Aliens of London & World War Three
|Ship crashes into the Thames.|
As much as I enjoyed the domestic elements to this story and particularly the Doctor’s reactions to them, and as much as I understand that sometimes the show must be orientated towards its youngest viewers, I found this a very hard couple of episodes to enjoy.
It’s mostly about the Slitheen, from a planet with a deliberately long name because it’s amusing, who look a bit ridiculous all said (but who’s to say aliens don’t look like that?) and who fart an awful lot. These episodes have made me question where Russell T Davies is aiming the program (what age group) because this seemed to be aimed at the under tens. If this is so and it continues in this vein then my interest in the series is going to wane very quickly.
|Let's find a solution!|
Having said that there are a few nice things in there. Mickey basically being the hero of the day, when he was treated as a simpleton is one. The domestic stuff as I mentioned, I liked, especially arriving twelve months later than they expected and finding a mad hunt for Rose has been going on. That certainly is the sort of thing never addressed in the original series and something that has been crying out to be addressed, so I was impressed by that.
Apart from that though, these episodes I guess seemed a bit cheap. The explosion at the end and the missile looked less than perfect, and the alien pig was truly awful. (ok, normal augmented pig but still awful!) It was disappointing as the first double episode of the new series, but perhaps it had its place in the scheme of things.
Now THIS is what can be done with the old to make it new and exciting. This is a simply wonderful 45 minutes of TV, albeit with some pretty awful American accents. Henry Van Statten is a collector of alien ‘things’. He’s a bit of an evil man in his way, and has advisors by the plenty. Locked away underground in a huge concrete bunker with hundreds of levels is his collection, and the prize of his collection is his only living specimen – a Dalek.
And here we are with the first Dalek story in forever not to have Davros in it, in fact just the one Dalek (the title says it all right?). It’s very well done. Wherever they shot this was perfect for a concrete multi-layered bunker, but what really shines in this story are the relationships. Between the Doctor and Rose, between the Doctor and Van Statten, the Doctor and the Dalek and between Rose and the Dalek above all.
Rose’s compassion for the Dalek is moving. This is Billie Piper’s best performance so far. Thanks to Rose touching the Dalek, it found the energy to come alive. A Dalek which feels something for a human character? That is simply not something that has ever been done before. We can see here that there is a lot of mileage in it. The poor lost Dalek, left over from the time war which we discover in this episode was between the Time Lords and the Daleks.
|Inside the Dalek.|
And the lost Time Lord, also left over from that war, the Doctor. Christopher Eccleston again shines in this episode. Davies couldn’t have picked a more perfect actor to bring the part back. Here we see a twisted and bitter Doctor who wants nothing more than to destroy the Dalek. The Dalek says to the Doctor ‘You would make a good Dalek’ before it kills itself. It’s brilliant, emotional stuff. By keeping the parameters of the episode limited, Robert Shearman has shown the sort of story suited to this format. Also a very ‘grown-up’ episode too, quite a polar opposite to the previous two-parter.