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Doctor Who: Revolution of the Daleks (2021)
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As a New Year's special... a disappointment. And as a farewell to Ryan and Graham, it's a bizarrely unfocused affair-one that's just about saved by some lovely work from Tosin Cole, Bradley Walsh, and the rest of the cast.
Jodie Whittaker is a fine Doctor, growing nicely into her persona, administering a judicious mixture of eccentricity, scientific brilliance and, crucially, tenderness towards her human companions.
Revolution of the Daleks isn't going to go on many lists of favourite Doctor Who episodes - it fails to delve into its one big idea... But it has a lot going for it - it's a fast-paced, crowd-pleasing Dalek shoot-'em-up.
Between flashes of fun, wit and feeling, Chibnall's semi-festive special is a little piecemeal and under-baked. Respectable, but hardly revolutionary.
True there definitely is a sense of deja vu about the conceit and especially the solution, but it all bubbles along nicely before building to a suitably explosive finale.
At this point, I genuinely don't know if Chibnall knows what he wants to do with the show he's been running for three years.
Overall, "Revolution of the Daleks" is a solid special. The cast offers great performances and there's enough nostalgia there for the audience to really sink their teeth into.
The special is as much a goodbye to Ryan and Graham as anything else. Yet, it attempts emotional beats that never quite feel earned -- and are revealed as hollow by the episode's other big surprise.
What stops this episode from being merely serviceable is Whittaker. To play the Doctor convincingly, you have to combine stoic wisdom with bouncing enthusiasm... Whittaker nails it, giving even the stodgiest of lines spark and verve.
It is an enjoyable way to reunite with one of the greatest TARDIS teams in the show's history until we can see them again, but it's a strange experience watching this special struggle with what it wants to be and not succeeding entirely at any of it.
Captain Jack was a highlight, though there were so slow moments and some really embarrassingly on-the-nose parodies of politicians. I guess a middling score it is then!
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