DW: Resolution Review

DW Resolution

2019’s first, and only, televised Doctor Who story was at the very least a good one. Despite being the weakest of the writers in his own show-ran season, Chris Chibnall managed to tell a good story and put a unique spin on a Dalek tale, something very hard to do after 50+ years of the evil pepper pots. So let’s take a deeper look at Resolution, and then I’ll update the Thirteenth Doctor page for the last time this year… already. (not bitter or anything…)

Synopsis:

On Earth, New Year’s Day 2019, a long-buried creature is beginning to stir. The most dangerous creature in the universe, and it will stop at nothing to claim the Earth. Conquest in 9376 rels.

The Doctor must gather all her friends and resources to prevent another invasion. And if they fail… The Daleks are coming.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

Cast of Characters:

DW Resolution 1

The Doctor, her companions, and two new archeologist friends… because she needs more people in the TARDIS!

The Doctor (Jodie Whittaker) – The Doctor is giving her companions a tour of some of the best New Year’s Day celebrations in the universe… until a big threat faces Earth, coincidentally on New Year’s Day 2019…

Ryan Sinclair (Tosin Cole) – Ryan has been having a great time touring the universe, he’s even become closer to his adoptive grandfather Graham, and started to forget about his thoughtless father…

Yasmin Kahn (Mandip Gill) – Yaz is still enjoying her time travelling among the stars and into the past, still playing the role of police officer when needed…

Graham O’Brien (Bradley Walsh) – Graham couldn’t be happier now Ryan is finally calling him granddad, though a visit from Ryan’s father may change his mood…

Aaron Sinclair (Daniel Abegboyega) – Aaron is Ryan’s father, who is trying to make good for the whole leaving him with his grandmother and then not attending said grandmother’s funeral to see his own mother off or to check on his son thing. Bit of a cock really…

Lin and Mitch (Charlotte Richie & Nikesh Patel) – Two archeologists who are currently excavating a body in the Sheffield sewers, one who was holding onto a rather strange bag when he died…

The Reconnaissance Dalek (Nicholas Briggs) – A special type of Dalek created to scout planets for conquering when the Daleks were first leaving Skaro. They have abilities greater than a regular Dalek, which makes you wonder why they weren’t created in larger numbers, or seemingly at all ever again…

Plus more!

The Good:

DW Resolution 4

A new type of Dalek, one that’s less pepper pot thanks to a thinner top half! Revolutionary!

The new Reconnaissance Dalek, ignoring the question of why more weren’t ever created (which to be fair I can think of several reasons based on Dalek stories past, from them not being classed as pure any more, to giving them more thinking power and ability to adapt making the regular Daleks fear them and so they stopped their creation, etc.) was a real hit. It strapped itself to archaeologist Lin’s back and then “drove her” like its old casing, using its tentacles to literally control her mind, movement and speech, and go on a small killing spree at it searched for what remained of its old shell. It then eventually cobbled together it’s old casing, with some local metal to fill in the blanks, and then took out an entire army squad, including a tank, without getting harmed. Mr. Chibnall certainly did all he could to show us how fearful this Dalek can be, which makes a change (although it’s really the Cybermen that have been screwed over by the revived series and need a rejig…)

Eventually The Doctor and co. outsmart it and melt its casing, and then after it takes over Ryan’s Dad, she flushes it out of the TARDIS and into a supernova (more on that later…) but it was a really effective central villain of the story, which is what was solely missing from all of Chibnall’s stories during the actual previous series.

The other major sub-plot is Ryan’s Dad coming back into the picture and actually being more of a pathetic character than an unpleasant or violent one, as I had imagined. He didn’t attend his mother’s funeral because that would make her death real and he wanted to not accept it, well… I can kind of see it, but to leave your son on his own when you had already pawned him off to said mother in the first place is still no real excuse, so I’m glad everyone, including Ryan, gave him a hard time about it.

The two archaeologists, Lin and Mitch, were perfectly fine in their roles.  Believably in love and too young / shy to be upfront about it, it gave us just enough to make us care that Lin might be killed by the Dalek and ruin this lovely couple, and once that role had been fulfilled they faded into the background. Nothing major, but they did their roles well.

Oh and there was a scene where The Doctor tries to contact Kate Stewart and UNIT, only to find out the government have put them on hold pending further discussion due to budget concerns, which is sadly extremely believable in the current political climate, so much so that it made me laugh. It was probably Brexit…

The Bad:

DW Resolution 3

It’s Ryan’s Dad, revealed at last! … After ten episodes, so… “at last” is a tad over-the-top…

While being angry at a Dalek is more Doctor-y, I have to once again say how Jodie Whittaker’s Doctor just isn’t standing out. With the exception of trying to crowbar in some current teen lingo she is just a generic Doctor delivering the lines from the script, I don’t feel anything that makes her stand out, personality or quirks wise, which is something all the other Doctors had done by now…

I had some … issues with the final scene with the Dalek. So The Doctor takes it on board the TARDIS to save Ryan’s Dad, who it has now attached to, and her big plan is to open the TARDIS doors and suck it out… Risky! Sure enough, Aaron (Ryan’s Dad…) begins to get sucked out with it, to the apparent surprise of everyone. Then Ryan, who was still angry at his father and doesn’t know the reason why he skipped his own mother’s funeral (we as the audience know due to a scene between him and Graham) jumps to the rescue and manages to steady himself and pull his father back into the TARDIS as he declares his love for him.

Now, I’m not going to say someone angry at their father wouldn’t still try and save his life, but the final scene has the two being all pally and making plans to meet back up, as if nearly being killed by an alien lifeform forgives all his past misdealings. Let’s not even mention the fact that Ryan has Dyspraxia, meaning he can’t even ride a bike because of his lack of balance, yet it never actually causes him problems any more. He even says “not back for someone with Dyspraxia!” after he saves his Dad, which… yeah. Not bad at all… Implausibly so!

It’s a shame, because everything up to that final scene was really good, it would have been a properly great story if that ending hadn’t been so stupidly written…

The Continuity:

DW Resolution 2

What a lovely shot to end on…

There are several beats of this story that are familiar to Ninth Doctor TV story “Dalek”, which featured an excavated Dalek being revived and killing a whole bunch of soldiers before being stopped, though setting, other characters and ending are all vastly different, not to mention the whole mind and body control thing, so it’s not actually as similar as it may seem on the surface. (and “Dalek” itself was a re-written version of the audio story “Jubilee” anyway…)

Apart from that and the mentioning of the Kate Stewart version of UNIT, any continuity is once again based on stuff from the other Thirteenth Doctor stories, especially Ryan and his Dad, which has been teased from the start of the run.

Overall Thoughts:

Resolution plays around with Dalek tropes to make a fresh and exciting story, and has some good side characters too. The ending lets it down a bit, but it doesn’t hurt the overall feeling of the 50 odd minutes leading up to it. Now if only Chris Chibnall could have written stories like this through the previous series… Oh well! See you… in 2020, Doctor 13!

4 Star Watch

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