It’s a new year — and the last “new” bit of Doctor Who we’ll see for a while! As always, spoilers lie within.
Now, just in case you have landed here before seeing the New Year’s Day special, I’ll drop in a quick spoiler space video so you can back out gracefully. Hmm… what would be appropriate…? As it’s a brand new day of a brand new year, why don’t we all sing along with the Doctor?
- As always, this is totally stream of consciousness as I write, honest and (mostly) unedited. I take full responsibility for any terrible jokes that I might write as a result.
- One thing I can’t spoil for you is whatever episode of Bluey that the ABC broadcasts before the episode, because for the second time this season, I’m writing this from the UK, which means I’ve been able to watch it live to air on the BBC. It almost feels wrong not to have Bluey on beforehand!
- For anyone keeping score, the BBC instead had the evening news on beforehand. That’s considerably less exciting than the adventures of a young cartoon dog, I’m sure you’ll agree. Although it’s interesting seeing the Scottish version of BBC news. The accent alone reminds me of a couple of Doctors, starting with the 7th.
- Also, apparently the new BBC Scotland channel launches this February. I’m sure you cared. The BBC Sounds ad beforehand was cute — I’ll see if I can dig it up on YouTube and drop it in here later.
- The elephant in the room here is the “spoiler” that was announced around the foe for this episode — or at least the presumed foe. Just in case you were lucky enough not to have it spoiled, I won’t mention it until (and, I guess if, presuming the BBC was trolling everyone) it appears.
- I’m also writing this up on an iPad Pro, which is… more challenging than my usual writing environment. Apologies for any typos. And for the lead image being the wrong size!
- An unlikely army — and given I’m in Scotland, the Braveheart analogies are inevitable.
- BIG BOLD TEXT SHOWING ME WHERE I AM!
- This is immediately a little darker than previous “Christmas” episodes. What with all the death and all.
- Nothing says “new year’s romance” like bonding over a skeleton. We’ve all been there, right? Also, while I don’t think he’s been named yet, the bloke here is doomed, right?
- Wow. That’s a lot of folks sitting on a tiny pacific island for years with the same axe. Or is it one of those metaphorical axes where the handle and blade have been replaced many times, but it’s still the “same” axe?
- When are we getting the opening credits?
- Sydney 2000 New Year’s? That means… I watched the Doctor live… because I was on one side of the harbour watching that. Although, logically, they would have been burnt to a crisp by the whole “Eternity” firework.
- Yeah, I’m old.
- Tentacles! Yeah, this will end well. Although it’s Doctor Who, not Evil Dead, so it won’t end THAT badly. Not while kids are watching.
- I’m liking the music, yet again. Although I am missing those opening credits.
- I’m left wondering if Lynn is now part squid-thing…
- Ryan’s Dad makes an appearance! That I did not see coming. And the Doctor is suitably blunt about Grace’s funeral. As she should be!
- Ryan’s well-timed “gramps” call is nice there too.
- Lyn is either now part squid thing, or that NYE kiss was rather more than a kiss.
- Ooh, shades of Planet of the Spiders, what with back-mounted greeblies. They’re even suitably rubbery!
- And there we have the Dalek name drop. Although no credits, and I’m presuming that we’re not getting them at this point!
- I’m hopeful (right now) that this will be more “Dalek” and less “every other story that followed”, because that story had tension at a great level. One Dalek you can’t stop is scary. A million is less so.
- Daleks drive like they’re playing Grand Theft Auto. I guess when you’re using a human being as your controller, that’s going to happen.
- It’s only just occurring to me that there’s a lot of tentacle mass there to fit into a Dalek casing. More than I recall being in Dalek armour to date!
- This scene with Ryan and his dad feels rather Eastenders. Not sure where it’s going given the 12 month layoff Who is heading towards either.
- Now I feel like I want to check other Who stories set in the 9th century, just to see if the Doctor should have known about the buried Dalek.
- Ryan’s Dad’s oven seems to be rather light, the way everyone is passing it around.
- Lyn is wonderfully creepy as a human Dalek. Which is of course something that Doctor Who has tried before, but not quite as moodily as this time.
- Hang on… why do Sheffield Police have a Dalek gun? What did I miss?
- Serious tech skillz? No… please no.
- Graham… left behind? OK, that’s different.
- UNIT suspended pending review? Well, that’s one way to save on the budget. But it does make me a little sad that this is now canon. I mean, it’s UNIT!
- I have this slight problem that Daleks are known genetic supremacists (see Remembrance of the Daleks most obviously), so this whole “recon Dalek” thing would, to them, be an abomination, no? I mean, I get that it’s much cheaper than a full Dalek model, but still…
- RYAN’S GOING TO TAKE ON A DALEK WITH A SPANNER!
- (OK, OK, Ace has prior art with a baseball bat, but that was enhanced.)
- Daleks can weld FAST. Even super-skinny kit model Daleks.
- I almost want Jodie to be angrier at this Dalek. Previous Doctors were.
- 1.376 Rels until the Dalek Invasion Fleet arrives? Excellent. I have time for a cup of tea.
- Four Trucks vs 1 Dalek. I feel sorry for the trucks. Although… if it was a yellow truck.
- I’m not the only one who thought “Hang on, GCHQ is run by Arnold Rimmer” was I?
- OK, I’ll pay the Buffering gag in the middle of the episode.
- The Doctor is being FAR kinder to this one Dalek than any other. What with offering it a chance and all.
- Hmm. I think I smell charred Dalek. Smells… rubbery.
- Ah, that’s why Ryan’s Dad survived. So he could be a pawn.
- YES! SKARO WENT SUPERNOVA! Nice continuity callback!
- Heading everywhere, eh? Sounds like a nice destination.
- Hahah! I just realised that watching this on the BBC means NO ROVE OVER THE END CREDITS SPRUIKING WHOVIANS!
- But I did get a Scottish spruik for a new season of Luther, and an upcoming EastEnders episode.
I enjoyed that… quite a lot more than most Dalek stories in recent memory, in fact. It made the Daleks considerably more threatening simply because ONE single Dalek was enough of a threat to the planet. You really don’t need a million of them!
Of course, this also means I have to update my list of “best to worst” episodes this season. Yeah, I count this as part of the season. It’s certainly not part of what we’ll see in 2020!
As always, opinions are my own and yours may differ. Feel free to discuss below, and all that.
- The Woman Who Fell To Earth
- Demons of the Punjab
- The Witchfinders
- Arachnids in the UK
- It Takes You Away
- The Ghost Monument
- The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos
- The Tsuranga Conundrum
And now, onto… a whole lot of waiting! The next season won’t appear until 2020, and I’m taking the pessimistic-but-probably-accurate view that the BBC won’t broadcast in January 2020, so we’ve probably got a long wait on our hands.
As I’ve previously noted, I’m going to start re-watching and reviewing the “new-but-now-old” episodes of new Who, starting all the way back at Rose… but that won’t start for another couple of weeks for personal scheduling reasons. Check back soon!