1)Gee, I wonder what the threat will be in this episode?
2)In Henry Van Statten, we re-visit yet another staple of the old series, the Arrogant Human Who Thinks He can Control the Alien Threat for His Own Purposes. I particularly liked the scene with the alien ocarina or whatever it was, where just for a second you think maybe this guy isn't a complete jerk, and then he just tosses it aside. We're shown how his incessant need to be recognized comes back to haunt him.
3)Some interesting character stuff from Eccleston here, as well. We're seen just how much the war has affected the Doctor - he's genuinely terrified when he first encounters the Dalek and then vicious when he realizes that it's helpless. "I know what should happen: Exterminate!" This is a guy who had some bad stuff happen to him in the war - and did some bad stuff as well. "I watched it happen. I made it happen!"
He's suffering from the ultimate loss. "Oh, Rose, they're all dead." Watching the Doctor interact with Van Statten is interesting, too. We see that the Doctor quickly gets his measure, and we see the Doctor's contempt for him as he compares him to Davros. "...a man who king of his own little world. You'd like him." Overall, this Doctor has had alot fo the "wacky eccentric" burned out of him. One cannot picture Eccleston's Doctor wearing Colin Baker's "clown outfit". In fact, one pictures the Ninth Doctor meeting the Sixth Doctor and thinking, "Was I really this guy? Really?"
4)The Dalek was really well-presented, too. I think the story benefits from having just one Dalek. One Dalek can be a character in its own right, whereas in groups they tend to just sort of blend into each other. They work real hard to re-establish the Dalek as a threat, having it plow through hordes of soldiers easily. They even made the sink plunger a threat. "Whatcha gonna do? Sucker me to death?" Well, yes, as a matter of fact. The Dalek is shown to be a psychological threat, as well, playing Rose so that she helps it restore itself. (Although I'm still not sure that I buy how her touching it magically lets it heal itself. Surely it could've done that all along?) Also, it know how to needle the Doctor, as in the following exchange: "Why don't you just die?" "You would make a good Dalek."
And: "What use are emotions if you will not save the woman you love?" Also, we finally get to see the inside of a Dalek, that was sufficiently icky. I'd forgotten that Murray Gold's "Dalek music" debuted here, with its chorus in Hebrew or Aramaic or whatever it is. Good stuff. And there's one funny moment, when the Dalek first meets the Doctor and wants to shoot him but its gun doesn't work, and it sheepishly looks down at it, almost like a guy with ED! ("It could happen to anyone!") Ah, Terry Nation...still making money off Doctor Who - <john lumic voice>from beyond the grave!</john lumic voice>
6)Lots of Good Quotes:
Overall: This is by far my favorite Ninth Doctor episode. While I have by and large enjoyed the subsequent Dalek episodes, if this had been the last Dalek story ever, it would've been a good one to go out on.
I think the threat of the Daleks (their ability to float, the suckers, etc.) was always implicit. Still nice to see them actually demonstrated on screen, though.
This story took place a few years in the future, IIRC. Have we caught up to it yet?
The Dalek in this episode doesn’t have any specific ties to the Cult of Skarro, does it?
I think the doctor was perhaps being a little redundant saying “The Last Great Time War.” It could be either “The Last War” or “The Great War” or “The Time War”, and won’t come to be known as “Time War I” until “Time War II” comes along. :)
The story is set in 2012, which at the time was several years in the future, which causes continuity issues regarding subsequent Dalek stories that theoretically took place before 2012.
No, no mention is made of the Cult of Skaro, here, nor was this Dalek ever tied into the Cult retroactively that I can recall.
OK, that was worth the price of admission right there.
I remember this story as (re-)establishing just how scary the Daleks could be. How do we know Daleks are dangerous? Because the Doctor -- and one of the more casually self-confident versions, at that -- was absolutely freaking out for a few seconds when he thought he was locked in a room with one.
Within 2 years, the Doctor was wiping out humongous hordes of the little pepperpots, and individual Daleks just seemed like so much cannon fodder.
I would have been entirely happy if this had been the last Dalek story.
The thing I remember most was how, they mader ONE Dalek-- ONE-- more dangerous than an entire army of them had ever been shown to be before.
So, later... when we do seen an ENTIRE ARMY of them... oh man-- SCARY.
The more old Doctor Who I see (or in this case, hear), the more I come to realize how much RTD drew on the original show as a source of inspiration (in much the same way a modern comic book writer such as John Byrne might draw on Lee and Kirby as a source when writing a Doctor Doom story). The bit in this episode about Rose having accumulated some sort of energy from having traveled so much in time has a direct antecedent in “The Evil of the Daleks” in which such energy disqualified the (Second) Doctor from use in the Daleks’ experiments yet its absence made Jamie the perfect choice.