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cultural vandal | by maryann johanson

‘Doctor Who’ blogging: “Victory of the Daleks”

(all spoilers! don’t read till you’ve seen the episode! and no comments from party poopers — this is a love fest only / previous: “The Beast Below”)
Cracks in the universe are evil. Bad, bad crack:

And cracks in the universe lead to all sorts of questions. Like how come Winston’s past with the Doctor hasn’t changed while Amy’s memories — or the whole world around her — have? Amy doesn’t remember the events of “The Stolen Earth” or the battle of Canary Wharf, implying not that her memory is faulty but that her Earth simply did not endure these things. But Winston has a past that the Doctor remembers too, of previous meetings and adventures spanning multiple regenerations — “So you changed your face again,” Winston says, totally comfortable with the notion — and that past persists even in the cracked universe. (Oh, my brain hurts from the lack of verb tenses to deal with temporal distortions!) Why? Presumably the crack in the universe is wibbly wobbly, timey whimey… so why have some bits been altered and not others?

And Winston prompts other questions, too: Which Doctors has Winston met before, and when?

Ya gotta wonder if Amy is, at this juncture, worrying that she’s gotten herself into something she shouldn’t have. The nice raggedy Doctor of her childhood dreams and fantasies is all of a sudden raging at the nice ironsides robots who just want to help the Allies defeat the Nazis and bring everyone a cup of tea. What. The. Hell:

It’s pretty horrifying even for us, who know the Doctor so well, to see him just flat-out whaling on a Dalek like that. He can barely contain himself just looking at these seemingly polite and helpful robots. What a mindfuck for him!

But there’s more to bother Amy, perhaps, too: How he shushes her when she suggests he listen to Bracewell because he’s “a Scottish genius.” How he calls her “Amelia” when he gets annoyed with her (like her aunt probably does!). How he tells her “You’re not helping” later, with her red wire/blue wire nonsense.

Tetchy. Tetchy tetchy. It’s a nice harkening back to Peter Davison’s Doctor, the old man in the young man’s body. Matt Smith is getting it so right.

Still, Amy likes him more than she thinks she should. Like we all do. “Ever fancied someone you know you shouldn’t?” she asks Bracewell, but looks at the Doctor:

“Hurts, doesn’t it?” she continues. “But kind of a good hurt.” Does the Doctor agree?

Or is he just pleased at how well her tactic seems to be working to defuse the bomb inside Bracewell? He is quite delighted with her:

But perhaps it’s just relief that the planet hasn’t blown up.

Gosh, but is this new Doctor always going to be late? He made Amy wait 14 years, and Winston only a month… but what a month! If he’d come when Winston had called, would he have saved himself all this heartache, having to choose between saving the Earth and destroying the Daleks? If only he could have told Winston not to embrace Bracewell and his “inventions,” all this could have been prevented.

*sigh* I’d like to see new monsters and enemies, but I guess we’re never gonna get Doctor Who without Daleks. Hopefully something new will be done with the new-paradigm Daleks from here on out.

Random thoughts on “Victory of the Daleks”:

• “Doctor, it’s…” Amy says, as they stare out over London:

“History,” he replies, seemingly as awed as she is. Which is sort of amazing. When Doctor Who began, back in 1963, the blitz was just barely outside current events. Today, it’s outside living memory for most people watching this, and for almost everyone onscreen and behind the cameras. Probably Matt Smith’s grandparents were only just busy being born during WWII…

• Geez, Amy must be the tallest companion ever. She’s almost as tall as the Doctor, and without even wearing heels!

Oh, and Jack and Rose are out there somewhere, aren’t they? There’s an invisible spaceship parked in front of Big Ben, and Jack and Rose are having champagne out on the balcony. Or has that been erased by the crack in the universe?

• I know, I know: the Doctor has to set a good example for the kiddies, so of course he doesn’t like Winston Churchill’s cigar:

But I like to think that the Doctor has done it all: he smokes, he drinks, he has sex with all sorts of inappropriate beings, he eats carbs, he double-parks, he jaywalks, and so on, and so on. What’s the point of being him if you can’t have all the fun the universe has to offer?

• Last words I’d ever have expected to hear out of a Dalek:

“Would you care for some tea?” *snort*

• Nice echo with Rose:

Rose wasn’t afraid of her first Dalek, either, if for different reasons. (It’s nice for the Doctor that he’s got such smart, spunky, brave girls hanging around with him these days.)

• I propose we get rid of the Moon. It’s too convenient a hiding place for invading aliens:

• Dude, it’s a cookie:

Oh, it actually is a cookie:

To be fair, he was promised tea. And cookies are good. The Daleks have no idea what they’re missing…

• These new Daleks

make me think of, like, fun little Volkswagen SUVs. Like blond tanned young people should be driving them in a sunny TV ad, laughing and enjoying life in their sporty vehicles. Four colors to choose from!

They’ve got some junk in the trunk:

And — damn! — they’re a lot bigger than the classic Daleks:

I’m not sure why that should make them scarier — does it really matter whether the pepperpot robot exterminating you is five-foot-ten or six-foot-three? — but it does.

• Vacuumpunk!

These new episodes are especially beautifully designed.

• I love, in that last shot, the unexpected angle on planet Earth. Why do aliens almost always seem to approach Earth from the same angle our atlases do? What are the chances of that? There’s no up or down in space… ’bout time science fiction recognized that reality.

• “Oblivion continuum” is an excellent bit of technobabble. I predict that three bands are being formed at this very moment with that name. And another two are dubbing themselves the Gravity Whatsits.

• Speaking of which… the oblivion continuum will “detonate… and the Earth will bleed through into another dimension”? Perhaps that’s already happened…

• I love Bill Paterson. He’s so cute!

Bracewell has got to come back, hasn’t he? He could even return in a story set in the distant future, couldn’t he? I mean, he’s a robot — he won’t age. (I do wonder whether Bracewell has ever opened his shirt before. How could he not know he was a robot? I suppose he was programmed not to think about it.)

• Great quotes:

“I don’t give a damn if you’re a machine, Bracewell. Are you a man?” –Winston

“And here’s me thinking we’d just be running through time being daft and fixin’ stuff.” –Amy, upon learning the Doctor has “archenemies”

“I’m always worried about the Daleks.” –the Doctor

(next: Episode 4: “The Time of Angels”)


MPAA: not rated

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb

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