Yes, it’s only the third episode of the new season, and here are the Daleks. Either Moffat’s trying to say that he’s not going to use the Daleks as a major villain and wants to get perhaps the most famous villains into his series and out quickly; or he’s saying that the Daleks just aren’t scary enough. Not for the hide in the dark and scaring the children — and me — episodes he’s planned.
This turned out to be my least favorite episode of the season so far. Mark Gatiss’ writing didn’t live up to the history of this classic villain. The entire episode felt like weak filler. Weak filler to bring the Daleks back again. Again with the same plot point they’ve always taken: extermination. Plus the regeneration of their kind, which I recommend “Daleks in Manhattan” and “Evolution of the Daleks” if you want the same plot — only 10 years earlier — done better.
At first, I thought this episode could really push the universe as we know it. I mean, the Allies — Winston Churchill, one of our great mythical contemporary heroes — “create” the Ironsides. Well, actually a man called Professor Edwin Bracewell invents them. His mind’s also filled with other wonders, which might be helpful in winning World War II and starting space travel.
Then the Dalek shows up serving tea and calling itself a soldier.
Of course, I was thinking, ‘wow, this is really interesting given the Daleks were always a take on the Nazis and now they’re being used by the Allies. Under Moffat’s direction, are the Daleks going to change into something besides always wanting to ‘cleanse’ the world of those not ‘pure’ Dalek?’ Pretty much, this episode lived down to all those expectations and hopes. The expectations even further crushed when the ‘pure’ Daleks destroy the ones created by Bracewell. Not to mention the Doctor’s stereotypical reactions to them.
My other big disappointment this episode was Matt Smith’s acting. Here, I did not believe he was 900+. Here Smith’s age showed. While I’m not sure how much of fan Smith is, but perhaps that’s where his child-like excitement about the Daleks from. Too child-like, too exaggerated.
Otherwise, everything else seemed over-the-top ideas of World War II from Churchill to the rainbow-colored Daleks. Plus, historically Londoners blacked out their windows to block light and most of the street lamps were physically removed during the Blitz, making it impossible for the Daleks to light up London. Then there was the lack of a reference to Nine, Rose, and Jack being there during the Blitz. I mean, come on, Jack’s gone through World War II at least four times.
Also, the entire part where Edwin’s a robotic bomb and his memories of love save the day added to the silly. Even if Moffat’s moving Doctor Who back to the children’s show, this was weak.
The only interesting thread was Amy’s missing memories of the Daleks moving Earth from “The End of Time.” Various theories have popped up around the internet from Amy being from the ’90s (which I disagree with given Rory’s cell phone technology) to the Doctor actually being in an alternative universe, which is part of the reason he’s having a hard time working the Tardis. We’ll see.
Anyway, I’m hoping next week’s better.