I hadn’t been planning on writing a review for this given it was a one off and the rest of series 11 had been so disappointing. This was more bloody like it though!
This episode is, by far, the best thing Chris Chibnall has ever written. Firstly, he gave us a truly fresh take on the Daleks. They were scary in a way they’ve rarely been in the 2005 series. The Dalek possessing the woman was properly creepy. A Dalek banging around Sheffield in a car, unknown to anyone around it, was also scary. The Dalek remaking its own shell was cool. I also quite liked the idea of a Dalek being buried on Earth since the 9th century. All winning concepts that stood up to a second viewing.
Chibnall also wrote some of the first one off characters that I liked or that were in any way memorable. I actually cared what happened to the young couple in a way I rarely had in his other outings this series.
Graham was also fantastic. His performance dealing with Ryan’s dad was inspired. More than that, for the first time for me in the series, Whittaker started to feel like the Doctor. In particular, the scene in the living room toward the middle of the episode felt very Doctor-proper.
The music was also fantastic. I really like the new composer so far. The new Dalek music really works and I like the Doctor’s new theme.
At any rate, I have hope for series 12 in a way I didn’t before. I am hoping this will be like Capaldi’s first series where there were only a few gems, but they found their feet for the next series and it was fantastic.
I would be more interested in seeing Chibnall’s take on classic villains. I think this worked much better with the Daleks and with his second best work, the Silurian two-parter from series 5. His spin seems to work better than his own attempts at creating villains, so I hope he will play on his strength. Having a real villain gave Whittaker a lot more to work with. I feel like her Doctor developed more in this one episode than she had all series.