Yesterday afternoon, I finished watching the Blu-ray set for Who season fourteen – you can announce the next one now, please, BBC Studios – and our son joined me for the hilarious little TV commercial for the line of Doctor Who dolls from 1977. The funniest thing about these dopey toys is that the Dalek is massively out of proportion with the other characters, coming up to Leela’s chest, which sparked some discussion about how tall the Dalek should be. Then the very next episode we watch introduces some new, taller Daleks, as if to confuse the issue.
Ian McNeice’s character of Winston Churchill, seen in a little cameo in the previous episode, makes his second of four appearances in this story. It was written by Mark Gatiss and it’s my least favorite of his otherwise splendid scripts by about a million miles.
The worst moment? Out of lots of possibilities, it’s the way it feels like Gatiss and Moffat were keenly aware of fans and critics grumbling about “power of love” resolutions to various Russell T. Davies-era stories and so, just to remind everybody who’s in charge, they literally defuse a sentient bomb with false memories by reminding it how unrequited love feels. Then everybody hugs and pats themselves on the back to remind viewers how brilliant and amazing they are, and despite Churchill’s desire for war-winning tech being a running gag, they leave the sentient bomb in wartime London instead of dropping it and the rest of the alien gadgets off on a Robot Free Planet in the Andromeda Galaxy in the 276th Century.
The kid loved it, of course. I try to tell myself that’s all that matters, but one day he’s going to grow up and move out and, at least for a time and maybe even for good, will lose interest in Doctor Who and I’ll be sadly reflecting that it only took Gatiss and Moffat three weeks to show an episode as bad as Davies’s worst. Oddly enough, that episode, “Fear Her,” had one of those “power of love” endings as well.
I think the second half of the Silurian story is even worse. We’ll see in a couple of weeks.