I Wanna Be A Part Of It

DW3 Daleks a

Old New York

The Doctor and Martha’s tete a tete at the end of “Gridlock” must’ve been enough to encourage the Time Lord to treat his new companion to another detour in the TARDIS and so, from the New New York of 5-billion-and-something in the far-flung future, they stay where they are in space but move a long way back in time to arrive on Liberty Island of 1930. The secret location filming in New York was clearly worthwhile as the settings were sumptuous and evoked a genuine feeling of how an America gripped by the Depression must’ve felt. Having said that there wasn’t a lot of filming on the streets, with the action being set as it was in the Empire State, the theatre, the sewers and Hooverville. The reality of the situation was somewhat watered down I’m sure, after all Doctor Who is family, adventure show rather than a gritty docu-drama but for all that there was a nice bit of history thrown in and the production seemed honest enough to the period.

The Cult of Skaro were an example of using the Daleks to their best.  They had an evil scheme that showed scant regard for human life and they were back to using genetic engineering for their nefarious ends and it made this feel a lot like a classic episode.  Also helping this feeling was the gentler pace that the two-parter affords, with plenty of time to get to know Tallulah and Lazlo whose love story was an interesting juxtaposition and they even provided us with a Murray Gold show tune.  It was a lovely twist to have the Empire State building be a Dalek design and also interesting to see them with a race of slaves at their beck and call again, although I would have prefered them to have Robomen rather than pigmen!
Perhaps the weakest part of the episode was the final few minutes that led up to the cliffhanger.  This was not particularly because the revelation of the human/Dalek hybrid was splashed on the cover of last week’s Radio Times but due to the fact that I cannot see why the Daleks would want to evolve in such a way.  We know that the Daleks who were built by the emporer in “Parting of the Ways” were constructed using human DNA but they were still unmistakenly, Daleks.  It’s hard to judge based on seeing the first half only but this hybrid seems to be a bit of a retrograde step for the old pepperpots.  Next week’s conclusion is entitled “Evolution of the Daleks” so I’m hoping (trusting) for a satisfactory conclusion and explanation.

Overall, I am really enjoying Helen Raynor’s script as it seems to have set up all the pieces for a good conclusion.  What will happen to the Human/Dalek hybrid?  How will the Doctor be revealed to the Daleks?  Will the final experiment succeed?  What are they building at the top of the Empire State?  Will Lazlo and Tallulah end up happy?   The second episode has a chance to address those issues that I felt were weak in this installment, so it could yet become a classic.

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