Doctor Who – “Evolution of the Daleks”

Considerably more amusing than it was intended to be.

So let’s get this straight. You’re a Dalek. You’re unhappy about how sappy and polluted your “human-dalek-with-dreads” has turned out, so your next ones are going to use pure Dalek as a template. And when your creation turns out to be a pasty-faced roboman who looks like the least Dalek-y thing imaginable, you consider this a roaring success? I have to assume the Daleks feel this is all going perfectly according to plan, since they don’t bat a lens cap.

I keep thinking I must be missing something. My wife is just flabbergasted that the episode’s understanding of genetics appears to boil down to bunsen burners, coloured liquids and the less mainstream theories of Victor Frankenstein.

There are plenty of other silly bits: the Dalek strafing run, the Daleks’ Seigfried and Roy stage routine, the fact they they don’t just self-destruct the robomen *before* they shoot the Daleks into scrap metal, and my favourite moment of comedy genius: the Dalek who stealthily looks over his shoulder before plotting rebellion.

Strangely given the high degree of ludicrosity, I still quite like the episode. Not nearly as much as part one which was genuinely good Doctor Who, but for all its pulp stupidity the thing I most like about this week’s episode is the Doctor himself: his reckless tendency for self-sacrifice, his passion for humanity, and the fact that he’s willing to help Dalek Sec’s mad scheme simply because it paves a way forward for the Daleks that doesn’t involve killing them (one that’s reminiscent of his secondary mission in ‘Genesis of the Daleks’: to alter the course of Dalek evolution so that they become less aggressive). And ultimately I like the repeat of the Last Timelord-Last Dalek showdown, which highlights just how far the Doctor has come in his healing process since Christopher Eccleston’s incarnation faced the same scenario1.

Really I’m giving the episode far too much credit. It’s quite, quite ridiculous. But I kinda like it anyway. I even like “The Doctor is In!” Yes, really. There’s no hope for me, is there?

1 Sadly the Doctor’s characterisation came at the expense of pretty much all the other characters and most of the nostalgic atmosphere of the setting, but I did like it nonetheless.

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