Victory of the Daleks was the third Matt Smith episode of Dr. Who. This post will contain spoilers.
The episode was good fun, flawed in a few ways, but fun nonetheless.
I was pleased that the [spoiler]Tardis didn’t arrive bang on schedule – Winston rang ‘a month ago’. The lack of fine control of the Tardis[/spoiler] was something I hoped would return (see episode 5 of the Dr. Who Podcast where I make an unnamed audio contribution).
[spoiler]The look of the WW2 Daleks was fantastic. Khaki green. The Daleks were sneaky. Great! ‘I am your Sol… dier’ was a very cool line. I loved the little pouch around the daleks, as if they’d be able to access the pouch[/spoiler].
There was a nice exchange between Amy and the Doctor for people who have been paying attention:
"[spoiler]Amy tell him… about the Daleks….[/spoiler]"
"[spoiler]What Would I know about the Daleks?[/spoiler]"
However, they did really drive this home at the end of the episode, no need to do it twice.
This exchange nicely plays into the [spoiler]Amy Pond mythology, where the timeline doesn’t quite sit right with her[/spoiler]. For instance, [spoiler]her friend, Rory, had an ID card dated 1990 (the village green scene) and yet had modern mobile phones[/spoiler].
I loved that the Daleks [spoiler]were sneaky, infiltrating themselves into the establishment. A Dalek acting as a filing clerk, or saying "would you care for some tea?" I’d love to have seen them put the tray on their suction cup[/spoiler].
I’m sure that some people will have objected to Matt Smith’s [spoiler]un-doctorly behaviour toward the Dalek with the monkey-wrench[/spoiler], but that’s in keeping with [spoiler]Ecclestone’s reaction to my mind, after all, The Daleks were responsible for the end of the Time Lords… and it wasn’t without purpose, it was trying to get the Daleks to show that they were not ‘Ironsides’. Okay, maybe not the best plan when Winston Churchill is in the same room,[/spoiler] but the Doctor hasn’t always been rational around Daleks.
The basic premise for the Dalek’s actions was that the [spoiler]daleks became ‘unpure’ to the extent that they are no longer recognised as Dalek by their ‘progenitor’ device, and so they cannot make new Daleks. Their tech would recognise the Doctor, and accept his word that these Daleks were worthy to initiate the progenitor. They just needed to get the Doctor to say this unambiguously[/spoiler].
I liked the Doctor [spoiler]holding the Daleks off with a Jammie Dodger[/spoiler], very doctorish. I wonder if [spoiler]he carries them as Tom Baker did with Jelly Babies. He’d have a hard time finding a Jammie Dodger[/spoiler] in World War 2 London!
The [spoiler]new Daleks seemed like a cross between[/spoiler] the iPod nano and Pokemon (gotta catch ‘em all). I wouldn’t want all the [spoiler]new Daleks to appear like these iDaleks, however, there are precedents for command Daleks being coloured.[/spoiler]
The [spoiler]iDaleks appeared to the announcement from a Khaki dalek that it was the ‘Restoration of the Daleks’ (why wasn’t that the title)? Telling that the first action of the iDalek was to cleanse the Khaki daleks, they were more abhorrent than the Doctor[/spoiler].
It was at this point that we started to get into areas where the episode got patchy for me.
There were continuity errors when the [spoiler]‘Dalek transmissions’ were intercepted. The positioning of the doctor relative to the Daleks shifted between each shot. It was awfully convenient of the Daleks to fit TV cameras, have them switched on, and to transmit from their control room[/spoiler]. This did jar a little and take me out of the moment.
The [spoiler]Daleks did not have the power to flatten London, but they did have the power to control the lights, and allow the Germans to flatten London[/spoiler].
The first thing you’d do, surely, would be to get [spoiler]onto the BBC and send the population around London pulling out and smashing lightbulbs. Instead, they retrofit spitfires using Dalek tech in the few minutes and send them up into space! Even if you have the tech, this isn’t something that can be done quickly – Spitfire bases in central London (where tech was)[/spoiler] are few and far between.
I liked the [spoiler]visual of Spitfires in space, but it was a stretch too far for me. For the second week in a row, it did seem to be riffing from ‘Star Wars’, when one of the Spitfires was destroyed there was a very ‘crashing Tie Fighter’ type of sound. Bracewell even ended up with a black glove when his hand was removed by his ‘father’,[/spoiler] the Dalek.
Some will complain that the [spoiler]threat of the Daleks wasn’t ‘big’, it wasn’t about destroying the universe. Good – that wasn’t the position they were in, they wanted to rebuild, needed to rebuild in order to fulfil their primary mission[/spoiler] down the line.
Some will [spoiler]no doubt complain that it wasn’t explained how Churchill knew the doctor, and how he got phone access. Surely it’s not too much of a leap to imagine that their paths would have crossed before? Wasn’t it Colin Baker[/spoiler]?
I liked the [spoiler]sneakiness of Churchill, pickpocketting the Doctor for a Tardis key, and his self-knowledge of his place in history. I thought they were going to do a cheap ‘Churchill Insurance’ gag when Amy spotted the key theft[/spoiler], but they sidestepped (just).
The end was a little weak, they really laid on thick that [spoiler]Amy did not recognise the Daleks, for people who missed it the first time around. Then really lingered on the Doctor’s crack. We don’t need to see the crack for that long. There’s a crack,[/spoiler] we get it. Make it subtle!
Generally, I’d put the episode at 4/5, but the [spoiler]spitfires in space, the lack of people pulling out lightbulbs (even if you’re going to try spitfires in space), the cheesiness of stopping Bracewell explode, and the heavy handedness of pointing out the timeline issues with Amy[/spoiler] push it to a 3/5… and the [spoiler]Doctor leaves a doomsday bomb walking around on the planet[/spoiler]?
I loved the Daleks though. Where can I get one of those models they used on the strategy map in the war room?