of time and space -- will be the catalyst for the events in the show.  Did Bad Wolf scatter more breadcrumbs for Ten and Eleven to follow than we've seen so far?  How far back did Bad Wolf go?

There have been some leakages that helped my theorizing.  There was a photo released by Piper's stunt double wearing a futuristic type outfit which seemed similar in style to Hurt's clothes.  Maybe this means that Piper will work with Hurt for the most part and be involved somehow in the Time War.  There have also been a few leaked script lines (if the 'leaked script' is actually a REAL leaked script after all.)   A part of it is some dialogue with Eleven that says that Rose would forget.  If she is Bad Wolf, then yes....she might.  Having the Vortex in her head definitely caused her to forget a lot of what she did when she was rescuing Nine on Satellite Five.  It isn't a leap to assume that the same would be true of whatever it was she did to assist during the Time War era.

So will Bad Wolf team up with Hurt's Doctor?  I think so.  I thought about it some more and came up with some theories which I will throw out now (take them with the proverbial grain of salt):

Theory #1:   If we assume that the Rose we'll see in TDotD is Bad Wolf and not Rose Tyler, she will originate from the end of the Ninth Doctor's era and have the Time Vortex in her head.  Now if you recall in TPotW Bad Wolf said, "the Time War ends."  An odd statement, perhaps?  Perhaps not.  Suppose she was making a comment regarding something we didn't witness at that time -- something Bad Wolf had just attempted to do!  It appeared that Bad Wolf was saving her Doctor from the Daleks on Satellite Five but what if she meant she had just ventured back into the Time War to properly save him from becoming the broken PTSD Doctor by making his horrible choice, and had failed?  If she had, the comment she made about ending the Time War was to destroy those last Daleks that had survived the Time War and had caused her Doctor to question whether the choice he'd made had been worth it.   So how did she fail during the Time War?    Well, what if Hurt isn't 8.5 but instead an alternate 9 created by a messed up timestream and a different Time War outcome?  Perhaps the Time War didn't end or didn't get Time Locked and it's beginning to extend out into other universes and planets.  Maybe Bad Wolf and the alternate 9 join together to battle what is now an ongoing Time War.  This may lead to Ten and Eleven teaming up to set things right, set time back on track, and return Eccleston back to 9.   But to do that they might have to make the same decision over again.

Theory #2:  It's been assumed (by me, I don't read much prior Who history and what I do read tends to leak from my head like a sieve) that McGann's Eight was the Time War Doctor that possessed The Moment that ended the Time War. If something prevents Eight from doing so (whether it's the Daleks, Hurt's Doctor, or the Zygons) then the War will continue to wage and eventually threaten the entire universe.  Perhaps Bad Wolf Rose helps with that, or becomes a cause for the Eighth Doctor's regeneration. Or she's guiding the Hurt Doctor on how to end the war (or possibly change the outcome.) Or even crazier, maybe somehow Hurt was the original "Bad Wolf" and Rose simply got the name out of the Time Vortex/Eye of Harmony in the TARDIS because it was already rolling around in there? If Bad Wolf was in Hurt's Doctor (making him the Vengeful God that Nine spoke of if a Time Lord took the Vortex into his head) before Rose forces it to go into herself by opening up the TARDIS, and then she uses it to cycle back to help Hur, wouldn't that be cool?  And timey wimey?  Sure.  But Bad Wolf created herself, right?

Theory #3:  What if it comes from the opposite direction?  What if the Doctor's actions to end the Time War and destroy his people were orchestrated by Bad Wolf?  After all, if the Doctor hadn't done so, the Daleks would have destroyed the universe at large and the Earth in particular.  If the damaged timestream now causes the Time War to never have ended like it did, Bad Wolf could choose to go back and try to rebuild the timeline by using Hurt's Doctor and manipulating him into ending the War and making that terrible decision.....again.  Because once again he has to make things right.  Then what would happen to the idea that, because of what he did, the succeeding Doctors banished Hurt's Doctor from using the name since they believe he broke the promise of 'The Doctor'?   We know they've done this because they've believed he was the villain and they've all carried around this horrible guilt for so very long.  What if Ten and Eleven learn that Bad Wolf Rose was involved and had forced the issue?  If that's the case then perhaps they'll decide to do something different with Hurt's Doctor.  Perhaps the numbering will change after all.  (As an aside: Ugh.)

Oh, I don't know.   Most of this just sounds silly.  I'm like Bad Wolf, but I don't create myself.  I confuse myself. :D

Lastly a few other hopes that I don't care to see. If Rose isn't Bad Wolf but Rose, what if Rose isn't with Ten?  What if she's somehow thrown back to Hurt?  Ugh.  Hurt doesn't need Rose so I hope not.  If I hold to my breast any real hopes it's to see Ten and Rose together again, somehow.  I'm jaded and cynical as a general rule but the last vestiges of the deep and sappy part of my romantic soul enjoys the bonds of true love between those two.  Seeing anything that would break them up or discount what they felt for each other would severely disappoint me.  I don't expect them to have a romantic relationship in this episode at all (especially if it's set before they were torn apart at Canary Wharf) but I don't want to see anything that would take away from what RTD built for them together.  To be frank, I have fears that Moff will fuck with canon and THAT would piss me off.

Otherwise, I'm excited as hell.  Bring it on!

Ten's Companions: The Doctor and Ms. Jones

"...For standin' in your heart
Is where I want to be, and I long to be
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind
Ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind..."

-- "Catch The Wind," Donovan


In Whovian circles, most discussions about Martha Jones either begin or end with issues concerning her unrequited love for the Tenth Doctor.  As her comparably uneventful time in the TARDIS was sandwiched between the great tragedies of the love of his Ninth/Tenth lives Rose Tyler, and that of his best friend Donna Noble, she's often dismissed out of hand.  It's unfortunate Martha's given such short shrift because it not only considerably diminishes her contributions to the Doctor's personal development, but also obscures the fact that in no way was Martha Jones a 'second rate' companion.

The companion is a viewer's proxy into the world of the Doctor.  Most of us can imagine what it would be like to travel with such a man, or to be loved by him, or to be his best friend.  We respond to the romantic ideal that this man could bring us out of our mundane existances, give us all of space and time, and inspire us to become the person we know we could be if real life hadn't been in the way.  We responded to the Rose who loved the man and the Donna who befriended the alien.  As they gained confidence and wisdom, so did we.  As they inevitably fell in such grand tragedy, we mourned for them and for the Doctor.

Martha's story arc didn't seem as transparently dramatic and tragic as Rose's and Donna's stories were, and viewers didn't respond well to her dilemma concerning the Doctor.  While there are few amongst us who haven't pined away for someone who doesn't know we exist, it's an experience that (almost without exception) leaves us feeling small, foolish and miserable.   A lot of viewers were resistant to stepping into a companion's shoes who was living out this experience because 1) the Doctor's great love story with Rose had come to such an abrupt and tragic end and in some ways it felt disloyal to Rose's memory to root for a replacement, and 2) Martha's story arc was a painful one that not many of us care to revisit.  It was a difficult viewing experience and instead of feeling joy at all of Martha's triumphs, we were often left embarrassed for her.

Consider Martha for a moment, though.  Unlike Rose, Martha wasn't young and drifting, out looking for a new life because she didn't know what she'd do with the one she had. Unlike Donna, she wasn't a woman looking back over her life and feeling like she never had been and never would be important or worthy. Martha was an independent, intelligent and focused medical student embarking on a career path that would most likely bring her significant personal satisfaction. She had a large family with typical personal pressures and problems but they were loyal and supportive of each other. She didn't seem lonely or searching for answers. She was making her way in the world with confidence and compassion and a wisdom far beyond her years.

And then she met the Doctor.

He blew into her life like that Oncoming Storm.   Lost, grieving -- and expertly hiding it all behind his charmingly manic armor -- he was the kind of man that Martha didn't see coming.  Imagine for a moment the kind of men Martha met on a daily basis and compare them with the force of nature called the Doctor, a dashing, handsome man whose confidence was dangerously addictive and who was infinitely more capable than she was. He was a dazzling star in an otherwise dark sky, an alien, an enigma to solve, a hero, a healer and oh, how like a God! This incredible, impossible man praised her and called her clever and brilliant, and then he kissed her, and then......then he came back for her after their adventure was over.   How could she not be smitten with him?

And smitten she was.  In her otherwise predictably rock solid life, he was the one nexus around which everything suddenly swirled.  When he told her about Rose and she saw the pain he couldn't quite hide, he revealed a scarred vulnerability that intrigued her and which pulled deeply at her inherent need to heal people.  When he offered her that first trip in the TARDIS and put such conditions on it -- just one trip as a reward and then you're gone, he said! -- and told her to stop it when she questioned his intentions towards her?   He became a challenge.  For a bright, accomplished and driven woman like Martha, a challenge was her Achilles Heel.   The Doctor was pure catnip.

It's for another Tenth Doctor Character Study post to examine in more detail the nature of Ten's emotional relationship with Martha and why the two were pulled towards each other.  Suffice to say here that they respected and trusted each other and certainly cared deeply for each other. It is also certain that all his Companions helped in their own way to make the Doctor a better man, and Martha was no exception -- he knew that he needed her after he'd lost Rose.

But if the Doctor made Rose better, and made Donna better, what did he do for Martha?  Did he make her better too?

Good question.  It's hard to draw hard and fast lines for where one person's personal responsibility to another falls.  How much do one person's actions directly cause someone else's?  When is enough, enough?  These are the sorts of questions we face when we look at the amount of responsibility the Doctor carries for Martha's feelings and behaviors, and how much Martha herself is responsible for. For right now, we'll look at Martha's feelings and her responses to them, and save the Doctor's for that Character Study post.

Martha realized quite early on that the Doctor's hearts belonged to Rose.  She found herself in that most awkward of situations -- the man she wanted loved another, a woman lost to him -- a ghost.   It also didn't take her long to realize that the Doctor was in mourning, though he refused to talk about it.  She felt that if he'd talk to her, confide in her and trust her, she might be able to help him heal. But it was something he resisted doing and when he did, he only did it in hesitant spurts.  He was, of course, in self-preservation mode and distancing himself from the world by using Rose's memory and his own feelings of grief and loss.

Competing with a ghost is never easy even under the best of circumstances, and it didn't help that the Doctor (consciously or not) often compared Martha to Rose.  When the Doctor mentioned to Martha in The Shakespeare Code that "Rose would know....she'd say exactly the right thing," it was the first brick he set in a wall he had decided to build between himself and the world. Over time, Martha began to feel that no matter what she tried, she was simply not as good as the woman he'd lost and that no matter what she did, she'd never be able to measure up.  She responded in a cycle of behavior that's pretty predictable, really.  While at first she was angry and resentful and jealous, as time went on she began to integrate those feelings of inferiority into her self-identity. Because she respected his opinion so much she subsumed her own about herself and accepted that he believed she would always be second best.

Perhaps she accepted this so readily because her love for the Doctor -- one she admitted to in both The Family Of Blood and Last Of The Time Lords -- was a love equally interwoven with desire and hero worship.  She loved him because of what he was and what he represented every bit as much as who he was.  He was her romanticized ideal.  He'd sacrificed so much for everyone and had lost so much in doing so, that she hero worshipped the God in him.  She desperately wanted him to love her as a woman and to be worthy of that from him, but if she couldn't have that, she'd decided by The Family Of Blood that it didn't matter.  She loved him anyway.

What she did for him in testament to that love was profound.

In Human Nature and The Family of Blood, Martha became a maid and was abused for her class and her race and her job.  During that time her life and safety were at considerable risk.  While the Doctor assured Martha that the TARDIS would provide safety for them both, she really only provided safety for the Doctor by placing him in a teaching position and giving him a reasonable identity.  She didn't provide Martha the same amount of protection.  Given that Martha's ability to move freely and to make her own decisions were vitally important in her ability to protect the amnesiac human doctor (and that the TARDIS had the entirety of time and space to choose from) why did the TARDIS choose 1913, where Martha's considerable talents were completely useless?  One could ask why the Doctor didn't request a place safe for them both.  Or did it even occur to him?  Regardless, Martha rose to the challenge and protected the Doctor above and beyond.

Of course in The Sound of Drums and Last of The Time Lords Martha walked the earth for an entire year, rallying the entire planet to the Doctor's cause.  It was to be the critical turning point for her.  It was in this year, a year where the Doctor was not part of her life, that Martha finally came into her own power.  She was able to remove herself out from under the cloud of inferiority that living with the Doctor and his ghosts had given her.  She saw that she needed to move on with her life because she had been chasing after a pipe dream.  She realized in that year that the Doctor was not a God.  He came and he went, and he fixed things, but he could leave and he never had to stay and deal with the aftermath of things.  Whatever he did, he could and often did run away.  She had learned during her quest that she had to live day to day and make decisions going forward on the long path based on how they would affect her and the people around her, just like she did when she'd first chosen medicine as her profession.

And -- most importantly -- that year helped her find the strength she needed to start once again from the position of power she'd had before she had met the Doctor and given it away to him.

How the Doctor affected each of his three Companions is what makes their stories dramatic. They were all tragedies in their way but because Martha's was the quietest, the one hidden behind the sadness of unrequited love, it gets lost amongst the drama of the others. While being separated from the love of one's life is a grand tragedy everyone can relate to, and losing the memory of the only thing that ever gave you or your life any meaning was another, being the woman in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong man?  It's a tragedy of a dreadfully commonplace scale.

One thing can be said about Martha's time with the Doctor, though.  When she met him her strength had never been seriously road tested.  By the end it had, a thousand times over -- but she had to find it and utilize it without him at her side. Donna lost everything in the end. Rose had to endure a long separation before she finally found what peace she could with Ten2. Martha may have lost the man, but she gained something infinitely more valuable -- herself.

Martha's story arc was in many respects the exact opposite of Rose's and Donna's.  The Doctor's presence made Rose and Donna better but their stories ended like most tragedies do, with sadness and loss. Martha's story, though, isn't the tragedy that befell the rest of the Tenth Doctor's companions.  While it was tragic that she had feelings for the Doctor that he couldn't and didn't reciprocate and that her time with him made her weaker, not stronger, the end of her story was different than that of Rose or Donna. Martha's was a victory.  Martha truly came into her own.

Sadly, the thing that makes Martha the 'least' favorite companion is the thing that makes her the best -- she didn't need the Doctor.  She wanted him, and she hero-worshipped the God in him, but she didn't need him to change her life for the better because she had nothing to start with.  Not really.  She had to live without him, and then finally leave him, in order to regain her best self.