The Queen Lived

by Jacob Clifton August 1, 2008
Doctor Who Season 4

I think I didn't like this story, at the time, because it seemed so uneven. The first part was definitely one of the best things I've ever seen, and full of promise, but I didn't enjoy the second half. Too much telling, not enough showing. And it seemed actually unbalanced, as though nothing of import were going on. But I think I was wrong. Because this wasn't another story about the Doctor and Donna, it was a story about the Doctor and then a story about Donna, with the Library story lurking around it. A Doctor/Donna story, if you will. And I think that because of the circumstances in the way that came about, I was biased as a viewer, because what happened to you wasn't real. Not real like the Vashta Nerada and River Song's whole Niffenegger deal. So even though as much time was spent with you, in the second half, as was spent with the Doctor in the first half, it didn't count. Wasn't real.

Except, of course, the entire point is that it was: to you. If instead of telling you these stories you were here, watching, with me, I wonder what you would think. I think you would agree: Donna's in a mysterious Matrix kind of world, so it hardly counts. Donna's finding time passing all around her so quickly it's terrifying, Donna's driven mad by her experiences in the library, Donna's the recipient of a wonderful stuttering husband, with no effort at all, who loves her dearly. She receives everything she ever wanted, and has it taken from her. And she's expected -- I expect, we expect, you would expect -- to get up and get on with it. Move along to the next adventure.

And the fact is that you did, Donna. Thinking that Lee, your magically perfect husband, was too perfect to really exist, that you didn't deserve that kind of luck, you moved right on. And I mean, half there. You knew you were better off in the life you were forging. But it was a sign of things to come: the rescue, the damsel, the way he gave you meaning. It was a lie. Even though he was real, and you were real, the whole thing was a dream. It didn't change who you were, when it was over: you still had your hands, and your feet, and your ability to be awesome. You cleared that level in one, girl. Took Rose thirteen tries. Be proud of that, at least.

No wonder you chose to sit the next adventure out. You'd just had your whole story told back to you, in machine cruelty. You'd just been rescued from it, by your own hand and by the kindness of a limited woman, to whom you had been kind. Oh, that was a heartbreaker, when Evangelista died. And when she killed you in her turn.

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