The Family of Blood – Episode Guide

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The family continue their demands but Latimer distracts them by momentarily opening the watch. Martha takes one of the family’s guns and aims it at Baines, taking Jenny hostage. Eventually the family release Joan and together with Smith she flees alongside the other guests. Martha stays behind but drops her gun and runs when one of the scarecrow soldiers attacks her.

Baines orders Clark, his father, to find the Doctor’s ship and the others make their way to the school, where the Smith, Joan, Martha and Latimer have already returned. Smith raises the alarm for the students to take up arms despite Martha’s protests. Outside the family arrive and Baines sends his sister to find a way into the building.

Smith warns the headmaster of the oncoming danger as the boys continue their preparations and Martha runs to find the watch, which Latimer cradles beneath one of the staircases, the device appearing to talk to him, warning him to keep the Doctor safe.

Outside the headmaster and his aide arrive to confront Baines, Jenny and the scarecrows. He tries to warn the attackers to leave but they demand to have Smith handed over. Baines then warns the headmaster that in the following year, 1914, a war will come and the boys of the school will fall in the mud of foreign fields:

“Do you think they will thank the man who taught them it was glorious?”

The headmaster returns to the school after Baines shoots down his colleague, whereupon Smith tells him the phone lines have been cut; they are on their own. He orders the boys to continue preparing but Baines too is ready, ordering his scarecrow army to march on the building.

Upstairs Martha explains to Joan that the watch contains all that makes the Doctor a Time Lord, and then proves to her the strength of her medical knowledge, which the nurse initially appears to doubt. The nurse then returns to the boys downstairs as the father of the Family of Blood contacts Baines and claims he has found the Doctor’s TARDIS, he cannot escape.

Smith encounters Joan in the corridor and she begins to question his morality, finding him unable to reveal more than encyclopaedic facts of his childhood home. She then tries to appeal to him, asking him not to send the boys to fight but he claims he has no choice.

Outside Latimer and Hutchinson are aiding the preparations, and Tim reveals another of his visions, that the two boys will fight together in the approaching war. Hutchinson seems not to understand and looks on as Latimer runs off, concerned about why the watch appears to talk to him.

Inside it tells him to beware the daughter of the Family, and sure enough she is soon on his tail. He opens the watch in an attempt to ward her off but in doing so he transmits it’s significance to the rest of the Family, who realise that the watch is all they need.

Soon they are advancing on the school, battering on the barred gates. The boys await the command to attack and Smith too raises a rifle. However as the scarecrows break in and the boys open fire, he is unable to release a single shot. The army are ploughed to the ground but soon the daughter arrives. Martha rushes outside to warn the headmaster not to go near her but he neglects the warning and she shoots him down.

Smith refuses to let the boys shoot her and orders a retreat. Baines arrives to reanimate his soldiers and chaos brakes out as Latimer and the other boys evacuate the school. The Family begin searching for the watch but Latimer again distracts them by opening the watch, fleeing as they begin to chase his tail

Smith, Martha and Joan make their way outside and conceal themselves in the bushes. Nearby Clark stands with the TARDIS, ordering the Doctor to come out of hiding. Smith claims never to have seen the blue box before but Joan reasons that it is part of one of his dreams. He begins to panic, fearing the accusations that he is not just John Smith. He flees whilst Baines and his family move off to launch the next stage of their attack, and as Joan leads Smith and Martha to an abandoned cottage, the Family return to their invisible ship, preparing their armaments.

Inside the cottage Smith is distraught, realising he must surrender himself before anyone else dies. Joan protests but soon Tim arrives with the watch, claiming it wants him to return it to the Doctor. He turns to Smith and recounts what he has learnt of the Doctor from the watch:

“He’s like fire and ice and rage. He’s like the night and the storm and the heart of the sun…He’s ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of the time and he can see the turn of the universe…and he’s wonderful.”

Joan produces Smith’s journal of his dreams and theorises that they may be more than stories. Soon the Family open fire on the village with bombardment shells and Smith takes the watch, suddenly talking as if he were the Doctor, claiming Latimer’s special powers are simply abnormal levels of psychic ability. Reverting to his usual speech pattern, Smith reels back and turns on Martha, who he claims merely sat and watched as he fell in love, despite knowing she would have to “execute” him.

She claims that such a thing was not in the Doctor’s instructions for her and he scoffs at the thought of a man who doesn’t think of love. She explains that the Family of Blood has a limited lifespan, and that the Doctor went into hiding to wait until they had died. She confesses that there is more to the Doctor than Smith thinks, and reveals how special he is to her; although she’s only known him for a short time and although she hopes he never hears her confess it; she loves him.

As the bombardment gets closer Smith claims he can simply give the Family the watch and not die in order to bring back the Doctor, but Joan cuts in, having realised that should they gain the watch they will be able to live forever, and that cannot happen. She asks Martha and Latimer to leave for a moment and once they are gone she embraces her distressed lover.

Joan insists that Smith must open the watch, even if the Doctor will not love her the way he does. She takes the device and he in turn holds her hand. Suddenly they see what could be if the Doctor were to remain human; Smith and Joan would marry and have children, live happy lives until their old age and then die peacefully. Back in the present Joan protests that the Time Lord could never have such a life and then finally asks what Smith has decided to do.

Some time later he arrives on the Family’s ship. He bumbles around, accidentally activating some of the controls. He offers them the watch and Baines takes the device, but upon opening it he finds it empty. The Doctor has tricked them.

No longer a human, the Time Lord drops his act and reveals that his pratfalls weren’t for nothing, he has activated a self-destruct sequence. He flees the ship and soon the family follow, a giant explosions throwing them to the ground. They look up into the night sky, as the Doctor stands over them, and Baines recounts what happened next.

“He never raised his voice, that was the worst thing. The fury of the Time Lord. And then we discovered why, why this Doctor; who had fought with Gods and demons, why he had run away from us and hidden. He was being kind.
He wrapped my father in unbreakable chains forged in the heart of a dwarf star. He tricked my mother into the event horizon of a collapsing galaxy, to be trapped there forever. He still visits my sister; once a year, every year. I wonder if one day he might forgive her…He trapped her inside a mirror. Every mirror. If ever you look at your reflection and see something move behind you, just for a second, that’s her. That’s always her. As for me, I was suspended in time, and the Doctor put me to work standing over the fields of England as their protector.
We wanted to live forever, so the Doctor made sure that we did.”

And after leaving Baines, now a scarecrow, the Doctor returns to the abandoned cottage, where Joan is waiting. He tells her he has finished his work as she struggles to get used to seeing the man she once loved in a different form. She asks if he might ever change back and he claims that although he could, he wouldn’t. She tells him Smith was a braver mad than he is; whereas the Time Lord chose to change John Smith chose to die.

The Doctor asks her to come with him in the TARDIS but she refuses, even if Smith does live on somewhere within the Doctor. She asks him if people would still have died had he not arrived in England, but he cannot answer. He leaves her alone with Smith’s journal, returning to the TARDIS as tears form in her eyes.

Finding Martha waiting for him the Time Lord announces it is time to go, and she takes the opportunity to dismiss her previous declaration of love as an attempt to get Smith to change. He agrees and then thanks her for looking after him. They embrace as Latimer arrives to thank them, now knowing his future and what he must face. The Doctor gives him the now-empty watch and after saying goodbye the two travellers leave.

“In June 1914 an archduke of Austria was shot by a Serbian. And this then led to nations having treaties with nations, like a line of dominoes. And some boys from England walking together in France one terrible day…”

The following year, in the muddy fields of battle, Latimer and Hutchinson walk together. Latimer observes his watch and notes that now is the time. He looks to the sky and pulls Hutchinson to the ground, narrowly avoiding an artillery strike. He looks to the sky again and thanks the Doctor, before walking off with his friend.

And some ninety years later at a memorial service, an elderly Latimer sits in a wheelchair, still holding his watch. He looks off into the distance to find the Doctor and Martha standing close by, and he smiles.

“We will remember them.”

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