So we’ve just had the only Who we’ll have all year.
Resolution is probably going to go down as a very divisive episode looking at the reaction online and I’m probably going to come down heavily on the not a fan of side. This was an episode that I had hopes for but outside a couple of moments I didn’t find that appealing.
First let’s talk about the big return of the Daleks. It makes no sense. Chibnall’s writing swings heavily between two extremes throughout to leave us with a strange situation where a full strength Dalek was able to be defeated by some rope and iron age swords before later being killed by a microwave. Meanwhile a weakened Dalek with a shell made of scrap metal is able to defeat an entire platoon of armed men and a light tank (their arrival at that location very “plot reasons” to begin with) in the space of 30 seconds and with no damage sustained. From a logical standpoint it’s a mess, and it’s hardly the only one.
One of the other major flaws of the episode, if in one of the actually funny scenes of the piece, sees the Doctor phone some random helpline only to find out that UNIT has been shuttered for “budgetary reasons” as the Earth isn’t invaded anymore. For those who may have forgotten the last Earth invasion was only around two years prior in the show. The whole idea of the Doctor no longer being that important in the eyes of an austerity drive government is a fun one but the contrivances to the lore of the show to make it happen feels very forced.
Talking of forced, Chibnall’s “one line LGBT+ status” rears its head again as a security guard to a top secret facility randomly gives his sexual history to a Dalek controlled woman. Just why? And while we’re on it the way in which the Dalek controlled Lin felt incredibly creepy and at odds with what we’d seen this series so far. It could’ve been intended as a commentary on abuse but instead it felt like a poor Venom imitation.
There were positives in the episode don’t get me wrong. One of the best was to lighten up the control room somewhat from the main series, allowing to finally see it all in minimalist glory. While some of the CGI on the Dalek itself felt dated the effects, visual or computer, and the action was brilliant and far in advance of much that has come before. Even with the contrivances I couldn’t help but really get lost in the battle sequence as the Dalek feels dangerous for the first time in a decade.
One of the main subplots in this episode, of Ryan reconnecting with his father, personally felt rather flat and was more there to introduce the Microwave McGuffin to the episode more than anything else which is a shame given how moving the Ryan-Graham stuff was.
Overall this was an episode I found to be more miss than hit, with aspects that were in the moment great falling apart on further examination and some quality control needed in other areas. Though this is an episode where your mileage will greatly vary depending on who watches it.