So, it’s even worse than the really bad thing you was worried about in the first place?” Yasmin Khan
The Narrator says that warring ninth century warriors fought together to defeat an evil none of them could ever imagine. After defeating the creature, they divided it in three pieces and gave a piece to three warriors to bury. They and their descendants were also required to guard it. One piece went to the Anuta Island in the South Pacific; another went to Siberia, and the third to Yorkshire England. Robbers killed the English warrior, so he wasn’t able to bury his piece. We go to the present where his remains have been dug up and two archeologist, Lin (Charlotte Ritchie) and Mitch (Nikesh Patel) study it. They had been trying to find the remains of Alfred the Great. Mitch thinks this warrior could have fought in the Battle of Hope Valley; a mysterious battle, which we know, was the one we saw earlier. They talk about the kiss they shared on New Year’s Eve and decide they will go out later. They find the piece of the creature the warrior had. They put it under an ultraviolet light. While they aren’t looking, the creature comes alive and summons its other two parts; it is able to reconstitute itself.
The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) and her companions are in the TARDIS watching cosmic fireworks. They have celebrated nineteen New Year Eves and plan on a twentieth when the Doctor gets an alarm from earth, there was a spatial shift. She doesn’t know what caused it but decides to go to Earth to find out.
Lin and Mitch are in a sewer underneath Sheffield city hall with their other finds. They hear a noise and Lin goes to investigate. She sees a large squid like creature on the wall. She gets closer to the squid moving her hand towards it, we hear the TARDIS. Mitch is surprised; the Doctor gets out of the TARDIS and introduces her companions. She asks him if he’s seen anything strange. Lin pops up and tells them there is a squid like creature on the wall. When they get there, there is only goo left. The Doctor takes a sample. She orders Lin and Mitch out of the sewer. Yasmin Khan (Mandip Gill) tells them they will secure the area and let them know when they can come back. Outside, Mitch asks Lin if she wants to go for a drink, but Lin is acting a little strange and says not now. The Doctor has the TARDIS scanning for non-terrestrial and takes the TARDIS to Graham O’Brien’s (Bradley Walsh) home.
The doorbell rings, Graham gets up to answer the door and shuts it in the person’s face. The doorbell rings again and Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole) goes to answer it. The person at the door is Aaron (Daniel Adegboyega), Ryan’s dad. He receives a chilly reception. The Doctor gets to the point, “You weren’t at Grace’s funeral. Ryan waited for you. You let him down.” Aaron asks Ryan if he’d like to get a cup of coffee, after checking to see if the Doctor needs him, he agrees to go with his father. Graham wants a word with Aaron before they leave. He asks why he is here. Aaron says it is New Year’s and the day is about turning over a new leaf. Aaron: “I just want to be family again.” Graham: “Family isn’t just about DNA, Aaron. Or a name. It’s about what you do. And you haven’t done enough.” As they are leaving, Ryan calls Graham “Gramps” to Aaron’s surprise.
“That sound is no rescue. It is combat.” Dalek
Lin gets home, goes into her room, and takes her coat off; the squid’s wrapped around her. The squid has control of her body, brain, and body functions. The squid speaks in a familiar sounding voice, “I am your pilot. You are my prisoner now. You are my puppet.” On the TARDIS Yaz says, “Doctor? I don’t like it when you go quiet.” The Doctor tells Yaz and Graham that the goo reveals they have the most dangerous creature in the universe, a Dalek! The Dalek has Lin go online to discover Earth’s capabilities. The Doctor explains what a Dalek is and how dangerous they are, even a lone Dalek. The Doctor: “I always think I’m rid of them and never am.” Lin is driving her car extremely fast through traffic. A police squad car turns on its siren and goes in pursuit. The Dalek: “That sound is no rescue. It is combat.” Dalek/Lin finally pulls over, the cop tells her how fast she was going, Dalek/Lin replies, “You are an enemy of the Dalek.” The Dalek’s tentacles grab the officer. His partner looks up and sees the disturbance; she gets out of the squad car and sees the tentacles. It is too late for her, both she and her partners’ bodies lay on the side of the road. Dalek/Lin wears her uniform and steals their squad car. The Dalek tells Lin she is a good soldier.
Aaron and Ryan go to a local café where Aaron is trying to sell the café owner a microwave oven. He is unsuccessful; Ryan looks unimpressed. He asks his father if he’s stopped working the rigs and started selling microwaves. Aaron: “Let’s just say I’ve been examining my life choices lately, I’m not sure this is the answer.” Aaron tells Ryan he knows it has been tough for the both of them. This makes Ryan seethe. Ryan: “I don’t care how it’s been for you. This ain’t about us commiserating with each other. This is about you making things right.” Aaron: “This is how you talk to your dad?” Ryan: “I don’t know because he ain’t been around. So don’t come walking back in, demanding respect, cause that ain’t where we are.” Taken aback Aaron answers, “Ok, listen. Here’s what you find out when you get older. There are things you’ve done in your life… to others, the decisions you’ve made, maybe when things were difficult. You get it wrong. But by the time you’ve realized you’ve got it wrong, it’s too late. You can’t fix it because the damage is done. So you run ’cause you’re too ashamed to make it right. That’s what I did.” Ryan doesn’t let him off the hook; he reminds him he hid when he needed him.
Mitch is on the phone talking to Yaz when the TARDIS materializes right in front of him. Yaz tells him to get in. The Doctor quickly explains it’s bigger in the inside. They go back to Graham’s place. The Doctor explains the spatial shift the TARDIS detected was the Dalek bringing its separated parts together. Mitch asks if they are the Order of the Custodians. He explains the 9th century battle. The Doctor: “There’s been a Dalek buried on Earth since the 9th Century, waiting to revive.” Mitch: “I’m sorry. A what?” Graham: “Alien psychopath.” The Doctor asks if Lin was with him in the sewer the whole time. He tells the Doctor how she left and found the squid. The Doctor: “Lin and that creature. They’re together.” Mitch: “You mean it’s holding her hostage?” The Doctor: “I’m really sorry, Mitch, I think it’s crueler than that. I think it’s using her to move about.” Mitch: “How can you be so sure?” The Doctor: “I learned to think like a Dalek a long time ago.” The Doctor springs to action and uses the Dalek DNA and Lynn’s phone to locate them. The Dalek uses a fold blast on the TARDIS that knocks out some of its communication and tracking systems. The Doctor realizes this is a Reconnaissance Scout. Yaz: “So, it’s even worse than the really bad thing you was worried about in the first place?”
Dalek/Lin pulls up to a building. The friendly security guard Richard (Connor Calland) walks up to her. Lin/Dalek: “Who has access to the archives?” Richard: “Today, it’s just me. Most secure digits in Yorkshire, that’s what a friend told me anyway. I probably shouldn’t be telling you that. I’m new at this.” A few seconds later she is dragging his body to a door, she places his hand on a scanner to access the archive. Inside it finds Dalek equipment. Dalek/Lin looks like a bad headache hits her but it’s a message from the Doctor. Dalek/Lin: “Who are you?” The Doctor: “I’m your secret conscience… not really; we both know you don’t have one.” Dalek/Lin tells her, “All humanity is my prisoner now…. This planet is now the property of the Daleks.” The Doctor tells the Dalek to release Lin. The Dalek makes a horrible laughing sound. The Doctor creates a halo-projection to speak to Lin directly. She tells her to keep fighting the Dalek; they have Mitch with them. Talking to the Dalek gave the Doctor a chance to reboot her systems, and the chase is on.
The Doctor detects that Dalek/Lin had been at MDZ research. Mitch tells her they are a weapons research group and they collect weapons from all over. The Dalek is blocking the bio-fix the Doctor was using to chase it, so she starts using traffic cams and satellites to track it. She decides she needs help and calls UNIT. Instead of getting UNIT, she gets an operator named Polly (Laura Evelyn) from the UK Security helpline. Polly informs the Doctor that UNIT Operations have been suspended pending review. Because of Brexit, all of the other countries that were involved in its financing have withdrawn. The Doctor informs everyone they are on their own.
“I wish I was better at life, Graham.” Aaron
Dalek/Lin arrives at a scrapyard and kills the owner with a Dalek ray gun. She goes into his workshop with the equipment from the archive. She begins using the scrap metal around there to build a new Dalek casing. Lin begins to falter and the Dalek tells her to keep working. Lin tells the Dalek, it is the Dalek tiring and Lin begins fighting the Dalek, throwing her back with the Dalek attached against the wall. Lin: “I will fight!” The TARDIS arrives and the Doctor scans the dead body and announces a Dalek weapons killed him. They hear Lin calling for help. The Dalek had let Lin go. She tells them the Dalek is still there. The Doctor orders them to take Lin back to the TARDIS for treatment while she stays here. The Doctor: “I’m going to find that creature.” Yaz: “You can’t do that on your own.” The Doctor: “Always have done. Me and a Dalek? It’s personal.”
“What do you call this look? Junkyard chic?” The Doctor
The Doctor looks around the workshop for the Dalek. The Dalek, encased in its tank busts through the wall and says, “Exterminate!” Before it can fire off a shot, the Doctor uses her sonic to block the signal so the Dalek can’t fire. The Doctor: “So that’s what you’ve been doing. Reconstructing yourself from memory and remnants… and spare parts?” Dalek: “I am rebuilt!” The Doctor: “What do you call this look? Junkyard chic?” Dalek: “Humanity will surrender!” The Doctor: “They really won’t, trust me. I’ve seen them in action. They’ve fought off so many things, including the worst of their own people. They’re really stubborn. Have you not worked that out yet?” The Dalek calls the Doctor human; she corrects him and tells it to scan her. The Dalek sees she has two hearts. The Dalek asks who she is. The Doctor: “I’m the Doctor. Ring any bells?” The Dalek is startled at first, but it overrides the sonic and starts firing at the Doctor. It tells her it plans to contact the Dalek fleet for invasion. It flies out through the roof.
The Doctor walks back into the TARDIS. Yaz: “How’d it go? What happened?” Ryan: “Did you get rid of it?” The Doctor: “Not quite.” Yaz: “How much ‘not quite’”? The Doctor: “Not at all. Slightly riled it and let it get away. And now it’s in a tank, trying to summon the fleet.” The Doctor turns her attention to Lin. The Doctor: “How are you feeling, Lin?” Lin: “Shaky.” The Doctor: “I’m not surprised. You will for a while. But you kept fighting it, thank you. Take these. Three a minute for four minutes. Don’t take with alcohol; you’ll grow an extra head. That was an embarrassing party.” Lin tells her she could feel the Dalek’s hate. Graham calls the Doctor to pick him up. He warns Aaron what is about to happen. The TARDIS materializes in front of him. The Doctor tells Graham to explain things to Aaron along the way.
The Dalek lands in a field. A British army unit surrounds it. The Dalek tells them to surrender. A few seconds later, the Dalek says that’s enough time and begins shooting. The soldiers fire back but the Dalek easily kills them. A tank rolls in, fires a missile, the Dalek fires one at the tank, and blows it up. The Dalek kills all of the soldiers.
Aaron who is an engineer suggests they use his microwave to help break up the Dalek’s metal. “Oh, you’re good, Ryan’s Dad. You’re almost making up for your parenting deficit.” The Dalek heads to the Government Communications Headquarter (GCHQ) to contact the Dalek fleet. It kills some people once there. The Doctor: “It’s shutting down the wi-fi, the phone signals… Whoa, that Dalek just shut down the whole of Britain’s Internet.” Graham: “What, on New Year’s Day? When everything’s shut and everyone’s hung over?” Ryan: “What a monster.” It needs all of that energy to get its message out. Two boys complain about the phones being out and not being able to watch Netflix. They asks their mom (Sophie Duval) what they should do. Mom: “I suppose we’ll have to have a conversation.” The kids: “What!?”
The TARDIS materializes in front of the Dalek. The Doctor and her companions walk out. The Dalek says they can’t stop it. The Doctor: “No matter how many times you try, no matter how long you wait, I will always be in your way — backed up by the best of humanity.” Her and her mates protect the Earth every year. They rush the Dalek and put the microwave parts on it. It causes the Dalek’s casing to explode. The Doctor thinks they’ve won, but the Dalek has attached its squid body to Aaron. The Dalek orders the Doctor to take it to the Dalek fleet or it will kill Aaron. The Doctor agrees to do it. The Dalek: “You are my prisoners now.”
The Dalek brags that it is bringing the Doctor and the TARDIS to the Dalek fleet. The Doctor tells it they have arrived. She opens the door, but there isn’t a fleet outside, “No fleet, only a sun going supernova and a squid size vacuum corridor.” The corridor is expanding. It will take Aaron too. Ryan goes to his father and tells him to fight the Dalek. The Dalek promises to take Aaron with him. Ryan tells his father he forgives him and loves him. He begs his father to take his hand. Aaron is able to break out of the Dalek’s control enough to grab Ryan’s hand. Ryan knocks the Dalek off his father’s back and is able to drag him safely into the TARDIS. The Dalek meets its fate. Ryan: “Not bad for a kid with dyspraxia, right?”
The TARDIS is back in the sewer. The Doctor asks if Aaron would like to go with them. He smiles and says no. He tells Ryan to call him when he gets back, if he’s coming back. Ryan assures him he is. He asks them to take care of Ryan. Yaz: “Always.” The Doctor: “Come on then, you lot. Places to go!” Yaz: “When you say ‘Places to go!’ where you thinking? Where to next?” The Doctor: “I was thinking… EVERYWHERE!” Mitch and Lin hold hands as they watch the TARDIS leave.
A case file on the Dalek.
The making of the Dalek.
Warring ninth century warriors unite to defeat a Reconnaissance Scout Dalek. It is cut in three pieces and scattered around the world, except one ended up in Sheffield. Two archeologist accidentally awaken it. This Dalek isn’t in its tank, instead it is in its squid like form. This Dalek attached itself to one of the archeologist and played puppeteer to her puppet. They go on a crime spree as the Dalek gathers Dalek technology along with Sheffield steel [like the Doctor used to build her sonic screwdriver] to create the Dalek casing.
Out of the tank, the Dalek was dangerous, in the tank, it was devastating, wiping out an army unit. The Doctor was in hot pursuit of this lone Dalek. She had a few tricks up her sleeve, like her halo-projection to talk to Lin, and using a bio-fix to track the Dalek. She prevents the Dalek from sending a message to the Dalek fleet to invade Earth, and she went to a sun’s supernova to kill the Dalek. Ryan’s father Aaron finally shows up. He initially receives a cold reception. Both Ryan and Graham hold serious discussions with him about how he has failed his family. Aaron knows and is trying to reconnect with Ryan. He gets to ride in the TARDIS and help the Doctor in defeating the Dalek. The Dalek gains control of Aaron, but his son is able to rescue him. The two can begin the long process of reconciliation.
The official season finale was disappointing to me. A lot happened, but none of it added up to anything. Even though this isn’t officially a Season 11 episode, it is the final episode of this season. It is a fitting end to the season, being the type of big and epic episode you would expect to end a Doctor Who season. Welcome back Daleks! There is a reason it’s the Doctor’s oldest enemy and most popular. When you do a Dalek story well, they are fantastic. Instead of having an army of Daleks for the Doctor to fight, they had one. Having one shows how dangerous and scary a Dalek can be.
They used the same storyline in the ninth Doctor’s adventure, “Dalek”. Nine had to face a survivor of the Time War. When Rose accidentally gave the Dalek some type of cosmic energy from the TARDIS, it went on a killing spree that was as fun as this one. That Dalek was stopped by being infected with Rose’s humanity, ending on a sympathetic note for the Dalek. The Dalek in this episode wasn’t infected with any humanity, it was horrible creature until its spectacular end. Finally having a worthy adversary made the Doctor step up her game. The Doctor was tough, resourceful, brave, and displayed her biting humor. The Doctor clearly showed that she is still Earth’s protector.
The Ryan, Aaron, and Graham family drama was well done. Daniel Adgboyega gave a great performance as Aaron. He didn’t play the stereotypical deadbeat dad. He was a weak man who ran away from his problems and was too ashamed to face the people he hurt. It made him very human. The scene where Ryan saved him wasn’t sappy. All the scenes between Aaron, Ryan, and Graham were outstanding. The other two guest stars, Nikesh Patel and Charlotte Ritchie were excellent. Ms. Ritchie especially stood out with her portrayal of being controlled by the Dalek. The two actors had good chemistry together. One other actor who cannot be forgotten is Nicholas Briggs, the longtime voice of the Daleks. He changed up his vocals for the Dalek when it wasn’t in the Dalek casing, making the Dalek sound more sinister and psychopathic. The episode was a little unsettling with the Dalek playing puppeteer. Though for such an exciting episode, it had the right amount of humor, with the Doctor’s biting humor, and the little skits from Polly the UK Security Operator and the family. I was hard on Chris Chibnall for his script for “The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kalos”, but he made up for it with this one. He’s still not the best Doctor Who writer, but at least I know he can write a great one. If you’re not reading our other recaps [and you should] see you in 2020.
The making of the New Year Special.