The Doctor and Rose travel to the year 2012 and land in a museum of extra-terrestrial objects accumulated by the very wealthy Henry van Statten. He's an avid collector - the TARDIS lands on...
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The Doctor and Rose travel to the year 2012 and land in a museum of extra-terrestrial objects accumulated by the very wealthy Henry van Statten. He's an avid collector - the TARDIS lands on the museum's 53rd floor below ground level - but he's also using alien technology to develop new weapons from which he derives his large income. He's particularly proud of one device he's acquired but has not yet been able to make functional and to the Doctor's horror, it turns out to a very old and very dangerous enemy from the past. Written by
The fictional Geocomtex website lists under its Products section Node Stabilized (in Lupus and Nocens variants). Lupus is Latin for wolf and nocens for harmful or bad. Interestingly, they also offer Argentum Ordnance, otherwise known as silver bullets. See more »
The map of the US shown on Van Statten's monitor is missing the upper peninsula of Michigan. See more »
So, what is it? What's wrong?
Don't know, some kind of signal drawing the TARDIS off course.
Where are we?
Earth, Utah, North America. About half a mile underground.
And... *when* are we?
God, that's so close. So I should be... 26.
[the Doctor flicks a switch and lights flood the area]
Blimey! It's a great big museum!
[...] See more »
Coming at the approximate mid point of the first series of the revived Doctor Who, Dalek came at a perfect moment to bring about the return of another of the icons of the series: the Dalek. Yet the episode is much more then the return of an icon. It is a story that takes the hero (the Doctor) and the villain (the Dalek), our notions of them and to what lengths they will go to survive. The result is the best episode of the series.
Dalek is notable for featuring Christopher Eccleston single best performance as the ninth Doctor. In the space of forty-five minutes Eccleston gives a performance that is nothing short of remarkable. While the lighter side of the ninth Doctor is evident during the opening minutes there is also a darkness that, while mostly submerged previously, comes to the surface. It all starts in one of the best scenes to ever be put in the show when the two enemies are locked in a room together. In the space of just a few minutes Eccleston covers a whole range of emotions from caring to frightened (in a moment which utterly convinces you the Dalek is a real threat) to the moment where the Doctor takes the catchphrase of his enemy and uses it chillingly. Add to that moments where the Doctor tells the Dalek to die or the last couple of scenes of the episode which show us a Doctor who is battle scared to the point it comes as a surprise when we see just who it is pointing a weapon at the end. While Eccleston gave fine performances the whole way through this episode would mark his single best performance in the role.
Then there's the title villain: the Dalek. Bringing back the iconic villain could have been easily misdone but here we get the full force and power of the Dalek. Not only is the Dalek itself magnificently redesigned on the outside but writer Robert Shearman shows us what the Dalek is at heart as well. This is not a tin robot armed with a whisk and a plunger by any means. This is a killing machine that is just as capable of being conniving if not manipulative as well as demonstrated throughout much of the episode's first scenes with the Doctor and his companion Rose Tyler. Not only that but for the first time ever really we get to see the Dalek as a killing machine capable of putting that plunger and whisk to remarkable (and chilling) effect. Then Sheraman as writer and Nicholas Briggs as the voice do something even more remarkable then that: they give it sympathy. Slowly we watch as this killing machine begins to change and by the end becomes something greater then that before meeting a fate that is truly tragic. To do all that in less then an hour is an achieve met in itself.
That's not forgetting the other human members of the cast of course. There's Billie Piper who gives a fine performance as Rose which helps to bring both great amounts of fear and then sympathy to the Dalek in both their first and last scenes together. She also shares some nice chemistry which Bruno Langely as Adam, who gives a nice performance here which makes the final scene in the story believable and a shame about what happens in the next episode. Corey Johnson makes a nice, if at times over the top, appearance as the billionaire Henry van Statten who, while not quite believable, works rather well. There's also nice performances from Anna-Louise Plowman and Nigel Whitmey as two of van Statten's employes at the base where the episode is set. All together they make for a nice supporting cast in a fantastic episode.
There is also some fine work behind the camera as well. The CGI effects shots of the Dalek are fantastic pieces of work which help to make certain bits of its return all the more better (watch the episode for which bits!). The cinematography of Ernie Vincze gives the entire episode a claustrophobic feel that, even in the larger areas, give the tension a considerable boost. To help with the tension is the the editing of Graham Walker coupled with the relentless and in the later sections of the episode haunting music of Murray Gold. All of these when coupled with the first rate script of Robert Shearman show off some of the finest work yet seen in the new series.
So why do I call this episode the best of series one? Well it has the best performance of Christopher Eccleston as the Doctor, the return of the Dalek at its best, some nice performances and some fantastic work behind the scenes as well especially in the script by Robert Shearman. There is more then that though. This episode is about survivors and what lengths they will go to keep on doing just that. It is also about our very own notions of good (the Doctor) and evil (the Dalek) and what it takes to turn them on their head. If nothing else that is what this episode is all about.
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