This was done partially because I thought it was actually really interesting to cut out all the knowledge of what the Doctor and audience knows about Martha and Rose, and just cut back to the few facts that Donna has. And partially because I got rather pissed off last year for people bitching at Martha about things that she had no idea about (ie. That, until Utopia, she would be aware Rose didn't leave volutarily). I don't think Donna should be sunject to that, either.
So, here we go: Obviously, spoilers for Partners in Crime. And casting spoilers for later in the series. And mildly cracky speculation.
So, just what does Donna know about Rose and Martha? (The subtext to this is what has the Doctor told Donna about Rose and Martha, which is pretty interesting in itself, but I digress)
Just going from the two episodes she's been in so far, Donna knows an interesting amount, for someone who only spent, what a couple of hours with the Doctor.
About Rose, Donna knows that she traveled with the Doctor; That's she now gone/lost; that she trusted the Doctor and is "so alive"; that she had a family at the Powell Estate whom the Doctor spent Christmas with; Oh, and that her name was Rose.
About Martha, Donna knows that she traveled with the Doctor after he said bye to her the first time; that she was "brilliant"; that the Doctor "ruined half her life"; that she fine but is gone; that Martha had done the Doctor some good; that she fancied the Doctor (which Donna seems to think was a silly thing to do); that things between the Doctor and her got complicated, and that the Doctor blames himself for that; and, of course, that her name was Martha Jones.
The Doctor also describes both Martha and Rose as "friend" to her, if that's at all relevant.
Looking at those facts, that's basically the same amount of discussion going on (ie. Not a huge lot). There's probably a little more about Martha, but not much.
The thing that I found interesting, though, is that Donna knows rather more about Martha's relationship with the Doctor than she does for Rose. I mean, yes, from the way he was when speaking of her in Runaway Bride, Donna could pretty obviously infer that the Doctor was very upset by her loss and thus obviously cared a lot for her. But by the same token, it's also pretty obvious from the way he spoke that the Doctor cared a lot about Martha and he feels very guilty about her being gone.
It's in addition to that that Donna also is told that the Doctor thinks Martha is brilliant, and that she was good for the Doctor, and that she fancied him (he seems rather smug about that, and given the way Donna gets catty about why Martha would do so, I suspect she picks up on said smugness), and that it got "complicated" - which is an interesting statement, taken out of context, but I digress - and we basically get this at the end.
Yes, Donna's aware he also spent a Christmas with Rose's family, but what it comes down to is this:
The thing that inspired me to do this post - that made me sit up and wonder just how interesting this could be if the writers use it - is that Donna knows that Martha fancied the Doctor. But she doesn't know that Rose did too.
Which, given the fact Donna is due to meet both Martha and Rose, and the whole requited/unrequited fiasco, struck me as mildly hilarious.
Especially since, without external knowledge the audience has, the Doctor never gives any indication that things with Martha were unrequited at all (Come on, "she fancied me", followed by "it got complicated" and then taking the blame then I just want a mate? It could just as easily be taken as they were a couple, and the Doctor screwed things up some how. And holy crap, all the Doctor's relationships seem to become shippier in retrospect)
...Okay, the main reason this amuses me is that I had this image of, when Donna and Rose meet up, Donna filling Rose in on what's happened in the Doctor's life since they seperated and Donna saying something like, "Before me, he travelled with Martha for a bit. Apparently she fancied him, can't imagine why she'd do something stupid like that." Cut to Rose's reaction.
I'll get back on topic, anyway.
Basically, Donna hears about what went on between Martha and the Doctor than she does between the Doctor and Rose - and a lot more about how he feels in regard to Martha. Though there is some information on what he feels about Rose, it's all in how the Doctor says it, not in what he actually says. It's a lot more... in-depth what he says to Donna about Martha. (Actually, it's probably a lot more in-depth than most of what he said to Martha about Rose, too, but I digress) She also hears rather more about how the Doctor feels about Martha than, well, pretty much anyone heard about his relationship with anyone else. Particularly Martha - wonder if the Doctor will give her a proper apology/"You were brilliant", or Martha will hear second hand from Donna telling him what he said to her.
So, it'll certainly be interesting when Donna meets up with Martha (episode 4) and then Rose in 11. The Martha meet-up will certainly turn things around majorly, what with Donna finding out that rather than being half-ruined, she's being all kick-arse and competent with UNIT et al.
In conclusion, things we have learnt from this post:
1. Donna won't play Yenta to anyone.
2. The Doctor makes everything sound better once it's gone (see: Gallifrey)
3. The production team have learnt that actual emotional continuity can involve referencing more than one character! \o/ Keep it up, guys.
4. What the audience knows =/= what the characters know.
5. Emotional development for the Doctor is good.
...I feel like I should cross-post this to a few places, but I've no idea where would be suitable. Any suggestions (that won't end up with wankiness in my comments?)