A First-Timer Watches Doctor Who: “Victory of the Daleks”

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“Keep buggering on!” It was one of Winston Churchill’s favourite expressions, and it’s one that Doctor Who’s Daleks seem to have taken to heart as well.

No matter how many times the Doctor appears to defeat the heavily armoured emotionless alien lumps, they always come back.

Poised to purge the universe of all non-Dalek lifeforms.

“Victory of the Daleks” marks the first time the Eleventh Doctor comes face to face with his greatest foes, only a little over a season since he (in Tenth Doctor form) foiled their plan to steal the Earth and 26 other planets. More on that later.

This time the Daleks have landed in WWII-era Britain, managing to cozy up to Churchill himself before the Doctor and Amy arrive. Posing as the Allies’ answer to victory over the Germans, the Daleks infiltrate Churchill’s Cabinet War Rooms as “Ironsides”, an invention of Professor Edwin Bracewell—who is as surprised as anyone to find out he’s a Dalek-made android with an Earth-eating wormhole for a torso.

Turns out that the Doctor is the key ingredient the Daleks have been looking for in order to fire up their Progenitor, a machine that stores pure Dalek DNA and, with the right set of circumstances, can produce new Daleks. The Doctor = the right set of circumstances, unwittingly of course.

Five new Daleks—the Scientist, the Drone, the Strategist, the Eternal, and the Supreme—emerge, still looking like futuristic industrial rubbish bins only larger and candy-coloured (do I detect a Dalek ploy to win the hearts of young Doctor Who viewers?).

While (again) this really should have been a two-parter (the new writers seem to have made a habit of rushing things this season) the episode is an interesting one in that it sees the Doctor, Amy, and Churchill battling the Daleks and the Nazis at the same time. Terry Nation, the man who designed the original Daleks, based them on his childhood memory of the Nazis and growing up during WWII.

At the end of this episode, we’re left with some big questions: Churchill and the Doctor seem super chummy—so, how is it that they know each other? And Amy’s wedding: is she ever going to tell the Doctor about it? Is it difficult to run around the universe with feet that cold? Then there’s the big one: the last Dalek invasion—Amy should be able to remember the Earth nearly being stolen, but she can’t. What’s going on there? Rushed as the episodes have felt so far, I love the way the writers are building the mystery this season. Keep buggering on!