Doctor Who 3.05 – The Evolution of the Daleks

The Doctor and Martha take on the scariest Dalek of them all: the Empire State Building!

The Doctor plays himself in with “Happy Days Are Here Again”, calling, “Hello. Surprise.  Boo.  Etcetera.”  Aww, when did the magic go out of these Time Lord/Dalek reunions, Doctor?  Sec now “feels humanity”, but it’s all bad: he calls humans “so very Dalek” for their hatred and “genius for war.” Fuming, the Doctor pumps up the volume: the radio’s feedback hurts the Daleks, Pigmen, and vulnerable Sec.  As the Daleks shriek, “Protect!” and surround their hybrid, the Doctor leads the escape of the captured humans. 

While the Doctor and gang pick up Tallulah on the way back to the safety of the prop room (seriously, all you need to foil Daleks is a manhole cover?), Sec examines the smashed radio with what looks like nostalgia.  He’s such an American already.  The other Daleks pause in the sewers to trash-talk Sec’s transformation.  “You have doubts?” one asks.  “Affirmative,” the other confesses.  Time to overthrow the Queen Bee, wannabes!

The Doctor runs to Hooverville; the Dalek need for “flesh” will drive them there, and the hobos are safest if they scatter.  The Pigmen attack, with hovering Daleks firing behind them; Solomon yells at everyone to stick together, which is a-ok with the Daleks, who shoot to group them.  Sec, watching the attack, admires Solomon’s courage.  But Solomon’s heartfelt plea, “Ain’t we all kin?” just results in, you guessed it, extermination.

Sec gasps (the remaining Dalek side-eyes him).  He halts the extermination of the Doctor, ordering he be brought back instead.  “Daleks never change their minds,” the Doctor tells Martha, but they just did; he must investigate.  When she declares she’ll come too, he tells her to stay put.  “Oh, and can I just say, thank you very much,” he says, Elvis-ing the last bit a little as he touches her hand with a wink; he’s given her the Psychic Paper.

Eeeeee, I liked this bit bunches!  First it seemed a subtle comparing-Martha-to-Rose moment.  In a way it was, but not at all like I would have imagined.  Okay, so, Rose would have insisted on coming, and the Doctor would have given in.  However, often he caved but then sent her to safety.  Here the Doctor seems to put Martha off, leaving her in relative safety.  But really, he’s given her a ticket to find him and the dangerous situation.

Martha explains Psychic Paper to Tallulah as she patches up injured folks (yay, Doctor Jones!).  Over at the Empire State Building (ESB), the Doctor enters hollering at the Daleks (there’s that spitfire!).  But Sec readily admits the deaths were wrong.  Becoming a little human, there, Sec?  The Doctor’s the last of his kind, while Sec believes he’s the first of his.  Mayhap they can be pals, buddies, alien-bros?

The greatest resource of Earth is people, Sec declares.  Therefore, the Daleks want to nab all the people, make them empty barely-living shells, and turn them into Hybrids like him with their ESB Conductor plan!  They’ve got bunches of shell-people in lit-up pods (it’s like Frankentein’s lab up in there), just waiting for a solar flare to zap them.

Martha, putting the clues together, figures out from a tearful Frank that Diagoras most often hired shanty town residents to work on the ESB.  He joins her and Tallulah as they head over to do some Doctor-saving; they ride up in the freight elevator after getting granted admission via the Psychic Paper.  “According to this, we’re two engineers and an architect,” Martha notes, amused.  Betcha Tallulah’s the architect!

The Doctor’s got his specs on for an “aren’t you clever?” chat with Sec about splicing Dalek/Human genetic codes.  Wait, Daleks now reject their creator’s emphasis on purity?  “He was wrong,” Sec says.  WOW.

The Doctor helps Sec mutate humans because Sec liked the radio, was sad about Solomon kicking it, and has ~feelings~!

When he actually asks the Doctor to take them and the new Hybrids to a new home planet, (how many times has the Doctor offered this before? And did anyone else actually take him up on it until now?) Ten’s convinced.  “Better get to work!” he declares, rushing to speed the process before the solar flare.

Meanwhile, Tallulah’s on “Top of the woild!”  Let’s not end this in a White Heat explosion, ‘kay? Martha flips through building plans, and Frank keeps an eye out for nogoodnik Piggies.  Tally’s impressed Martha’s a Doctor:  “Doctors together!  What a partnership!”  Talk turns, as it does, to Rose, and Martha worries when the Doctor looks at her, “he’s not seeing me; he’s just remembering.”

The Pigmen carry in chromatin solution, Laszlo hiding with them.  There’s no Piggy Provision in Sec’s plan; they die quickly, so much scrap in the new go-go Dalek economy.  The Doctor tells Laszlo he can’t undo his transformation.  Does the Doctor trust Sec?  Well, “one man can change the course of history. Right idea in the right place at the right time: it’s all it takes.” It’s weird how taken the Doctor is with Sec’s vision.

The Doctor and Sec give orders together; the Doctor injects the gene solution (the “life blood,” Sec calls it) into the nearly-dead human shells.  Martha and Frank figure out the difference in the new ESB plans; they spot Dalekanium in the added lines to the mast.  In the lab, the other Daleks totally screw Sec over, turning on him to override the gene solution.  100% Dalek solution goes into the bodies (so they’ll be all squiddy inside?).

Laszlo and the Doctor run; the Cult of Skaro forces Sec to his knees.  “You told us to imagine,” they say. “And we imagined your irrelevance!” Sassy, sassy Daleks!  At the top floor, Tallulah hugs Laszlo while Martha spits out the key facts to the Doctor.  “Oh, come here,” he exclaims, hugging her tight.  The lift doors shut, making the elevator available to Daleks and Piggies.  “Never waste time on a hug,” the Doctor grouses.  You started it!

The Doctor’s got to remove the Dalekanium before the radiation starts.  “Blimey, that’s high!” he exclaims when they edge out onto the platform.  He won’t let Martha up the mast with him, but not because he’s trying to protect her.  “I’m sorry, Martha, but you’ve got to fight.”  He climbs up the mast, looking down at the extreme drop.

While the Daleks below ground count down to solar flare, Martha realizes they can use the lightning: she and Frank gather metal to feed lighting to the lift.  Outside, the Doctor Sonics off Dalekanium.  Then he has to go and drop his Sonic Screwdriver.  Nerts!  “Don’t touch anything metal!” Martha urges the others, waiting for the lift to rise.

When the lightning strikes, the Doctor clings to the ESB mast, screaming as he’s jolted by the volts.

Aiiiieeeeeeeeee!

In the FrankenDalek lab, the Dalek!Humans pull off their sheets to show they’ve all got CRAZY eyes!  Martha’s plan works: the Piggies are burnt.  While the others celebrate, Martha’s remorseful: those used to be humans.  That’s all on the Daleks, yo, Laszlo says, before swooning again, succumbing to the Curse of the Piggymen.

Atop the building, the Doctor’s flattened on the platform. “From this island, we will conquer the world!” the Classic Daleks declare, ordering the Human!Daleks to march and arm themselves.  Martha rushes to the Doctor’s side, having found the Sonic screwdriver; she weeps, but he wakes saying, “oh, my head!”  I’d imagine so!  Uh, that’s still some Dalekanium there on the mast, Martha points out.  Just saying.

The Human!Daleks march in the sewer systems while the Doctor plans to draw the Daleks out to defeat them.  He gets his Crazy Hair going when he tugs at it to think, damn it, think!  He got in the way of their gamma strike, but there’s no time to explain!  They need a safe out-of-the-way space. Tallullah can get them into the theater, and they all run to the service elevator, allons-y!

“Ain’t nothing more creepy than a theater in the dark,” Tallulah sniffs.  Uh, you have been paying attention to the Daleks are going to destroy humankind thing, right?  Laszlo’s hot, though it’s freezing (I keep waiting for consumptive coughing).  The Doctor’s got no time to help; he alerts the Daleks by firing up the good ol’ Sonic Screwdriver.  The Daleks change their war plans so they can Exterminate the hell out of him.

Martha better take the others to Hooverville: “that’s an order!”  “Who are you, then, some sort of Dalek?” she shoots back.  “Doctor located, advance!” the Daleks shriek; they materialize on stage with Sec, who’s in chains with a metal collar round his neck on his knees.  Dalek!Humans march and take position along the aisles.  It looks bad for our heroes!

The Doctor steps along the seat tops to reach the stage, disparaging the Daleks for what they’ve done to Sec, “the cleverest Dalek ever.”  He’s a fan!  “If you choose death and destruction, death and destruction will choose you!” Sec pleads.  The Classic Daleks prepare to Exterminate, but at the last minute, Sec steps in, taking the blast.

“Do you see what a Dalek really is?” the Doctor yells at the stone-faced Dalek!Humans.  Whoopsie, the Daleks detect increased serotonin in their human counterparts.  “Take aim,” one shrieks, giving the command to, “Exterminate!”  But, “Why?” the Dalek!Humans ask, asserting, “We are not Daleks!”  When the Doctor got in the way of the lighting strike, he got Time Lord DNA alllll mixed up in there.  “Just that little bit of freedom,” the Doctor says, quite pleased with himself.

The Dalek!Humans and the Daleks exchange fire, until the two Daleks onstage are destroyed.  “it’s all right,” the Doctor assures the mutants.  “you’re free.”  But back at FrankenDalek Lab, Dalek Leader declares the hybrids failures, intoning, “Destruct! Destruct!”  The Dalek!Humans clutch their heads and perish.  The Doctor calls it genocide, and heads off to find the Dalek Leader.

“You will be exterminated!” the Dalek shrieks when he sees the Doctor.  “Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he scoffs dismissively.  Look, a new species has just been wiped out, the Cult of Skaro eradicated, and the Doctor’s “the only man in the universe who might show you some compassion.”  He won’t cause another extinction; “let me help you,” he offers.  But “Emergency temporal shift!” the Dalek screeches; he dematerializes and escapes.

Laszlo’s at the end of his rope with the wasting away and the swooning, but the Doctor has HAD IT with all the death!  “Oh, Tallulah with three Ls and an H, just you watch me,” he exclaims when Tallulah pleads for his help.  Lucky they’re in a great big genetic laboratory!  “Tallulah, out of the way,” Ten says, determined.  “The Doctor is in!”

Frank reports he’s talked to his pals, and they’ll offer Laszlo a place in Hooverville, the last stop for people who have nowhere else to go.  And “The Pig and The Showgirl,” might just work in NYC, the Doctor and Martha muse as they arrive at the Statue of Liberty to catch the next TARDIS uptown.  And seriously, it’s a badge of honor for New Yorkers not to stare or look ruffled, so Laszlo the Sensitive Pigman might be a-ok.

Tallulah and Laszlo just prove “there’s someone for everyone,” Martha says cheerfully.  “Maybe,” the Doctor replies, grim.  Killjoy.  Too bad that one Dalek got away, Martha says, changing the subject.  Think he’ll ever see it again?  “Oh, yes,” the Doctor says, getting ready to close the TARDIS door.  He stares intensely.  “One day!”  Generic convention of meaningfully vowed delayed revenge satisfied, they fly off to the next adventure!

Oooh weee athoooo aphooo!  I loved Solomon, and spotting Andrew Garfield was fun.  But the Piggies were goofy after the first scary glimpse, and the Tallulah stuff got a bit wearying.  However, David Tennant and Freema Agyeman commit so well; they do excellent work no matter the material.  Join me next week on Wednesday to see how the Doctor and Martha fare in the ominous sounding “The Lazarus Experiment!”

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  • Ellie

    I’m always a bit torn on this 2-part episode. I like the ideas, with the dalek/human Sec and all the acting is, as always, good. I do like Tallulah, possibly because she reminds me a lot of a friend of mine :P

    So the human/dalek is awesome, but other than that, a lot of the things here have been done before – the whole pig/human thing, New York, even Ten climbing a tower to rescue everything in the Idiot’s Lantern.

    I always enjoy it, but it’s not one of my favourites :P

    • I do like Sec! I almost wish there had been more focus on him; I wanted to see how that change unfolded, other than just assuming that the longer you’re human, the more you care.

      Haha, I hope your friend waves around prop guns and shrieks at everyone in a nasal voice when searching for her boyfriend! :D

      I was thinking of the Idiot’s Lantern as well, actually in the sense that it’s very game of David Tennant to look strained and horrified by the climb and drop when he just turned in such a performance recently.

      You’re right, it’s definitely got its moments even if it’s not top-ranking. Tall order, given how truly excellent our fave eps are!

  • Hey just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
    I’ve tried it in two different browsers and both show the same outcome.

    • Thanks so much for the tip! We’ve been having some glitches after a media update, but we’re in the process of fixing the images. We appreciate the heads-up!