"You told us to imagine and we imagined your irrelevance."
IN THIS ONE... The new breed of Dalek just doesn't cut it.
REVIEW: Back in the Voyager days, I railed and railed against scripts where things happened because they had to, and characters acted the way they did because they'd obviously read the script. And that's exactly how I feel about Evolution of the Daleks. For example, there is absolutely no call for the Doctor to play the death wish card and ask the Daleks to kill him, not once but TWICE, as he had a guarantee each time that something would prevent them from doing so. New Sec stops his cohorts the first time, and then the Dalek/Human hybrids don't fire on command because of the "freedom" in their Time Lord DNA, as if Time Lords were more free than humans, or as if freedom was a genetic trait, when all it took was ONE of them not to hesitate. And when they didn't, the full Daleks could have just finished the job. So it's a lot of chest-thumping "kill me" on faith. Like I said, the Doctor had read the script and knew he was safe.
But that's far from the only problem. The episode can't quite decide if the Daleks were drained of power when they shifted temporally, or if they still have enough to fly and fire their weapons. They never sell me on why the Daleks need to leave their shells or create an army to take over the world. And what an army! The Dalek/Human hybrids are calibrated to 100% Dalek, but clearly remain 100% human-looking, so the Daleks should have known something was up. Even mentally, they're hardly full Daleks and act (and die) exactly like Robo-Men. Hardly a continuance of the species. Why doesn't the Doctor leave Martha a message on the psychic paper? (Not that I mind her figuring things out by herself... when she's not whining over the fact he doesn't think of her "that way", groan.) There's a deadlock seal on the Empire State Building's elevator? The Doctor survives a lightning blast from space? The Doctor and Sec use a handy video presentation to bluntly impart their exposition of this nonsense plot. And what about Laszlo's final fate? Big fanfare, Doctor saves him, only to doom him to a life of hiding in the shadows in Hooverville, a shanty town that we know won't last for the rest of his life. What then?
Now, Sec makes some good points about how survival can come from peace, but he doesn't communicate them very well, not to his intended audience. But personally, I can't wait for him to get exterminated. It's not the animatronic head, that's not too bad despite the twitchy "fingers". It's the voice. It's so unlike a Dalek's that the whole concept is lost. Sec is Diagoras with more halting speech. I find the whole character limp and useless as a result. Especially when the real Daleks get all the cool shots, looking behind them while holding secret conferences, narrowing their eyes, and being their bitchy selves from Doomsday. Those cool moments are too few to give the episode a recommendation. I suppose this is another instance, as in Gridlock, of the Doctor's God complex being built up, what with his genesis of a new race of (partial) Time Lords. Martha refusing to obey orders also foreshadows events from the finale, but it's a moment smothered in an otherwise forgettable script.
SECOND OPINIONS: My original review, Evolution of the Species, explores the Doctor Who stories this episode owes a lot to, and in the process, gets deeper than the episode actually deserves.
VERSIONS: The deleted scenes on the DVD present a much whinier Tallulah and the Doctor calling Sec out on his past crimes.
REWATCHABILITY: Low - It's just terrible writing, I'm sorry, as if the idea of a "human Dalek" wasn't a non-starter anyway.