Chase - Posted on 02 October 2009

Okay I've railed against this episode in the past ALOT. It's unfair. I just rewatched it for the first time since that first watching and it's not that bad. First of all, I was wrong: Frank doesn't vanish in this episode, he's in all of it. ALL OF IT. Memory does cheat. I'd give this a 3/5 or a 6/10 or even a 7/10. Tennant puts in a great performance even when the Doctor seems like he's inviting death, putting Martha on the front line AGAIN, and spouting nonsense science (which, like it or not, this story and this show puts out there like water from a waterfall). Yeah, the science makes little to no sense to me. Maybe that's what I hated first time around to be honest, the climax the first time around seemed sorta  anti climatic. The human Dalek Time Lord hybrid humans (!) are a sound enough idea in fantasy but they just don't really work in science fiction, which DW clearly really isn't. It's fantasy. They also don't change their minds as much as the crewmen in GET SMART as I've said in the past. You know the episode or maybe you don't: Siegfried, the bad spy leader keeps bribing his own men on a submarine as they point guns at Maxwell Smart and Agent 99, the good spies. Max in his turn keeps bribing them and they keep turning their machine guns on Siegfried and Max in turn as each keeps giving better bribes until Siegfried mentions the Kaos dance ("Sorry, Smart, my men love dancing!"). It's not that bad in DW and while it's not the best story or the best climax, it's not as terrible as I recalled. 

The science, as mentioned, is wonky. I mean DNA enhanced by lightning and then Time Lord DNA gets mixed in there as the Doctor interupted the solar flare power, the Empire State Building drawing electricity (I supposed that part makes sense), and then there's Sec's idea that he wants to make the empty headed humans more...uhm, human or is that more Dalek human or is that more human Dalek? I like that Sec turns on the Daleks and Tennant plays surprised Doctor as good as anyone and he is more interesting for making the Doctor so shocked at a lot of what Sec says such as that fact that their creator (not mentioned as Davros by the way as in DALEK he wasn't mentioned either) was wrong. "He was what?" But Sec is basically saying he wants to make the humans more human. Huh?

I also like that Solomon tries to reason with a Dalek and ...sadly, gets shot for his efforts. This makes the Daleks dangerous. The pigmen as still a sad lot and I'm glad the Doctor got to save Lazlo, just too bad he couldn't reverse it totally but I guess if he had people and myself would complain about that, too. Still, there's a partial nice ending and Frank even got to live too, the cutie. In any event, yeah, another thing is Martha's plan to use lightning to stop the pigmen. How did she do it? Is that scientifically feasible? I'm not a scientist but that looked a bit wonky, too. Nice set pieces though. Glad the Doctor had some trouble and lost his sonic screwdriver (I still don't believe that Martha found it on the building half way down? Half way down the building? Or the floor? or what?). Nice effects too and sets.

The Doc also faces off with Caan at the end with no plan, no weapon. Why didn't the Dalek shoot him? Why didn't he try to defend himself somehow? And how could the Doctor show it compassion when he was priming himself to be the next victim? And then Caan just vanishes.

So one thousand bodies and a Dalek Sec tentacle faced body is to be found in the past. Does anyone find that strange?

Anyway this is not the mess I once thought it was and so the season hasn't really sagged at all. I've totally changed my mind on this episode if not this entire story. Accepting what it is and rather than dwelling on what it could have been and how much better (a non Dalek story with a more historical base), I now see that it is an okay story, if not the best this show has to offer.       

I didn't know what to think of this 2-parter first time around. Tallulah's accent annoyed me. The switch of focus from Manhattan and Hooverville to all the Dalek Sec/Cloning science stuff didn't sit well with me. The pig men were boring. I also didn't want to see the daleks again.

Second viewing. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The supporting cast were good. I liked Tallulah a lot more, particularly in her broadway performance. All the science stuff in episode 2 wasn't as bad as I first thought. And after watching Confidential I fully appreciated the effort that went into recreating Manhattan in Cardiff. The sets/CGI and cast really pull this story through.

Not the best 2-parter but not too bad either.

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