It turns out that there is a reason why "The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos" did not feel like a season finale ̵
The medieval opening prologue is just over A place where director Wayne Yip gives this New Year special an epic cinematic flair. In my report of "The Battle of Ranskoor Av Kolos", I noticed that this season was more of a walk than a run, but "Resolution" is filled with the action-pacing I lacked elsewhere. The "Dissolution" has a bubbly energy that allows the Daleks to feel more scary than they have for a long time. Before Recon Dalek is able to rebuild his outer shell (in a sequence that plays a twisted parallel to the sonic screwdriver's doctoral design in the premiere), Recon Dalek works for much of the episode in its octopus form, taking control of archaeologist Lin (Charlotte Ritchie ) and her body as a puppet. Kip's direction shows that with a mixture of horror and action thrills that continue as soon as the Dalek invades his newly built, hip-carrying shell and a group of soldiers and defeat a tank in open combat. With their bulky designs and monotone voices, Daleks can sometimes seem a bit stupid, but the military battle shows the doctor's warning that the Daleks are truly the most dangerous creatures in the universe.
As NuWho has proven over and over again, Daleks are often the most interesting (and the most formidable) when there is a loner who acts alone, and "Resolution" is smart to focus on a Dalek instead of a whole fleet of them. It also helps that it has been a while since we had a truly Dalek-centered episode. They made only a brief cameo in Season 10 and sat back in the ninth season "The sorcerer's apprentice" / "The witch friend" to Davros. You have to go all the way back to Season 8's "Into The Dalek" (Peter Capaldi's second Doctoral degree!) To find an episode that really focuses on a Dalek. Absence makes the heart get bigger, and leaving them out of season 11 to save her for this special is a great example of how Chris Chibnall as a showrunner makes smart, big decisions, even if he still does Has difficulty bringing the same intelligence to his episodic writing.
While the Recon Dalek delivers the thrill of this episode, the Aaron stuff is there to give emotional weight. It's a fairly familiar story about the return of an absent parent, highlighted by some of the most detailed details and excellence of Adegboyega, Bradley Walsh, and especially Tosin Cole. One of the best scenes of the episode is the tense coffee chat between Aaron and Ryan, in which Ryan presents the apology his father is supposed to give him as Aaron struggles to explain the chaos he has made in his life. It's a scene that shows how much Ryan has grown since his early days of the Passive, who aggressively brushed aside his frustration with Graham. In The Witchfinder, the doctor praised the value of communication, and Ryan performs this lesson here wonderfully. It is clear that his time in the TARDIS gave him new self-confidence and emotional maturity when it comes to speaking openly, honestly and unwise about his feelings.
The two halves of the episode finally cut Aaron gets carried away by the Dalek adventure and uses his technical skills to turn his microwave and oven combination into a Dalek melter. But when loose Dalek manages to take Aaron hostage, it's up to Ryan to save his father from sucking an airlock with the unwanted creature. Both intentions are a bit too quick and easy, especially the emotional reunion between Ryan and Aaron. However, there is a certain metaphorical response the instant Ryan also saves Aaron. In a perfect world, Aaron would be the one to step on the plate to fix their broken relationship, as Ryan asks in this café scene. But the world is not perfect and if Ryan wants to have a relationship with his dad, the reality is that he probably has to meet Aaron in the middle. Risking his life to save his father looks like a metaphor for the emotional work Ryan decides to make to have a relationship with Aaron. I did not think of Ryan as an adult this season, but in retrospect, this was actually one of the strongest breakthroughs.
It is also possible that I call the episode a bit too much recognition for what is simply a pat emotional dissolution. This is certainly far from a perfect episode. Lin and Mitch (Nikesh Patel) are highly unlucky guest stars, although Charlotte Ritchie performs fantastically well as Dalek-Lin. And when you talk about under-utilization, Yaz is hardly a presence in this episode – a seasonal issue that's embarrassingly annoying. As so often in this season (especially in the episodes written by Chris Chibnall), "Resolution" has storytelling errors and narrative deadends, the more glaring the more I think about it, even if they did not pay much attention to it I actually saw it.
Fortunately, the "dissolution" is saved by her strong execution, especially by the exciting direction of Yip. There is an energy lacking in the other episodes of Chibnall and often throughout the season. Most importantly, "Resolution" is a fantastic episode for the doctor, building on the more proactive personality she developed in the second half of the season. Whether you tell Aaron about it, face up to Recon Dalek, reach for Lin with empathy, or glide across the floor like a full-on action hero, "Resolution" sees the Doctor as the most dynamic woman she has spent all season What has also doubled as a fantastic showcase for Jodie Whittaker. The ultimate goal of "Resolution" is for a team of people to work together to defeat one of the greatest evils in the universe, as the Order of Depositaries did before them. But it's also an episode that proves that this doctor is more than capable of putting himself before a Dalek.
"Resolution" is a strong capper for an imperfect season of Doctor Who. There are still some weaknesses for this new era in the series, especially when it comes to developing Yaz as a character and creating a more complex interpersonal dynamic in the TARDIS team, which is not just "pleasant friendship". But considering this, Steven Moffat started his career as a showrunner with a nearly perfect debut season and struggled to regain the same magic. Actually, I'm a little bit optimistic that this new era in the series clearly offers more room for growth. Hopefully there is no other way than here.
- I loved the scene where Doctor, Graham, Ryan, and Yaz visited New Year's Eve celebration in time and space.
- I am really shocked that both Mitch and Lin came out alive from this episode, as it seemed they were "killing them for pathos" guest characters of Doctor Who . Talk about a miracle of the new year!
- The scene where Graham brought out all the stuff of Aaron's childhood that Grace kept was really devastating, especially because I had forgotten that Grace was Aaron's mother (I thought she was Ryan's maternal grandmother) ,
- Also, on the return of the Daleks, we also got the return of Nicholas Briggs as the voice of the Daleks! While I'm aware of the many changes the series has made this season, I'm really glad that Briggs is still here to show some continuity. And I hope the mention of Kate Lethbridge-Stewart means that Jemma Redgrave might one day return to the series.
- I watched the season in preparation for this special again and did not change any of my opinions on the individual episodes. Especially, my love for Jodie Whittaker (which was already strong) grew by three sizes.
- The ominous name drop of the "timeless child" in "The Ghost Monument" is still a hanging thread for future seasons] The gag that the family was appalled at the thought of having to talk after the collapse of the Internet It was pretty bad, but for some reason, my tolerance for idiotic jokes on holiday offers is always higher. Speaking of which, I'm perfectly fine with Doctor Who being switched from Christmas to New Year's Day for his annual special (and selfishly I'd rather write a review on New Year's Day than Christmas), but I'm curious to know if someone else feels strong about the change.
- Unfortunately, this special will be our only episode of 2019, as the next season of Doctor Who will not prematurely debut I'll see you back here and on Twitter in the meantime. Thank you for reading these reviews and the happy new year!