That old go-to favourite, the base under siege story was bound to get a run out with filming still heavily impacted by the pandemic. Eve of the Daleks is Doctor Who done on the cheap, and it’s not only the set that is small scale. The conceit of a time loop meant that the same actors could be repeatedly killed, giving us one of the series’ smallest ever casts. This places added weight on the script being top notch and the actors being on form. There’s no hiding behind impressive locations or special effects. A weak script will kill the Doctor quicker than the Daleks.
Thankfully, this is one of Chris Chibnall’s best and the cast are at the top of their game, particularly Aisling Bea, who has all the ingredients to be a great future Doctor, never mind companion. The script is not without flaws, and it does feel like the writer has strayed into territory better suited to his predecessor, Steven Moffat, but it works and is far less irritating than some of the more convoluted scripts we’ve endured of late.
There’s no mention of the Doctor’s past, but Doctor Who Flux is rarely far from view here, with the Daleks seeking revenge for their near extinction and Yaz still troubled by the years in which she was separated from the Doctor. But with just two stories left, the Doctor’s imminent regeneration is also very much on our minds as we consider the questions arising from the episode.
10. Why Did The TARDIS Need Another Reboot?
In Village of the Angels the Doctor was forced to trigger a
reboot of the TARDIS in order to expel the Weeping Angels from the ship. She
told Yaz and Dan that it would take some time for the TARDIS to complete the
process. By the end of The Vanquishers the time machine was finally working
again, but it still appeared to be damaged by the Flux.
So when the Doctor says the TARDIS needs to be rebooted, it’s odd that there is no mention of this previous attempt. It feels like a clumsy bit of repetition, as if that first reboot never happened. Let’s assume it isn’t a scripting error, in which case the fact that it needed multiple reboots is significant. It means for a start, we can’t trust that it has worked successfully this time, despite it looking all shiny and new when they leave Manchester to fly off for a new adventure. It also means the Doctor can’t trust the TARDIS either - not a great place to be given the secrets it now hides (The Vanquishers).
We can’t shake off the feeling that something is still
wrong, and that it might go beyond the events of Doctor Who Flux. With Karl
from The Woman Who Fell to Earth making a surprise cameo, maybe we should be
looking to the beginning of the 13th Doctor’s life, when she was
violently ejected from the ship and had a whole new adventure trying to find it
again (The Ghost Monument).