Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Daleks are back............

It's a Doctor Who obsessive's dream. You're lying in your bed and suddenly in the darkness lights start flashing and you hear the inimitable tone of the Doctor's scariest and most deadly foe screeching "Good morning, your tea is ready."

I'm not really convinced that the Dalek teasmade could have any more than the most niche of markets, but after last night's Doctor Who episode, who knows?

I was on the edge of my seat for most of the episode which I guess was good but there was so much wrong with it that I barely know where to start.

First of all, what on earth is wrong with the TARDIS? A dying David Tennant managed to pilot it with precision to Donna's wedding and to save the life of Sarah Jane Smith's son Luke yet Matt can barely get it to where he wants within one lunar cycle. The Doctor and Amy land in the Cabinet War rooms a full month after the phone call they received from Winston Churchill at the end of the previous episode.

They missed the chance to help Churchill decide on whether to use the new "ironside" invention of their slightly bonkers scientist from Paisley. I'm surprised they weren't called the Irn Brus - although I guess this is the BBC. The Doctor of course recognised the pepperpot shaped creation which shot the Luftwaffe from the sky like they were clay pigeons.

I'm sure many Who fans will have laughed out loud to see these mean, genocidal beings gliding round the World War 2 nerve centre compliantly offering people cups of tea, with their union jack stuck underneath their eye stalky thing.

The Doctor's fury at seeing these creatures was actually very well acted - he took an axe to one at one point and screamed that he was the Doctor and they were the Daleks. This was all that was required for them to revert to type and head off to their spaceship after a bit of routine extermination to prove that they still could and revealing that the bonkers Paisley scientist was in fact their androidal creation.

The Doctor follows in hot pursuit..

This is where Amy is becoming far too clever. She realises that they can use the said mad scientist's technology to find out what's going on.

There's another comedy moment when he faces down the daleks with what he says is a TARDIS self destruct button but is in fact later revealed to be a jammy dodger.

It turns out that this Dalek ship managed to escape. It has on board a thing to create more daleks but it doesn't recognise the daleks on board as genuine examples of the species. It does, however, take the Doctor's word for it and suddenly starts mass producing multi coloured new type daleks. I really am not keen on the new design - they are in bright rainbow colours with a kind of bustle at the back and their voices are much deeper than we are used to. However they are as evil and genocidal as ever as their first act was to exterminate the original daleks.

The daleks light London up like a Christmas tree with an electric pulse. We have Amy Pond, who, 5 minutes ago, was working as a kissogram girl in rural England, virtually directing the RAF's efforts to shut it down.

The Doctor is then given the choice of letting these new Daleks away to wherever and whenever they choose to re-establish themselves or saving the earth, where the mad scientist is revealed as a walking talking megabomb which will turn the planet into sawdust.

Not able to stand seeing the earth reduced to hamster cage lining, he lets them go, but of course the Daleks don't keep their word and the countdown on a pie chart thing in mad scientist's chest commences. Rather than doing funny stuff with the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor starts trying to get the human side of the mad scientist to assert itself to neutralise the device. Yeah, that's the one thing the daleks always forget, the power of love. Awwwww. I despair. Well, actually, I think it was more lust, as Amy yet again comes to the Doctor's rescue, and the earth's by questioning the mad scientist on a woman he once fancied, which neutralises the bomb.

The script writers have needed for some time to re-establish the Daleks so that they can come back whenever or wherever rather than have just random encounters with dribs and drabs of them and in that sense this episode sees the job done. I feel that the Doctor regained his equilibrium way too quickly at the knowledge that his worst enemies were back for good.

There is also something very weird going on as Amy can't remember the Daleks - and she should have done because it's not that long since they moved the earth. We'll have to wait and see whether she remembers any of the rest of Russell T Davies' years in the Doctor Who hotseat.

I just hope that she's signed up for more than one series. I don't want her to end up as another Donna, an outstanding one series only companion. Let's just hope that there isn't some bizarrre twist like the reason she doesn't remember them is because she was created by them too in some way.

I was left scratching my head a bit after this one - but next week's instalment looks proper scary. River Song and weeping angels. You can't really go wrong with that. Blink has to be one of the best episodes of Doctor Who ever and the Silence of the Library and Forest of the Dead scared me to the core. I will need the Official Hiding Behind Pillow for that one, I think.


Graeme said...

Caron, it was a huge spanner, not an axe.

lizw said...

I think the reason Amy doesn't remember the Daleks is that there's some sort of temporal anomaly. Apparently if you freeze-frame and magnify her boyfriend/fiance's hospital ID in The Eleventh Hour, it's from the mid-1990s, suggesting that the Doctor first meets Amy in the early 1980s rather than the late 1990s or later as suggested by the aerial view of the Millennium Dome as the TARDIS careers over it. The Doctor still thinks the later date is accurate, which is why he's surprised that Amy doesn't remember the Daleks - but of course, if her memories end in the 1990s, she can't remember them. The crack in space-time that we've seen in every episode so far presumably has something to do with it.


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