- Following our expository introduction, we open in the middle of a ‘romantic comedy’ moment between Lin and Mitch, which makes it pretty obvious that something bad’s about to happen to one or both of them. At least they’re both still alive by the end of the episode, which is more than I expected.
- That’s a nice little shot of Team TARDIS all watching the cosmic fireworks together.
- So Sheffield has replaced London and Cardiff as the centre of weird activity in Britain now?
- Lin, the presumably well-educated archaeologist, upon seeing a horrifying squid-like creature on a wall in a sewer, decides to go right up to it and touch it. Okay.
- Yep, Chris Chibnall brings back the Daleks for this New Year’s special – and after a whole season of no classic Doctor Who monsters whatsoever, it actually feels quite nice to see them again. Maybe they should continue to use the classic monsters sparingly for a few seasons.
- The Dalek’s possession of Lin feels like a blatant rip-off of Venom (and it takes a hint from Terminator 2 as well by stealing a police car and uniform), but it still works pretty well; this Dalek is a competent enemy, has a little more personality than the average member of its kind, and puts poor Lin through a lot of torment.
- The scenes with Ryan’s dad Aaron are interesting in their own way, as we learn a little more about both Ryan and Graham, and Aaron tries to explain away his actions without really defending them. On the other hand, these scenes feel out of place as they contrast too much with everything else that’s going on.
- I think one slight issue with Team TARDIS is that while Graham, Ryan and Yasmin work well with each other and the Doctor, they don’t have specialised roles – they all just apply themselves to whatever is required, which makes them a bit interchangeable when the action kicks off.
- Apparently UNIT has been suspended due to “financial disputes” and “funding withdrawal by international partners“. In other words, it’s been killed by Brexit. In fact, I was surprised that none of the characters went so far as to use the B-word. As much as I sympathise, this is the sort of reference to an agenda that I can understand people complaining about – something that’s just a little too pointed. The same goes for the completely random scene later on, when a family reacts with horror at the thought of having a conversation when their Wi-Fi and Netflix go down.
- I quite like the junkyard Dalek’s look. As new Dalek designs go, it’s certainly much better than Moffat’s colour-coded ones.
- And so the Dalek is defeated, first by some manhandling reminscent of the classic series, and then by the power of love!
- “The Doctor will return” – yeah, in over a year’s time. How come they could make a 13-episode series every year in the Russell T Davies era, but apparently that’s too much for the BBC now?
I really enjoyed this special; as much as I enjoyed Series 11 and how its style differed from the Davies and Moffat eras, it was still nice to get a simple, exciting adventure with a classic monster again. Rating: 4/5.