Previously on Doctor Who: The Beast Below.
Oh, no! The Daleks are back! What are we gonna do? Oh, wait, let’s get on the phone and call the Oncoming Storm! Apart from getting there a bit late, that part was a smashing success. But then comes the big surprise. Well, shock, really. The Daleks have implanted an Oblivion Continuum on Earth, in the shape and form of a human, a professor. Professor Bracewell is the name, and he’s got all these brilliant ideas — and no idea how the Hell he comes up with them all the time, but who’s he to complain? The Daleks have managed to make the humans believe that they are dutiful soldiers, driven by samatarian feelings to help them to defeat the Germans. Right. Everything’s fine. But then comes the Doctor, picks up a giant spanner (“Spanner-shh!” Metacrisis, anyone?) and starts banging away, taunting the Dalek and shouting at it for what it’s worth. As we have already seen with previous Doctors, e.g. Nine in Dalek (take a look), that nothing brings out the worst in the Doctor so effectively as a Dalek; the worst here being (self-)righteous anger and desperate frustration at having them turn around and bite him in the arse again.
Of course, it becomes clear after about zero seconds that the Daleks are up to no good, and that their “ultimate aim” might well be “to win the war”, but certainly not the way the British think. Ironsides, pah! Also, a little lesson on becoming a good liar: While lying, stay close to the truth.
The Doctor really gets his behind kicked this time: not only did the Daleks use his “testimony” to trick and activate their Progenitor, they then present him with the favourite choice — the Earth or the Alien, blah blah blah — and, just to top it off, they bugger off across the universe when they notice their plan’s gone and been shot to hell; disappearing away right under the Doctor’s nose. Thanks to Amy, he realizes he can be proud of himself for figuring out how to (theoretically) deactivate the Oblivion Continuum, but he’s still smashed by the fact that they’ve gotten away from him, stronger than ever. And certainly keen to resume the fight against all non-Dalek creation. He failed to bring the “final end” to his deadliest arch-bloody-enemy, and they’ve used him to get there. Ouch.
Another point of discussion, of course: The Daleks’ new design. They’ve put on a little at the waist, haven’t they? They still don’t have bones, though…
“There isn’t a sincere bone in your body, there isn’t.. a bone.. in your body…”
Anyway, my first thought when the new Dalek paradigm presented itself to their oldest foe: That’s not a Dalek paradigm, it’s a fleet of iPod nanos! Multicolour!! And they’ve got ranks now. Oh, my.
Worse than all that: Amy doesn’t remember the Daleks. But she should, shouldn’t she? The Doctor himself says it’s impossible, she can’t have missed all of that. There’s been a lot of discussion on the Internet these past few days, arguing what terrible secret might be lurking behind Amy Pond’s existence, and, well, I guess we should be worried.
“As safe as it gets around me.” — The Doctor, after Amy second-guessed his decision to leave her, supposedly “safe in the middle of the London Blitz.”
Speaking of Amy: Again, she proves that she’s even more than brilliant. After the Doctor has left his companion to deal with the Daleks on his own, she refuses to stay out of her own option of trouble and convinces the Professor that he can help, even after having his left hand blown off by some “inferior” Dalek. Even though she was visibly thrown off track by the Doctor’s outburst half an hour ago, she doesn’t pause to question whether he really is the best choice of a designated driver, and she doesn’t shy away from him.
“I’m still here, aren’t I?” — Good girl, screw the danger. It’s worth it.
The relationship between the Doctor and Amy isn’t as prominent in this episode as it was in The Beast Below, but they still have their moments, and they’re intense and well-played: When Amy helps the Doctor to bring out the entirely human and compassionate part of the Professor, asking the question that might easily come to mind when thinking about the Doctor’s charms, actually:
“Ever fancied someone you know you shouldn’t?”
Besides the fact that the Daleks forgot that somewhat important point that, while they possess no such thing as compassion, their weapon does (oh, and doesn’t the Professor just look Iron Man to you?), there’s this important question. (Which reminds me, the wedding conundrum wasn’t mentioned this time around.) Anyway, the Doctor freely acknowledged that she’s even more than brilliant and, somehow, apart from the anger, it’s always in a Dalek episode that the Doctor starts kissing companions’ foreheads. Speculation aside, he’s just genuinely proud of having her around (“Come along, Pond!”), even more so when she proves Churchill to be a pick-pocket. Bad, bad boy! What does he want the TARDIS key for, anyway? Give General von Stauffenberg a Dalek as a birthday present to pull off Valkyrie? Note: The Doctor wanted his key back; and Amy’s making a face: he hasn’t given her one, then, has he?
Crack watch: The crack’s still as easy to spot as the last time, appearing in the wall right behind the TARDIS after the Doctor and Amy leave. And right after he’s told her that there’s something they’ve missed, something she’s forgotten. In danger of repeating myself: Oh, dear.
- Teehee, the Doctor doesn’t smoke. And he certainly doesn’t like being smoked at.
- Daleks organizing the filing cabinets and serving tea. I will have to wash my mind with soap.
- “Amelia!” — nice authoritarian voice, Doctor! And fitting ignorance on Amy’s part, completely unappreciative of his use of her given name.
- Winston Churchill saying the line “It’s time to think BIG!” had me in tears. But, never mind, dear, the Doctor thinks you’re a “beauty!”
- The new theme tune really has grown on me by now.
All in all, a very good episode, setting up for many, many Dalek conspiracies to come, and exploring yet a new range of the Doctor’s personality. Winston Churchill’s a nice fellow in this one, albeit not nearly as layered and significant as the wonderfully developed character of Professor Bracewell. Apart from that, there’s always one military girl crying over a lost pilot over the Channel. Poor dear.
NEXT: River Song returns, as do the Weeping Angels. DON’T BLINK! The Time of Angels.