Sunday, April 18, 2010

Doctor Who ''Victory of the Daleks'' Inside Trekker Review

Victory of the Daleks is written by Mark Gatiss who also previously wrote the fantastic ''The Unquiet Dead'' and the less so ''The Idiot's Lantern.'' This episode unfortunately suffers a bit compared to the previous two ones but is still none-the-less an interesting romp. As a stand-alone Dalek themed episode, it will undoubtedly be compared to ''Dalek'', the series great 1 episode written by Robert Shearman.

The Doctor and Amy answering Churchill's call: you rang?

When we last left the Doctor and Amy, he had just received a phone call from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill himself. In what seems to be a trend this season, The Doctor arrives in London during the blitz 1 month after that call was placed because, as we are told by the Doctor, it's a type 40 Tardis and he's just riding her in.
Magnificent view of London with a sky filled with Zeppelin. A meeting with history.

To his utmost horror, the Doctor discovers that Churchill is using Daleks – here called Ironsides – in the fight against the German attacks over London. These Ironsides were created by a certain Professor Edwin Bracewell and appear to be quite domesticated, bringing tea and such, and being ready to ''Win the war.'' Which war? asks our Time Lord. WWII or the war against all the Universe?

A Dalek's view of the Doctor. This one is distrustful of these ''Ironsides.''

The initial meeting between the Doctor and the Daleks is fraught with distrust and later with rage because no one but him understands the real threat the Daleks pose. Here the Doctor comes across as the aggressor in a powerful scene where the Time Lord is forcefully hitting a Dalek with a huge metal wrench, trying to make it admit that it is indeed a Dalek. And all that fear and rage comes through Matt Smith's powerful performance. The forceful act works and we learn, at the same time as the Doctor, that it was always part of a much larger Dalek plan. A plan to bring about a new, pure Dalek race.

The Doctor is trying to convince Churchill of the true danger the Daleks pose.

The Daleks are one of Doctor Who's most villainous and iconic monsters. They have always stood in for the Nazis with their desire to exterminate everything that is not Dalek. I think it is fitting then that a story involving them takes place during WWII, in the midst of the London Blitz.

The Doctor tries to see with Professor Edwin Bracewell where this one got his ideas for the ''Ironsides.''

The whole hair-pulling reason behind the Dalek's master plan was that they needed testimony from the Doctor that they were Daleks (being themselves inpure), in order for them to be able to use a progenitor, which would then re-create the Dalek race from pure Dalek DNA (are you following this?). This new pure Dalek race then arrives in white, yellow, blue, red and orange - with brand new eye stalks that look a bit more advanced than the previous ones. They also boast a different, deeper voice. It is not long before these new Daleks destroy the three Daleks that brought them to life. They didn't even put up a fight.

Inside the Dalek ship is the progenitor that will create new pure Daleks.

The part where the Doctor is on the Dalek ship is both terrifying and funny as he tries to bluff the Daleks with a cookie (a Jammie Dodgers), passing it off as a Tardis self-destruct button – and it almost works.

One very Interesting moment in the episode is when the Doctor realizes that Amy is completely ignorant of the Daleks, and doesn't recall the abduction of Earth -and subsequent invasion - by the Daleks that took place in ''The Stolen Earth'' and Journey's End.''

Who wants a Jammie Dodgers? Who?

I have 2 theories about this. The first is that Amy is from an earlier time, the 1990s to be precise – some have pointed out that during ''The Eleventh Hour'' we see that Rory Williams' employee badge was issued in 1990. Could this be a production mistake? It is unclear. However, I don't believe such a mistake could be made by Steven Moffat and co. This theory could also be sound because the Doctor seems to be having a lot of trouble getting his bearings through time.

The second theory is that either Amy, or all of the Earth population (it is unclear at this time), was made to forget these events and that the Doctor is completely unaware of it; meaning there is a darker and more nefarious plot behind it. This is an interesting new element that Steven Moffat has added and that will surely fit into that Pandoric and crack stuff.

The Doctor facing new Daleks in all colors of the rainbow.

Bill Paterson turns in a great performance here as Professor Bracewell who turns out to be something completely unexpected when instead of being the creator of the Ironsides, we find out that it was he who was created by the Daleks. He is an android with a ''positronic brain'' the Doctor says (anyone who knows their Star Trek will have automatically thought about Data here. All I can say is squeee!). Moreover, he is also a dangerous bomb because inside of him is an oblivion continuum - a captured wormhole, - meant to obliterate the Earth.

The Doctor confronts the Dalek that appears to be the new leader.

The Doctor and Amy of course manage to disarm Bracewell by making him feel pure human emotions according to the Doctor's reasonning, but when the Doctor is about to fail, Amy saves the day again by asking Bracewell: ''Have you ever fancied someone?'' Seriously, is it the norm now to have Companions apparently be more clever than the Doctor I wonder? I mean Companions are there to help the Doctor but the writers seem to be going out of their way to make her really smart.

Use the force Luke!

The titular victory of the Daleks in the episode is that the Doctor fails to stop them once and for all, though he saves the Earth – as Amy and Churchill remind him. The theme of the episode is about making choices. And the Doctor Chooses the Earth, though it means that the Daleks escape once more to surely return at some point. I for one hope it wont be too soon. There are many more past and future enemies I wish to see instead!

Professor Bracewell is a bomb! Run for cover!

Ian McNeice's turn as Winston Churchill was a bit flamboyant and larger than life but I guess they felt it had to be since he's portraying such an iconic historical personage. It was funny anecdote however to know that Churchill has always tried to steal the Tardis key from the Doctor, because for him, possessing the Tardis would mean saving lives and doing many things.
The Doctor is so happy and relieved he kisses Amy. Not exploding will do that to you.

The special effects were good, with great shots of a war torn London with zeppelins hovering in the sky, and we were rewarded with a fantastic space battle with modified spitfire planes going against the Death Star Dalek space ship. After a Star Trek reference, Star Wars! Mind you that's the second Star Wars reference in a row. Star Wars 2 Star Trek 1. The entire feel of the 1940s was well rendered in the story.

Great view of the Dalek ship behind the moon. Before they disappear.

All in all however I feel this episode was uneven – it had exciting moments but it also had quiet ones. Plus we have a companion that seems to be the one finding out the solutions to every problems. We'll have to wait and see if that trend holds. However, we also have the re-invention of an old enemy and that could be what is needed to reinvigorate the Daleks.

The Doctor realizes that the Daleks have won.

On another note, I have to say that the theme song has grown on me. Murray Gold can do no wrong. Pure musical genious.
Ugh, Churchill? Hand over that Tardis key you took.

My grade for the episode: B+

Amy pondering the danger of life with the Doctor.
There you are!

Some Favourite Quotes:

Winston Churchill: So you changed your face again?
The Doctor: Yeah... well I had a bit of work done.

Dalek: Could I be of assistance?
The Doctor: Shut it.

Winston Churchill: If Hitler invaded Hell, I would give the favourable reference to the Devil

The Doctor: What does hate look like Amy?
Amy: Hate?
The Doctor: Hmm. It looks like a Dalek. And I'm going to prove it.

The Doctor: [enraged] You are my ennemy. And I am yours. You are everything I despise. The worst thing in all Creation. I've defeated you time and time again. I've defeated you. I sent you back into the void. I saved the whole of Reality from you. I am the Doctor and you are the Daleks!

The Doctor: [to the Daleks] Tardis bang bang! Daleks boom!

Winston Churchill: Now I don't give a damn if you're a machine Bracewell. Are you a man.

The Doctor: [to a new Dalek] Don't mess with me sweetheart.

The Doctor: Winston you beauty!

Amy: There's a blue wire or something you have to cut. Isn't there? There's always a blue wire. Or a red one.
The Doctor: You're not helping

Amy: [to a ticking Bracewell] Ever fancied someone you know you shouldn't?

The Doctor: I had a choice and . . . they knew I'd choose the Earth. The Daleks have won. They beat me, they've won.
Amy:But you saved the Earth. Not too shabby is it?
The Doctor [hesitating]
Amy: Is it?
The Doctor: [happy] No. It's not too shabby.

Amy: Oy! Churchill! Tardis Key! The one you just took from the Doctor
Winston Churchill: Oh oh oh! She is good Doctor! As sharp as a pin, almost as sharp as me.

Amy: And here's me thinking we've just been running through time, being daft and fixing stuff. But no, it's dangerous.
The Doctor: Yep, very. Is that a problem?
Amy: I'm still here aren't I?


  1. I like to know all the details - even cookies names - thru your reviews. Thanks!

  2. Fun fact! Terry Nation, the guy who created the Daleks, actually did base them on the Nazis. There you are, something to remember! :P

  3. "Most people think of time as a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually it's mor like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey...stuf."
    From 'Blink', the best Doctor Who episode of all time.

  4. They are not zeppelins, they are barrage balloons...

  5. Yeah I'm late, but the "Positronic Brain" was in fact from an earlier episode of DW in which human researchers pondered on "what kind of positronic brain" a Dalek had, which was in turn culled from the works of the late, great Isaac Asimov.

    Sorry, had to be picky. I love Asimov.

    But all in all a good episode, Second one I saw so maybe I'm biased.