Here are some thoughts about Victory of the Daleks:
- The little model Dalek reminded me of the ones from the War of the Daleks board game that my brother had when we were little. They could spin around and knock you off the board, by virtue of the technologically advanced power of wobbly cardboard. Perhaps Churchill should install some spinny cardboard circles on his big map: it would make a change from using the pushy stick-things to move his toy planes around.
- It's always a plus to see women in WAAF uniforms: it makes me think "Worrals!"
- I strongly suspect that the Doctor doesn't want Churchill to have a TARDIS key because he doesn't fit the standard sexiness rules for companions (cf. Mr Copper from Voyage of the Damned). Then again, maybe he's already seen Churchill in a miniskirt and doesn't want to repeat the experience.
- The Dalek office drones rather reminded me of the Peter Cushing movies in which Daleks were a) brightly coloured and b) were seen doing all sorts of odd jobs. It also seems that people are using the "Ironsides" for casual storage: after all, they can't get at those shoulder pockets by themselves, can they? What's stuffed inside them: tissues and breath mints?
- Ooh, Amy doesn't know about the Daleks! What's happened? Has she been secretly retconned? Has the fabric of the universe been changed? Has everything that happened during the RTD era fallen down one of the glowing Cracks (TM) and been wiped out of history?
- Not surprisingly, a lot of tedious back and forthing about the Dalek menace occurs, which isn't very interesting since we know Daleks are evil and never doubt for a second that they might not be. However, I did like Churchill's line "If Hitler invaded hell..", which was a real-life quote by Winnie, apparently, although it's not one that I'd previously heard.
- "WOULD. YOU. CARE. FOR. SOME. TEA?" - A surefire candidate for quote of the series, and quite possibly the raison-d'être of this entire episode. It's only a shame that the Dalek in question hadn't been customized with milk and sugar dispensers instead of its sucker and blaster.
- Was anyone else peering at the airships over London to see whether there was a teeny tiny Rose Tyler dangling from a rope? It must have been hugely tempting to CGI her in, but they seem to have resisted it.
- Okay, it's time to get to the root of this Dalek issue, and the Doctor elects to do it with a) an enormous spanner (good), and b) lots of SHOUTING, which is not so good. This primarily because Eleven is no better at the shouty stuff than Ten was. He yells, and it's all a bit flaily and unconvincing. Shame, really, because he's good at the off-the-wall eccentric schtick, but there are other moods in the Doctor's arsenal and ideally you should be able to do them all.
Now, Nine was the ultimate shouty Doctor: you would have bloody done what he said, because he had such scary conviction about him. This also made him the best at talking to Daleks, because wit and eccentricity is a bit wasted on them: you might as well just YELL. When Eleven says "I won't let you get away this time, I won't!", you can almost hear the Dalek thinking "Yadda-di-yadda, hairstyle boy." Whereas when Nine talked about Daleks being afraid of him, you could believe it.
- The Jammie Dodger business raised little but an eyeroll from me. It wasn't even a real Jammie Dodger: it was just a generic brand without the little heart in the middle. Tch, nothing's safe from the recession these days.
- And now we'd like to welcome you to the launch of the exciting new Dalek range! Sadly Steve Jobs was unavailable to do the presentation, so they have to introduce themselves. They come in a range of colours and look like a cross between a set of 1980s desk accessories and the sort of cheap hatchback that Jeremy Clarkson would slag off on Top Gear. Not only are they awkwardly bulky in profile, but they look far too cutesy from the front and their eyes don't even look like eyes any more. I'm not impressed, I must admit. (The sole positive is that they're bigger, so maybe the long-suffering blokes inside them have comfier seats?)
- That new Dalek race in full: Scientist, Strategist, Drone, Eternal, and Supreme. I think poor old Drone picked the short straw, and will end up with all the scummy jobs that Supreme and Eternal reckon are beneath them. (THE. DALEK. ETERNAL. DOES. NOT. EMPTY. THE. BINS.) I suppose it's good that they resisted the temptation to name themselves after the cast of Reservoir Dogs, but if one of them ever turns out to be a double agent, my money's on Dalek Orange.
- In what is apparently less than ten minutes (well, unless the Supreme Dalek was banging on about the greatness of the master race for HOURS and we just didn't hear it), Bracewell moves the British war effort from "vague theory of gravity bubbles" to "Spitfires in space!" How did they even manage to send the gizmos out to the airfield in that time? Handwaving supercharged by Dalek technology, that's how.
- Anyway, Spitfires in space are indeed quite cool, even if they make little to no sense. Of course, my personal canon is that Danny Boy was actually James Bigglesworth, and should immediately be spun off into his own alternate-universe series of spaceborne adventures. You know it makes sense.
- "This is the end for you. The final end." Of Doctor, nobody believes this IS the final end. It's not even the beginning of the final end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning of an end before the final end, but not near enough to the final end to actually be an end or final in any way.
To put it another way, how many times can the Doctor threaten to destroy the whole Dalek race without it sounding like a totally empty threat? Clue: we passed that point some decades ago. Doctor, you KNOW you can never bloody destroy any race, even if they are EVIL (TM). And even if you think you've already done it, you never actually have: they always get away. So what should you do instead? Errrr, I don't know. Perhaps the tough love approach? Getting a Dalek Whisperer in? Making them sit on the Naughty Step? I'm sure there must be other ways...
- Given Bracewell's unremarkable physique, it was a bit of a surprise to discover that he's a dead ringer for Iron Man if you whip his clothes off. (Good news for Dorabella, though.) The light-up panel in his chest reminded me of the game Simon: I half expected Amy to save the day by pressing the coloured lights and playing a tune on it.
- Oh noes, the Daleks have RUN AWAY. Clearly they weren't very impressed by the plot this week, and have decided to skip ahead to the end of the series, to see if Eleven will discover his inner mettle and find a way of fighting them that doesn't involve big fibs and biscuit-fondling. I must admit, I'm keen to find out the same thing. Perhaps I do have something in common with the Daleks after all.
- At the very end, the Doctor reminds us of Amy's lack of Dalek memories again, as if to point out that this episode DID contain some intriguing information that we should all be keen to hear more about. Thanks for that, Doctor. I was in danger of thinking that it was all a bit rubbish, but now I've remembered that it was only mostly a bit rubbish.
- In conclusion: twenty minutes of slightly disconnected ideas, padded out to episode length with twigs, fluff and whatever they used as sticky tape in the war. The weaker side of Eleven's performance is starting to show, Amy's ability to resolve all crises by herself is getting a bit silly, and even Winston Churchill didn't get to do a great deal, other than introducing the word "buggering" to the Whoniverse (although that's an admirable feat in itself). So my message to the Who crew for this week is not so much "keep buggering on" as "stop buggering about". SBA, Doctor. I'll be tuning in next week to see if you manage it.