Doctor Who Review: The Victory of the Daleks

E: I am finally, officially drinking the Kool Aid.  I can’t explain it, but from the opening moments of this episode, I finally bought it.  I have surrendered to Matt Smith, and it feels good, my friends.

In fact, I’m so frakking relieved that I can’t even stand it.   I was trying hard not to panic (as much as one can about a TV show), fearing that I’d never enjoy the show on the same level, but nope.  I have turned the corner.  And the view is just fine.

I can’t help but thinking that charming Winston Churchill had a hand in my change of heart.  Maybe it’s that his bow tie looks so perfect for the Blitz. Or maybe it was Doctor Gibson as Bracewell the automaton.  Or maybe, it was the way Eleven said “Come on, Pond.”  Whatever it was, I loved this episode from the first moment we see the Doctor embrace his old pal Churchill, who’s called him to WW2 to get his opinions on Bracewell’s inventions, which turn out to be the Daleks.  And Bracewell turns out to be their invention.  And while he defeats them and saves London, the Daleks update and get away, so the Doctor’s left feeling pretty low.

M: While it won’t sound like it from the rest of this paragraph, I enjoyed the episode.   It’s just that I found this interaction with the Daleks a little disappointing.  As I said last week, I’m just now jumping into Dr Who, and though I only have a pittance of knowledge of the previous 10 incantations of the show they looked familiar.  Turns out it may not even be from past incarnations of the show, because I walked by someone’s desk at work yesterday and they had an 18″ replica of a Dalek on it, that I have to have seen dozens of times.

That said, for beings that are supposedly the arch enemies of the Doctor, and are the Dr Who equivalent of the Borg, I thought they were far too campy.  They made the robot in Lost in Space look and sound high tech.  When “Danger Will Robinson” looks high tech, you’re doing something wrong.

E: Oh, they’re super campy.  It’s one of those things you just have to get past in order to get into Doctor Who.  They retained the flavor of the original series, and in order to do so, they’ve got all these ridiculous, silly looking monsters. How terrifying can a salt shaker be?  I had a hard time with that at first, but you get used to it, and eventually you embrace it.  I don’t know why, but I actually loved the make-over – the rubber neck flanges, the bright colors.  Orange Daleks?  I love it.  You must be falling over yourself listening to me being uncritical, but there it is.

M: Not quite falling over myself, as you are occasionally uncritical of things that your liking of borders on irrational (E:Thanks) , but I am a little surprised.  Like I said, though, I really did like the episode, and as you know, Chuck is one of my favorite shows, so clearly campy is not outside my enjoyment zone.  It just disappointed me a bit.  Hopefully I’ll move quickly past that, like you suggest.

E: What disappointed me?  We never get to find out about Amelia’s clothes. No clue if she stopped home, or if the magic wardrobe in the Tardis outfitted her.  It’s not a big deal. I was just curious.  Love the jacket, by the way.  Much snazzier than Rose’s typical stuff.  Rose, she wasn’t much of a dresser.

M: Don’t know who Rose is (assuming it’s a previous companion), or what she wore.  Were it not for our discussion of her wardrobe (in the land of spare oom) last week, I wouldn’t have noticed her attire this week.  However, I did, and thought it was quite suitable.

E: Yes, Rose is the first companion of the new era, played by British pop star turned actress Billie Piper.  She wore much more practical clothes for gallivanting around the universe – jeans and sweatshirts, typically. Now, I’d seen Amelia’s outfit in some print ads, but I didn’t know when it was coming.  It was as suitable as a shorter skirt can be for running around Time, and very cute.

M: Now, putting my initial comments aside, I really enjoyed several parts of this episode.  I LOVED that they weren’t recognized by their own source thingy, and that they tricked the Doctor into “testifying” that they really were Daleks, thus allowing them to repopulate their “race”.  I did find it a bit odd that machines have DNA, and that they were supposedly so dilapidated and out of energy and resources that they were about to die, but then were able to muster up the juice for five new Daleks and a time jump to the future, but those were minor foibles in an otherwise very entertaining episode.

E: Oh, that’s because the Dalek’s aren’t really machines.  Or not only machines.  They’re aliens inside machines.  These last surviving members were corrupted (in their view) by human DNA which they absorbed in earlier episodes.  It does make a fractured kind of sense.  How they reproduce into new robotic casings?  That I’m less clear on, but that’s what they do.

M: You know what, I can live with that.  Now, you know what else I loved?  The Doctor being confused and upset that Amelia (yes, I will continue calling her that) couldn’t remember the Daleks.  From what we’ve watched, she shouldn’t know anything about them, so we’re clearly going to find something in future episodes where she should have remembered them from some experience that we haven’t seen yet.  I love mysteries like that, and when shows give them time to breathe and ruminate in the audience’s brain.  That’s a big part of why I love Lost, and if they’re going to add things like that here, I’m down with that.

E: This is something you’ve missed again.  There was a huge and super cool plot at the end of the previous season that involved the Daleks, which Amelia and everyone else on Earth would have known about. I don’t want to spoil it for you, because you should go back and watch the last few seasons, but suffice to say it was pretty damn big.  So the fact that she doesn’t remember that means that something very weird is afoot – something no doubt related to the crack in Time we see at the end of each episode.  It has the makings of a season long mystery. And that’s all good for us viewers!

M: Either way, it’s something that she doesn’t remember, and the reason she doesn’t is a mystery, and that I like.  Good for the viewers, good for the plot, good for character development.

E: I agree.   (Quick, we better stop talking while the truce lasts!)

M: Ahh, us agreeing over and over…. that is the true victory of the Daleks!

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3 comments on “Doctor Who Review: The Victory of the Daleks

  1. Hayley says:

    M, I get why you found the Daleks disappointing. This isn’t really the episode to get introduced to them. But as someone who has watched the previous four seasons, I was absolutely not disappointed. See, they’ve done dark and horribly deadly and everything–the first appearance of the Daleks in the new show, in the episode aptly titled “Dalek,” is something you absolutely need to watch. That was my first introduction to them.

    And, yes, the bright colors are campy, and hark back to the the ’60s when the show had to be made on the cheap, so they stuck plungers on something and called it an enemy. But, like I said before, this season has a totally different tone than what we’ve seen in the previous four–brighter colors fit right in with that. It works because we’ve seen the destruction Daleks can wield… and now we get to hear them ask, “Would you like some tea?” Amazing!

    Also–Amy’s clothes definitely came from the TARDIS wardrobe.

    • M says:

      Ok, I am definitely going to have to check that out! Now, the question I have is do I need to watch the episodes in the season leading up to it, or should I just jump right to it?

  2. Sadie says:

    I’m a fan of the Daleks as Doctor Who villains, and I personally really enjoyed this episode, a lot more so than the past week’s. Granted, I’m also new to this show, but I know enough about it to know… well, you get my drift. And I do agree that the plot at the end of season four with the Daleks was awesome.

    🙂 🙂 🙂 Sadie 🙂 🙂 🙂

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