Martha Jones is a certified badass, and you can quote me on that. There are a lot of people in the Whovian fandom who genuinely dislike her, and I am here to tell those individuals that they should take another look at Martha.
I will admit, even for me it was hard to like Martha at first. Not because of the way she was, but because I missed Rose. I missed her so much I thought there was no way for the Doctor to continue without her. Man, was I wrong. Sure, it’s abundantly clear that Martha has feelings for him, and fans can be a bit territorial where romance is involved with the Doctor, but let’s be objective, shall we?
Now, sure, Martha didn’t get the best season of the show. Let’s not hold that against her. From the very beginning Martha is a force to be reckoned with. In fact, at first she refuses to call the Doctor “Doctor” – she says he has to earn that title. You know why? Because when she meets the Doctor, Martha is training to become a doctor, and she does not take the bestowing of that title lightly. You go, girl. She is a smart, beautiful, brave, talented woman of color and from her first episode she takes control of her own destiny.
I think one of the coolest things about Martha is that she legitimately never loses her cool, and her first episode, “Smith and Jones,” is proof. It’s raining upside down? Weird. This guy has two hearts? Interesting. We’re suddenly on the moon? Awesome! Honestly, I don’t think any other companion would have dealt with that so well. Actually, maybe Jack would have, but he doesn’t count, being a time agent and all.
Gif courtesy of Tumblr
And she very quickly became an asset, not simply a companion, although it does take some time to notice it. We’re so busy missing Rose that we don’t notice just how much Martha is doing for our Doctor. By the time we get to the two-parter “Human Nature” and “The Family of Blood,” though, it’s undeniable. The Doctor has used a chameleon arch to essentially conceal his time lord essence, turning him human. He has locked away all his memories, becoming a 1913 schoolteacher named John Smith. Martha, the only one who knows Mr. Smith’s true identity, acts as a maid at the local school. She keeps him safe, watching constantly for his enemies – known as The Family of Blood. It’s Martha, then, who has to bring the Doctor back when he is needed.
Then, Martha literally saved the world. She did. The Doctor was taken captive by the Master, but Martha was not. She spent a year as a fugitive, hiding in the shadows and walking the Earth in order to complete the final task the Doctor set her to. All by herself. Do you guys have any idea who totally badass that is?! So she travels the world telling the Doctor’s story, planting the idea in the minds of everyone in the world. This enables the Doctor to tap into the Archangel Network, absorbing the power of every person in the world thinking his name at the same moment, and is able to save the day.
At no point in Martha’s journey is she scared. Not when she’s a wanted “criminal,” not when she’s ratted out by the professor, and absolutely not when she’s in the presence of the Master. She’s not worried; she’s done exactly what the Doctor told her to do, and she has saved the world. Now all she has to do is sit back and watch the pieces fall into place. In fact, she even has the balls to mock the Master for having bought the story that there was a time-lord killing gun scattered around the world in four pieces.
Basically, Martha Jones is a grade-A badass, and there’s no room for interpretation on that point.
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In the end Martha leaves because she knows it's the best thing for her. She’s young, she’s in love with the Doctor, and she knows that staying will only end up hurting her. She has a loving family to go home to and a medical career waiting for her. She loves the Doctor, but she loves herself, too, and that’s why she lets him go on without her.
That’s not the end for Martha, though. Her story goes on, and it only gets better. It’s not an empty promise when she tells the Doctor she’ll be seeing him again. After doing a three-episode stint on the Doctor Who
spinoff series Torchwood
, Martha returns.
Gif courtesy of Tumblr
When she returns in “The Sontaran Strategem,” it’s revealed that she’s engaged to a fellow doctor. She has the opportunity to once again travel with the Doctor (and Donna), but she turns it down, saying she has her own big adventure waiting for her with her fiancé. She got everything she ever wanted: her family, her medical career, and falling out of love with the Doctor. Even further down the line, we get to see Martha again. This time she’s fighting aliens with her husband…Mickey Smith! Yeah, it looks like things didn’t last with her previous fiancé – or her previous career.
Martha Jones is awesome. If I haven’t convinced you by now, I don’t know if I can. But I will leave you with this: Go back and watch her episodes. I think you’ll come out the other side with more love for her than you expected.