I almost didn't write this review. I honestly felt, what little there was to complain about, and wonderful things to say about Human Nature, has already been said. I'll just focus on a few things though.
So often in Time Travel shows, even in Doctor Who, the past doesn't necessarily feel like a different period in time as much as perhaps being only a few cities over. Everything came together perfectly though, this time, and this genuinely felt like like the 19-teens. The cast was truly magnificent, and this is despite me constantly being distracted telling myself that Mother of Mine was NOT being played by the slutty barmaid from Two Pints. Cheers to Sangster especially, even though I honestly haven't seen him in anything since Love Actually. I'm happy for a link to that movie, as I've been known to push for Liam Neeson as the 11th Doctor.
Rebekah Staton is NOT the slutty barmaid from Two Pints of Lager..
John Smith, not so much for most of the story, as he doesn't stand out THAT well, perhaps the mark of being an effective human. Watching him break down, denying his true self, trying to bargain with himself, panicking at the thought of having to turn back into this alien thing. Moving stuff.
That ending. Wow. Alright, I'm going to go ahead and put forth a thought I had on previous comment. Sure, it might have been a little out of character, what he did to the Family. Maybe a little harsh. Maybe a little cold. What choice did he have though? Who else was going to do it? The Time Lords aren't around to clean up the messes that time makes, let alone the Celestial Intervention Agency. There are no Monan Host, No Warpsmiths of Phaidon, no other major temporal powers left that possibly COULD clean up this mess, and stop the Family from hurting anyone ever again. The Doctor's had to grow up a little. It's his responsibility now, no one else works on his scale anymore. Yeah, he looked pretty cold while doing it but... better to wear a poker face than break down right? And the music?? I haven't gotten that much of a chill from a piece of music since the end of Back to the Future..
No more Monan Host, Warpsmiths of Phaidon, Celestian Intervention Agency, etc..
I can't get past that half-smirk that Baines had when the Doctor covered him up. Yeesh. Creepy. Speaking of, if no one else, we need Baines back as the new Cassandra. Let him come back for a one-off next year, PLEASE.
By the way, I was going to give a dialogue failures/triumphs, but.. I can't. Paul Cornell never ceases to amaze me (I read the last issue of his Marvel series Wisdom last night - you must read this as well if you haven't already). Nearly every line everyone says, apart from a few ridiculously over the top lines from the Family and Martha's "not me" moment, this episode was, to borrow a phrase, a slice of fried gold.
A slice of fried gold...
Next week: Doctor Who meets a Japanese Horror Movie! Can the Doctor fix Sadako's vertical hold and chiropractic issues Sonic Screwdriver setting 666d?
The Bumper Book of Made-Up Doctor Who Facts has this to say about The Family of Blood: Paul Cornell deserves to be knighted. No joke there, that's just the way it is.