What is it that is less than fulfilling about these episodes?
I think most of it has to do with changing established characters. The Daleks, River Song, and the Weeping Angels are portrayed differently than before. Now, the Daleks are often portrayed differently; it’s a fact of life for them. And for folks who started with Eleven, none of this is relevant. They didn’t fall in love with River in the library, nor did they hear the Tenth Doctor’s description of the Angels to compare with the Eleventh’s. So, non-issue for many watchers.
Victory of the Daleks has a larger problem. I can accept (easily) Daleks falling through time, lost and damaged, after ‘Journey’s End.’ I can accept their finding a Progenitor. With some effort I can accept them needing the Doctor’s testimony. The Daleks have been utterly destroyed so many times in new Who: obliterated in the Time War, except for one (‘Dalek’); rebuilt from human DNA by the Emperor and then obliterated by Rose (‘Parting of the Ways’), except for those stuck in the Void (‘Doomsday’) which were then freed and almost immediately un-freed; except for the Cult of Skaro, which initiated an emergency temporal shift, and ended up in 1930’s New York (‘Daleks in Manhattan’). Again one escapes by emergency temporal shift, rescues Davros and loses its mind; Davros’ new Daleks are again obliterated (‘Journey’s End’) except apparently these four. So, in continuity (such as it is), these Daleks have been rebuilt so many times that the Progenitor no longer recognizes them.
Okay. I can buy that.
To stop the Daleks, the Doctor turns to the Dalek-built scientist Bracewell. He has imagined some sort of gravity thing that would make it possible for vessels to leave Earth’s atmosphere. Somehow this idea goes from paper to execution in less time than it takes for German bombers to travel from the Channel to London and bomb the city.
That, I can’t buy. It’s too much even for Doctor Who.
I also can’t buy KitchenAid Daleks. Why would the Progenitor, vessel of original Dalek DNA, dress them up in different brilliant colors, never before seen in the continuity of the show? Yes they are exciting and pretty, but if these are supposed to be original Daleks, they should really be original Daleks.
Plus they just look stupid.
Overall it’s an okay episode. I don’t hate it. I like the interaction among the Doctor, Churchill, Amy, and Bracewell. I do find helpful Daleks incredibly creepy and wrong. (And hilarious: ‘WOULD YOU CARE FOR SOME TEA???’) I’m interested in Amy’s missing memory, though from my recollection it isn’t handled well in the end. I’m not sure how convincing Bracewell he’s human switches off the bomb, but I can accept it because it’s a lovely scene.
Onward to Angels. As a first look at River or the Weeping Angels, it works. River is badass and the Angels are terrifying. The episode overall – especially given that it’s only part 1 of 2 – is good. It’s edge-of-your-seat creepy – maybe not as much as Blink but certainly not bad. The problem is if this isn’t your first look at River or the Angels. What happened to the brilliant, competent, down-to-earth archaeologist? There is little of her in this new woman, little of the chemistry Kingston had with Tennant, little I recognize at all as the same character. I wanted more of River from the Library, and what I got was something else. Also, what happened to Angels who ‘kill you nicely?’ How are they suddenly so all-powerful and evil? Again, it’s fine if they’re new to you, but if you have expectations of ‘Blink’ you might be disappointed.
In addition, once again Amy seems to know the Doctor better than she should after 3 adventures. I know many fans assume there were trips between the trips, but when she lists off things she’s seen she only mentions things we’ve seen. So her intimate knowledge and trust seems a bit much. I understand that might just be me, but all the same it bugs me. I miss Rose and her well-constructed storyline.
I do like that River’s position as the Doctor’s wife is made a bit more vague. We guess it in ‘Forest of the Dead;’ Amy guesses it here; River slightly denies it; and of course we know what happened in ‘The Wedding of River Song’ was not actually a wedding. I get that some fans love the idea of them as a couple, and there are parts of the story where that works, but I’m just as happy to gloss it over. Especially if she doesn’t come back in S8 or 9. I’m content for Twelve to forget Rose, and I’d be content for him to forget post-Library River as well.
Still. Good horror, good excitement; good job figuring out the two head thing – I still felt it was a bit obvious but throwing in the perception filter thing helps, esp. since I’m not sure I noticed the first time around. Overall a good story and I can see why Eleven/Moffat fans consider it among the best. Looking forward to part 2.