Martha Jones is perhaps one of the most underrated but highly important companions in the Doctor Who television series. Still, her character managed to gain the audience’s favor over time, and in this article, we’ll discuss who Martha Jones was and how she evolved in the Doctor Who television series.
Who Is Martha Jones
Martha Jones, portrayed by Freema Agyeman, was studying for her doctorate in medicine when she was transported to the Moon. Since she had shown great bravery in the face of the Plasmavore and the Judoon invaders, David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor invited her to join the TARDIS and accompany him on numerous adventures.
And though the fandom regarded her as a meek replacement for Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler, Matha Jones proved that she was much more. Her strength, bravery, resourcefulness, and passion for adventure made Martha a perfect companion for the Doctor.
After her time as a member of Team TARDIS came to an end, Martha Jones was offered a position at Torchwood by John Barrowman’s Captain Jack Harkness, but she turned the offer down. However, she did work with the UNIT, where she was known as the Greyhound Six.
Following her adventures with the Doctor, Martha married Mickey Smith, and the two became freelance alien fighters. She also became friends with Sarah Jane Smith. Unfortunately, though showrunner Russell T Davies intended to feature Freema Agyeman in both Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures, that didn’t happen due to conflicting schedules.
Abilities of Martha Jones
Freema Agyeman’s Martha Jones was David Tennant’s companion in the Third Season of New Who, though she made several appearances in Season Four of the series. During her tenure as a companion to the Tenth Doctor, Martha hasn’t exhibited any innate abilities that are outside typical human nature.
In other words, Martha was just human, which means she doesn’t have any superhuman or Time Lord powers. However, what she lacked in the superpower’s department, she made up for with sheer intellect, kind-heartedness, and a fantastic sense of humor. In fact, one of the Daleks confirmed that Martha possessed high intelligence.
Intelligence and other traits aside, Martha also had a scientific mind and analytical problem-solving skills that were frequently showcased in the Doctor Who television show. Her use of logic and practical reasoning often allowed her to execute complex, coordinated plans based on the very scarce information provided by the Doctor.
Of course, her medical knowledge and skills were most prominent of all of her abilities, especially after unusual medical situations, which might’ve included getting introduced to alien anatomies and physiologies. It’s precisely this knowledge that got her to work with organizations such as Torchwood and Unit.
We’re not sure if her competent knowledge of the German language might’ve helped her with her work at UNIT and Torchwood, but she proved handy with a gun.
Key Appearances of Martha Jones
Martha Jones was the primary companion of the Tenth Doctor throughout Season Three of Doctor Who before her character was written out by Russell T Davies out of fear that her affection towards the Doctor might become stale after a while. And while some criticized her crush on the Doctor or compared her to Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler, the truth is that some of the best Doctor Who stories happened during Freema Agyeman’s tenure on the show.
Smith and Jones – Season 3, New Who
Smith and Jones was Martha’s debut episode, in which the audience was first introduced to a very curious medical student. The Doctor, and his soon-to-be companion, along with an entire hospital, are transported to the Moon, and the duo have to figure out why they’re there and how to return everyone and everything back to Earth before they run out of air
While executing their plan to get the hospital and its patients back to Earth, the lack of oxygen makes the Doctor collapse, and Martha performs CPR, bringing the Doctor back to life with her very last breath. The episode was among the best companion debut episodes in the entire show and resulted in the iconic “Barefoot on the Moon” line.
Gridlock – Season 3, New Who
Martha is a terrific source of levity in Gridlock, as she’s kidnapped and taken to the Motorway — a never ending traffic jam. Yet, she handles her captivity with her recognizable sarcasm and manages to figure out how to keep the episode’s monster from devouring her and the kidnappers.
Of course, her method ends up saving the kidnappers’ lives as well as everyone else’s until the Doctor opens the Motorway. So, even when the narrative sets her as a damsel in distress, Martha isn’t the one to allow a situation to pigeonhole her; instead, she takes charge of it.
Human Nature – Season 3, New Who
John Smith, a man from the early 20th century, dreams of a life as a Doctor when his school is attacked by an extraterrestrial from his nightmares. Faced with a hard choice, John has to choose between his classroom and the world of his dreams to preserve it all.
While Martha isn’t vital to the plot of this episode, her presence is nonetheless significant since she’s the only one who knows the whereabouts of the Doctor, and she’s in charge of his safety. In this episode, Martha expresses her feelings to the Doctor.
The Family of Blood – Season 3, New Who
The Family of Blood is a continuation of Human Nature and is probably one of the best Doctor Who stories from the Russell T Davies era. Martha is kidnapped by the Family and takes it upon herself to save the Doctor and the inhabitants of an early 20th-century school in which John Smith is teaching.
And while John seems indecisive about becoming the Doctor, Martha shows off what she’s made of since she threatens to kill one of the villains and doesn’t allow anyone to look down upon her despite her gender and ethnicity.
Blink – Season 3, New Who
Blink is perhaps one of the best, if not the highest-rated episode in the entire Doctor Who television series, including episodes from the classic era. It also introduces the Weeping Angels, Doctor Who‘s scariest monsters, and Sally, a one-time character who managed to save the Doctor and Martha while entrapping the Angels.
Unfortunately, both Martha and the Doctor don’t appear much in this episode, but Martha’s commentary on the tapes is exquisite and tells a story of how the Doctor isn’t doing much in 1969, leaving her to find employment and support them both.
Utopia – Season 3, New Who
In Utopia, John Barrowman’s Jack Harkness takes control of the TARDIS and transports himself, the Doctor, and Marhta to the brink of the universe, where they’re looking for whatever remains of humanity. The last of the humans have been on a journey to planet Utopia coordinated by a scientist named Yana. Martha plays a crucial role in this particular episode, as she notices a fob watch worn by the scientist, which only indicates just how much she learned and has evolved throughout the series.
The Sound of Drums – Season 3, New Who
The Doctor, Martha, and Jack must work together to stop the Master, who they discover has become Prime Minister. The Master identifies the trio as fugitives and begins his preparations to use an alien race known as the Toclafane to dominate or destroy the world. He also arrests Martha’s family and plants a bomb in her apartment. Despite their rocky relationship, Martha reveals how much she cares about her family and goes on to steal the vortex manipulator, escape the Master’s ship, and embark on a mission to save Earth.
Last of the Time Lords – Season 3, New Who
After the Master took over the world and captured the Doctor and her family, Martha is the only one who avoided capture and took the opportunity to spread a message of hope. She really shines in this episode, as she proved capable and smart enough to avoid capture for more than a year while searching for a weapon that would stop the Master. This is her final episode as a companion on the TARDIS, and by the episode’s end, she musters the courage to abandon the Doctor and pursue her own adventures.
The Stolen Earth – Season 4, New Who
The Daleks have transported and are currently invading Earth, and while the Doctor and Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble are trying to figure out what happened, Martha Jones, Jack Harkness, and Sarah Jane Smith all come to the rescue. The Doctor also gets shot by a Dalek. As a result of her work with UNIT and Torchwood, Martha grew into a confident and self-assured woman, which indicates some character development has happened off-screen.
Journey’s End – Season 4, New Who
The stolen Earth is crucial to the Daleks’ plan, and Martha threatens to destroy the planet to stop them. She’s prevented from doing so by the Daleks, and the Doctor, Donna, and other companions manage to overcome the Daleks and return Earth to its rightful position. The main goal of this episode was to make Donna shine; Martha’s ruthlessness and surgical precision in problem-solving brought a fitting end to her off-screen development.
The Doctor and Martha Jones Connection
Despite being funny, clever, strong, and competent, Martha is often underrated compared to other companions of the show. This is mainly because she replaced Billie Piper’s Rose Tyler, which was admittedly more than just a human companion.
Rose was the Doctor’s love interest — and a character the fandom had a vested interest in, and her departure from the show was heartbreaking for everyone. Some fans believed that Martha was brought in to replace Rose as the Doctor’s love interest, while others complained that such a replacement happened too soon following Rose’s departure.
Truthfully, Martha fell in love with the Doctor and has expressed her feelings to him on numerous occasions. Unfortunately, those feelings weren’t reciprocated, and Martha stopped traveling with the Doctor due to this unrequited love and the toll the adventures had on her.
However, she gave the Doctor her phone number in case he needed to contact her. She set out on her own adventures with UNIT and Torchwood, some of which led her crossing paths with the Doctor once more.
How did Martha Jones Change Over Time?
Martha Jones is introduced as a medical student who continued to express interest and knowledge in medicine throughout her time on the show. The time spent with the Doctor strained her relationship with him to the point of her leaving the TARDIS — despite her feelings towards the Time Lord.
However, after leaving the TARDIS, Martha became a close friend with Jack Harkness and worked with him at Torchwood. Her time spent collaborating with UNIT and Torchwood and as a freelance alien fighter really hardened Martha.
By the time we saw her last in The End of Time, Martha was more ruthless in her approach to dealing with aliens and malicious forces, less naive, and more soldier-like.
What More Can We Speculate About Martha Jones in the Future
Before the BBC officially revealed the return of David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor and Catherine Tate’s Donna Noble, there was some speculation about David Tennant returning to the show. And while those proved true, the fandom also speculated that Freema Agyeman’s Martha Jones might also make a comeback — something that isn’t likely to happen now.
She did voice acting in a new Doctor Who audio series produced by Big Finish, but apart from that, we haven’t seen her in any of the episodes or announcements for potential future appearances. Considering that Catherine Tate is set to reprise her role, it’s unlikely that we’ll see Martha Jones re-entering the TARDIS.
The Martha Jones – Doctor Who Quiz
What Was the First Alien That Martha Battled With the Doctor?
Before She Met the Doctor, what was Martha's job?
What Was the Final Creature Martha Is Seen Fighting?
In What Episode Does Martha Meet the Doctor?
If Rose Tyler is "The Bad Wolf," Martha Jones is known as?
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Jason Collins is a freelance Pop Culture Journalist with a degree in English Literature. While he has had the distinct privilege of seeing Tom Baker up close he was not offered any Jelly Babies which was highly disappointing. When he’s not out on the hunt for the latest and greatest podcast he is lounging at home with more cats than he would care to disclose at this temporal moment.