Jack’s back, the Daleks are running rampant in Sheffield, Chief Slime-ball Jack Robertson is up to his old tricks again, and while the Doctor searches for her identity, there’s a shakeup in store for the TARDIS crew.
Tech giant CEO Leo Rugazzi, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett (Misfits) teams up with the slippery Jack Robertson and the new Prime Minister to create “security defence drones” (in reality, Daleks) to roll out nationwide. Best post-Brexit plan yet!
Of course, while this story has ambition, it also feels somewhat gimmicky, and soon enough, it goes all pear-shaped. Leo makes the huge mistake of cloning remnant traces of the Scout Dalek mutant. Before long, the mutant takes control of Leo, starts manufacturing Dalek mutants en masse and well, you get the idea. “e’ve been down this road many times before.
However slick these new black and red Daleks appear, another faction of the Kaled race, the Death Squad Daleks (kitted out in classic gold) arrive to eradicate Robertson’s creations, deeming them as impurities. It’s an intriguing premise to watch two rival Dalek factions square off against each other, despite their consistent claims to become the only living, and most superior species in the universe.
The Doctor smartly fools the Death Squad Daleks to board the Gallifreyan TARDIS from The Timeless Children, destined to collapse in on itself and fall into the void. Jack Robertson slips away once again, claiming credit as humanity’s savior against the Dalek’s assault, leaving the door open for Chris Noth to return once again.
The final moments of the episode are surprisingly, rather more emotional than I’d anticipated. Bradley Walsh and Tosin Cole (Graham and Ryan respectively) bow out after more than two years in the show.
For the most part, Chibnall’s era of Who has neglected character development for the Doctor’s companions, doubtlessly due to a decision in having three aboard the TARDIS. So, while it is sad Walsh and Cole go, their exit failed to stick the landing and deliver an emotional impact to rival past companions, such as Donna, Amy, and Rory, or even Clara. Mind you, they did strike an emotional chord with Grace.
Despite what the title might suggest, Doctor Who’s long-awaited New Year’s Day special was far from revolutionary. Instead, it felt like a glammed up rehash of Mark Gatiss’ WWII episode “Victory of the Daleks”.
The Daleks’ latest scheme was uninspired, most of the secondary cast was as irrelevant as the Doctor in prison subplot. However, the episode is at least slightly saved by Jodie Whittaker interactions with Jack, as well as touching references to his Torchwood bestie, Gwen Cooper, Rose in the parallel universe, and what life is like after traveling with the Doctor.
Jack sums it up best: “Being with the Doctor you don’t get to choose when it stops, whether you leave her, she leaves you.”