You’re going to have to bear with us a little on this one, as we’re absolutely keen to stick to the mantra that this review is going to be spoiler-free. That does present quite a problem, as there’s an awful lot that’s dealt with come the end credits of Victory Of The Daleks, and it leaves the Doctor’s most infamous enemies in a different position to where they started. Quite an interesting one too, for reasons we can’t and won’t go into here.
Here’s what we can tell you.
This is, as was set up at the end of The Beast Below, an episode that brings the Daleks into the midst of the London Blitz. There, they’re being employed by Winston Churchill – an old friend of the Doctor’s, it seems, and a bit of a tealeaf too – in an attempt to turn the war in the favour of the Allies. And the Daleks, as we meet them in their new camouflage colour scheme, are a helpful bunch. They’re doing admin work, they’re shooting down planes, they’re even making the bleeding tea. They’re the perfect creatures to have on your side.
Inevitably, that façade doesn’t last too long once the Doctor arrives on the scene, but it’s interesting, logical and well executed as to the reasons why they are in this particular part of time and space. Their current plan also gives Matt Smith – and let’s face it, he’s really looking comfortable in the role – the chance to channel just a bit more of Patrick Troughton. We’re liking that a lot.
What’s also interesting is that aside from the main, very well contained story of the week (the bit we’re not telling you about!), there are clearly more and more threads being put in place to explore over the coming weeks. One of them actually becomes apparent right at the start of the episode, when the Doctor realises that Amy doesn’t actually know who the Daleks are, but there are further considerations too. You can’t help but feel there’s a wealth of backstory work that’s going on before your eyes here, even if it’s not quite clear how it’s going to pan out just yet.
What is clearer is, once more, just how important Amy is to the Doctor. In fact, at times, rarely has an assistant seemed so pivotal. Furthermore, it’s also affirmed that the Daleks really are quite a dangerous and unpleasant bunch of creatures.
There’s a Jammie Dodger in the episode, too. It’s a not a Jelly Baby, but it’ll do.
Victory Of The Daleks wasn’t, ultimately, quite what we thought we were going to get, and it suffers just a little when it needs to wrap a few things up. But here’s the thing: as a standalone Dalek episode, it’s really, really enjoyable, and deserves mention in the same breath as Rob Shearman’s Dalek. Victory isn’t quite that good, but Mark Gatiss can nonetheless add to his CV one of the most interesting and enjoyable Dalek stories of recent times, and one that’s not shy of a bit of blockbuster action either.
We’ve, ultimately, played on the safe side here and been as vague as we think we need to me so as not to ruin the episode for you. But the crux, and we suspect this is what you came for, is that Victory Of The Daleks is another very good episode of Doctor Who, in a series of the show that’s currently batting at three out of three. The Beast Below is our favourite thus far, but Victory isn’t a million miles behind. And by the standards of most Dalek stories, it’s really very, very good.
Just to ice the cake, let’s not forget too what’s returning to Doctor Who next week either. It really is a great time to be a Who fan…