Read Eddie’s Take on ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ here.
2021 began with a bang with the return of Doctor Who. In The Revolution of Daleks, the Doctor, her “fam” (Yaz, Ryan, and Graham) are up against the deadliest enemy in the universe – the Daleks! Joined by a few familiar faces, it’s up to them to save the universe.
Jack Robertson (Chris Noth) last seen in Arachnids in the UK) s back with a new scheme and a new partner – Jo Patterson (Harriet Walter), the technology secretary and future Prime Minister. Patterson’s goal is to make the UK more “secure”, by using Robertson’s brand new “defense drones” that happen to look exactly like Daleks. I loved the dynamic between the two, both plotting to get their own way, and working with and in some ways against each other. Noth stole the episode for me – his comedic timing was spot in. Jack Roberston is a character so easy to hate, but also one that you want to see more of (which I suspect we will).
Also on Earth, Yaz (Mandip Gill), Ryan (Tosin Cole), and Graham (Bradley Walsh) are adjusting to life without the Doctor. Yaz is taking this harder than the others, showing her deeper feelings towards the Doctor which I was a huge fan of. Gill shone in this episode and I can’t wait to see more of her in the next series.
Meanwhile, in prison, the Doctor is rescued by a familiar face – Captain Jack Harkness! Whilst I can’t help but think that prison break was a bit too easy, I won’t complain. Jack’s relationship both with the Doctor and with the fam was refreshing. Jack’s conversation with Yaz and his understanding of her complex feelings towards the Doctor is my favorite scene. Something seemingly lacking from Whittaker’s run is the Doctor’s physical interaction with her team, but the first thing Jack does is hug her, which is followed up nicely at the end when it is the Doctor who initiates the team hug.
The Daleks created by Robertson are a brand new design. Personally, it’s one of my favourite versions of the Daleks and it was disappointing how quickly they were “exterminated”. Whilst I did love the return of the bronze Daleks, their coming removed all the conflict. For me, that’s where my main issue comes with The Revolution of the Daleks. The conflict is dealt with incredibly easily. New Daleks? No problem we’ll just call in the old ones. Now we’ve got a ton of old Daleks? No problem we need to get rid of this spare TARDIS anyway. I wanted the stakes to be higher.
The quick resolution of the Dalek plot did leave enough time to say goodbye to Ryan and Graham. I am thrilled that both survived, and both left happily. Their storylines had come to a natural and fulfilling end. I hope that in the next series the Doctor and Yaz’s relationship develops more because it was definitely hinted at in this episode. I do think that this episode marks a turning curve for Whittaker’s Doctor. She allowed herself to open up to her friends, be vulnerable, and be sad. I only hope that this continues.
The Doctor Who special ‘Revolution of the Daleks’ is available now on BBC iPlayer.
Words by Orla McAndrew