‘Always Bring a Banana to the Party’: Best David Tennant Doctor Who Episodes

For anyone who knows anything about me…lately, I have been seriously into Doctor Who (thank you Netflix for making it possible to watch 60 episodes in 3 months). Anyway, my favorite Doctor is the Tenth, David Tennant. Maybe he’s my fav because he’s my first (tee-hee) or maybe because he just simply knows how to rock the role of the quirky Timelord from Gallifrey perfectly. I think it’s the latter, but you know, Whovians may have a difference of opinion. Here are three of my favorite Tennant episodes (this was so hard!). Anyway…Allons-y, Alonso!

THIS POST CONTAINS: 

SPOILERS

“The Girl in the Fireplace” by Steven Moffat

the girl in the fireplace

There’s no easy way of summarizing this episode, but I can try to give you the highlights! Some scary aliens from a weird spacecraft are threatening Officer Ripley Madame de Pompadour, King Louis XV’s mistress. Just in time, the TARDIS lands inside the creepy stalker spacecraft, and the Doctor finds out about the shenanigans. The Doctor (besides being smitten by Madame de Pompadour) wants to save her from her odd alien stalkers. The Doctor has to find the right moment in her timeline to be able to save her. What this spaceship wants with the Madame, no one knows for sure, but the Doctor must help King Louis XV’s mistress make-out get away safe and sound.

This was the episode I fell in love with Tennant as the Doctor. It is evident that Tennant’s Doctor knows when to charm Madame de Pompadour, rave about inventing banana daiquiris, and relish in the decadence of French parties. But most importantly, Tennant exposes the emotional turmoil of the time traveler. “The Girl in the Fireplace” is the perfectly analogy of how a Timelord lives his life. Always trying to find the right instance in time, always out of sequence, always grasping for meaning, the Doctor can never carpe diem, for every day is not a day, but a bunch of jumbled up moments. Perhaps Moffat was foreshadowing his future plans for the Doctor’s romantic life with Riversong. Maybe, he was alluding to the Doctor’s inability to commit himself to Rose, but mostly, I believe he was exposing the audience to the Doctor’s failure to connect to anyone outside of the TARDIS.  How impossible must it be for the Doctor to find the right moment in his own life when he knows no mortality or time, and even more impossible, would it be for him to meet someone that shares that same experience?  The somber ending of “The Girl in the Fireplace” is a reminder that the Doctor cannot have a proper timeline—a real one with a beginning, a middle and an end. Tennant’s Doctor seamlessly conveys a quiet melancholy about the Timelord’s lonesome destiny that makes this episode heartbreakingly memorable

“Human Nature” and “Family of Blood” by Paul Cornell

human_nature

The Doctor is human?! My fantasies have come true! “Human Nature” and “Family of Blood” take place in the 20th century in a small school, where the Doctor and Martha are hiding from the dangerous Family of Blood that wants to use the Doctor’s energy to prevent themselves from dying.  In order to successfully dodge the bloodthirsty aliens, the Doctor uses the Chameleon Arch to turn himself into a human. However, the machine leaves him without any memory of who he really is: a kickass Timelord that needs to save the universe and hates pears. The only person who knows his true identity is Martha, and she is too busy admiring the Doctor’s cute arse under strict orders not to reveal the Doctor’s identity until the precise moment before the danger reaches its climax (the Doc’s memories are inserted into a watch that she must give to him at the right moment).

What’s interesting about this storyline is that it is less sci-fi and more drama. Both episodes mostly focus on the Doctor’s inner-turmoil as he tries to figure out his identity and destiny. As a human being, the Doctor is merely a professor, who falls in love with his coworker. He is no more different than Martha, Rose, or Donna. His story is simple and realistic. The Doctor feels like humans do and has the possibility of living a normal human life. As much as the Doctor loves his human form, we (the audience and Martha) know it will not last. Tension builds as the Doctor’s impending heartache becomes evident. And as the memories of his identity start seeping through in the form of series of sketches and stories the Doctor starts logging in a journal, the realization that his happy human form is an illusion becomes increasingly apparent to himself and everyone around him. And one question remains after the aliens are gone and the Doctor goes back to the TARDIS: Can the Doctor ever be happy and fulfilled as a Timelord?

“Blink” by Steven Moffat

Don’t blink. Don’t even blink. Blink and you’re dead. They are fast, faster than you could believe, don’t turn your back, don’t look away, and don’t blink. Good luck.

Blink

This is possibly the most iconic episode of Doctor Who since the new series began. And it is rather awesome indeed! Although Tennant is barely in “Blink”, his terrific dialogue is a pop culture reference. This episode follows Sally Sparrow as she ducks tries to understand what is going on in her wacky life. Let’s see what;s going with Sally….scary statue angels are coming to life, her best friend has gone missing, and the DVDs she watches contain a bizarre “Easter Egg” (that is seemingly talking directly to her).

Moffat’s “Blink” is brilliantly acted, but mostly, it is the thrilling, scary, and engaging plot that mesmerizes the Who audience. Moffat demonstrates that Doctor Who can be frightening as well as magical. I won’t ruin this one too much for you, but what really rocks is the way this episode defines time and time travel. It really dives into the Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey and follows up with an interesting paradoxical ending. After “Blink”, you won’t close your eyes anywhere near a statue again… guaranteed.

And yes there are more amazing Tennant episodes that I honorably mention below. What’s your favorite Tennant Who episode?

Some MORE of my favorites:

“The End of Time”

“Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Dead”

“Voyage of the Damned”

“The Planet of the Ood”

“Love & Monsters”

“Gridlock”

“The Christmas Invasion”

“The Idiot’s Lantern”

TennantDaviesInterview1-thumb-550x415-30833

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5 thoughts on “‘Always Bring a Banana to the Party’: Best David Tennant Doctor Who Episodes

  1. Great post! as are all the rest of your posts! Tennant is also my favorite Doctor, although he wasn’t my first……that belongs to Eccelston. How I survived that I will never know. Some of my favorites are “The Shakespeare Code” (The Harry Potter reference is great in it) and “Smith and Jones” (Judoon are lovely.) I am still an avid watcher but I am apprehensive of Matt Smith, he has amazing episodes and then some lackluster ones. Cheers to the new season!

    • I am excited for the new season as well! I am going to do a “Best of Matt Smith” post as soon as I revisit some of his episodes so far. Although I do agree with you, I think sometimes Smith is amazing and other times he doesn’t quite hit the mark. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

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