Jan. 24th, 2019

Resolution

Jan. 24th, 2019 08:36 pm
purplecat: The Thirteenth Doctor and Tards (Who:Thirteen)
I'm in two minds about Resolution. I thought it was an excellent Dalek story - strongly evoking Dalek from series 1, but to be honest I didn't think it was such a great Doctor Who story.

I'm in the camp of fans who think that Dalek stories generally work better the fewer Daleks you have. When you have an army of Daleks (given the Doctor has to defeat them), they often end up looking both weak and a bit stupid. Individually, you can emphasise their power, ruthlessness and cunning without making them impossible to contain. Lin's possession was excellently done, scary and a logical progression of what we've seen previously from the Daleks. The scene where the Dalek builds its own casing was great, and a nice echo of the Doctor building her own sonic screwdriver. The confrontation with the army was a great (if somewhat unnecessary) set piece. All in all it was a story that show-cased the Dalek nicely and even managed to do something a little different with it.

The rest of the story though I wasn't so keen on. There was a moment when the Doctor first started tracking the Dalek in the Tardis, that I was worried that we were in for 40 minutes of the Doctor watching events unfold on a Tardis monitor while the Dalek ran amok. Fortunately that isn't quite what happened, but after the strong opening the structure of the story is essentially an extended chase in which the Doctor mostly fails to find the Dalek in time and when she does find it, fails to effectively contain it.

The interplay between Graham and Ryan has been one of the strengths of the season but, to be honest, I felt it had reached its natural conclusion at the end of The Battle of Ranskoor av Kolos and what we got here felt rather tacked on, seeming to stop the story instead of fitting naturally into the story. Other weaknesses were inherited from series 11: Yaz was underused (again) despite the fact that the Dalek steals a police car and murders two police officers which, you would have thought, would have provided an excellent route to showcase her and her background a bit more. Cute as Mitch and Lin were, and nice as it was that they weren't simply killed off once the script had no more use for them, the Tardis became even more crowded than usual. It was nice that Ryan's Dad and Chekov's microwave oven got to feature in the defeat of the Dalek but I was a little disappointed that it was Ryan's Dad's idea - once again we missed the chance for the Doctor to do something brilliant (apart from slide across the floor obviously - it depresses me that the most brilliant thing she did in Resolution was slide across the floor).

I was interested by the moment the Doctor asks for affirmation from the others that she has offered the Dalek a chance. It was a odd moment of anxiety. Previous Doctors, of course, have often offered their enemies false choices, effectively goading them into self-destruction. I wasn't quite sure if this was an implied criticism of that previous behaviour, or the first real sign we've had that this Doctor has a weakness - some anxiety about whether she is fair enough or kind enough or something.*

I thought Resolution was one of the better Chibnall scripts for this series. It was fast paced, exciting, with some nice bits in it. But I still fundamentally feel that the Doctor isn't getting enough to do in these stories, and it was the same here.

* While it would be nice for her to have a bit more character depth, I'll be disappointed we get some kind of storyline about a flaw so female coded as lack of self-confidence.

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