Monday, May 4, 2015

NuWho Reviews: Dalek, The Long Game, and Father's Day



     The Doctor and Rose notice a distress signal and land in a huge bunker near Salt Lake City. In an astonishing twist, it is not an underground bunker for Mormons. Instead, it’s owned by Not!Tony Stark, in the year 2012. There, they find display cases full of alien artifacts. While Rose mildly flirts with an employee named Adam, the owner van Statten asks the Doctor his opinion on a particular artifact, something he calls a Metaltron

     Spoiler alert, it’s a Dalek. Because the title wasn’t a dead giveaway or anything. The Dalek tries to exterminate the Doctor, but it’s too weak to do so. So it tells him he would make a good Dalek instead, which is the worst kind of trolling anyone can get up to. (Also, it gets a beautiful call back in the eighth series.) The Doctor proceeds to torture it with electricity, laugh madly, literally froth at the mouth (LITERALLY), and terrify the children in the audience. PTSD is a bad thing to have happen to you.

      After the Doctor is escorted out by armed guards who are crying on the inside, Rose and Adam arrive. Rose feels sorry for the Dalek, because she’s one of those fans that think they’re cute or something. Don’t know anyone like that at all. *cough*


     Apparently the Dalek can repair itself using a time traveler’s DNA, absorbed through its casing LOOK DON’T QUESTION THE DALEKS and promptly goes on a rampage after absorbing the Internet. Van Statten is distracted from torturing the Doctor (torturing things to find out how they work seems to be his only strategy), and bad, bad things happen. Then, someone decides to crack a staircase joke, why would you do that, DON’T YOU KNOW DALEKS HATE THE STAIRCASE JOKE. They are exterminated, and then the Dalek gets creative, spills water on the floor, and performs a mass extermination. I think he’s upset? He seems a bit upset to me.

     Despite their best efforts, Rose doesn’t escape before the Doctor seals off the area with the Dalek. The Dalek takes aim, and finds it has suddenly graduated from Storm Trooper academy. Poor thing can’t hit the broadside of a barn, but apparently it’s become uncomfortable with the idea of shooting Rose, spawning a thousand terrifying fanfics that are burned into my mind forever, THANKS INTERNET. (Said fanfics are probably why said Dalek goes on a rampage.)

     Rose’s DNA is changing the Dalek into…something else, and apparently he isn’t taking it as well as Alpha did, despite his apparent desire to sunbathe. (No heroic revolution here-just angst and misery for everyone.) The Doctor is still frothing at the mouth a bit and Rose points out he’s pointing a gun at her. Meanwhile, the Dalek is so miserable with the idea of feelings that it begs Rose for an order to self destruct.

The Dalek can't stand the feels any more than we can.

     Tears ensue, the Doctor realizes he needs to get therapy, van Statten is mindwiped because he’s a jerk, and Adam tags along in an effort to break the universe.

     This is one of the best ones in the first series, and not just because Daleks are awesome. It presented a more realistic look at what would happen if a Dalek started changing from its single minded, hate-filled self. It would go insane and commit suicide. It also showed us a side of the Doctor we haven’t really seen yet. We see the reason the universe is terrified of him: he didn’t just kill all the Daleks, he killed all the Time Lords as well, just to end the war.   
     To sum this episode up, ALL OF THE FEELS.

The Long Game

     It is the year 200,000. Humans have not yet become shiny wrong sci-fi show and the future looks a lot like a parody of 2005 with lots of big fast food chains, and lots of TV channels that have nothing on. The Doctor was expecting humanity at its best and found it at its…human-est. Bewildered, the Doctor investigates by convincing a couple journalists that he’s from “management” on the space station of Satellite 5. It turns out journalism involves opening a hole in your head and absorbing information, which is…well…at least efficient, if not a little strange.

Actually it's just kind of tingly.

     Simon Pegg is the Editor, and has zombie employees to control the entire space station. He’s puzzled because there’s no record of the visitors. While the Doctor and Rose try to reach the 500th floor, the highest place in the organization that an employee can reach, Adam gets a hole put in his head. I mean, other than the one that was already there.

     It turns out Simon Pegg works for the Jagrafess. What is a Jagrafess you ask? Well…it’s a thing. It’s very large, and the only part we see of it is a giant mouth filled with teeth. The Doctor gets one of the journalists to reverse the cooling system, overheating the Jagrafess. Well, that was easy. The Doctor does suspect someone has been manipulating humanity for a lot longer…

     He then gets mad at Adam for putting a second hole in his head and dumps him back home, where his mother discovers her son is a cyborg.

     Also, there is a station called Bad Wolf. Just to throw out some more arc words.

I heard you guys needed some more story arc. Also, Rose, there's a bit of red on you.

     This was an interesting serial. It didn’t have the same emotional impact, but like the Doctor you sense there’s a bigger story behind all this. (There is.) Also, this is one of several serials designed to essentially parody pop culture, which I found to be…well, annoying. We don’t need to be told pop culture is silly. Everyone knows it. It just didn’t seem that funny to me. (Although I’m amused that they had beef flavored shakes, and now everyone’s talking about bacon shakes…)

     So, what’s next? OH LOOK MORE FEELS.

Father’s Day

     When Rose was just a baby, her father was killed in a hit-and-run on his way to a friend’s wedding, dying alone in the street before anyone could get to him. Even though Rose never met him, her mother told her wonderful stories about him. She decides she would like to be there for him so he doesn’t have to die alone.

     The Doctor reluctantly agrees to this. The first time it happens, Rose is too stunned to do anything. But when they go back for a second round, she shoves Pete out of the way.

     Lots and lots of bad things happen as a result. The inside of the TARDIS has disappeared, and unseen by anyone else, large gargoyle things are starting to swoop out of the sky and attack people. Rose and the Doctor go with Pete to the wedding, while the radio plays rap music that won’t be written for at least a decade and Alexander Graham Bell talks from Rose’s phone. At the church, a tiny Mickey runs in to imprint on Rose like a chicken and tell everyone about the gargoyles.

None of which are named Goliath.

     The gargoyles are Reapers, beings that fix wounds in time. They are doing this by murdering random people. Okay. Meanwhile, Rose sees that her parents actually had a tense relationship, and Pete tries to prove that Rose is his infant daughter all grown up by making her hold her infant self.

     That just drives the Reapers crazy, because they don’t like paradoxes. (They apparently get over it later in the series though looking at you River.) The Doctor, in his attempts to force the TARDIS to materialize properly, is snatched up by a Reaper, which disappears into the TARDIS’ glowing outline.

     And then the feels start happening. Pete realizes that he was meant to die earlier, and that Rose had changed that. So when he sees the car coming around the block, he walks out in front of it. Everything reverts to normal, and Rose is able to sit with him and hold his hand as he dies. Her memories change too: now, she remembers her mother talking about a random woman who sat by Pete’s side after the accident.

Were you out of tears at the end of Dalek? TOO BAD.

     Now that we’ve gone through an entire box of tissues and are still lying on the floor weeping, let me just say how awesome this episode was? I mean, the Reapers were pretty funny CGI, but the actual story was intense. The idea of changing someone's death and causing major issues throughout time is nothing new ( Butterfly Effect, Donnie Darko, etc.) but this had a different feeling to it. Most of the other stories like this I’ve seen felt hopeless and miserable. This, while bittersweet, was also optimistic. Rose could not save her father, but she still had wonderful memories of him and his sacrifice. She knows what kind of man he was, and not just through stories from her mother now.

Doctor Who is pretty much FEELS FOREVER.

     Now, let’s see what’s nex—


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