So, that was Resolution [of the Dalek / Doctor]. I’ve mulled it over and while I believe it isn’t perfect it is a good story and if treated as part of series 11 definitely one of the best. Lots of elements come together and I have to echo the it felt like real Doctor Who comments seen on social media. It also seemed to have more budget / cast / SFX.
I’ll cover the good and the bad, starting with the core of why this story worked (in my view).
The Doctor and the Dalek
Whose resolution was this in the end? I wanted it to be called Resolution of the Dalek(s) fitting with so many classic titles, but really it’s Resolution of the Doctor. Oscar Wilde once said someone can be judged by the quality of their enemies, and maybe it took a Dalek to get a defining this is my Doctor performance from Jodie Whittaker (helped by several decent bits of dialogue). Let’s not overlook Nick Briggs whose performance here is spot-on and will be overlooked by many casual viewers as it’s all off-screen. I think Jodie has won back many wavering fans with this outing. I feel a general sense of looking forward to 2020 with expectation.
The basic story is great. Yes Big Finish has explored Dalek’s outside of their shell but this takeover of Charlotte Ritchie’s Lin worked very well. So well I would have liked more of it and less of the rest. And I’m astonished how many people on social media thought this was a Dalek re-design! It’s a Dalek built from scraps to suit its needs. I mostly liked it though it was too indestructible and why did it have rocket launchers?
I didn’t like the frankly weak scene where sitting at a laptop lets you hack a secure institute that happens to be Sheffield and has some Dalek parts. Yes the show has been too London-centric in the past, but at least spread the love around the North of England!
Ryan and Ryan’s Dad Aaron and the microwave
Sorting out Ryan’s relationship with his errant father has been building, but why put it in the first Dalek story? This needed a more generic alien and a chance to let Aaron see Ryan’s world without the greatest foe dominating events. I thought he had some depth and didn’t die nobly at the end, sparing Ryan yet more pain. Hopefully we get another look at Ryan and Aaron next series.
Of course what didn’t help was the café sequence. Viewers were expecting dramatic dialogue between father and son but instead Aaron’s is trying to flog (Derek Trotter style) a microwave! Where did that come from? It turned out to be a way to tell us Aaron was really a decent engineer and not a rogue at all. At this point all the box needed was a comedy label saying Chekov’s Gun and it would be complete. And can the Doctor not find something in the TARDIS for fighting one DIY Dalek? It’s not like she hasn’t fought them before! It tried to make too much of Aaron for me.
The DaVinci Code-esque elements and the archaeologists
What was the beginning about? Three warriors beat a Dalek, chop the mutant into three rather than burning it or encasing it in quicklime. They run across the world and just bury it a few inches deep. Not good. Having done all that the mutant teleports itself back together after a few minutes under a sunlamp! Then we have the book and other nonsense (sorry to be blunt) just to give Mitch more to do.
The site for the dig was great though and yet another set of archaeologists did fit the story. Charlotte Ritchie seemed to enjoy being all evil, managed not to get killed and Lin has a role in a future Torchwood perhaps! Despite some effort, proto-boyfriend Mitch did seem a lot more generic, but you can’t have everything.
Graham and Yaz
Poor Yaz. When will she get a decent story? Graham was good and fitted the Aaron / Ryan storyline plus had a chair broken by the TARDIS! Apart from that he was somewhat redundant as well. One day he needs a long chat with the Doctor about just who she is, are there more Daleks and what’s the average life expectancy of a companion (or ‘fam’).
So, a big fan controversy. I will post elsewhere about how UNIT might have evolve going forward (and what do I know) but what makes sense in terms of avoiding lots of UNIT, Kate & Osgood meet the new Doctor… avoids all that in a rather odd Brexit joke with Polly the call centre operator. I don’t at all think UNIT is no more, and it has gotten too big (and rich and powerful) but this seemed a lot of airtime for something that could have been better explained. I refer to Cavan Scott’s tweet:
Folks, you realise that no-one’s killed UNIT don’t you? They’ll be back when a story needs them, whereas this one didn’t. Was just a little joke to explain away the problem with UNIT in stories like this ie. why don’t they just show up every time Earth is threatened. #DoctorWho
— Cavan Scott (@cavanscott) January 2, 2019
Despite a lack of further custard creams we had a bit more TARDIS. Again it felt like more budget. We still only saw console room but it was lit to seem much larger. A good thing methinks.
So, I liked it despite many things I felt could have been different. Let me know what I’ve missed in the comments. Thanks for reading!