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16 August 2008 @ 07:06 pm
Doctor Who 1x06 "Dalek" rewatch-review  
As I've stated elsewhere, once I finished season two of New Who, I was going to rewatch and review what I call my "Her Name was Rose" collection (click here for the full list of episodes).

Wow, this was one was actually a LOT better than I had remembered it, quite amazing actually. In fact, it was so damn good that I'm unreasonably upset with the three things (one, admittedly, from a Doctor/Rose shipper point of view) that were not done well because if it hadn't been for those slight issues, this might be the best damn episode of new Who ever. Sigh, still there are those three issues and I want to deal with them first and get them out of the way.

First off, most of the episode was so powerful that the final scene between Goddard and Van Statten was just wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. Especially as it was on the heels of arguably the most powerful scene in "Dalek" -- the Rose/Doctor/Dalek confrontation.) There has been so much death and destruction, and unlike Van Statten, Goddard actually appeared to be affected by it, and yet we have this final scene with her, grinning, quipping, throwing a cheap shot back at Van Statten (replacing his "M" cities for "S" cities) and it was just that: from the writer, Robert Shearman. (Actually, it was a cheap shot from Russell T. Davies as directed by BBC because they felt that Van Statten got off too easily. I stand corrected.) Unnecessary and it was quite an abrupt emotional switch. Of course, that scene did then segue into the final Doctor/Rose and Adam scene with its lighter tone, but just because that scene made the last one play out more smoothly does not detract from the quicksilver change in the emotional flow. It just didn't work for me.

I was also slightly bothered by the Rose/Doctor interaction through most of the episode. I do admit freely that it mostly comes from my own shipper bias. As of the last episode, it makes perfect sense that Rose would quickly and easily dismiss any romantic connection between she and the Doctor. As I wrote in my "World War Three" rewatch-review:
[Rose is] still in denial mode overall. She enjoys the fact that she clearly DOES mean something special to him ... but I don't think she quite realizes how reciprocal it is. Others do. Mickey obviously sees something there despite her denials; he just knows that there *is* something there. Her mother calmly mentions that she has to accept the Doctor now since Rose is infatuated with him. Of course, Rose denies it, but Jackie just ignores that denial because it's as obvious to her as it is to Mickey ...
And, we see that here as well. Rose flirts with Adam, standing a little too close to him, denying anything like that between her and the Doctor, and while it's not fun to watch (and really, it's not), it's perfectly in character and does follow the flow of the episodes preceding it.

And, I will add that I could see (possibly, could be my overactive shipper imagination) that it was more Rose trying to slip into that 'cute boy/I'm nineteen, I should flirt' mode. She seems to be trying too hard to be impressed by him, and, she calls him on his lack of concern over nearly causing World War Three so it can be shipper-wanked (ooh, I just made that up!) that she was pushing those feelings for the Doctor she simply won't acknowledge deep, deep down by concentrating on the cute boy genius. Could be. Either way, what we saw and the shipper-wanked perspective flow nicely from "World War Three."

The Doctor's point of view does so as well. We get a a flash of a look at the idea of Rose spending time with Adam, and, of course, his devastation at the idea of losing Rose ... and being responsible for making that call.

Poor baby, look at the devastation:



Then there's the biggie: The Dalek calling Rose the woman that the Doctor loved and his reaction to that statement is practically an acknowledgement. So, it was there, the flow of where they should be emotionally, but for the most part, it just felt ... off. I remember thinking back when I first watched this (and even my second watch a few months ago), that I didn't get how on earth the Dalek would have the slightest clue how the Doctor feels about Rose.

In retrospect, I feel like the 'duh' bell went off inside my head. I also wrote in the "World War Three" write-up, that while Rose was unaware of her own feelings for the Doctor, she was pretty aware that he was into her. The Dalek, no doubt, got more from Rose than just her DNA if he was getting her emotions, etc. So it likely was aware of thoughts in Rose's mind and since she'd been talking of the Doctor, was thinking of the Doctor, her knowledge of his feelings for her were close enough to the surface that the Dalek got that memo. So that makes sense, but I should have gotten that from the first watch. I dunno, maybe others easily did and I was just slow on the uptake.

The point is that while we have moments and things that SHOULD fit in the flow of the Doctor/Rose relationship as established thus far, the emotional, organic flow simply isn't there. The early part of the episode with just the flash of a reaction to Adam "canoodling" with Rose and the latter, almost "eh" reaction to the pretty-boy coming along with them is a little too removed from the reveal of the depth of his feelings in "World War Three." And the last scene -- the response to Adam coming along -- is a definite downshift from the whole devastation at losing the woman he loves bit. I just don't think that Shearman quite got the Doctor/Rose relationship, or if he did, he didn't hit the right notes to sell it. But, hey, maybe that's just my shipper self wanting more, so I can let this one slide. After all, I'm quite sure that the non-shippers didn't have too much of an issue with the fact that Rose and the Doctor weren't as into each other all around as shippers would love to squee about.

Taking my shipper bias out of the equation, it still remains that I did find it frustrating that the first and third things interrupted by total enjoyment of the episode because the rest of the episode was so very good. Seriously, I was brought near tears during five scenes, and one of them involved the stretching of a Dalek tentacle towards the sunlight. Overall, there was such emotion, and such strength of character of both the Doctor and Rose was revealed, how these two at heart are so very good; how they will always try to think of the bigger picture and do what's best. As someone who loves both characters, it was beautiful to watch.

Rose has such an incredible heart, so full of compassion and love. In "The End of the World," she was thrown by the alien-ness of the aliens, and despite the evil plans of the Gelth and the Slitheen, she's now accepted that aliens are just another race and to judge each individually on their own merits. For me, I had no knowledge of the Daleks and their background when I first watched this, thus I had no clue just how evil the Daleks were other than the Doctor's spiel on them, but hearing three minutes worth of a recap doesn't really tell the whole story. And, of course, Rose didn't hear any of that recap, so she just approached the Dalek as a suffering alien, one in need of her and the Doctor's help.


What blows me away is that even after knowing what I do now about the Daleks, the writing and vocal acting by Nicholas Briggs (as the Dalek), I still felt sympathy for this "mutated" one, and could completely understand why Rose felt empathy at the end for it despite its path of destruction. Her final scene when it's begging as much as a Dalek can for orders -- as she was the one who gave it new life, begging her to allow it to exterminate itself, my goodness, it was just amazing. The writing, the directing (by Joe Ahearne) were just exquisite. I was actually tearing up for a Dalek begging for death. How did they do that? I don't know, but this scene wouldn't have worked without Billie Piper's exceptional performance.

She sells Rose's compassion in the first scene with the Dalek and then her empathy in the latter so beautifully. In my opinion, this episode features Piper's finest work to date thus far. She's just brilliant.

Check out both clips below (via imeem) or download for better quality for clip one here and clip two here.



For the Doctor, we saw him fully reveal so much of himself, his devastation at the Time War when he saw the Dalek for the first time and in the scene where the creature tells the Doctor that he would make a good Dalek. I know I raved about Christopher Eccleston's acting last week (and, really I've raved about him in all five of the preceding rewatch-reviews), but honestly, throw those all together and as good as his highs in those five are, none of them compare to the power and just sheer jaw-dropping acting on display throughout "Dalek," but especially in these two scenes. I could try and use words to do them justice, but I don't think I'd come close to succeeding, so if you haven't watched them in a while, do yourself a favor and rewatch them now ...

Check out both clips below (via imeem) or download for better quality for clip one here and clip two here.



So we see Eccleston flexing his acting muscles the like of which we haven't seen to such a degree thus far on this series and it's astounding to behold. Through the dialogue, the situation and (MYGOD!!) his acting, we get more insight into the Doctor; we see again just how deeply he's been affected by the Time War and his role in it. When confronting the Dalek, we also see how fine a line he's walking to the edge of insanity. It shows even more how important Rose is to the Doctor and what she's done for him, lightened his load, his guilt and is saving his soul.

And how she gets that. She SO gets that. She's trapped with a creature that she just witnessed kill lots of people, she's gonna die by the hand/laser-thingie? of that same creature and what's important to her is reassuring the Doctor. Like in "The Unquiet Dead," in a moment of near-death, she seeks to absolve him of his guilt. As I wrote in that rewatch-review ...
She wanted to be there, it was her choice. Another one of those small moments, simple ways in which Rose made him better by at least allowing him to grasp that now and then.
And she does it again, even as her voice is breaking. She pleads with him to accept that it wasn't his fault, that she wouldn't have missed traveling with him for the world. Oh, Rose. And yet, judging from his expression, the look in his eyes, we all know that if she had died, her words wouldn't have done a bit of good. I mean, we DO know that for sure because when he thinks she was exterminated, he's already blaming himself. Oh, Doctor.

Relive the angst yourself ... oh, you two. (Watch the clip (via imeem) or download it for higher quality here.)


Which brings us to the final bit of Doctor/Rose in the episode: The final scene where Rose asks and the Doctor allows Adam to come along with them. Finally, the whole issue of Adam coming along with them. I didn't remark on this in my original write-up last night (and I'm not sure why), but it's been brought up a few times in comments and so I'm editing my thoughts in to address it. Why would the Doctor allow Adam to come with them? Aside from the no-doubt production-driven need to have him there for a Doctor-lite episode next, there's actually a character-driven reason behind it.

As I wrote about in length in my "World War Three" review -- the Doctor is constantly looking for a buffer between he and Rose in those early months (of both Nine and Ten) when the emotional waters begin to make waves.
Like in "School Reunion," the Doctor asks Mickey to join he and Rose on their adventuring and it was quite clear to me that his intention was to put a buffer between he and Rose and their growing closeness after their "humans wither and die" conversation. The same, I do believe, can be said about this invitation. The Doctor had revealed his strong feelings for Rose on two separate occasions in the last couple of hours. The first could be excused and dismissed in the heat of battle, but the latter -- a blatant plea disguised as temptation to keep her with him -- had no such excuse, and coupled with the earlier reveal made it quite clear to the Doctor *and* Rose that something was there.

So, Mickey showed that he wasn't quite the idiot that the Doctor had assumed, and here he was, a handy way to widen that ever-growing closeness between the Doctor and Rose before he did something stupid like choose her over the many. So, he asked Mickey to join them, good buffer. Again, I could be wrong, but I don't think I am. After all, it's very similar in situation to why the Doctor asked him in "School Reunion."

And if you take the whole comparison further, remember that he'd asked Sarah Jane first, and then Mickey ... and then Reinette (we'll just ignore Moffat's out-of-character take on the Doctor asking, and stick with how it *should* have flowed within canon) in the following episode, looking for someone, anyone to create that buffer between them. Here, when Mickey declines, the Doctor -- as in the series two episodes, doesn't stop there -- he agrees to let Adam join them in the very next episode, and a few episodes later (after doing an *incredibly* stupid thing for Rose), he asks Jack ... yet another attempt at a buffer.
So here we have that pattern begin to show: 'I reveal too much to Rose, oh noes. But, look, I can ask this fellow to join us, cause a distraction. That works!' It completely makes sense that that is where the Doctor is coming from. As for Rose ... why does she entreat the Doctor to let him join them after what the Doctor's been through? Two reasons: First off, she's quite grateful for what the Doctor had shown her, and her earlier conversation with Adam made her believe that he would appreciate that wonder as well. Why wouldn't she want to share that kind of experience? She has no one to really talk to about it, who's in the same position she is ... newly experiencing it.

Secondly, perhaps it's not as consciously done as the Doctor, but I think that Rose is beginning to really become aware of those shifting emotional waters herself. This is the second person who's called her on having a "relationship" with the Doctor (third if you count Van Statten's crude comments), and she might just be thinking somewhere under conscious thought that maybe there's something to the supposition. So, she sees Adam as a distraction as well to create a buffer between whatever is happening between her and the Doctor.

Okay, moving on ... the plot itself is very strong, all-around with no holes or moments that make you go 'huh?' other than those I've already mentioned. That leaves my final thoughts on the acting, there were three other main cast members in this episode aside from the Doctor and Rose: Adam, Van Statten, and Goddard (and, of course, Briggs as the voice of the Dalek). Other than Briggs, none were up to par with Eccleston and Piper -- but, really, those two are regularly fabulous, their work in this episode was nothing short of magnificent, that's not an insult to the other actors.

Bruno Langley as Adam was good; he played the pretty boy genius, nothing outstanding and not terribly charismatic, but he played the role as called for. On the other hand, I really liked Anna-Louise Plowman's Goddard. She had a nice bite and spark, showing a lovely sympathy for the Doctor and those slaughtered. Great job. Which leaves Van Statten as played by Corey Johnson; I'm sorry, but for me, he just did not cut it. I didn't buy him as this powerful man, this computer genius, this heartless bastard. I just didn't buy him, period. A rare case of a miscasting goof. Ah well. He was just the catalyst for the good stuff: Mainly the Doctor and the Dalek, and Rose and the Dalek.

Okay, random stuffies ...

- I also really liked the female soldier who was guarding Adam and Rose. I wish I knew the name of the actress because she did an excellent job with her one, big scene.

- Moving onto a shallow note: There were some really gorgeous shots of Billie Piper in this episode ...







- Nice foreshadowing for "The Long Game" about Adam and his weasly ways. First, when he was telling Rose about hacking into the US defense system, he laughed about almost causing World War Three and even when questioned by Rose, he still maintained that it was funny watching them run around dealing with it. Secondly, when the Dalek is at the bottom of the stairs, Rose and the soldier quietly watched and waited to see what will happen; Adam taunted the Dalek. And lastly, the one he's called on, he doesn't stick around to even try and make sure Rose makes it. Dude doesn't even look back, he just skedaddles under that lowering cement and doesn't think twice about Rose. Loser.

- The scene where the Dalek wipes out all of those soldiers/personnel with three well-placed, well-thought out shots (the sprinkler system, the lower and upper levels in order to electrocute them) was pretty dang brilliant. It gives me chills every time I watch it. I love when we are shown why the Doctor is THE DOCTOR, and the like, and not just told ... such as seeing why the Dalek's are so frightening. Look at what they can do: Withstand a hail of machine-gun bullets and then take out a whole group of people with a few simple steps of meticulous, economic actions. Scary.

- I was annoyed with the Doctor appearing like an idiot for talking so freely about his alien-ness to Van Statten. I understand why he did so with the Dalek -- duh!, but I thought that he should have gotten himself under control by then. Ah well. Scratch that. Shearman (below) gave a perfect explanation for why the Doctor spoke so freely in front of Van Statten and I really should have seen that myself, my bad.
"The Doctor has met a Dalek. Everything has changed. The world could end. Even worse, from his point of view, everything he has sacrificed counts for nothing. He doesn't give a stuff about Van Statten. He's too angry for that. He'll do or say anything at this point to get that Dalek destroyed, and he couldn't care less about subtlety. I stand by the scene, actually, though I can understand your difficulties with it."
- I thought it was kinda cool that both the Doctor and Rose were able to get the Dalek to talk. Yes, of course, the Doctor did being the Doctor and all. And yes, of course, Rose did it by mentioning the Doctor, but I do think it was more about the compassion (and lack of fear) that she was showing it as well. It was just cool.

- Not much funny in this episode, but I did love the Doctor's comment (and delivery of said comment): I don't need to make claims, I know how good I am. Oh, yes, you are, Doctor. Yes, you are.

- Finally, DUDES! They so should have kept the deleted hug! Why on earth did they delete that hug? Why?! It makes no frickin' sense whatsoever. Look, watch it inserted in the scene ... it fits perfectly!!!!


(Or download it here for better quality.)

Finally, handporn! time: Or rather, not. {{sniff, sniff}} No handporn. :( Not even one quick hand-clasp. All we get is Adam (ADAM!?!?) holding onto Rose's hand as they run from the Dalek. Hey, but at least she does pull her hand away. Still. Sigh, no Doctor/Rose handporn. That's just wrong.

  • Click the image for previous episode rewatch-reviews:


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    Katherine: Doctor/Rosebell_jar_fics on August 17th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
    I agree 100% about the deleted hug. Why did they cut it out, anyway? To save time and/or money? Wooo, great job, DW crew- you kept the episode from running two seconds past the alloted time, and you saved a stinking penny!

    Still, as much as I wish they kept that hug in, it's still much better than when Doctor Who airs on Sci-Fi over in America. Just a few hours ago, they showed Runaway Bride, and they cut out almost all the Rose references, including the Doctor's New Earth flashback during the reception, and even 'Her name was Rose'. Even worse, they cut out the part when Donna told the Doctor 'you can stop now' when he was flooding the underground base. Seriously, that part was VERY important when you take Turn Left into consideration. (Forgive my rant, but I get really miffed when I see Sci-Fi cutting/shortening scenes that I feel are important to the episode or story arc.)
    Arabian: Dr Who (9) - Victorianarabian on August 17th, 2008 01:03 pm (UTC)
    Yeah, those two seconds must have been vital to the BBC, otherwise, makes no sense! GRR.

    Oh, Lordy, now I'm happier than ever that I stopped watching the Sci-Fi channel's run of the series and just went with the BBC cuts because, oy, the scenes I would have missed.

    How could they cut ALL of those totally awesome, and totally-setting up the Doctor's arc of emo pain over losing Rose?!?!? Ugh!!
    (no subject) - logicisfailing on August 17th, 2008 04:28 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on August 17th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    erikssiren: Run!erikssiren on August 17th, 2008 03:47 am (UTC)
    I can't remember if I've commented on any of your other recaps, but I've been reading every one! They're brilliant and I've been dying to hear what someone else thinks about the episodes. I've only seen the complete first series and am a little afraid that David won't live up to Christopher's amazing performance as the Doctor.

    In that scene where the Dalek is telling Rose its going to die, I knew he was up to something. After seeing the previous scene with the Doctor I just knew it wasn't really dying.

    And shame on them for deleting the hug! These two have such amazing chemistry it's criminal anything celebrating that was cut. Ah well, at least they shot it in the first place!
    Arabian: Dr Whoarabian on August 17th, 2008 01:06 pm (UTC)
    I don't think I've seen your name before, so I don't think so.

    Honestly, I don't think that David Tennant is as good as Christopher Eccleston, but he's still pretty dang awesome. Christopher Eccleston is just, well, Christopher Eccleston. If you give it a little time before watching series two, you should be fine. I went extreme and waited two years before watching series two, but as you can see, I'm totally HOOKED!

    In that scene where the Dalek is telling Rose its going to die, I knew he was up to something. After seeing the previous scene with the Doctor I just knew it wasn't really dying.

    No, I do think it was dying. Rose's DNA just basically regenerated it. But her DNA mutated it into a creature that feels something other than hate and that's just a no-no in the Dalek mindset.

    Ah well, at least they shot it in the first place!

    Yeah, and it does fit ever so nicely into the scene.
    But you can call me Bowie: dr who 9/rose handsisiscaughey on August 17th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC)
    I always felt like Rose was just flirting with Adam for the sake of flirting with a nice looking bloke- there are several moments that make it seem like he amuses her more than a little.

    But I do wish they hadn't brought him along- the main ending to Dalek is just so very powerful, and I very much agree- the last little scenes totally undercut everything.
    Arabian: Dr Who (9)arabian on August 17th, 2008 01:12 pm (UTC)
    I always felt like Rose was just flirting with Adam for the sake of flirting with a nice looking bloke- there are several moments that make it seem like he amuses her more than a little.

    Right, that's what I meant when I wrote this:

      I could see (possibly, could be my overactive shipper imagination) that it was more Rose trying to slip into that 'cute boy/I'm nineteen, I should flirt' mode.
    And I certainly did get the sense that she was amused by him at moments in their scene. I even almost commented on it, but decided not to in the end because I wasn't sure quite how to explain it.

    But I do wish they hadn't brought him along- the main ending to Dalek is just so very powerful, and I very much agree- the last little scenes totally undercut everything.

    That I think was a directive from higher up because I believe that "The Long Game" was supposed to be pretty Doctor-lite, but at that point they were aware of the gold they had with Eccelston and Piper and so threw in more Doctor/Rose moments to capitalize on that.

    And thinking on it, we do have a nice segue in the beginning of the Doctor/Rose/Adam scene where Adam barely exists; it's all about the Doctor talking briefly being all alone, no other Time Lords and Rose saying that he's still got her. It's the "S" city scene that really sticks out, but Shearman explained below the reasoning of that scene there. Ah, meddling BBC, LOL!
    Pervy Nine Fancier: rosename--viciousgurlhonorh on August 17th, 2008 04:48 am (UTC)
    I loved this episode. It's by far my favorite one-shot in S1.

    You know, I never got the impression Rose was particularly attracted to Adam. Sure, she flirted, because flirting's fun, but look what she does--she gets Adam to give away far more information than she could've if she'd just been asking him question after question. Guys can't resist bragging to cute girls. She used that to her advantage. But it's the Doctor she focuses her emotional energy on.

    CE was amazing in this. The singsong little "Help me" as he mocked the Dalek sent shivers up my spine, and when he shouted at the Dalek to "Just die!" with that little bit of spittle on his lip? Amazing! In the commentary, they said that he was well aware of it, and he said he wanted to keep that take because "in that moment, the Doctor should be ugly." Wow!

    I'm convinced they didn't keep the hug because it was so raw, the Doctor needing Rose to hold him together. They didn't want to show him being that vulnerable, that needy, so early in the show. Too late, though.

    Goddard bugged me mostly because her American accent is so atrocious, but the actress herself was all right.
    Arabian: Rose_smilearabian on August 17th, 2008 01:15 pm (UTC)
    I loved this episode. It's by far my favorite one-shot in S1.

    It really is amazing (even with my issues). I mean, serously, I teared up five times in a forty-five minute span!

    You know, I never got the impression Rose was particularly attracted to Adam. Sure, she flirted, because flirting's fun, but look what she does--she gets Adam to give away far more information than she could've if she'd just been asking him question after question. Guys can't resist bragging to cute girls. She used that to her advantage. But it's the Doctor she focuses her emotional energy on.

    You know, I didn't think she was actually attracted to him, more flirting to flirt, but you have a very valid point about her information gathering skills. Ooh, I LIKE that!!!

    CE was amazing in this. The singsong little "Help me" as he mocked the Dalek sent shivers up my spine, and when he shouted at the Dalek to "Just die!" with that little bit of spittle on his lip? Amazing! In the commentary, they said that he was well aware of it, and he said he wanted to keep that take because "in that moment, the Doctor should be ugly." Wow!

    Just, yeah! All-around, just really wow. He was so beyond amazing, chills, jaw-dropping, my breath stolen, he was just outdid even himself. And those two moments are some of the key ones.

    I'm convinced they didn't keep the hug because it was so raw, the Doctor needing Rose to hold him together. They didn't want to show him being that vulnerable, that needy, so early in the show. Too late, though.

    Yeah, too late. We so should have had the hug, damnit!!!

    Goddard bugged me mostly because her American accent is so atrocious, but the actress herself was all right.

    You're the second person who's mentioned her accent, but I even tried to listen to it this time, and it just didn't bug me. And I'm an American. I just really liked her performance a lot.

    BTW: I LOVE that picture of Billie in your icon. She just looked GORGEOUS in this episode.
    (no subject) - prynne12 on August 17th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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    sammie28 on August 17th, 2008 05:20 am (UTC)
    Agree on the Doctor-Rose relationship; it wasn't the best here, though individually they were powerful - the Doctor's pain and Rose's compassion.


    ...the final scene between Goddard and Van Statten was just wrong. ... Unnecessary and it was quite an abrupt emotional switch.

    It was problematic for me as well. It finishes Van Statten's story but also breaks up the flow. Perhaps Goddard's attitude at the end was "Better kill one man than let him kill many more" (plus, schadenfreude). Bad placement, though!


    She seems to be trying too hard to be impressed by him

    THANK YOU! The first time I saw this I thought it was just Adam hitting on Rose (one-sided). I couldn't see chemistry, either. Then I watched with the commentary, and they kept talking about chemistry, and I was thinking, "Where?"


    The Dalek, no doubt, got more from Rose than just her DNA if he was getting her emotions

    That's an interesting proposal - kind of like when Cassandra reads her thoughts in "New Earth"? It doesn't really make sense otherwise.


    the response to Adam coming along -- is a definite downshift

    I couldn't figure this one out. First, why take him? He could just stroll out and catch a plane. Second, Rose had seen how badly the Doctor had reacted to the Dalek; it seemed almost insensitive to insist on Adam coming.

    It seems Adam, like Jack, was one of those pre-determined characters that had to go into the episode - he's needed for the Doctor-lite episode - so he gets shoehorned in. I mean, the Doctor's had an awful day, and now he has this annoying kid who left Rose behind to save his own skin. Jack on the TARDIS works better - the Doctor is happy because everyone lives (so Jack should, as well) AND Jack saved Rose and atoned for his mistake by removing the bomb. It makes sense with Jack, but not Adam.


    The scene where the Dalek wipes out all of those soldiers/personnel with...the sprinkler system

    YES! This is why I have a soft spot for Shearman. I don't like later Dalek episodes, and I believe it's because of Shearman's simplicity.

    First, he chooses a simple scenario. The underground bunker looks like any other big warehouse (particularly the room where all those people die). The stairs Adam and Rose run up look like regular concrete stairs (e.g. in a parking garage). There is no bling, no spaceships; Rose and Adam's only "defense" is running. It's the most basic sort of nightmare (even for a non-sci-fi person): running with something unstoppable chasing you, your life depending not on technology but on simply not running out of breath. Classic.

    Second, and most importantly - he keeps the DALEK simple. He said that his first task was to write a real use for that plunger, and he does - it's a hand, and a powerful one (gathers information, dials numbers, kills a man). He doesn't add to the Dalek either, beyond the required ability to navigate stairs. Even there it's simple: levitation. No rockets, no helium balloons. Simple.

    The strength of Shearman's Dalek is its brain; it adapts effortlessly. It plays on Rose's sympathy, uses the Internet to look for other Daleks, uses sprinklers to many people. When the Doctor says that the Dalek is a genius, it's not hard to believe.

    Later Daleks had too much bling and too much technology. I don't remember the plungers being used to great effect again, and Daleks often seemed ineffective without big ships and beaming technology and reality bombs and Cults of Skaro. I know those are Classic Who elements, but the more complexity and big space scenarios they added, the more remote the Daleks felt. When "JE" Doctor-Donna makes the Daleks spin, it's comical, but how can a Dalek scare if someone turns a machine switch and they're entirely helpless? Less is definitely more.
    Arabian: Christopher Eccleston_01arabian on August 17th, 2008 01:28 pm (UTC)
    Agree on the Doctor-Rose relationship; it wasn't the best here, though individually they were powerful - the Doctor's pain and Rose's compassion.

    Yes, individually, both were AMAZING, but their relationship just doesn't flow from the previous episodes.

    ...the final scene between Goddard and Van Statten was just wrong. ... Unnecessary and it was quite an abrupt emotional switch.

    It was problematic for me as well. It finishes Van Statten's story but also breaks up the flow. Perhaps Goddard's attitude at the end was "Better kill one man than let him kill many more" (plus, schadenfreude). Bad placement, though!


    Hearing the whys of this scene make me feel better (that it wasn't Shearman's intention or work), but still it sucks because this episode was so powerful and that was in the last minute and thus left a bigger impression than it should have.

    She seems to be trying too hard to be impressed by him

    THANK YOU! ... I couldn't see chemistry, either. Then I watched with the commentary, and they kept talking about chemistry, and I was thinking, "Where?"


    I'm with you! What chemistry!? They talk about them having chemistry!?!? I'm thinking some people have no clue what chemistry is because these two do NOT have it.

    The Dalek, no doubt, got more from Rose than just her DNA if he was getting her emotions

    That's an interesting proposal - kind of like when Cassandra reads her thoughts in "New Earth"? It doesn't really make sense otherwise.


    Right. How else could he have possibly known how important Rose was to the Doctor, and I had gone on in length about Rose realizing the depth of the Doctor's feelings for her in WW3, so this made perfect sense to me.

    I couldn't figure this one out. First, why take him? He could just stroll out and catch a plane. Second, Rose had seen how badly the Doctor had reacted to the Dalek; it seemed almost insensitive to insist on Adam coming.

    It seems Adam, like Jack, was one of those pre-determined characters that had to go into the episode - he's needed for the Doctor-lite episode - so he gets shoehorned in.


    Agreed; I think it was shoe-horned in because they had to have Adam in the next episode. I'm just going to go back to my last review where I talked in length (again, I do that a lot!) about the Doctor putting buffers between Rose and himself; that's the only justification that works for me. And it DOES work. It's a natural flow and progression out of WW3 where he asked Mickey. And think, once they lose Adam, the Doctor does something INCREDIBLY STUPID for Rose when it's just them again (in "Father's Day"), so it adds more to the idea that he kept trying to find these buffers because of how hard and fast he was falling for her.

    I realized that I REALLY should have covered this in the write-up, so if you want to, go back and read after the Rose/Doctor last clip. I added a whole section on this point. I really should have last night, why I didn't, I have no idea.

    The scene where the Dalek wipes out all of those soldiers/personnel with...the sprinkler system

    YES! This is why I have a soft spot for Shearman. I don't like later Dalek episodes, and I believe it's because of Shearman's simplicity.


    Cutting most of the rest of your description because I won't fit my response otherwise, but YES!!! Shearman's use of the Dalek is just genius and so perfectly done. He totally GETS what makes the Daleks the Daleks.

    The strength of Shearman's Dalek is its brain; it adapts effortlessly. It plays on Rose's sympathy, uses the Internet to look for other Daleks, uses sprinklers to many people. When the Doctor says that the Dalek is a genius, it's not hard to believe.

    Yup; and that's something we don't quite always get. Despite my love of the Daleks, I don't think of them as super-smart first. Were Shearman's template used more for them, I would.

    When "JE" Doctor-Donna makes the Daleks spin, it's comical, but how can a Dalek scare if someone turns a machine switch and they're entirely helpless? Less is definitely more.

    Sigh. True. I just try and remind myself, Who is supposedly a "kid's show."

    Edited at 2008-08-17 01:49 pm (UTC)
    (Deleted comment)
    (no subject) - robshearman on August 18th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    yenly_gozal: Nine TARDISyenly_gozal on August 17th, 2008 07:23 am (UTC)
    Personally, 'Dalek' is one of my fave episodes from S1. I like the characterization of The Doctor and Rose here. Chris Eccleston and Billie Piper did a very good work in here. I didn't find any other episode in which The Doctor's emotional states are being revealed as openly as in this one. Especially, when he found the Dalek, when he thought Rose was dead and the scene with the big gun. Poor Doctor...

    Anyway, I don't like Van Statten. He's a selfish man. He didn't care about others at all. And what he'd done to both the Dalek and The Doctor were just cruel. I don't like Adam either. I know I'm being subjective, but he's arrogant (taunt the Dalek, boasting about his intelligence).

    I think, after what Dalek had said about "the woman you love" thingy, The Doctor realized that he might get too attached and depended upon Rose. Maybe that's why he finally agreed Adam joining the team. He might want to use the boy as distraction.

    After reading this, I just realized that there's no hand holding in this episode. But, the deleted scene might just replace the handporn. Why did the delete it anyway? I love this scene! So perfect!
    Arabian: Dr Who (Nine)arabian on August 17th, 2008 01:33 pm (UTC)
    Personally, 'Dalek' is one of my fave episodes from S1.

    I've seen lots of praise for this one, but didn't remember it specifically being that great. I have no idea how I forgot how amazing most of it really was.

    I don't like Adam either. I know I'm being subjective, but he's arrogant (taunt the Dalek, boasting about his intelligence).

    I actually don't think you're being subjective at all; I think those were deliberate points setting up Adam's departure in the next episode.

    I think, after what Dalek had said about "the woman you love" thingy, The Doctor realized that he might get too attached and depended upon Rose. Maybe that's why he finally agreed Adam joining the team. He might want to use the boy as distraction.

    Right; as I said above to sammie28 that I'd already noticed that pattern of trying to find a buffer. I'm so going to edit this point in to the review. I don't know why I didn't last night. Duh, me.

    Okay, edited in: So if you want to, go back and read after the Rose/Doctor last clip. I added a whole section on this point. I really should have last night, why I didn't, I have no idea.

    After reading this, I just realized that there's no hand holding in this episode. But, the deleted scene might just replace the handporn. Why did the delete it anyway? I love this scene! So perfect!

    I KNOW!!!!!!!

    Edited at 2008-08-17 01:50 pm (UTC)
    robshearmanrobshearman on August 17th, 2008 11:15 am (UTC)
    Thanks for the enthusiastic comments!

    I do have answers to some (though not all...!) of your criticisms, but I think there's nothing uglier than a writer coming over all self-justifying. So instead I'll just be glad you liked the story overall. (I will just say though, because it's on record anyway, that I had nothing to do with the towns beginning with 'S' scene, and that was a late insert by Russell when the BBC got concerned I let Van Statten off the hook too easily. I'm not fond of the scene, but I can understand why they wanted it.)
    Arabian: Doylearabian on August 17th, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC)
    You're welcome, and thank you for stopping by to offer your two cents. Please, please feel free to offer justification. I love this show and love being persuaded that I was wrong about any issues I have. In my write-up for "Aliens of London," some comments had me rethinking one of my criticisms and I was quite pleased that their valid points made that issue I had go away. So hearing the whys of your thinking of whatever issue I had, I'm more than happy to hear.

    (I will just say though, because it's on record anyway, that I had nothing to do with the towns beginning with 'S' scene, and that was a late insert by Russell when the BBC got concerned I let Van Statten off the hook too easily. I'm not fond of the scene, but I can understand why they wanted it.

    Ah, well, that explains a lot; I didn't know that. (I'm fairly new to the fandom.) I can see the flow out of the second-to-last last Doctor/Rose scene and then the final scene (him still talking briefly about the Dalek and Rose telling him he has her still) much better.

    I don't think Van Statten was actually let off too easy at all, his entire core and belief was shaken by what happened, but, I can see where the BBC was coming from. I'm going to insert a note that it was not your doing above in the review since that's the line where I first used your name. Sorry. :(

    Thanks again for commenting, and again, I'd love to hear your reasoning behind the other issues I have ... especially since the last scene was actually my biggest issue.

    Edited at 2008-08-17 01:16 pm (UTC)
    (no subject) - robshearman on August 17th, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on August 17th, 2008 02:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - robshearman on August 17th, 2008 03:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - robshearman on August 17th, 2008 03:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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    (no subject) - arabian on August 17th, 2008 11:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - robshearman on August 18th, 2008 04:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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    (no subject) - robshearman on August 17th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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    (no subject) - prynne12 on August 18th, 2008 04:20 am (UTC) (Expand)
    Another theory on the hug - linwick on August 19th, 2008 10:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    Re: Another theory on the hug - arabian on August 20th, 2008 03:40 am (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - honorh on August 17th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - robshearman on August 17th, 2008 07:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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    (no subject) - sammie28 on August 17th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on August 17th, 2008 11:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    (Deleted comment)
    Arabian: Donna Noblearabian on August 17th, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)
    The clip itself is actually only two seconds long -- the length of the hug, I just edited it onto the scene itself. I think the clip is from some interview Billie did because what I have, she's talking over it. As far as I know, it's not on the DVDs and that's the only deleted scene I've heard of from s1.

    I know what you mean about the price limitations, I desperately want to buy series 1 and 2, but alas ... too broke.

    I'd just gotten over the emotionally charged Doctor/Rose/Dalek scene and then they threw the Goddard/Van Statten scene into the mix. It always seems so jarring to me.

    Yeah. Shearman gave an explanation for it that makes sense why it was there, but still, yeah, it threw off the tone. Ah well.
    (Deleted comment)
    Arabian: Dr Who (Nine)arabian on August 17th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC)
    Your first episode? Aww, so it IS special. It must be nice knowing that your first was such a good one. It was that way for me for The X-Files, my first episode was 1x11, "Eve" and it remains to date one of their best episodes, so it was a great one to start out with.
    Mari: DW Chris Billie BTS hugfaeryaeryn on August 17th, 2008 08:20 pm (UTC)
    Great review, I enjoyed it very much!
    I agree with basically everything :)

    For me, I had no knowledge of the Daleks and their background when I first watched this, thus I had no clue just how evil the Daleks were other than the Doctor's spiel on them....

    For me too! This was my first experience with Daleks, and I felt just like Rose....I can't believe I felt sorry for it, LOL

    My first episode ever of DW was "Rose". I liked it so much I kept watching :)
    And that's why Nine/Rose is so special for me.
    Arabian: Dr Who (9)arabian on August 17th, 2008 08:24 pm (UTC)
    Yup, "Rose" was my first episode too, and that's why likely as much as I adore Ten/Rose and Tennant/Ten, I'll always have a special place in my Who-loving heart for Nine and Nine/Rose.
    d_zeitgeist: pic#74177217d_zeitgeist on August 17th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC)
    Aug. 17th, 2008 10:37 pm (UTC)
    Hi! I've been reading your reviews and never commented until now. But I figured I would now because I really loved this one in particular and really all of them. I guess I don't comment cause I don't know what to say to it most of the time. I'm not as openly analytical as you seem to be when watching the show but I know that I do think of these things and it's interesting seeing it all typed out for me to consider and then realising that yeah I had felt that way about certain scenes or I hadn't for a different reasons when before I probably didn't realise it. So thanks for this interesting view of the show!

    I must say, Dalek is probably my favourite episode of new Who to date, so if Rob is still around, nice job man ;).

    Coming into watching this episode for the first time I wasn't yet entirely sold on the new series -- after all it is quite different from the original series that I fondly remember watching reruns of with my mother as a young kid. But I must say that after this episode is really when I fell in love with the new series as well. Between the absolutely fantastic performances of Chris and Billie (I still miss the first season so much D: ) and just how simple but unique the idea of this episode is and how it really does go together so well finally got me convinced that this new series could be great. Rewatching the episodes myself recently I see even more why it is that this happened then.

    Coming out of classic who I don't think I ever imagined that I'd see a Dalek portrayed in the way that it was here. I actually cried at one point for it. As state above, I love how the episode was so simple, in essence stripping down the dalek so that you got a rare view of what a dalek is actually like. It was scarier in a lot of ways than any other episode I have ever seen with a Dalek in it -- seeing how it adapted so easily to fit the different obstacles confronted it. Even the idea of it being a lone dalek made it all the more terrifying I think... the idea that all that destruction came from simply one of them made me see in a whole new light the destruction that could have been caused by larger groups of daleks. And yet for the first time I actually saw the daleks as a living being, and I think that even added to the fear that this episode provoked in me even while it inspired compassion for the lost creature. And of course I loved how perfectly the story of the dalek mirrored the doctor's own and made me view him differently as well.

    really overall, i think it was an amazing episode, and I find myself watching it over and over again.
    Arabian: Billie Piper_01arabian on August 17th, 2008 11:45 pm (UTC)
    Okay, so here's what I'm thinking after reading this: You should never feel that you don't have much to say analytical-wise to add to the discussion, because this was great!! I love to read this stuff.

    I never watched old school Who, so had nothing to compare too, so it's fascinating reading the take of those who do have that background. Thank you. :)
    (no subject) - robshearman on August 18th, 2008 04:13 pm (UTC) (Expand)
    Salienne de Lioncourtsalienne on August 18th, 2008 02:10 pm (UTC)
    Hiya! I know I haven't been commenting thus far, but I have been reading the reviews. I just love how much thought and analysis you put into all of them, and though I don't always agree, they're always a great read. Definitely make me think a bit more, since my viewing is often limited to, "Let's watch it from the characters' POV and see if it works!"

    But, back to this review:

    I love Dalek. Technically my introduction to the Daleks was Army of Ghosts/Doomsday, but then I watched in order, beginning to end, and just... S1 could be made up entirely of The End of the World, Dalek, Father's Day, Bad Wolf, and The Parting of the Ways and my life would be complete.

    You're so right about Billie Piper's and Christopher Eccleston's acting here; both were absolutely brilliant. The Dalek was just this nexus around which so much action and character interaction and emotional complexity occurred, both with the Dalek and among the others in the episode (including the Doctor and Rose themselves, especially in how she "stops" him), and it was just... awesome.

    So here we have that pattern begin to show: 'I reveal too much to Rose, oh noes. But, look, I can ask this fellow to join us, cause a distraction. That works!'

    Yes, yes, and YES^umpteenth. Whenever the Doctor is faced with anything too big, anything he doesn't think he can handle, his first instinct is to run, from seeing the Vortex as a child to the cut scene in Doomsday to his relationship with Rose. But he's not exactly going to dump Rose off somewhere--he cares about and needs her too much--so he goes for the living buffer. Granted, this doesn't stop him from being jealous up the wazoo, but still.
    Salienne de Lioncourtsalienne on August 18th, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
    You're so right about Billie Piper's and Christopher Eccleston's acting here; both were absolutely brilliant. The Dalek was just this nexus around which so much action and character interaction and emotional complexity occurred, both with the Dalek and among the others in the episode (including the Doctor and Rose themselves, especially in how she "stops" him), and it was just... awesome.

    Er... that paragraph was supposed to end with thoughts on how Eccleston and Piper completely lost themselves in the character and pulled off everything perfectly, including hating and/or sympathizing with a big metal prop. Sorry about totally losing track of where I was going with that whole thing. :P
    (no subject) - arabian on August 19th, 2008 03:14 am (UTC) (Expand)
    (no subject) - arabian on August 19th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC) (Expand)
    eolivet on August 20th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
    Wow...I'm not sure what else I can add to that. Except that I think it's incredible that the writer found your journal -- WOW! "Dalek" has always been a favorite of mine in S1, mainly because of CE's acting, but I also think it's just a good story.

    I really...can't disagree with anything else you said. ;)

    (Wow! The actual writer! That's amazing!! [/fangirls] :)
    Arabian: Christopher Eccleston_01arabian on August 20th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
    I KNOW!!!!! I'm still slightly fan-girling about it myself. Yay!

    It is a great story, and Christopher Eccleston is JUST amazing in it, even more so, by far than he had been up till now on the show. And that's saying a lot.
    Rebecca Clarkrebeccaclark on September 14th, 2008 11:49 pm (UTC)
    Actually, I like the Goddard/Van Statten scene. Regardless of its placement, it fits her, and her total disregard for Van Statten is entirely appropriate, the fact that it's amusng is incidental. And it does provide a good bridge, from the episode's perspective. Van Statten as dismissive, too easily bored,also works for me.

    Rose invited Adam along because she's scared. The Doctor was willing to risk the world for her three times, and she's not entirely past her "oh-my-God" feelings about him being very old, very powerful and very alien. aliens are just people yes, but there's a differrence between interacting with them as people and falling in love with them. She wants a buffer as much as he does, as well as someone else to be the New Kid.
    JCAPPS, INCOGNITO.: Celeb: Catherine Tatethistwilight on February 22nd, 2009 10:54 pm (UTC)
    THANK YOU for this post. And thank you for kicking me in the butt and telling me that I was wrong, because I was. This post, as well as the comments from Rob Shearman, really helped me understand this episode and what happened in it a lot better. Thanks again!

    -Rach