Doctor Who - 2019 New Year's Day Special - Resolution - Review
Every Doctor needs a Dalek story - and every Doctor usually gets it their very first season. Jodie Whittaker's first season did not have one...until now. The New Year's Day Special brought the 13th Doctor face to face with a Dalek, in a traditional story flipped on it's head.
At first watch, this might be my favorite Doctor Who episode that Chris Chibnall has ever written. He reverse engineered a one-off Dalek, to make a pretty entertaining story.
The Dalek story was strong, but I wasn't expecting them to tackle the issue of Ryan's dad here. Usually the special's between seasons - save for regenerations - don't have a ton of character development, as they are more for casual viewers.
We saw 13 get serious for once. Just like 9 and 10 did when they encountered the Daleks. She did a good job portraying what a Dalek is. As for the Dalek itself, the redesign was pretty cool. To see a casing made of scraps and real pieces of metal used made it look less sleek, and more steam punk inspired. I am glad it wasn't a radical redesign for all of them, but as a one off, it was a lot of fun to see on screen.
The episode made the Daleks frightening again. For it to be a parasite on a human body is really a cool sight. We've seen a Dalek-Human hybrid before, but this was a much better take on that concept. This episode did for the Daleks, what Rogue One did for Darth Vader - it reminded people why they are their universes most formidable foe.
The Ryan and his father story was reminiscent of Clyde and his father on The Sarah Jane Adventures. This ended with a little more redemption though. As I mentioned before, this would have fit better in some of the more empty episodes of the series. This special was fine with just the Daleks. It was an odd choice to put it here, almost like Chibnall and company were banking on another episode that they never received, so they threw it in here.
It wouldn't surprise me to see Ryan's father as a recurring character next year, assuming everybody is coming back. Mitch and Lin were also instantly likeable. Which is why I thought they were going to die immediately. Russell T. Davies used to do that all the time, he would instantly endear us to some characters so when they died 15 seconds later, it would have an impact. I would like to see them back again too. I liked them so much in fact, that I would enjoy them being the new companions when a vacancy is available in the future.
I enjoyed the nod to Kate Stewart, even if it was to set up a long Brexit joke that brought the story to a halt. I thought the joke was funny, but wish it was more integrated into the episode. Same with the cut to the family dealing with the loss of wi-fi. It was very funny, but felt out of place.
I was pleased how much TARDIS time we got this episode. It was severely lacking throughout the entire season. We had to sacrifice the opening credits (Chibnall seems to put those on under protest, and the Doctor Who theme is one of the most iconic ever) for it apparently but I hope we get a healthier dose of the TARDIS next year.
Because of the TARDIS and the Daleks, this felt more like Doctor Who than anything else in the previous season. That is a good thing. I wonder if the long break (we aren't getting anymore until 2020) is to slightly retool things.
I will rewatch this episode soon, I am curious to see what I missed. But overall, I was very satisfied with it, even after the heartbreak of not having it Christmas day.
Doctor Who airs exclusively on BBC One and BBC America.