Evolution of the Species

Spoilers for Doctor Who Series 3, episode 5 - The Evolution of the Daleks - follow.

Evolution of the Daleks dodged a big bullet as far as I'm concerned, because the previous part, Daleks in Manhattan, ended with the promise of possible crapitude. I would have been easy to imagine a different ending where the Daleks indeed do return en masse as Mind Flayers.
But of course, they don't. Combining Dalek and Human DNA gives Sek a broad range of emotions, including a sense of decency, and the other Daleks can't get behind that. That's why Daleks cannot actually evolve. Everytime they have tried, the "new" Daleks have become prey for the "old" Daleks because racial purity is what they are all about. As soon as they see their brothers as "other", it leads to the destruction of that abberation (one even commits suicide when it cannot recognize itself as Dalek), or to civil war (as in the later Davros stories and Evil of the Daleks). Indeed, this episode owes a lot to Evil of the Daleks, in which internalizing the "human factor" makes the tyrannical pepperpots all sweet and cute, leading to the destruction of Skaro and the Emperor. I think it also owes something to New Earth from Series 2 though.

I've detected a theme running through the 10th Doctor's stories that links up, in a way, to their religious undertones. If the Time Lords are gods in a way, and the series makes reference to the Doctor as being one, then it's interesting to see how he attempts to create new life. Being the last of his race, he has often tried to save other downtrodden races, or "last/only of a kind" creatures. He's extended a hand to the Nestene, the Gelth, and finally even to the Daleks. But CREATING life?
In New Earth, there was the new species of human, grown as bacterial cultures for the cat nuns. The Doctor healed them and proclaimed the arrival of a new race of humans. Created by cats, but allowed to come into their own by the Doctor. In Evolution, he not only helps create emotional Dalek Humans (though this fails), but also merges his DNA with those Dalek/Human hybrids, this time really giving a bit of himself to a new species. Is the pain of seeing this species exterminated just a little bit worse than ordinary humans being mowed down? Well, it's genocide isn't it? Here, the Doctor is a failed creator. Best he can do is find a way for a pig/Human hybrid to survive. But as a new life-form, this is about the same as poor, poor Ursula in Love & Monsters. An individual who, like him, cannot reproduce.

Is THAT what it's about? As the last of the Time Lords, he is desperate to reintroduce them into the universe in some way? Just as the Daleks were, in fact, trying to do: Reproducing not the actual species, but a new breed of the species that might survive and rebuild. The doomed triple-breed in Evolution is the first attempt at recreating the Time Lords after the creation of a number of "lesser" races. Is it the last?

And with that ends the essay portion of my review.

Other thoughts on The Evolution of the Daleks:
-Who else expected the Doctor to scream out CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!!!! at the end?
-Is it just the Cult of Skaro or have Daleks always been this bitchy? Man, they are a HOOT!
-I'm wondering if all the "yay America" sentiment in this one is to appeal to the US market which has now started showing the series more punctually (after ignoring Series 1). I'm thinking the Doctor needs to come to Canada now that the UK isn't the only reasonable destination. After all, the CBC is footing part of the bill AND Doctor Who is a Canadian idea.
-The Ghost of Rose: The Doctor doesn't mention her, but Martha does to Tellulah, feeling that maybe he thinks of her as Rose Redux.
-Favorite line: It's a silent moment actually, when a Dalek looks over his shoulder before speaking against Sek.
See you next week for The Lazarus Experiment (well, well... more religious themes).



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