Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Doctor Who New Year’s Special Recap: “Resolution” (New Year, Old Enemy) [Guest Poster: Stephanie Coats]

Original Airdate: January 1, 2019

When Showrunner Chris Chibnall spoke about Doctor Who’s series eleven at San Diego Comic Con, he emphasized everything is new, including the villains and aliens. Not a single classic or traditional Doctor Who alien or enemy in sight... but maybe he meant just in 2018. In the show’s first ever New Year’s special, Jodie Whittaker finally gets to a take a crack at one of the most iconic foe’s in Doctor Who history.


In the 9th century, British forces barely won a war against an unnamed opponent. To prevent the enemy from ever returning, it was cut into three pieces, buried in remote places around the globe, and guarded at all times. But one of the “custodians” was killed en route, so his portion lay unburied and unguarded until centuries later when archaeologists Mitch and Lin discover him.

While carefully uncovering the body, the two unknowingly place a part of the unnamed enemy under a UV light and it reconstructs itself. Mitch and Lin are distracted by adorably talking about their New Year’s kiss. They notice too late that one of their bags has gone missing. Lin spies a tentacle creature on the wall and reaches out to touch it — for some reason — just as the Doctor and her team arrive by TARDIS. They had been touring different New Year’s celebrations throughout time and space when the Doctor received an alert for present-day Sheffield.

She sends Mitch and Lin to safety while searching for the creature, which has supposedly disappeared into the water. But Lin is behaving very strangely, and for good reason. The creature isn’t in the water; it’s attached to her back and controlling her actions. All attempts to fight back are futile.


Team TARDIS land at Graham’s house to regroup and they receive an unexpected and not entirely welcome visitor: Ryan’s dad, Aaron. The Doctor immediately lets him know he let Ryan down and, in so many words, they don’t like him. Ryan agrees to go for coffee with his dad, where Aaron says he’s trying to do better and Ryan reminds him of all of the ways he’s been a major letdown over the years.

It doesn’t take the Doctor long to realize her greatest enemy is loose in Sheffield: a Dalek. More specifically, a reconnaissance scout, which was sent to scope out Earth for the fleet. The team brings Mitch into the TARDIS to help them put all the pieces together and he tells them about the “custodians.” They figure out Lin isn’t safe, which is a bit of an understatement. The Dalek has forced her to drive at top speed. When they’re pulled over by a cop, the Dalek makes Lin attack the officers and steal a uniform and car. It directs her to where portions of its armory and weaponry are stored in Britain’s archives.

The Doctor hacks into the Dalek’s connection with Lin to warn it and to encourage Lin to keep fighting. The Doctor tries calling in reinforcements through UNIT, but UNIT was shut down over a lack of funding due to Brexit. At a remote farm, the Dalek rebuilds its armor and weapons but Lin can tell it’s starting to weaken. She fights it off just before the Doctor and the others arrive. The Doctor faces off with the Dalek alone. It’s reconstructed itself from scraps (“junkyard chic,” as the Doctor says) but its hatred for the Doctor is the same as ever. Unable to kill her while she’s blocking its laser gun, it flies off to summon the Dalek fleet.


Miffed at being left behind, Graham calls for a pickup and Aaron is invited to join too. The Dalek breaks into the national communication station, killing all in its path, and diverts power from the U.K. to contact the fleet. The entire TARDIS group confronts it there and bum rush the alien. They attach pieces of a modified microwave to it and basically cook the Dalek until its armor explodes. Any victory is short lived, as they realize the alien is now attached to Aaron and demands to be taken to the fleet.

The Doctor agrees and then opens the door of the TARDIS on a supernova star. The vacuum sucks the Dalek and Aaron toward space. Ryan makes a heroic reach for his dad, yelling all the while that he loves him, and Aaron is able to overcome the Dalek long enough to grasp his son’s hand just as the alien is sucked into the dying star.

In the end, Aaron passes on the chance to join the TARDIS Team but promises to be around more. The Doctor, Yaz, Ryan, and Graham head off to their next adventure, “everywhere.”

Final Thoughts: 

  • Wow it was great to see Thirteen face off with a classic Doctor Who villain. While overall this episode was pretty average, finally getting a Dalek storyline for Thirteen was enough to rate “Resolution” above the other average episodes in series eleven. 
  • Once again I find myself asking, "What did Yaz do in this episode?" I know she was there and did things but were any of them actual focal points of the episode? There’s still a lot of attention on Ryan and Graham, which is nice and I love them, but please give Yaz more screen time in series twelve. 
  • What exactly was the purpose of having Aaron in this episode? I was so sure he was going to sacrifice himself for Ryan. Instead, he got told off a couple times, nearly died, and made new promises. Maybe this was meant to be a payoff for all of the focus on Ryan’s relationship with him that played throughout the season but it fell short of interesting. 
  • I LOVED Thirteen’s scarf. She should wear it way more often.
  • A Dalek’s laugh is probably the worst sound I’ve ever heard. 
  • Dalek: “Who are you? Identify?” The Doctor: “Oh mate, I’m the Doctor. Ring any bells?”
  • The Doctor: “You don’t have to come” Yaz: “Of course we do. We’re always with you.”


Post a Comment