Welcome back to Whoniverse, even if it’s just a quick visit before the winter horrors continue! The New Years Special was full of callbacks, seeing the return of a legend and the departure of two companions. Would Chris Chibnall hear my prayer and protect the beautiful Graham during his last trip in the TARDIS?
« Revolution of the Daleks » follows « The Timeless Children », with « The Fam » back on Earth thanks to Doctor Ruth’s TARDIS and 13 in space prison after they were arrested by Judoon. Still wavering from the revelations about her legacy, the doctor has had a couple of decades to stew but remains remarkably cheerful and almost healthy. Mainly. She’s in jail with a villain gallery of Whovian villains: a crying angel, some bad ood, that cute pompous pting thingy, and even the silence. But what is that? A handsome devil shows up in the cell next door and it’s only Captain Jack Bloody Harkness who has come to save her. HUZZAH! (I’ll never apologize for how much I love John Barrowman, so there. )
It’s a pretty crowded episode in terms of characters, so Captain Jack doesn’t have as much time to shine as I would like (just give us more Torchwood already!) and is often in the role of Information bomb banished. But the rescue is Classic Jack: he was arrested, worked his way up to her cell block, and managed to secrete some equipment on his person to aid in the rescue. MacGuffin 1: a space / time zorbing bubble that gets them out of the cells, and then MacGuffin 2: his handy transporter doodah. Hooray!
Back on earth, the fam are kind of grumpy and grumpy, but a potential case caught their attention. In one recall combo, the remains of the Recon Dalek from last year’s New Year’s Special Resolve are in the corporate hands of Jack Robertson (Chris Noth, forever Mr. . Big) from « Arachnids in the UK », and his brilliant idea is to use the technology to make Dalek Cops without the mushy innards. Because all cops are Daleks. The government’s new technology secretary, Jo Patterson (Harriet Walker), is delighted and places an order. Patterson later uses a whole bunch of rhetoric from Aunt Lydia to become Prime Minister for about five minutes until her new law and order drones eradicate her. She ain’t Harriet Jones folks.
What could possibly have gone wrong with the Dalek Cops’ plan? Unfortunately mr. Leo The Science Guy, the insane resident of Big, got a bit of Jurassic Park with the mushy remains of Recon Dalek and made a clone. (You have to risk judging your crazy science folks!) Mr.. . Big thinks it’s gross and orders Leo to burn it, but Clone Squishy rebels and chooses to become a wicked backpack instead, and Ratatouille, poor Leo, is secretly building a squishy clone factory. Follow so far?
It’s a bit of a salty get-together with The Fam for Thirteen and Jack, but they soon slip into the old dynamic as soon as she gets wind of the Dalek cop situation. Because if there’s one thing that helps Thirteen remember who she is, it’s facing Daleks again. Once the squishy clones blast their new shiny Dalek shells, she’s in the strange position of bringing in more Daleks to solve Problem A.. (They’re going to cause a whole different problem B, but luckily Jack has some actual bombs as well as information bombs. ) I think my Dalek’s enemy is my other Dalek. If there’s one thing Daleks hate more than anything they aren’t, it’s anything that is a slightly impure version of themselves. Extermination follows and, unfortunately, far too much Dalek monologue. It may take SS Daleks ten minutes to wipe out all the Dalek cops, but then Mr.. . Big ruins everything by trying to befriend the SS Daleks and sell the doctor. BOOO!
It’s okay though – do you remember the replacement TARDIS from the start? Thirteen tricks the SS Daleks use to pile up, and then they lock them up, destroy them, and send them into the void, which sounds like overkill, but these are Daleks so it’s probably about the right level of kill.
Just as she’s ready to take The Fam to the Meringue Galaxy for a treat, Ryan stops pouting for a moment to tell her he’s giving up. OK, OK, maybe I’m unfair, but Ryan has been a bit of a Debbie Downer lately. But Yaz stays. That leaves beautiful Graham who was NOT exterminated or blown up (HOORAY) but decides to stay at home with Ryan and teach him to ride a bike instead of moving on. SOB. At least he’s fine. NEVER DAMAGE GRAHAM.
Jack is on his way to see Gwen, who – although she did not appear on the screen – had the absolute reaction of Most Gwen to seeing Daleks again. She reportedly took one out with a moped and her son’s boxing gloves. (BRING TORCHWOOD ALREADY BACK! JEEZ!)
And so it’s only 13 and Yaz for a while. But what do I hear? Could it be a teaser for a new companion?
It is! Comedian John Bishop is going to join the team, and I’m here for that. Comedians have done well on Doctor Who, and I suspect he’ll add a lot of entertainment to the mix. Let’s face it, Yaz isn’t the funnest companion we’ve ever had, and maybe a slightly smaller team is more to her than standing in a straight line of companions behind thirteen looking a bit confused.
« Revolution of the Daleks » is one of those episodes that is a hot mess but still a lot of fun, and that’s fine. Barrowman and Noth clearly had a great time and Chibnall didn’t kill Graham so I met all the criteria. Next season will be shorter than expected due to coronavirus restrictions but should be with us later this year.
The TARDIS has created some booboos with dates and locations that caused practical and emotional problems with previous companions. (Time and space are pretty big, OK? She’s doing her best!)
For anyone hoping to get a lead on Rose, thanks to Jack for signing up! Remember, it was Bad Wolf Rose who resuscitated Jack when he was first killed … by Daleks, of course.
Clone Squishy sure got this clone factory up and running quickly – so much so that I wondered if the episode’s timeline was tweaked a bit while editing. Perhaps Clone Squishy is just extremely efficient as a bad backpack.
The ending with Ryan and Graham and the little glimpse of Grace were cheese-flavored but sweet, and that means we’re leaving these characters almost exactly where we found them.
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World News – AU – « Doctor Who » -Review: « Revolution of the Daleks « ‘And return of Jack
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