|It's nice to see the older Daleks after the whole|
"Every Dalek Ever" fiasco, but what's the point of them?
The episode immediately negated the cliffhanger of the previous episode with a lengthy cold open which used technobabble to excuse it away, as well as explaining why The Master survived being shot in Death In Heaven. The episode followed two subplots, one with The Master and Clara making their way through the Dalek "sewers" (an interesting concept where the sewer consists of the still-living rotten remains of dead Daleks), and another with The Doctor and Davros discussing his fate. Davros claims to be dying, and offers The Doctor congratulations at the knowledge that the Time Lords are alive. He even goes so far as to open his real eyes for the first time in the show's history, just to be able to watch one last sunrise. The Doctor, being compassionate, decides to give some of his new regen. energy into the Dalek's hivemind, which apparently is a trick by Davros to rejuvinate himself and the Daleks. This is discussed for a while but then turns out to be another trick by The Doctor, with the living sewers rising up against the Daleks. And at one point Clara ended up inside a Dalek casing and it was weird.
Ignoring for now the question of whether it was a good Doctor Who story, let's ask - was this a good Dalek story. Everyone has their own criteria for what that means - for me, it means that we got a story where the Daleks were not only good villains, but which showed us something new about them. Like the rest of the episode, there is good and bad. On the bright side, a lot of the scenes where Clara's voice was translated through the Dalek speech modulator, and The Master explained how a Dalek thinks. Julian Bleach's Davros is still an amazing addition to the show, and the scenes where Davros is pretending to be dying had me on the edge of my seat. The downside was that a lot of the episode's concepts for the Daleks are either derivative of other Dalek stories, or directly contradict previous stories.
|Julian Bleach is the best Davros since Michael Wisher,|
When I watched Dark Water last year, I had some hope that Moffat had maybe learnt to tone down some of his old habits. That story had some brilliant buildup, slow and menacing, alongside an interesting sci-fi idea. It avoided Moffat's old traits - bizarre posturing, women being used as devices, "wacky" moments that had no effect on the plot. This episode was so on the edge of being brilliant - Julian Leach is amazing, the Davros moments were phenomenal, and the scenes with The Master and Clara in the sewers were making my day. But the fact is, they were sharing the stage with so many of those old moments: the weird effing "sonic sunglasses", this claim about a "great prophecy" of a Time-Lord/Dalek hybrid when the same thing happened in Evolution of the Daleks eight years ago. I don't expect perfection in TV - I couldn't be a critic, otherwise. But this episode was blisteringly close to that perfection, and that makes the bad moments sting all the more.
NEXT WEEK: Underwater mayhem in Under The Lake.