Doctor Who, S1 Ep6 – Dalek


While Eccleston and the Dalek shine, the other characters aren’t so lucky and are stuck in their caricature-like roles. Van Statten is the egotist who scavenges alien technology. His assistant is the tough girl. The British assistant, Adam, is the genius love interest and Rose is well…Rose. Rose and Adam have some awkward flirting time that leads to the both of them being down in the cage with the Dalek while The Doctor is off being an alien specimen for van Statten.

Sympathetic RoseRose, moved by the Dalek’s plea for death, touches it and through her DNA, the Dalek is able to regenerate itself. From there, it turns into the killing machine it has been purported to be. The Dalek goes on a rampage through the lower levels of the facility and kills hundreds of people. It cannot be stopped by stairs or bullets and The Doctor has to make the decision to close the bulkheads trapping Rose with the Dalek lest the alien get out and destroy the world.

Again, The Doctor is compared to the Dalek through dialogue.

The Doctor: The Daleks have failed! Why don’t you finish the job and make the Daleks extinct? Rid the universe of your filth? Why don’t you just die?

Dalek: You would make a good Dalek.

Rose is trapped with the Dalek inside the bulkhead. Once again, Rose is in mortal peril but the Dalek has changed and without orders it does not know what to do. Instead of killing her, it bargains with The Doctor for freedom. The Doctor lets it out to save Rose.

Rose and the Dalek walk into the corridor and the Dalek blasts a hole in the ceiling in order to feel the sun. The metal casing opens up and the Dalek is revealed to be a fragile, slimy, octopus like creature with one large eye and a pulsing head. The Dalek reaches up one goop covered appendage to feel the sun.

RevelationIn their last confrontation, The Doctor raises a gun in order to kill the Dalek. When he sees the Dalek in the sunlight, he realizes that his hatred toward his enemy has consumed him and changed him into something like the Dalek while the Dalek’s contact with Rose has mutated it into a new being. The Dalek cannot handle the revelation and the ideas and feelings it now has due to Rose’s DNA. Both the Dalek and The Doctor have changed into beings that they cannot stand to be. The Doctor lowers his weapon. The Dalek plaintively asks Rose for the order to destroy itself. The Doctor explains, now with pity, that the Dalek cannot live with itself because of its mutation and Rose gives the order for the Dalek to self destruct.

Dalek: Are you frightened, Rose Tyler?

Rose: Yes.

Dalek: So am I.

After the poignant and touching ending, the viewer is given the payoff of Henry van Statten getting what he deserves. Rose pleads with The Doctor to invite Adam along with them in the TARDIS and more awkward flirting ensues before The Doctor acquiesces.

This episode is fantastic in the way it addresses the relationship between The Doctor and the Daleks. It manages a role reversal in that even after seeing the Dalek destroy so many people, and so mechanically, the viewer is moved to sympathy for the Dalek at the end. The Doctor is moved as well and as close as he came to crossing the line into becoming like the Dalek, driven by only hate, he can pull himself back, with the help of Rose and remain The Doctor we know and love.

The Things I Loved

  • Pretty much everything


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