Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Doctor Who 'Dalek' Review

The Doctor must come face to face with his oldest and deadliest foe.

The Tardis is drawn to an unidentified distress signal, landing in a massive underground facility near Salt Lake City in Utah, in the year 2012.  They find themselves inside a private collection of alien artefacts owned by the wealthy Henry van Statten, who has made his billions by secretly owning the internet and creating amazing new technology based on alien artefacts.

Impressed by the Doctor’s knowledge of the artefacts on display van Staten takes the Doctor to ‘the cage’, where he keeps his one living specimen.  Realising that this must be the source of the distress call the Doctor enters ‘the cage’ and tries to help the life form within.  However, the Doctor comes face to face with his greatest enemy, a Dalek.

The Dalek learns from the Doctor that they are both the last of their races, the other Daleks and Time Lords killed in the last days of the Time War.  The Dalek escapes from its confines and hunts for the Doctor through the facility, intent on killing the last of the Time Lords before escaping to the surface to continue with its default mission of exterminating all non-Dalek life.
The Dalek uses Rose to manipulate the Doctor.
‘Dalek’ is the sixth episode of series one of the revived show and features Christopher Eccleston and Billie Piper as the Doctor and Rose respectively.  It marked the first appearance of the Daleks in the new series and offered an insight into the events of the Time War, to this point only mentioned in brief. 

During the course of the episode we learn that the two factions in the Time War were the Time Lords and the Daleks, though other races were drawn into the fighting and suffered along side them.  We also discover that the Time War was ended by the Doctor himself when he destroyed both sides, killing not only his oldest enemies but his own people. 

These revelations let us see more of the damaged Doctor that had thus far only been hinted at, a man that has been through terrible physical and emotional damage.  We see the pain and anger that normally bubbles beneath he surface, allowing the Doctor in this story to embrace those emotions and show a new side of himself.  A Doctor that is full of rage and is more than willing to kill.

The Dalek in this episode is also a thing of beauty, a bronze death machine.  In the past the Daleks have often looked frail and unthreatening, but here the Dalek looks like a big, heavy and dangerous piece of machinery.  It is much easier to accept this version of the Dalek as one of the supreme races in the universe.  Especially as this one single Dalek goes on to kill over two hundred people by itself. 
The Dalek feels the pain of being the last of its kind.
Whilst the episode is initially set up as a chase/action oriented story we are given a great deal of emotion too, and not only from the Doctor.  Having used the DNA of Rose, due to her being a time traveller, to repair itself the Dalek begins to experience some negative side effects.  It begins to feel.

By the end of the episode the Dalek almost become a thing to pity, a sad and lonely creature left all alone in the universe.  We see it and the Doctor both recognise that they have lost their races, and the pain that it has caused them.  Unable to continue living with such emotions the Dalek chooses to kill itself rather than carry on, showing us a side to the Daleks that we have never seen before.

‘Dalek’ is a great episode, not only does it successfully establish the Daleks and their role within Doctor Who to new audience members, but it also gives long term fans something new and interesting.  An episode full of action and killings, as well as deep emotions that give Christopher Eccleston a great chance to show the deep emotions that he brings to his version of the Doctor.  One of the best episodes of his time on the show.  8/10


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1 comment:

  1. Hey, if you ever need someone to proofread, let me know!