Doctor Who: Resolution

"Doctor? I don't like it when you go quiet."

With the official season over, this would normally be a one-off holiday adventure. That’s not what we got. Instead it was more like a proper season finale complete with giant explosions and more resolute closure for certain character arcs.

We also finally have something familiar after a season of Chibnall and company actively staying away from the past. Most central is the return of the Daleks, or more specifically a Dalek. Much like "Twice Upon a Time," this one starts sans the typical Pepperpot armor, and acts more like a Puppet Master from Heinlein’s book of the same name.

This turns out to be scarier than your usual Daleks screaming “Exterminate” at the top of their mechanically enhanced voices. It helps that the actress (Charlotte Ritchie) playing the poor woman used as the Dalek’s beast of burden did an awesome job portraying both the horror and terror inherent with this kind of violation. Her struggle to overcome the Dalek’s control was probably my favorite part of the episode.

The Dalek itself was pretty cool when he finally showed up in his ‘junk yard chic’ armor. Although I do have to quibble with the fact it looked a bit too perfect, given that it was made by the Dalek-controlled Lin using spare parts. I was also a little confused by how she managed to overcome the Dalek, or at the very least why it let her live. I was half expecting her to turn bad, but I’m glad she survived, and got a somewhat happy ending.

I was really looking forward to the Doctor coming up against one of her oldest enemies, and I wasn’t disappointed with their interactions. Specifically, I loved the whole move/countermove dynamic they had going, like some kind of technological game of chess. I was a little disappointed when the conflict spilled over into a literal shooting match between the Dalek and the military; I had hoped the conflict would remain between the Doctor and the Dalek.

I did love the Doctor, though, as she continues to be the best part of the series. The whole opening scene with the fireworks through time was delightful. I also loved her constant quips and timing, her strange definitions of things and random solutions; such as the pill that could help with Lin’s recovery, as long as she didn’t drink alcohol (a second head does sound awful).

We also got an unexpected postscript to the Ryan and Graham relationship arc with the formal introduction of Aaron, Ryan’s estranged father. Daniel Adegboyega (Aaron) did a great job making him exactly as Ryan described, but also surprisingly sympathetic. It felt like they were building him up to sacrifice himself for Ryan at the end, but it was nice that there were no sad endings and Ryan now has a chance to build a relationship with his father, too.

All in all this was a fairly satisfying, if a little less hopeful and uplifting, than your standard holiday episode.

Bits:

If you haven’t heard the news, we are getting another season with Chibnall and Jodie as the Doctor, but it won’t be until 2020. What was the BBC thinking?

I loved the Brexit moment, with U.N.I.T. being closed down for budgetary reasons, but couldn’t we have had Jack and Gwen show up to help out instead?

Loved the scarf, a wonderful little nod to Tom Baker's 4th Doctor.

The Dalek was voiced by Nicholas Briggs who has been on the series since the reboot, mostly as the voice of the Daleks and Cybermen.

Quotes:

Dalek: "I am rebuilt!"
The Doctor: "What do you call this look - junkyard chic?"

The Doctor: "It's shutting down the WiFi. The phone signals. Whoa! That Dalek just shut down the whole of Britain's Internet."
Graham: "What? On New Year's day? When everything is shut and everyone's hung over?"
Ryan: "What a monster."

Dalek: "Humanity will surrender. Dalek invasion fleet will be summoned. Total conquest of Earth predicted in 9376 rels."
The Doctor: "Now I must remember. How long's a rel?"

The Doctor: "Oh, you're good, Ryan's dad. You're almost making up for your parenting deficit."

The Doctor: "How are you feeling, Lin?"
Lin: "Shaky."
The Doctor: "I'm not surprised. You will for a while. But you kept fighting it, thank you. Take these. Three a minute for four minutes. Don't take with alcohol, you'll grow an extra head. That was an embarrassing party."

Aaron: "I wish I was better at life, Graham."

Graham: "She once said to me,'If anyone ever asks about me after I'm gone, you tell them I was lucky. Tell them I gave someone life, I watched him grow, and I was proud.'"

While this was a fun episode, and perhaps a more fitting series finale, it wasn't the best of the season.

3 out of 4 Reconstructed Daleks

J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.

5 comments:

Cassie said...

This was my second favorite epusoepof the season, after "the woman who fell to earth", which, incidentally, I felt it paralleled quite nicely with, especially all the warehouse bits. Both searched for spare parts, but the dalek built a new body, and the Doctor fashioned herself a new Sonic.

This episode made me laugh out loud a few times, and had me on the edge of my seat at the end. Definitely not a typical holiday episode, but this hasn't been a typical season... And I felt this episode was a perfect episode to end on and get us through an otherwise Who-less 2019m

Billie Doux said...

I thought the "puppet master" take on the Daleks was creepy, but this episode didn't do a whole lot for me. I still like Jodie as the Doctor, though. I hope they do some better writing for her next year. And next year??? Way too long to wait!

JB said...

It’s not a reboot, it’s a continuation of the classic series. Nick is also the executive producer of Big Finish Productions, which produces audio dramas based on things like Doctor Who, Torchwood and Class.

As for Torchwood, the ongoing Big Finish continuation Aliens Among Us and God Among Us show that Jack has his own issues in Cardiff with alien refugees.

Katerina said...

I finally got caught up on this whole season, after having missed many of the Capaldi episodes, though I did go back to watch some. While I enjoyed many of the episodes, and the cast, and the new Doctor showed her "alienness" in her thought processes, speech, etc., I still feel like something is missing. I've only watched new Who, and I keep thinking that, no matter how silly the Doctors could get, you knew that, in a split second, they could turn and show an underlying steeliness that their opponents would be fools to ignore. They could be silly one minute and dangerous the next. I kind of like that, and don't get that from Jodie's Doctor. And her being female has nothing to do with it. That's my immediate, overall impression, anyway. I like her and the "fam," but, for me, something is lacking. And I think the new TARDIS interior was too much of a change. I will keep watching, though.

Katerina said...

Actually, I was pulling my punches a bit, because she's the first female Doctor I think, and that just felt wrong. If I'm completely honest, it feels more like I'm watching a spinoff with the Doctor's distant cousin who is trying to emulate him but not quite getting there. I think she's being written with way too much indecisiveness, and I no longer feel like the character is 50 steps ahead of everyone else. I also can't help feeling like even when bad guys are being dealt with, she could have a thought bubble above her head saying, "I'd rather be hugging a puppy." And there's just been way too much use of the sonic screwdriver with exaggerated gestures. Okay, now I feel better. I like it as a buddy show, but it doesn't feel like the Doctor is in. Sorry for the long and double posts, but that was bothering me.