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Apr 29, 2007

You Say You Want an Evolution

I rather liked Dalek Sec and the Cult of Skaro back when they were first properly introduced in Doomsday. I liked the fact that they were able to engage in a bit of banter, and generally went back to the more chatty Daleks of the 1960s, who could have a bit of a conversation with you before they exterminated you and nicked your planet. It was nice to see this sort of Dalek back on the television, and I was looking forward to perhaps several return appearances for rematches with the Doctor over forthcoming years.

Poor old Dalek Sec was reduced here to some sort of weird mutant Dalek BDSM slave

Sadly it wasn’t to be, and after all his greatness in Doomsday, poor old Dalek Sec was reduced here to some sort of weird mutant Dalek BDSM slave. Such a shame – and a bit of a waste, really, he would have made a good recurring villain. Mind you, I have little sympathy for anybody who wants to piss about with the nature of the Daleks, so I was glad when the other members of the Cult turned against him – proper Daleks!

Sec’s transformation into some sort of being with feelings and a conscience was interesting, and there were some good moments when he was echoing very strongly some of Davros’s old dialogue from back in the day, but I was glad when they killed him off after what he’d become. Like Thay, Jast and Caan, I am a bit of a Dalek purist. Although having said that, maybe Sec was right about being pure Daleks and thinking along such straight lines hasn’t always been good for them – why didn’t Thay and Jast get out of the way instead of sitting there to be blown apart at the end? Stupid sods. I was hoping Thay would take over as leader too, I liked him.

Now we have to put up with all these “Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!” gags across the various Doctor Who internet forums and blogs

Instead it’s Caan who lives to fight another day – a touch predictable, perhaps, but they were never going to kill off the whole Dalek race. A shame too because now we have to put up with all these “Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!” gags across the various Doctor Who internet forums and blogs – mildly amusing when they started last week, incredibly irritating after the millionth ‘wit’ decides to come up with it now. As far as the series goes, the production team have painted themselves into a bit of a corner as regards “Last of the Daleks” type stories – surely they’ve exhausted that particular seam now? I hope that when Caan does return next year, he’s had the time to build himself a whole new space-faring army, and that the next few Dalek stories will have them as an all-powerful galactic force once again. After all, as the Fourth Doctor pointed out, they are never utterly defeated – “the Dalek menace always remains”. A ticket to Spiridon and some industrial-strength de-icer, please!

The sad demise of Dalek Sec from greatness wasn’t the only problem I had with the episode. I thought that the business on top of the Empire State Building could have been a little tighter – I liked the Doctor’s reverse Back to the Future business with the lightning strike and trying not to harness its power, although I’m not entirely sure I understand how a solar flare suddenly becomes lightning, nor how the Doctor clinging onto the mast as the lightning struck carried traces of his Time Lord DNA down into the new hybrids.

I also think it was probably a bit cruel of him to help Laszlo out, actually – I mean, what kind of a life is the poor sod ever going to be able to have?

I also think it was probably a bit cruel of him to help Laszlo out, actually – I mean, what kind of a life is the poor sod ever going to be able to have? He’s not exactly going to be able to fit right in to society, and I very much doubt that Tallulah will be hanging around for too long. Still, maybe if he’s lucky the Doctor’s cure was only a quick fix and will give him only another year or two at the most. I’m not sure I’d fancy sticking around for much longer than that with the face of a pig.

It seemed a shame, on the other hand, that Solomon was killed off – or rather, that he was killed off so early in the episode. Was anybody else reminded of The War of the Worlds when he attempted to reason with the Daleks? You know, the bit just after the cylinder has opened, when Ogilvy and the others go forward under a flag of truce to try and make contact with them, and then get wiped out by the heatray. No? Oh well, perhaps it was just me then.

Now, I don’t want anybody to get the impression that I didn’t like this episode – overall I felt that the good points outweighed the bad, and the design, acting and particularly the pace of the storyline helped to carry it along, and I felt it did roll along much more effectively than last week’s opening instalment did. Martha had some good moments too, displaying her intelligence and bravery again and continuing to show what an excellent companion she is.

And yet somehow… I don’t know. Perhaps it’s just that I like the Daleks too much, and didn’t like seeing them reduced to one left in the whole universe yet again. But this was still a very enjoyable piece of television with a lot to recommend it, and if the trailer is anything to go by, next week’s might well be worth catching too.

Comments

"Now we have to put up with all these “Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!” gags across the various Doctor Who internet forums and blogs – mildly amusing when they started last week, incredibly irritating after the millionth ‘wit’ decides to come up with it now"

Well, that's me told!

Paul:

Actually, the Solomon scene reminded me more of a similar scene in The Christmas Invasion rather than anything else!

Neil:

Console yourself with this excellent website -

http://www.khaaan.com/

:)

Sorry Neil, that wasn't aimed at anyone personally - I hadn't read your review when I wrote mine. It was just last night, after the tenth different thread with that gag popped up on OG, that I was left shaking my head in disbelief. :-)

That's OK. I actually nicked the joke from a text message from John Paul Green. I tend to avoid the OG forums immediately after an episode airs, mainly because I end up shaking my head at the reams of "5/5 - best episode ever!" posts you tend to run into.

Since I didn't read the other sites, I did my Caaaaaaan impression while watching the episode.

Wow, a two parter without a totally naff start. There is a place in hell for the person responsible for the beginning of The Age of Steel. Preferably a tiny room filled with farting aliens and all they've got to defend themselves is a lighter from another dimension.

Glad to see sausagehead croaked it. I suspect I've watched too many Lexx and Farscape episodes as I was just waiting for someone to grab a glass and milk him. Hmm, Dalek/Human Hybrid Milk, half the Dalek, all the flavour. Full of CalSecium.

The Dalek using Sec as a pet was a bit weird. I suspect it will be an avatar for one of my regular sites.

I did find it interesting that though Diagoras was a bit of a bastard, he was given lots of humanity in the hybrid form.

The one image I did like, that made up for the lack of Frankenstein style Tesla coils, was the structure of the building lighting up and showing the girders when they pulled the camera back to show human husks. A very interesting period image of technology rather than the art deco retro-tech we normally see.

While I was disappointed with Lazlo surviving, mainly because it tied back too much to New Earth with the Doctor curing people. I'm glad they didn't go all Star Trek and reverse the genetic mutation process. Massive DNA manipulation is suspending belief too much, reversing it is cobblers.

It's a pity they can't bring Davros back without inevitable comparisons with the cyber-controller Lumic. Even though last time we saw him he was little more than a head. Hmm, they'd probably have Davros take over the mind of someone or something equally naff.

"A ticket to Spiridon and some industrial-strength de-icer, please!"

If the production team were to go that route it would piss off fans of Big Finish because the Dalek army frozen on Spiridon was already dealt with in the Seventh Doctor audio Return of the Daleks which takes place during the first Dalek Empire mini-series (I *think* it was set between The Human Factor and "Death to the Daleks!") so I don't think it will happen. Good thinking though!

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