Chapter 7: All Daleks Are Bad: A Review of "Revolution of the Daleks"

From Episode 13: ADAB

SEAN: I think that the last five to ten minutes of the episode were written first, because they were the best minutes of the episode.

JB: Really?

SEAN: It actually started out pretty cool. We have … his name isn’t “Mr. Big” on this episode, but I just going to call him Mr. Big. He’s in this plot with the Prime Minister to create robots that look like Daleks that will help with riots. Very timely. I see what you’re doing there, Chibnall. There’s a little bit of Dalek DNA in one of the robots. Basically the Daleks grow from within their shells. And I did not mind that at all. I think the robot Daleks that he made were really fucking cool. I wouldn’t mind having one of those. But then for some mother-fucking reason, this episode took a turn where we brought in the main Daleks! They kill the Daleks that Mr. Big made! On a bridge?! I think he made a thousand of them, but there were only six on the bridge. And then it’s all about these Daleks attacking Earth. And from thereon, I’ve seen everything already!

JB: It’s another example of them playing the greatest hits. There was basically nothing new. The only thing I was surprised about was how the Doctor trapped them at the end, mainly because I forgot that extra fucking TARDIS. I completely forgot the events of “The Timeless Children” where there was a TARDIS the companions escaped in. And it’s on Earth disguised as a house, and Yaz has been sleeping in there. The visual of all the Daleks flying into that TARDIS was kinda cool. The Doctor trapped them in there, compressed it, and now they’re stuck in the void AGAIN! Everything else was predictable. Everything else was the Dalek’s greatest hits.

SEAN: It was boring!

JB: I was entertained … enough. It was something to watch on New Years Day, but I’ve already moved on.

CHRIS: One of the things I was completely not buying was Graham’s and Ryan’s exit. In this entire episode, the “fam” is up in arms against the Doctor. The whole theme of the two seasons leading up to this has been about what a tight fucking family they are. “Oh, you were gone for eight months, and now we hate you.” They turned on her so fucking easy!

JB: I don’t know if you’ve seen the memes, but there’s one of them going, “You were gone for 10 months!” And then they cut to Amy Pond who’s like, “Yeah, that’s cute.”

CHRIS: It just seemed so sudden and so against the way those characters have been built up to this point. To see that much of a reversal in the course of one fucking episode to the point where two of them leave. It just felt really forced.

SEAN: If you can say anything really good about the Whittaker era, it’s that it’s not just Jodie Whittaker, but those actors were really good. All three of them. And sometimes they were under serviced. Although I don’t completely agree with you, Chris, I don’t think they were given good material at times. But it wasn’t as bad as, say, Bill. “Oh, she’s a lesbian! That’s the only interesting thing about her!”

CHRIS: I wasn’t saying anything bad about the characters themselves. It was just in this story where we have this reversal. Like you said, the writing was being a disservice to them, and I don’t think it was in any way their fault.

JB: Yaz was the one that was most affected by the Doctor’s absence. She practically shoved the Doctor. “Oh my god, I’m so glad to see you! WHERE THE FUCK HAVE YOU BEEN?!” Ryan got on with his life and moved on. He’s like, “I can’t do this anymore.” I think Graham probably would’ve stayed, except he wanted to still have a relationship with his grandson … or step-grandson, technically. The whole thing at the end … I didn’t care. It didn’t move me at all.

SEAN: Oh, come on!

JB: No! No! I was more moved by Pedro Pascal saying goodbye to a fucking puppet on “The Mandalorian” then I was watching the Doctor saying goodbye to Ryan and Graham!

SEAN: I’m glad that you mentioned “The Mandalorian”, because when you mentioned Pedro Pascal saying goodbye to a puppet, I was like, “Wait, I wasn’t drunk when I watched this episode. What the fuck is he talking about?” The story wasn’t that good, guys. It was average at best. And they started out so well. When I saw it was going to be Mr. Big, and I know he’s called “Robertson”, but I’m just going to call him Mr. Big…

JB: I’m going to call him the Trump Stand-In. And here’s the thing - I know that this was written and filmed months in advance, but my god, Chibnall! Just how fucking tone deaf are you?! I don’t want to fucking watch this! We’re seeing this shit in real life! I come to Doctor Who to escape all that shit!

SEAN: Yeah, you’re right. When they bring up the riots and the police Daleks have to come in and stop the riots … you’re right.

CHRIS: That scene, too, I think everybody has spent all summer watching. All the scenes of riots. And that scene with just a handful of Daleks and a dozen people chucking cans at them was just not convincing at all. I know they were going for a big, emotional moment by invoking these images. I wouldn’t think it would be too hard to do, but they didn’t pull it off at all.

SEAN: Agreed. I’m tired of the rioting images. I don’t know when this was made, whether it was before or after the BLM protests, but it just made me feel tired. At one point I had to get up to go pee, and I hit the pause button on the Apple TV, and I saw that there were 16 minutes left. And I thought, “Oh good. There’s only 16 minutes left.” This was when they were in the Dalek ship and Mr. Big was pretending to be a Dalek ally. Not a good sign. This episode is going to be forgotten by fans right about … now!

CHRIS: I think I did the same thing at about the same time.

JB: Okay, this Doctor…this incarnation of the Doctor has no follow-though at all. First of all, she doesn’t dispose of the Dalek shell from last year’s special. “Oh, let’s leave it for the humans!” And then, of course, they fuck it all up. And then she doesn’t deal with Robertson at the end. She lets him loose in the world with knowledge of the TARDIS.

SEAN: I’m sorry, JB, I think that may be a bit nit-picky. If you count the times the Doctor has introduced people to the TARDIS and then let them loose in the world, like on “Black Orchid”?

JB: But this Doctor in particular has mind-wiped not one but two people - both women - from knowledge of the TARDIS.

SEAN: So you’re saying she’s sexist. No, I’m just kidding.

JB: No, I think she is! If this was David Tennant, he would’ve mind-erased that fucker at the end.

CHRIS: I was just trying to count how many women David Tennant mentally erased. There was Donna and…

SEAN: Oh, you’re talking about the Doctor. I thought you were talking about David Tennant.

CHRIS: Well, yeah, I meant the Tenth Doctor, not David Tennant personally. I mean he’s probably in the hundreds.

JB: So who is interested in seeing this situation play out where Robertson is going to run for president again? No one needs to see this. We don’t care about this fucking character anymore. They’re trying to make him a parody of Trump, but I think in this day and age it’s impossible have any kind of political parody anymore. Have you seen the Netflix movie “Death to 2020”?

SEAN: Yeah, I loved that!

JB: Yeah. Lisa Kudrow’s character … she was like a Trump spin-doctor, and at the end she disavowed any knowledge of Trump? It’s not funny. It’s not parody because it’s actually happening! I know this is supposed to be funny, but it cuts too close to the bone.

SEAN: The whole movie is fucking satire.

JB: Yeah, but my point is the whole fucking world has become satire now. This shit is actually happening.

CHRIS: Satire is dead.

SEAN: But I feel more comfortable watching an actual comedy that satirizes it…as opposed to Doctor Who. I don’t think that Doctor Who is the best place for satirize real life, especially in 2020. I think SNL does it well enough. I’d rather Doctor Who thrill me. Don’t try to make me laugh. Don’t show me shit I’ve seen already.

CHRIS: Don’t show me the fucking news. I’ve seen it.

JB: Don’t try to be topical. Especially with Chibnall’s writing, which is as subtle as a hammer and chisel. With him, there’s no such thing as allegory. It’s all surface.

CHRIS: And it’s very specific. Unlike, for example, “The Sunmakers”, which obvious had a political binge to it, but it wasn’t necessarily parodying a specific event. It was topical, but it wasn’t a specific event that’s still going on. It was still an escape from reality.

SEAN: Can you think of a time in New Who where they did that successfully?

JB: Maybe “Gridlocked”?

SEAN: Yeah, “Gridlocked” would work. I also wanted to day “Turn Left”, but that’s the future that might have been, not the present.

CHRIS: Nah, that’s relevant. Oh, the Ood one with Donna and the Tenth Doctor. They go to the Ood planet and they’re being sold as slaves. I would throw that one out as being political but wasn’t that specific.

JB: What was Matt Smith’s second story? The one about the space whale.

SEAN: “The Beast Below”.

JB: Yes, which Moffat thought was his worse script, but I thought it was a really good one. Chibnall has no subtle bone in his body.

CHRIS: And that sucks, because the whole joy of Doctor Who is you can go to it as a fucking escape from reality.

SEAN: The politics in this story only lasts about two minutes. But it’s enough to put a huge taint on the story. I did like the idea of Mr. Big creating these police Daleks and them turning bad. It was interesting and really got into it, but when they did a complete 180 and brought in the New Series Daleks and destroyed the police Daleks in 30 seconds, it was, as JB said, “The Daleks Greatest Hits”. And they aren’t that great, and they weren’t hits. Unless it was the Hartnell or Troughton era. I don’t want to see any more CGI of Daleks flying through space and going from one spaceship to another. It’s not good. It’s tiresome. We’ve seen it before. It’s lazy.

JB: Oh, lazy? You want to talk about fucking lazy? The “SAS” Daleks … and by the way, WHAT’S THE FUCKING DIFFERENCE?! Why classify these as “SAS” Daleks? Why are they classified as special? No, these are fucking Daleks. A Dalek is a Dalek. All Daleks are bad.

SEAN: Well, true ‘dat! But I don’t think the story writers think so.

JB: Okay, so these Daleks, the “true” Daleks, the “pure” Daleks, they fly right over the bridge - where the TARDIS is. The TARDIS is actually materializing on the bridge. It’s flashing and doing its noise. AND THEY DON’T EVEN FUCKING SEE IT?! WHAT THE FUCK?!

CHRIS: Their peripheral vision can’t be that fucking good with those eyestalks.

JB: Lazy! And then later they all go fucking apeshit when the “fake” TARDIS was floating around.

CHRIS: And that, I thought, was a Deus Ex Machina. “Oh, hey, I’m just going to shuffle them all in this TARDIS that we conveniently left after the last episode!” Yeah, lazy. I didn’t feel any emotional impact from pretty much anything that happened in the episode.

JB: Same.

SEAN: What did we think of Captain Jack in this episode?

CHRIS: I honestly forgot he was in it. Other than breaking the Doctor out of jail, they just brought John Barrowman back for the sake of bringing back John Barrowman. They even whipped out the old squareness gun. I think he was just there for fanwank. There wasn’t any substance to his presence. I’m not against having a little fanwank, but I don’t think it made the episode any better. You could’ve completely written him out of that script, and it wouldn’t have changed much.

SEAN: He was dressing, basically. The Daleks themselves were fanwank.

JB: Yes, why is Jack even in this story? What purpose does he really serve. aside from taking to Yaz and saying, “Yeah, you can never leave the Doctor. Blah blah blah!” That sounded very much like playing the victim. He makes it sound like the Doctor’s a wife-beater. “Yeah, you can never leave THIS! You don’t get to choose when it stops!” Very insidious.

SEAN: I think that’s bullshit because, throughout the series, regarding companion departures, it’s 50/50. If I wasn’t drunk I would make a chart of the number of companions that have left the Doctor of their own will versus the Doctor making them leave. I don’t think what he said to Yaz was actually true.

JB: From his point of view, it is. But, yeah, it’s not true. He has his own bias because he was so hung up on the Doctor to begin with. So was Rose, and now Yaz as well.

CHRIS: Ten gave him the cold shoulder to end all cold shoulders by dragging him through the fucking vortex on the outside of the TARDIS. Then when they arrive and he’s like, “Oh, yeah. He’s dead. Whatever.” I don’t think he knew for sure that Jack was immortal, but he was kinda testing it out. Ten was pretty fucking cold to Jack.

SEAN: We do get the reference to Jack being from…I can’t remember what it was called.

JB: The Boeshank Peninsula.

SEAN: Yeah, BOE! The fucking Face of Boe.

JB: But he was basically there just to give Yaz a “pep talk”. And what he said was almost word for word what Sarah Jane said to Rose in “School Reunion”.

SEAN: It’s been a long time since I saw “The Hand of Fear”, but who makes the decision that Sarah’s going to leave? Is it her or the Doctor? I think it’s her.

CHRIS: It’s the Doctor.

SEAN: Oh, that’s right, because he gets the call to go to Gallifrey.

CHRIS: And he was like, “I hate to do this, but get out.”

SEAN: He was an ass about it, too.

CHRIS: As companion departures go, Sarah Jane’s in “The Hand of Fear” had more gravitas than the one in this story. She was carrying a potted plant and dressed in a clown suit, and it had more fucking gravitas.

SEAN: I disagree. I think Ryan and Graham’s departure felt organic. I felt like it was the first thing written in the script. And then Chibnall thought, “Well I got to write the rest of the script now. Oh, here’s this ‘cool’ idea about police Daleks that have Dalek DNA in them.” And he went on a bender and then realized he had a week to go. Fuck! Let’s just bring in the Daleks Greatest Hits.

JB: I think their departure is semi-organic, but was really drawn out. We have this scene with Ryan and the Doctor in the middle of the story. And you know he’s leaving. And any scene with Ryan puts a story into a screeching halt. This was so fucking telegraphed. Even if this wasn’t leaked out beforehand, it was so fucking telegraphed. It wasn’t a surprise. It wasn’t like when Tegan suddenly said, “Hey, I’m not coming with you.” If you look back at her last story, you kinda knew that she had enough. So we have this pre-leaving scene halfway through this story. And then at the end, Ryan says he’s not coming with the Doctor.

SEAN: What do you mean by telegraphed.

JB: Well, he tells the Doctor that he has a relationship with his dad again, and he’s helping his mate who was depressed. These past ten months without the Doctor have been really good for him, and the Earth needs protecting. And, of course, they set him and Graham to be “the protectors of Earth” because they now have psychic paper. They’re like Rose Tyler now. They’re now “defenders of the Earth”. Ugh! Yeah, okay.

CHRIS: We can call you back in a season or two when we need some fanwank. Or Big Finish!

SEAN: I think the problem was that we knew they were leaving beforehand. I wasn’t watching Doctor Who in the 1980s, so when Tegan left, I don’t know if everyone knew beforehand. I know the BBC pulled some strings when it came to Matthew Waterhouse leaving. We knew Ryan and Graham were leaving, but I did not let that color my perception of that scene. I still felt it was a well-made scene. Well acted and well written.

JB: It may have been well written and well acted, but I just didn’t give a fuck about these characters.

SEAN: Was it because you just watched a boring-ass story?

JB: No, I’m taking to account these last two seasons. I never was emotionally invested in any of these characters. Graham? Maybe. But it wasn’t enough. The Doctor treats her “fam” like service animals. She depends on them for emotional support.

CHRIS: It’s my emotional support human.

JB: Yes! It’s kinda true what Missy said to Clara. “You’re just all pets to the Doctor.”

CHRIS: You’re the dog!

SEAN: That has some ring of truth to it, from Hartnell all the way to Whittaker. But I wouldn’t be so morose, like, “The Doctor leaves you! You don’t leave the Doctor!”

JB: Like I said, that’s Captain Jack’s experience. Of course he’s going to be all fucking emo about it.

SEAN: And I hate to say this because it’s been a long time since he was first on the show, but he looked really old. I know it’s not his fault, but I felt so bad thinking that.

JB; They replayed the dialogue of “Oh, have you had work done?” “You should talk!” That was straight out of fucking “Utopia”! We have to sit through eight minutes from the beginning before we even see the Doctor in this episode. And, is she on Shada? Cause that looked like Shada.

CHRIS: I didn’t even think of that, but now that you mention it, that was very Shada-esque.

JB: Why was she even in prison? What was the point of that? She said the Judoon jailed her “for being the Doctor”. What the fuck does that even mean?!

SEAN: I’m not sure what the answer is. I’m just assuming it was explained in an earlier episode.

JB: Basically she had to be laid up for so many years and be late in order for Yaz to be pissed off because she’s been gone for fucking ten months.

SEAN: When she was in prison, and they show her going out to “exercise”, we see some villains from past episodes. How did you feel about that.

JB: Gratuitous.

CHRIS: Yeah.

SEAN: I kinda liked it, guys. I agree with gratuitous, but I liked seeing the little monster that eats shit.

CHRIS: We’re kinda proving JB’s theory that it’s the “best of”.

JB: I had to laugh because the Doctor tells herself a bedtime story, and I wanted to tell her that she’s not supposed to like Harry Potter anymore. It’s not “PC” to be reading Harry Potter to yourself.

SEAN: I did think of that, and then I put it out of my mind because I’m not into cancel culture.

JB: No, I’m not either. I’m being facetious. My girlfriend and I spent the last holiday season watching all the Harry Potter movies.

SEAN: If J.K. Rowling went out and ate a fucking baby, is she a horrible human being? Yeah, I guess. Unless the baby is, like, Hitler. It doesn’t mean her stories are any less good.

JB: One of Chibnall’s favorite tropes is whenever you see some minor character talking to or about their family, you know they’re about to be killed. And this happens twice. We have the lorry driver talking about his sick mom, and he has pictures of her in his truck. And he gets fucking offed by the tea lady. And then we got the scientist being taking over by the Dalek, and he calls his wife and he’s like, “Kiss the children for me.” And did you notice that when the Daleks started slaughtering people, the first people who were slaughter were black?


SEAN: Uh, no. I wouldn’t look that much into it.

JB: I only noticed it on the second viewing. Was Chibnall trying to make a statement about Black Lives Matter or “All Cops Are Bad”? Because he was being blatant about equating Daleks with excessive police force.

CHRIS: If anything, I didn’t notice that. But if he did put that in intentionally as some kind of statement, I am a hundred percent sure he put that in as something about the police brutalizing black people.

JB: Like I said, hammer and chisel. So when we found out that the Daleks were actually eating the liquified people, my girlfriend was like, “Okay, stop right there! This is The Matrix! They fucking ripped off The Matrix!” And I said, “Yeah, they also ripped off the Colin Baker Dalek story.”

CHRIS: The man didn’t get much. Let him keep what he’s got.

JB: At the end, Ryan and Graham are back on the fucking hill, and Ryan’s riding the fucking bike on the grass. It would’ve been much easier for him to ride on the sidewalk than it is on the fucking grass. No wonder he keeps falling.

CHRIS: On top of a damn mountain, too! That’s a hell of a place for a guy with balance issues!

JB: Yeah, let’s just ride off the fucking cliff! Anyway, both Ryan and Graham see Grace. That was so fucking stupid! And at the time I thought, “Okay, they’re actually dead. They’re in the afterlife.”



CHRIS: Nah, I’m going to go with cheap feels.

SEAN: Yeah, I agree with Chris. Cheap feels.

JB: Yeah, it’s cheap feels.

SEAN: I didn’t feel anything. I thought it was a good scene up until that.

JB: So, if the rumors are true, we’re going to get eight more episodes of Jodie. They have budgeted for ten episodes, but with COVID restrictions they can only do eight. And from what I understand, the Christmas and New Years specials fall under a separate budget. So I expect we’re going to see Jodie regenerate at the next New Years Day special.

SEAN: I saw on social media that some guy has been designated as the next companion along with Yaz? Where did they get this from? Who is this? What’s going on?

JB: The copy of the episode that I “acquired” from alternate means didn’t have the preview after the end credits. The BBC announcer said, “Stay tuned for an important announcement.” And then the recording cut off. But YouTube did have this little scene of a guy hanging out with his friend, and he’s reading his horoscope in the paper. “You’re going to meet this stranger, and the number 13 is significant, blah blah blah!” I don’t know who the fuck this guy is. The actor’s name is … John Bishop, and he’s playing a character called Dan. He’s probably in his 40s or 50s. He’s kind of a silver fox, but he’s going to be the new companion.

SEAN: Well, at least we have somebody who represents us. Although, what I really wish they would do is bring in Katy Manning as Iris Wildtyme. I want them to put Iris Wildtyme on the show. They’re never going to do it, but I would love to see it.

CHRIS: That is so fringe. She would never get more than just a passing mention…maybe? And that would even be surprising.

SEAN: But she’s so awesome in the printed media and in some of the Big Finish audios. I just wish that character would get more recognition. She was a protagonist, but she was also an anti-Doctor.

CHRIS: It was like if Joanna Lumley’s character from “Ab Fab” was the Doctor. She was a drunk, lazy, fashion-obsessed old fucking fart.

JB: It won’t happen because it would confuse too many people. “Why is Jo Grant wearing an eyepatch and being really eccentric?”

CHRIS: How many modern Who fans would honestly recognize Jo Grant?

SEAN: I don’t think it matters. They can develop the character enough, and she doesn’t need that much development to make her fun. And also make her a foil to the Doctor. Though I don’t know if Katy Manning can film anymore.

JB: I know she’s had some health issues. She’s wearing an eyepatch because she has some kind of infection, so I don’t know if she can even read the script, let alone memorize it.

CHRIS: She was posting some disturbing pictures on her Twitter. She posted a couple of pictures of her eye post-surgery.

SEAN: Well … old people.

JB: I have the special edition DVD of “The Green Death”, and one of the bonus features is footage of a BBC show that Katy Manning hosted after leaving Doctor Who. It was an arts & crafts show called “Serendipity”. There were clips of her talking to all of these artists, and she was wearing her glasses which were as thick as Coke bottles. But my god! I fell in love with her all over again watching that!

SEAN: She’s absolutely fabulous. If you watch her on stage, she’s just a gem. I know that’s said of a lot of people who were in Doctor Who. I don’t remember who, because a lot of them have died. I was about to say John Barrowman, but he doesn’t really count.

JB: I saw him on a panel at C2E2. He was very entertaining, but he was actually very rude to several people who were standing behind the mic asking questions. This one guy was in an inflatable costume, and he asked him to sit down because he was blocking the view of everyone behind him. He was kind of a bitch queen from hell, and it was funny as hell.

SEAN: Best person ever that I saw do a great convention appearance was Bruce Campbell. He was genius. He brought people up and had them make a one-minute film. “You’re going to be the director. You’re going to be the producer. You’re going to be writer. You’re going to be the cameraman.” And he entertained us for an hour. I would pay 80 bucks to see someone do this!

JB: That reminds me of when I was helping my girlfriend vend at a local Sci-Fi convention in Chicago, and in the vendor’s room I got roped into a situation with Robert Picardo, who played the holographic Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager. He had me film him with a girl cosplaying as the TARDIS. It was a skit for his blog site, I think. And this girl tells Robert Picard that she’s really into the Doctor, and he’s like, “Oh! Okay, yeah! Hmmm!” He was acting like he was about to get some pussy because this woman likes the Doctor, but of course she wasn’t talking about him. But that was kinda cool.


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