Our time with the Doctor (Jodie Whitaker) was short this holiday season, and we have no idea when she’ll return, only that she will eventually. Oddly, that seemed to be a message “Revolution of the Daleks” was trying to communicate. The BBC’s subtle way of telling us to get used to a year or longer waits for new episodes? I hope not, but we’ll see.
How We Doing, Fam?
“The Fam” doesn’t get the message they wanted from the Doctor, though. Ryan (Tosin Cole) and Yas (Mandip Gill) take her absence harder than Graham (Bradley Walsh). While I understand that an extended ten-month disappearance would be jarring, both Ryan and Yas appear pretty selfish in their reaction. The problem is we never really got to know the characters or see that more profound connection between them. Take the tenth Doctor from Rose for ten months, and her anger would have been justified and felt through the screen. Here, it just seems a bit whiney.
Captain Jack Makes It Clear
It becomes even more clear that there just hasn’t been any real connection between these characters watching the Doctor’s interactions with Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman.) Their meeting was the actual litmus test of the show. There was a natural chemistry between the characters and actors, though, leaving the conclusion to be that it just couldn’t work for The Doctor and “The Fam.” Or the writers just weren’t willing to spend the time to make it work. We’ll see what the addition of Dan (John Bishop) can bring to the TARDIS. I almost wish they would have had Captain Jack stick around for a season. He could have been a nice buffer to let Jodie’s Doctor shine for the first time.
Revolution of the Daleks
That brings us to the villains of the plot. The Daleks return for the umpteenth millionth time. I have to say; I don’t care about the redesigns. Every showrunner who will bring the Daleks back should have a go at making them look different. Because, honestly, there isn’t a way to tell an interesting Dalek story anymore. At least, the last 25 or so appearances since “Dalek” back in 2005 haven’t brought anything new to the table. Maybe it’s time to give them at least one year off? The thought of a completely artificial intelligence run Dalek was curious but abandoned too quickly. Perhaps that could be the road for their eventual return.
Now Where Have We Seen That Before?
We’ve had two episodes featuring Jack Robertson (Chris Noth), and I’m still not exactly sure what the point of this character is. A dumb guy from the United States has an uncanny ability to stumble into grave danger for the planet. Well, speaking as an American, that archetype isn’t exactly flexing creative muscle in the writing department. I’m not offended by it – that person is all too easy to find in real life. And since Jack is mostly harmless without some alien technology to back him up, he serves more as an annoyance than anything else.
“Revolution of the Daleks” ends up being many ideas that don’t get tied up with a plot. Strictly speaking, even the title is irrelevant, as there is no actual revolution going on here. Not really “Doctor Who“s finest hour. The reduction in TARDIS crowding for the upcoming season gives some hope. Maybe now we can let the Doctor be something more than a mystery to herself. Her backstory was complicated last year, but it wouldn’t be the first time the show ignored that to make the character stronger. Perhaps it’s time to try that again.