Note: I try to keep these as spoiler free as possible to avoid ruining the episodes for folks.
At the end of The Beast Below we were treated to a plot device that has not been seen for a while in Doctor Who: a scene that leads directly into the next episode. The scene in question showed a certain Winston Churchill calling the Doctor begging for help, as we see the evil shadow of an old foe about to exterminate Churchill. As we begin Victory of the Daleks something has changed, Churchill is smug, and seems to think he has the war “in the bag”, all due to a “secret weapon”.
Victory of the Daleks has some bright spots and some rough edges sadly. First things first, the acting is superb especially with Ian McNeice as Winston Churchill. Rather than try to emulate Churchill 100%, McNeice grabbed the raw essence of what Churchill was about and ran with it. In the accompanying episode of Doctor Who Confidential, he basically said he wanted to emulate the tone and demeanor of his speeches, which I think worked well. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan were also very good, but Smith really shined in this episode. His wild “these are the Daleks, and they are evil” rants were spot on, and made the Doctor look about as crazy and hateful, as those he was condemning.
Great acting as usual from the cast
The rough edges I spoke of seem to be either due to the editing process or unfinished thoughts in the writing itself. There are more than a few extraneous subplots going on like a girl that works for Churchill who is worried about her boyfriend, a pilot for the Royal Air Force. We occasionally see her lamenting on his possible death, and other things that add absolutely nothing to the plot whatsoever. It almost seems as if this was originally going to be a “two-parter”, and all the padding got removed. Sometimes Doctor Who adds back stories for side characters and such, but as this character doesn’t really actually speak to the main cast, or reveal her name as far as I can rmemeber, she was pretty much wasted space.
The re-design of the leadership Daleks was cool, and brings a bit of scariness back to the characters. The old Daleks were modeled after actress Billie Piper’s eyeline, and these are in line with Matt Smith, who is about 70 feet tall. Because of this added height and deeper voice, these Daleks look to be quite menacing in the future. Sadly they don’t do too much in this episode aside from taunt the Doctor, which is a shame. The Daleks do end up with a VERY bright new paint scheme that reminds me of the colors for Star Trek rankings. Then again I was also wondering if the Daleks were going to form Voltron at some point, so I can see why folks might not like the new direction.
Let’s form Voltron!
I’ll admit that being a huge fan of the Daleks, I was pretty hyped up for this episode, especially after seeing the bits and bobs in the trailer. With a fairly good writer on board, and a novel idea in the can, I was pretty hyped up for “Victory of the Daleks”, sadly due to this over-anticipation I may have caused myself to be a bit underwhelmed by the end of the whole thing. Not to say that this was a bad episode, but it was just average in my book, although it served a great purpose in rectifying all the shenanigans from the last few seasons, and will hopefully keep the Daleks alive for a while still.
My rating 3 out of 5
- Doctor Who #399: Genesis of the Daleks Part 6 (siskoid.blogspot.com)
- Genesis to Revelation: For When the Dalek Bible? (siskoid.blogspot.com)
- A Doctor A Day – “Army of Ghosts / Doomsday” (comicmix.com)
- How ‘Doctor Who’ Kept Its Big Christmas Secret Off Twitter (mashable.com)
- Jenna-Louise Coleman wins over Doctor Who fans as she appears in different guise in Christmas Special (dailymail.co.uk)
- Doctor Who #347: Planet of the Daleks Part 2 (siskoid.blogspot.com)
- ‘Doctor Who’: Jenna-Louise Coleman talks about becoming the Doctor’s new companion – EXCLUSIVE (insidetv.ew.com)
- Learn about all the Doctor Who companions [infographic] (geeknative.com)
- DIY Dalek Ornament (instructables.com)
- A Doctor a Day – “Dalek” (comicmix.com)