Alas, having harboured high hopes for this seasons Dalek two-parter, ‘Daleks in Manhattan‘ and ‘Evolution of the Daleks‘ proved woefully misguided. With a promising premise of Depression New York, squealing pig slaves, weird experiments and desperate Daleks, the episodes dissolved into something far less entertaining, far less fitting and much less satisfying overall.
The sacrifice of Dalek Sec to advance the development of the Dalek species ultimately ended in a third-rate Frankenstein/King Kong crossover, with the freakish hybrid chained like the great ape and paraded for the entertainment of the masses for no greater reason than a chance target. Quite how two Daleks can aim at the Doctor and yet hit someone several metres nearer instead beggars belief. Did they lose the Time War due to myopic gunnery?
Given the physical damage suffered by the fourth Doctor falling from a tracking station, it seems odd that the lightning strike that riddled the 10th Doctor’s body with tens of thousands of volts of electricity did not trigger regeneration. Has he become impervious to harm like the doom-laden Captain Jack?
In the end, despite the Doctor’s surprise the Daleks had had enough power to complete one emergency temporal escape, DalekÂ Caan shifted out of the 1930s to Davros-knows-where… to ensure the continued survival of the species and some future machinations for the Doctor to foil.
While Dalek stories have misfired in the past, anyone who watched ‘Alien: Resurrection‘ should have known that this could only go wrong if handled badly… and guess what? It didn’t go so well. Hopes hang on the rest of the season to make up for this unfortunate two-week hiccup.
While the football made for a painful wait, Gridlock proved absolutely worth waiting for. Great stuff – and good to see an episode which such highly confined surroundings do so well. Made me think of Children of Men, which also made great value out of confined spaces.
I hope that the appearance of the Macra means that Russell T won’t be adverse to further dips into continuity. The Second Doctor faced them before in one of the ‘lost stories’ (where the BBC wisely destroyed the original tapes back in the latter quarter of the last century, needing the space and not thinking very clearly about how they made room…). Martha and The Doctor continue to provide a nice alternative to the old combo with Rose, with clear signals that the former doesn’t like being used and the latter hasn’t yet even started to deal with the loss of his last companion. Not since Adric has The Doctor suffered like this… and maybe he’s forgotten how to handle it. I really look forward to the whole of this season… and the upcoming two-parter with the Daleks can only make it sweeter!
The third season of ‘new’ Doctor Who continued at a fine pace with ‘The Shakespeare Code’. Martha proved an able companion and perfect foil amidst jokes, puns, random quotes and witchcraft. I’m not absolutely convinced about the plot, but you know… I don’t care. It just seemed to work. With fun and frolics, thesps and threats, Doctor Who delivered another slice of teatime adventure suitable for all the family. And while I would have loved a continuity nod to the assistance the Doctor would provide to the bard in actually finished ‘Hamlet’ (mentioned in ‘City of Death’, I believe) – you can’t fault ’em for not trying to confuse matters for newer audiences.
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