September 28, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Doctor Who “Dalek”

The last Time-Lord meets the last Dalek (maybe).

I’ve said it before and I will say it again:  sooner or later, every Doctor has to deal with the Daleks.

I doubt any of them ever dealt with one the way the Ninth does.

See, there’s been a lot of talk off and on so far about some kind of Time War.  We know it happened, that the Doctor is the sole surviving Time Lord, and…that’s about it.  I got the impression the Doctor is so quick to want to help those gas-based aliens bothering Charles Dickens because they said something about a Time War causing their problems.  So, what is the Time War?

We only have a little bit more information after this episode, but it says a lot.  The Doctor and Rose get a distress call to the far distant future year of 2012 (remember this show aired in 2005), and they end up in what turns out to be an alien museum.  In that, someone has a museum set up full of alien artifacts.  There’s a Slitheen arm, lots of rocks and things, and the Doctor starts somewhat mocking a Cyberman’s head.  The TARDIS popped them 52 stories below ground, and the pair are soon captured by security working for Henry Van Statten, the American billionaire who apparently owns the Internet.  He collects aliens, and in one case, a live alien that maybe the Doctor can get to talk.  It won’t, no matter how much Van Stratten’s people torture it.

The Doctor, being a helpful chap who already showed Van Stratten one of the things he’s playing with was a musical instrument being held the wrong way, goes down to see it while Rose is set off with fellow Englishman Adam Mitchell.  And sure, the Doctor is pleased to help at first.  Then the other alien hears “the Doctor” and starts talking all right.

The other alien is a captured Dalek.

Oops.

So, here’s what we find out:  the Time Lords and the Daleks went to war.  The Doctor did…something that managed to wipe out all the Daleks (like, again) but also perhaps all the Time Lords.  Meaning, well, the Doctor is the last of the Time Lords (as he has stated before) while this Dalek may very well be the last of the Daleks.

And they want to kill each other.

It takes something bad to make the Doctor want something dead.

Now, see, no one told Rose this, so she convinces Adam to help her help the poor tortured thing in the subbasement, and when she lays a hand on it…the Dalek gets some of her DNA, empowering the casing enough to break loose, and then after absorbing the power and knowledge of the Internet itself, well, it goes on a violent rampage while the Doctor and Van Stratten watch helplessly above, Van Stratten initially not wanting the Dalek damaged because he bought the thing, but no one told the Dalek that.  Besides, it has a forcefield that tends to disintegrate bullets before they hit anything.

And no one will listen to the Doctor’s advice on how to kill it.

Many dead security guards later and Rose, and only Rose, trapped in the closed off basement with the Dalek, and something happens.

The Dalek, a creature that the Doctor says can only feel hate and, since it wasn’t the top dog in its race, can only take orders, is afraid and won’t hurt Rose.  Apparently, the Dalek got a little of Rose in it, so now it’s…well, not good, but it is feeling things and just wants to feel the sunshine on itself before it dies.  A Dalek that has mutated enough to feel, well, anything, is no Dalek.

Then there’s the matter of convincing the Doctor not to kill the pathetic blobby thing that finally gets to feel some sunshine.  That comes from Rose asking him not to and the Dalek telling the Doctor what a great Dalek the Doctor would make.  After that, the Daleks kills itself, leaving no trace of anything behind.  Van Stratten’s own people mindwipe the guy to dump on a random city street since he let 200 people die for his vanity, and the museum is going to be filled with cement and forgotten.  The Doctor and Rose get ready to leave, but Rose asks if Adam can come along despite the Doctor’s personal misgivings.

What does it say about an episode where the Dalek ends up being more sympathetic than the human villain?  Van Stratten was actually torturing the Doctor at one point once he realized he had a second alien on his hands.  But the Doctor was just looking to kill something, and while the idea that the Doctor never kills anyone is a lie (he’s been more than happy to if not fire the shot itself then to at least let others do it, especially the Daleks if those pepperpot-lookin’ things can take themselves out and save everyone the trouble).  However, he was as angry as I’ve probably ever seen any version of the Doctor.  I know the Daleks come back as more of their traditional evil selves, but this time, we got to see a Dalek know fear and regret.  Two survivors entered a room and only one left, and not for the reasons that sentence usually implies.

What does it also say that a Dalek’s death might seem even a little tragic?

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