|The Two The's are back together once more.|
The plot surrounded another continuity snarl, with it being revealed that the Twelfth Doctor accidentally met a young Davros, later creator of the Daleks, on a Skaro battlefield. Later, we bring Clara into the episode when she investigates a convoluted bid by The Master to gain her attention by "pausing" all of the world's passenger airliners. The Master revealed that she had received The Doctor's last will and testament, and together they travelled to the past, where The Doctor has spent three weeks parting and introducing anachronisms into medieval England. Eventually they are contacted by a serpentine servant of Davros, who teleports the trio to Davros' base - soon revealed to be Skaro, where The Daleks have congregated and rebuilt once more. They kill The Master and Clara, and destroy The TARDIS. In the episode's brief cliffhanger, we see that The Doctor has once more returned to the child Davros - this time with the intent to kill him.
It's a Moffat plot, so it's as convoluted as Dave Lister's family tree, and this isn't helped by the fact that this season has been formatted into five "loose two-parters" and two stand-alone episodes, with the story being concluded next week. I was surprised at how fast the episode seemed to move, and how I was only driven to tut or groan once or twice. The inclusion of Dalek models going back to the 60s and the welcome return of the excellent Julian Bleach as Davros leant a sense of continuity which didn't feel too heavy handed, the premise of the episode's dilemma being directly related to a Tom Baker quote from Davros' premier story, Genesis of the Daleks - a story which got a number of shout-outs here. While I'm still not thrilled about yet another retroactive incursion into Doctor Who's past (don't get me started on The War Doctor or Listen), I at least think that Moffat is learning to handle these urges of his with some tact and subtlety.
|Ah, Throw-Away-Moffat-Villain #23, |
please come in and sit down.
Something which was true of Dark Water and Death In Heaven is also true here, though. Despite its many, many problems, I still enjoyed it. The continuity didn't feel that tacky, I loved that Julian Bleach is back, I love that we seem to be keeping some semblance of the Dalek storyline established in the 70s and 80s and carried on by RTD, except this time held together in one big timeline. (And I love the fact that everything in Moffat's prior Dalek stories seems to have been ignored this week.) Capaldi, Gomez and Coleman are all on very fine form, and I think that if this episode was a little better-structured, was a little more focused on characters rather than empty mysteries to be thrown away and forgotten about, that we really might be heading into good Doctor Who. One can but hope.
NEXT WEEK: Daleks, Time Travel and retcons. Retcons everywhere. The story concludes in The Witch's Familiar.