Doctor Who: Evolution of the Daleks

Doctor: "The Daleks just changed their minds. Daleks never change their minds."

This episode made me wonder why I decided to review Doctor Who in the first place. It was so bad that I was embarrassed for the actors. The plot resolution was a shambles, and the characterization of the Doctor was completely trashed.

A thousand brain-wiped humans, and the Doctor was going to let the Daleks have them? Why was the Doctor offering to help the Daleks in the first place? What's wrong with this picture? I kept thinking he was pretending to help them in order to save the brain-wiped humans, but no. And how stupid could the Daleks be? Their mortal enemy was standing right in front of them, not once but twice, and they didn't zap him? Creating a human/Dalek hybrid was un-Dalek-like in the first place. What a surprise that it didn't work out, huh?

And don't get me started on the lightning strike that was also somehow a burst of gamma radiation (a la Incredible Hulk?) that managed to transfer time lord DNA into the brainwiped humans. I swear, it was like someone wrote this episode while smoking dope late the night before it was due to the BBC. Although what could they do with it? It was part two of a really awful part one. It had to be concluded somehow. Couldn't just leave all those characters stuck in New York.

At least there's only one Dalek left, somewhere out there temporally shifting away. I really, really wish they'd killed off that one, too, but I suppose they couldn't bring themselves to eliminate the Daleks forever. (I don't suppose Dalek Caan was the one we saw in season one? I don't remember if it had a name.)

The class struggle continued with the homeless in Hooverville fighting off the (symbolically capitalist) pigs. What sort of sense did it make, creating slaves that would only live for weeks? I have to say that all of those pigs standing in an elevator made me smile a bit; I could just imagine "The Girl from Ipanema" playing in the background. And then Martha blasted them. And now she has to live with it.

Some of the episode was visually striking, pun intended. The Doctor climbing to the top of the Empire State Building, like King Kong. The huge room with the suspended bodies. The Doctor whipping a stethoscope out of his pocket. (Has he ever carried one before?)

And Martha actually got to be a real doctor and treat people. I liked that they acknowledged that it would be unusual for a black woman to be a doctor in New York of the 1930s. But she was still all about "I love the Doctor, but he can't see me because he's still into Rose." This theme is officially already tiresome, and it's only episode five.

Paul Kelly says...

So much for the Cult Of Skaro. What a bunch of wet halibut they turned out to be. I agree with Billie -- less threatening to kill the Doctor, more actually trying to do it, please. And even when they did set their minds to it, they faffed around just long enough for someone to intervene. This week it was old tentacle-features himself who forfeited his life to save the Doctor. Not that it had much impact. The Hybrid was too ridiculous for us to care.

Why must the Doctor always try to help his arch nemeses? They only come back and try to kill him at some later date. It's been the pattern since they first appeared on our screens some 46 years ago -- has the man learned nothing? I know he always tries to see the good in people/species/pepperpots, but surely the time has to come when he's forced to acknowledge that the Daleks are just plain evil?

And to be quite honest, since their reappearance in 2006, they've been pretty appalling. In "Dalek" the dalek was so depressed it wanted to die; in "The Parting of the Ways", 400,000 of them got wiped out by one person; and in "Doomsday", several million of them got sucked into the void, which left four, three of which are now dead. I don't think it an overstatement to say that the Daleks are losing their sense of invincibility. The more of them there are, the worse they seem to fare.

This story was an attempt to do something interesting and new with them, but the species hybrid storyline has been done to death a hundred times before, and better than this. Maybe it's time to rest the Daleks for a while... before several zillion of them get killed by a falling acorn.

Quotes:

Doctor: "Hello. Surprise. Boo. Etcetera."

Dalek Sec: "The deaths were wrong."
Doctor: "I'm sorry?"

Tallulah: "Gammon radiation? What the heck is that?"

Doctor: "See? Never waste time with a hug." Geez. Will he ever pass up an opportunity to make Martha feel unwanted?

Doctor: "Tallulah, out of the way. The Doctor is in."

Doctor: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, and maybe the odd pig slave-Dalek mutant hybrid, too."
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Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

4 comments:

shawnlunn2002 said...

In a parallel world, the writers would've watched Season 3 of Angel and tackled Martha's crush on the Doctor like Fred's with Angel. As a viewer, I would've thanked them for it (ie, the crush being brief).

Although I like this episode a lot more than you do, Billie, I absolutely loved this review. So delightfull pithy (I mean that in a good way).

Doctor, you don't help the Daleks. No good can ever come from it and Daleks, next time you scheme you either kill or imprison the Doctor rather than accept his help.

Billie Doux said...

Paul, every time I read the phrase "wet halibut," I laugh out loud. :)

Michael Colvin said...

Falling acorns. Ha!

I have to say that Martha semi redeemed herself in this episode by thinking to compare the blueprints and by thinking of the lightning strike as a weapon. But only just.

I think that Tullulah's gay jokes about the Doctor didn't work this week. "I know you're into musical theater but..." It just felt - well, stupid. Mugging for the camera never works.

Alas, a cool idea that was in need of a massive edit.

Kenneth Serenyi said...

These episodes have the female characters written as the "caring" and "nurturing" archetypes, supporting (and love-sick over) the male characters. To be fair this might be partly due to the time period they're in. One of my female friends introduced me to the Bechdel Test. If the female leads have a conversation, is it always about guys? Now this really annoys me when I see it in TV shows and movies...