I think I should make one thing clear. I am no fan of the Daleks or their various stories over the years. I also strongly disagree with the likes of The Moff and RTD (cue gasps) when they say that Doctor Who is only Doctor Who with the inclusion of Skaro’s finest. It’s not. I could quite happily live with the show’s oeuvre without the Daleks (or the numerous references to them). That’s not to say all their stories are unappreciated by me (I should state that I realise that the intergalactic pepperpots have a huge amount of fans across the globe – including those that make the show) and I’m not going down the route of mentioning every flippin’ Dalek story – or comparing them, there’s really no point. Anyway, my dislike for the Daleks aside (and, to be honest, it’s not relevant to the story or review, I just felt I had to get that off my proverbial chest), they’re back! Oh, and spoilers, as always, follow. So that’s really two things I’m making clear.
Something I haven’t commended so far this series (yes, I call it a series NOT season – sorry!) is the direction. It has been top notch and Victory of the Daleks continued the very fine style. The Daleks were shot beautifully (and quite humorously early on with the Daleks hoovering about behind the Doc’s back, offering tea and such) in their ship and the action scenes in space were terrific – and, for a second week in a row, a bit Star Wars~y (certainly not a bad thing). Moffat’s promise of a movie every week has been delivered with trouser~tightening flair.
Another point I haven’t picked up on is The Doctor’s fallibility combined with Amy’s saving the day prowess. He’s been effin’ up quite royally this year and, if it wasn’t for Pond (I do like the way he calls her that), he’d be stuffed. Too often, The Doctor is seen as a know~it~all who saves the day, so it’s refreshing to see him bugger up now and again. Again, it appears everyone’s favourite Time Lord has started up the return of the Daleks.
But these are no ordinary Daleks. Well, actually, I suppose they are ordinary as they seem to do all the normal Dalek~y stuff like shootin’ an’ shoutin’ an’ that. I have to say I do like the new design. Like Mark Gatiss (the writer of this episode), I have huge soft spot for the Peter Cushing Dalek movies – especially the look of the titular villains. And these newbies are just as big and colourful. But, for a Dalek story, they were here and gone all too quickly.
Of course, this story seems to be a set~up for their return but the speed in which they effed off, leaving a lot of non~Dalek stuff going on, was quite odd and had an unusual feel. Not necessarily a bad thing, playing with stories and how they’re told is an important part of keeping the show alive and interesting. Victory of the Daleks does feel like a prelude but, on its own merit, the entertaining sight of Spitfires in space was tit~tuggingly marvellous. The CG work was spot on and genuinely breath~taking.
Gatiss also provided us with two engaging characters in the shape of a blustering (not to mention buggering) Churchill and the more thoughtful Bracewell, played by Bill Paterson. Although one may find debate in the humanisation of a robot (Phillip K Dick certainly got a bit of mileage out of it) and how Amy talked Bracewell out of exploding and destroying the Earth, Paterson brought a great enthusiasm to the role initially, then filling it with sorrow. He was also the conduit that allowed the real story arc* of the series – the Scottish agenda.
Mazza got some real good stuff to play with in Victory from Dalek~bashing to Jammie Dodger brandishing to Why~doesn’t~Amy~know~the Daleks? type confusion. Why indeed….? Top marks all round though I have to raise a negative in the form of the bloody crack that’s appearing every week (so far anyway). Not exactly subtle this time and one wonders if it’s a diversion due to this obviousness. Anyway, small point (as ever), the New Series continues its impressive form scaling the intimate and majestic all in the space of forty odd minutes.