And so on to part two of the season opener. To recap in the last episode lots of stuff happened that had very little to do with anything. And a dying Davros wanted to see the doctor.
The cliffhanger of course had Missy, Clara and the Tardis zapped by the Daleks. This episode wastes no time with any misdirection. Missy and Clara are safe and well outside the Dalek city. Missy explains that she programmed their time jumper bracelets to absorb Dalek weapons fire energy and teleport them away. Or something daft.
Missy and Clara make their way back into the Dalek City by going through the Dalek sewers, which are basically tunnels with lots of old used-up Dalek innards. I mean the actual living creature that lives in a Dalek machine. This will prove to be A Very Important Plot Point.
Meanwhile the bulk of the episode deals with the Doctor and Davros. The Doctor is a bit miffed that Clara has been exterminated. For a while he is so miffed that he actually extracts Davros from his chair and drives around it in. Seriously. It’s in the episode.
But later when a recaptured Doctor reveals that Gallifrey wasn’t actually destroyed and is still out there somewhere Davros says he’s pleased for the Doctor because it means he’s no longer alone.
And Davros uses his own eyes to see the Doctor. Yes, there are actually eyes in there somewhere which was kind of cool. And then the next thing you know the Doctor and Davros are all best buddies and sharing a joke. Well, Davros is dying, isn’t he? But it would be so nice to see the sunrise again with his own eyes…
The performances by Capaldi and whoever is in the Davros makeup do sell this very well, that these two old enemies could be possibly becoming friends.
The Doctor gives Davros a bit of his regeneration energy to help Davros see the sunrise. But it’s a trap! It’s all a trick and Davros is stealing the renegeration energy to feed his Daleks and turn them into some sort of regenerated Daleks.
But there’s a double-bluff type of thing going on. The Doctor is aware it’s a trick and he allows it to happen because he knows his regeneration energy will make the sewer Dalek creatures (remember the Important Plot Point) regenerate, and that will cause a Dalek sewer earthquake, or rather skaroquake.
Some of the stuff between the Doctor and Davros is actually very good but the highlight of the episode for me were a couple of very powerful scenes with Clara being convinced by Missy to get inside a Dalek shell in order to escort Missy as a “prisoner” through the Dalek city. I seem to recall this being done way back in the original Dalek serial so there’s a nice symmetry there. And of course the first time we met Clara (or “Oswin”) she turned out to have been turned into a Dalek without realising it.
Once Clara is inside the machine and connected up telepathically to the controls Missy puts Dalek Clara through her paces. She gets Clara to say “my name is Clara”. It comes out as “I am a Dalek”. And “I love you” becomes “exterminate”. It’s initially amusing and then becomes increasingly disturbing.
Near the end of the episode Dalek Clara and the Doctor meet. Of course he doesn’t know it’s Clara inside and Missy tells him it is actually the Dalek that killed Clara. The Doctor understandably wants to destroy this Dalek. A desperate Clara is trying to tell the Doctor it’s her inside the Dalek but ends up repeating “I am a Dalek, I am a Dalek”. Eventually Clara’s pleadings are translated as “mercy” which lets the Doctor know something is amiss. He helps extract Clara from the machine and with a full on Capaldi glower he tells Missy to run.
Of course it’s not wise to leave the Master on a planet full of Daleks. I’m sure this will come back to haunt him.
Oh, by the way the Tardis wasn’t destroyed in the last episode, it was just “dispersed” and the Doctor reassembles it using his sonic…. sunglasses…. Seriously. Face palm. Don’t go there.
The Doctor muses about Clara’s Dalek being able to ask for mercy. How did that get in there? The Doctor then goes back in time and saves Kid Davros from the hand mines, telling him the importance of mercy.
So in summary this was a very strong episode that I enjoyed very much. Indeed much more than the messy shenanigans of the introductory part. The scenes with Clara in the Dalek are the stand-out scenes for me combining great writing and dramatic tension.
As a final note I keep reading that Missy is a “fan favourite”.
Corgi have been making James Bond diecast model cars for fifty years starting with the famous Aston Martin DB5 with the gadgets from Goldfinger.
(Of course Corgi like to keep reminding us that they have been making those models for 50 years. And they keep re-releasing the DB5 repeatedly.)
The latest James Bond movie Spectre opens at the end of October and Corgi have produced a model of the new Aston Martin DB10 that appears in the movie. Here’s the first glimpse of the Corgi model in an advert that appeared in Empire magazine.
The advert is actually for a Scalextric set and they have stuck a photo of the Corgi model at the bottom of the page.
No word yet on the inclusion of any potential gadgets but I wouldn’t expect any.
UPDATE 13 October 2015…
A Hornby webpage shows a rendering of the Aston Martin DB10 model and states it is to be released in January 2016.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to bother reviewing this episode of Doctor Who. Mainly because I couldn’t actually work out how I felt about it. Was it good? Was it bad? Was it mediocre? I still don’t know.
Bits of it were good. Some bits were actually very good. But there were other bits. Entertaining bits, to be sure. But the episode felt like someone had taken lots of bits, lots of scenes and stuck them together and said “here’s an episode”.
The problem is that this is part one of a two-part story and I suspect part two might be the part that has the actual, you know, story. Part one therefore is just a teaser. A teaser expanded to 45 minutes.
The episode gets off to a terrific start. There is a war going on somewhere. It might be World War 1 except the biplanes are firing laser beams. A young boy runs into a minefield, except these mines are hand mines, i.e. hands that reach out and grab you by the leg and pull you into the ground. The Doctor appears and promises to help the boy escape. He asks the boy’s name…
“Davros,” says the boy.
Now, that’s just a brilliant opening!
And then it sort of goes downhill a bit.
There’s some guff about the Doctor going missing and no one can find him and there’s this snake dude looking for him. Apparently it’s the Doctor’s last day alive. (Hang on, didn’t they do that in season six with the Eleventh Doctor getting shot in Utah?)
Clara is back to being badly-written smug-Clara and she is helping UNIT investigate why all the aircraft in Earth’s skies are frozen in place. As it turns out it’s actually for no reason, it’s just an excuse for Missy to turn up and be “zany” and “cool”.
Ah Missy. Apparently everyone just loves Missy! Oh look she’s just disintegrated some UNIT security men for a laugh! Yes audience, laugh along with that crazy, zany Missy, isn’t she hilarious!
Well I just sit and imagine the gravitas of Roger Delgado’s Master. And I shrug. It’s just not the same character at all.
Then there’s some stuff with the Doctor in 1138 (AD or BC, I can’t remember) having a party on a tank and playing an electric guitar. Just because. Nothing to do with the plot. Just because.
Eventually the plot returns from its long walk and the snake guy takes the Doctor, Clara and Missy to meet Davros who apparently is dying. And the Doctor is ashamed.
And this is interesting because I wonder, is the Doctor ashamed that he didn’t try to save kid Davros and therefore created the evil megalomaniac somehow? Or is he ashamed that he did save Davros? So I am getting all engaged in the central moral dilemma of the episode.
We are never shown explicitly what happened in the minefield other than the strong suggestion that the Doctor abandoned kid Davros after learning his name. So this is interesting stuff. Plus they use a clip of Tom Baker from Genesis of the Daleks where he gives the famous speech about having the right to change history. (This is either a nice nod to the classic show dealing with the same moral dilemma or it’s hammering it home for a lazy modern audience. I can’t decide which.)
It turns out they have been taken to the Dalek world of Skaro. And we get to see lots of Daleks in a big room with some classic series Daleks mixed in. So that’s nice. And then the Daleks kill Missy, Clara and destroy the Tardis. Apparently.
Oh dear. So that’s Clara dead then?
Except you can be sure part two will hit the BIG GIANT RESET BUTTON (see any episode of Star Trek Voyager for details). So there is no sense of jeopardy. You know Clara and Missy and the Tardis will be back.
And hang on, wasn’t Davros destroyed in that David Tennant story from 2008 or whenever it was? How is he back? And where’s he been since?
I hope part two is brilliant and it makes me reassess part one. I do feel like I’m reviewing only half of the story. I mean I wouldn’t want to watch half of a movie and then review it saying “that was rubbish because there was no ending.”
But at the same time this is episodic television so each episode does need to stand on its own. And this episode was a bit of a mess. An entertaining mess, but still a mess. I do suspect that a one-part story has been stretched out to make two parts.
So as I said at the start I don’t know how I feel about this episode. Other than it had good bits and other bits and they were stuck together to last 45 minutes.