you know what they call me in the ancient legends
the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm.
You might have removed
all your emotions but deep
your DNA there is a little spark left.
Autons, Gelth and the Slitheen family weren't enough for both Earth and the Doctor
to deal with, he has to cope with the ultimate invasion of Earth.
will Rose be able to help him, and her own planet?
all good things come to an end.
EPISODE THIRTEEN REVIEW Spoilers
"Over the years, the box will be
buried and the world will move on."
Short of having Michael Grade turn out to be the Emperor Dalek (which he was ,
in a way), how could RTD deliver a convincing punch line to this 13-episode
shaggy dog story?
Given the generally high quality of the series, he set one
hell of a benchmark for himself from the outset. Still, one step in the right
direction would have been to actually depict the Dalek attack on Earth.
Now that would
have been nice. And, yes, we sort-of saw an alien invasion or two earlier
in the series but this is the frickin' Daleks , how in the name of all
that's Nation could they NOT at least show some Dalek space ships blasting away
at a few familiar landmarks and feature some of the little tin fiends trundling
around London shooting up the place? And the ending (where the Daleks confront
the Doctor as the lone survivor on the space station) is a study in a missed
opportunity made worse by a bottom-of-the-barrel-scraping plot twist of the 'with-one-bound-he-was-free'
This episode is not dull but, boy, is it rushed. There is a lot of
plot in this story and I felt that the characters got lost in the action; a regular
criticism of bog standard genre fiction writing which I never thought could be
leveled at a writer the calibre of RTD. Given that this is from a writer
of his calibre , this episode nevertheless has several great moments. When the
Doctor and Lynda part for the last time, they almost kiss; and Jack's
parting kiss (smack on the Doctors mouth) is laugh-out-loud provocative. And
is RTD using life in the TARDIS as a metaphor for fame? Remember Rose's conversation
with her mum and Mickey in the café?
Given the gripping cliffhanger offered
by BAD WOLF , I groaned
when the Doctor saved Rose without too much effort in the first five minutes, although
the rescue starts promisingly with the TARDIS materialising around Rose
and her guard. The barmy Emperor Dalek-with-a-God-complex is a fab visual, of
course, and his revelation that the Daleks were harvesting human genetic material
to create a new race of Daleks was a great plot twist (the Daleks were almost
entirely extinct following the Time War - apart from the chap we met in DALEK and,
err, the Emperor on display here -- so their return is not as bad a
cheat as I at first thought). But given that these hybrid Daleks are insane
(they are not just obedient, they worship the Emperor), I thought they
were pretty efficient loonies (controlling the Earth and building an
entire fleet for the final take-over).
Anyway, Rose, the Doctor and Jack leg it
back to the space station which is where mankind's' last stand (sort-of) will
take place. Sort-of in as much as the Doctor reminds us that there are human
colonies across the galaxy so we're not looking at the extinction of mankind;
so bang goes that level of
tension; this is not the winner-take-all, high stakes game it should
be. We never see the Earth below the space station at ground level .
What should have been the most visually breathtaking set piece of the series,
turns into a weak melodrama lacking the emotional resonance of FATHER'S
DAY or the sustained spectacle of ALIENS OF LONDON ,
with the Doctor in the future facing off against the Emperor and confronting
his personal demons in the process -- can he live up to his Dalek nick name, "The
Oncoming Storm"? (Nope, but I'll come to that misstep shortly) -- and Rose
trapped in the past talking things over with her mum (Camille Coduri is just
plain lovable here, presenting us with a naïve but basically decent human
being and Billie Piper impresses once again as a vulnerable girl with a good
heart, just like Tegan, but Noel Clarke is not given enough to do or say here).
The Doctors big moment comes when the Daleks, having secured the station after
slaughtering everyone aboard (Jack's death is a shocker and Lynda's
is chilling) and taken the Earth, confront the Doctor as he prepares
to unleash the ultimate weapon, the Delta Wave; only to lose his nerve because
it is so destructive and could wipe out all the human beings
on the planet below.
This baffled me because the Doctor had already agreed with
Jack that dying as a human being was better than living as a Dalek. I do not
see this as a moment to be compared to the Baker moment in GENESIS (OF
THE DALEKS) when he has a crisis of conscience simply because he is
considering cold-blooded genocide (wiping out an entire species because of what
they will do in the future). Eccleston's crisis here is very different
(it has already been established early in the series that this Doctor has no
problem with killing Daleks en masse): here, he is apparently worried about human
life and does not want to be responsible for pushing the button that wipes them
out. Fair enough. But it had already been made clear that the people of Earth
were going to be used to create a new race of Daleks and that this would be a
fate worse than death.
What did the Doctor spare them for?
Meanwhile, back in the 21 st
century, Rose got a gander at the heart of the TARDIS and flew back (forward?)
to the station in time to rescue the Doctor without breaking sweat because she
had now acquired god-like powers which meant she could 'wish' the
baddies away and brought the dead back to life. Hurrah! Or not. Now this was
a major plot cheat: the Doctor is in
an impossibly tight spot and so why not give Rose superpowers to get
him out of it?
For me, the injury that compounded the insult was the Doctor's
regeneration into Casanova. JNT would have approved.
Perhaps, Vanessa Feltz will
replace Billie this Christmas.
3/5 - it would have been 2/5 but the space
fleet visuals saved it...