Doctor Who
Dalek

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: B | 2 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
Explicate! Elucidate! Exposit...ate!

Some of the "world-gripping" products offered at the Geocomtex website are "ether beam sensing technology," "telebiogenesis," "bonded polycarbon," and "reduced stature nebulalloy." Which are interesting in a retro-engineered kind of way, but not as interesting as the "argentum ordnance" or the node stabilized in two variants: "lupus" and "nocens."

Inside the Cage,the Doctor checks out Simmons's torture devices. In the darkness and scary music, he spots a dim blue light and says, "Look, I'm sorry about this. Mr. van Statten might think he's clever, but never mind him. I've come to help. I'm the Doctor." And, out of the darkness, there's a tiny, high voice: "Doc-tor?" And the Doctor recognizes the voice, but you can't say he really believes: "Impossible." The hidden creature gets more excited: "The Doctor?" The Doctor’s mouth hangs open. The lights come up, revealing the alien to be a Dalek. Which is screaming in that hysterical way they do: "Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!" The Doctor goes apeshit, screaming and beating on the door of the Cage, begging to be let out. That's a new thing to see the Doctor doing. It's kind of pathetic. It certainly helps make the case for the Dalek being scary, considering that the Doctor laughs at, like, actual apocalypses and stuff. Close on the Doctor's face, terrified.

(Van Statten. "Of the States," perhaps? Just a theory.) The Dalek waves its arm helplessly, like an insect, blustering and screeching: "You are an enemy of the Daleks! You must be destroyed!" And like a kid with an insect, the Doctor breaks into a grin: "It's not working!" The Dalek's eyestalk swivels down to its arm, as the Doctor laughs cruelly: "Fantastic! Oh, fantastic!" There's relief in the joy. It turns into something else: "Powerless! Look at you. The Great Space Dustbin. How does it feel?" The Doctor lunges, and the Dalek begs him to stay back, but he leans in tight, and there's no Doctor here; he's unrecognizable: "What're you going to do to me? If you can't kill, then what are you good for, Dalek? What's the point of you?" The Doctor circles it, angry and dark, and it watches him, afraid, as he goes: "You're nothing." I could almost believe it's trying to get him to touch it, goading him and using his fears and guilt against him, but the weakness of dialogue in this and other scenes makes me think that's multiplying entities. Better to think that. "What did you hear, Clarice?"

Van Statten, Goddard, and Simmons watch the proceedings. "What the hell are you here for?" the Doctor asks the Dalek. It replies that it's "waiting for orders," and that it is a soldier, bred "to receive orders." Anything, anybody else, that would be the saddest thing the Doctor ever heard. But there's no pity in him for this thing: "Well, you're never gonna get any. Not ever." The Dalek's voice rises: "I demand orders!" Half of what makes Daleks scary is the voice: that combination of nearly-insane hysteria and obsessively logical repetition. Saying terribly sane things in a terribly insane way. "They're never gonna come!" screams the Doctor. There's a little bit of Method spit dribbling. It's really hard to watch. "Your race is dead! You all burnt, all of you. Ten million ships on fire!" He's talking about the Daleks, sure. "The entire Dalek race wiped out in one second." The Dalek calls him a liar. "I watched it happen," the Dcotor says, and leans in. "I made it happen." The Dalek is a creature well acquainted with destruction. It still can't comprehend: "You destroyed us?" And that's the thing that snaps the Doctor out of it. Just a little -- he's still scary as hell -- but enough that he can turn his back and answer honestly, in a dead voice, "I had no choice."

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