Disclaimer: this is another one of those posts full of excessive amounts of geekiness and fan-like attitudes. If you’re looking for an objective review you’re on the wrong site.
OK, I’ve enthused about the new Doctor Who series a bit already. But that was just the prelude. Last night’s episode is what probably the majority of long-time fans were really waiting for, the one with the Dalek in it. The Daleks were the definitive enemy of the Doctor, first appearing in the second story in 1963, and returning frequently throughout the original series. For anyone not familiar with them, Dalek Links might be a good starting point. For the rest of this report, I’m going to assume you have at least a vague idea what I’m talking about.
The TARDIS materialises deep underground, having been attracted by some kind of distress signal. The Doctor and Rose find themselves in a museum of alien artefacts and relics, including the head of a Cyberman. Moments later, the fun begins as they are surrounded by armed guards employed by the owner of the underground site – Henry Van Statten, a very rich, very obnoxious man who likes to collect aliens. And he has one that’s alive, kept in a cage in the lower reaches of the base.
The Doctor is locked in the dark room and tells the unseen alien that he’s there to help. When he mentions his name, a blue glow appears and a familiar sounding voice utters the familiar word “Exterminate!”. The Doctor panics until he realises that the Dalek’s weapon doesn’t work. He taunts the weakened enemy – and tells it that the rest of its race have, like the Time Lords, been destroyed in the last Time War, and that the Doctor was responsible.
Now that the Dalek has come to life, Van Statten’s men drag the Doctor away to add him to the “Collection”. The Doctor warns Van Statten that if the Dalek escapes, the consequences for humanity will be terrible.
Later, Rose and Adam, a young British scientist – “I’m a genius” – employed by Van Statten go to look at the Dalek. Rose feels sorry for it, and lays a hand on it. It immediately starts to regenerate itself and appears in all its glory. And what a lovely Dalek it is, too.
From there on, things get a lot more interesting. The Dalek does the usual Dalek thing, exterminating left, right and centre. But this Dalek is different. Quite apart from being alone, it’s absorbed Rose’s DNA, and this makes it change…
After the dust settles, Rose insists on bringing Adam along, over the Doctor’s protests.
This was a superb episode on several levels – we learned more of the dark background of the Doctor, saw more character development from Rose, and had some very basic assumptions (Daleks bad, Doctor good) questioned. Remarkable stuff, had me cheering and sympathising with the poor lost Dalek.
 Part of the “newness” of the new series is that the Doctor seems to have been changed by some terrible events. Up till this episode, we’d heard that there had been a war which resulted in the destruction of the Time Lords.
 Is it wrong to cheer when a Dalek exterminates lots of people?