Occasionally people rag on Martha for “leaving all of time and space because a boy didn’t like her”. And I’m like hang on a minute, time and space? Think about it. Where exactly do we see Martha Jones go on the TARDIS?
- Elizabethean London, meets Shakespeare. Nice.
- The slums of New New York
- The slums of old New York
- SS Pentalion, a cargo ship currently crashing.
- Stuck in 1913
- Stuck in 1963
- The end of the universe, as everything dies
- Messaline, unterraformed planet of soldiers
They go to one nice place. There is one other mention of having been somewhere nice. (The moon landing, four times) They never spend the start of an episode just larking about, or end the episode intending to hang around and have fun. (Think Long Game, Idiot’s Lantern, Fear Her, stuff like that.) (Smile, Thin Ice, Vincent and the Doctor, The Rebel Flesh, Unicorn and the Wasp, Midnight, Fires of Pompeii…)
Then consider that a lot of the time it wasn’t just ‘not fun’. She has to spend two months in a British village in 1913 working as a maid, with no protection from the racism surrounding her; working in a shop for some period in 1969. Walking the conquered Earth, alone, for a year.
There isn’t a problem with “bad things happen to characters in action-adventure shows”. But the uniformity of Martha’s experiences is unique.
There’s also the fact that she’s allowed to make that choice. She’s choosing to stay with her family because she knows how it is to be far away and powerless to keep them safe. She chooses to stay and be a doctor. Most companions don’t get to make that choice. She took that opportunity and nobody should hate her for that.