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Recap / Doctor Who S27 E6 "Dalek"

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Series 1, Episode 06:

Biggest mistake of Rose's life in 3... 2... 1...
Written by Robert Shearman
Directed by Joe Ahearne
Air date: 7 May, 2005
Production code: 1.6

Rose: You don't have to do this any more. There must be something else, not just killing. What else is there? What do you want?
Dalek: I want... freedom.

The One With… well, a Dalek, one very angry post-war Doctor who thought they were all gone, and an American idiot who caged the thing up.

This episode marked the return of the eponymous villains to Doctor Who, and began the extremely brief tenure of the untrustworthy companion Adam Mitchell.

The episode was adapted by Robert Shearman from his Big Finish Doctor Who episode "Jubilee".

Shearman adapted the story again in 2021 into a novelisation, which expands on many of the one-shot characters' backstories and explains why the episode's antagonists - Van Statten and the Dalek - are they way they are.

The Doctor and Rose arrive in 2012 Utah, in a museum of alien parts. As they discover when they are captured, they're in the Elaborate Underground Base of Henry van Statten, an American tycoon with way more money than sense. The pride of The Collector of the Strange's collection is a strange metal... droid... thing, that Mister Alien Expert just knows is sentient, but that he can't communicate with. So he locks the Doctor in there with it.

Even the usually unflappable Ninth Doctor freaks out when he sees... a Dalek. It's his first clue that the genocide that ended the Time War wasn't as complete as he'd thought. A tense standoff ensues, during which we see all the Doctor's rage and pain.

Anyway, van Statten kidnaps the Doctor for forcible induction into the Alien Museum. While he's indisposed, the Dalek tricks Rose into touching it, repairs itself using her time traveller DNA, and escapes from its holding cell to wreak some serious havoc. The Dalek is horrified to learn the Doctor was right, it is the last of its kind.

Rose and Adam try to rejoin the Doctor (who has convinced van Statten to let him go try to save everyone's lives), but are separated by a steel blast door. And Rose is on the wrong side of it. An even tenser standoff ensues, while the Doctor watches over CCTV, but Rose's DNA — transferred to the Dalek when she touched it — is messing with the Dalek's xenophobic sensibilities, and it suffers an identity crisis instead of just killing Rose. The Dalek nearly kills a panicking van Statten, but Rose stops it, and it decides it wants to leave. She goes with it to the top floor of the bunker and it shoots a hole in the ceiling, letting in the sunlight. It opens its shell to feel the warmth of the sun. The Doctor arrives at this point, wielding a BFG and telling Rose to get out of the way. She refuses and calls him out on trying to kill it when "all it wants" is the sunlight. The Dalek learns Rose touching it has combined its DNA with hers, making it "impure". It decides it wants to die rather than live as a new lifeform, and orders Rose to tell it to self-destruct. She reluctantly does so, and it kills itself.

Meanwhile, van Statten's assistant, disgusted by the death that has occurred, has his guards seize him and orders them to wipe his memory and dump him on the side of the road in "San Diego, Seattle... some place beginning with 'S'", Ironic Echoing him when he'd earlier decided another assistant had failed him.

Rose and the Doctor get ready to leave, followed by Adam, who doesn't understand why they're going into a box when the bunker is going to be filled with cement, but Rose has persuaded the Doctor to let him come. He follows them into the TARDIS.


  • Actually Pretty Funny: Both Diana Goddard and Commander Bywater crack a wry grin when the Doctor responds to Simmons' warning that the last person to touch the Dalek burst into flames with "I won't touch it, then."
  • Agony Beam: Henry van Statten's body scanner has this effect on the Doctor (with a direct visual Call-Back to the torture scene in "Vengeance on Varos"). It's not clear if the pain is a standard side effect or due to van Statten mishandling the Imported Alien Phlebotinum.
    • Also applies to the Dalek's energy weapon beam, if the agonised screams of pain from those hit by it are anything to go by.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: The Dalek, who goes through a traumatic roller coaster of discovering morality, discovering emotions beyond hate and fear, and being unable to kill anything that it hates, begs Rose to make it commit suicide as it watches the sunlight, unable to do anything. Rose complies. It gives one last, rather morose-sounding "Exterminate!" before blowing itself up out of self-loathing.
  • All There in the Manual: Despite taking place in an alternative timeline, the online game "The Last Dalek" revealed some extra details. The Dalek's memory files have profiles for the characters with ages for supporting characters Adam (20), Diana Goddard (25), Simmons (30), Polkowski (30) and Henry van Statten (40).
  • Arbitrary Scepticism: Adam works in a secret underground bunker cataloguing alien artifacts, yet doesn't believe in alien abductions.
  • Arc Words: "Bad Wolf One" is the callsign of van Statten's helicopter.
  • Armour-Piercing Question: Rose does this twice.
    • First, to the Dalek, when it's about to kill van Statten. She tells it it doesn't have to kill anymore, and asks it what it wants. After a moment, it tells her it wants freedom.
    • Later, to the Doctor, which stops him in his tracks as he is about to kill the Dalek: "What about you, Doctor? What the hell are you changing into?"
  • Armour Piercing Response: After the Doctor unloads a truckload of genocidal rage at the titular creature, it calmly responds: "YOU WOULD MAKE A GOOD DALEK.'' It's clear that this "Not So Different" Remark shakes the Doctor to his core.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: The Dalek breaks through the Cage's door lock (it's broken and low on power, so it couldn't do "Open!" Says Me) because its genius intellect and sucker manipulator means it can run through the billion possible combinations in seconds.
    The Doctor: A Dalek's a genius. It can calculate a thousand billion combinations in one second flat.
  • Bad Boss: Henry van Statten keeps control via his army of mooks and by memory-wiping his executives on a whim, keeping them in a state of sycophantic terror. Unfortunately, by insisting the Dalek be captured regardless of casualties he alienates his security force, and by breaking down in fear in front of Goddard he loses her respect. Both quickly join forces to depose him after the crisis is over.
  • Badass Boast: The Daleks survive in me!
  • Badass Decay: The Dalek's In-Universe recognition that this is happening to it prompts its own self-destruction. Other than that, it thoroughly inverts this trope, rebuilding the Daleks as a credible threat as a single Dalek tears through a fortified institution without suffering injury and only loses thanks to being a Boomerang Bigot to its own Fantastic Racism.
  • Batman Gambit: The Dalek pulls off a marvelously simple one to regain a hold on its situation.
  • Batman Grabs a Gun:
    • The Doctor, upon realizing what van Statten's hiding, tries to torture the Dalek to death.
    • Then, after the Dalek gets loose, the Doctor literally grabs a gun, from a stash of uncatalogued weapons in Adam's lab.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Daleks, for the Doctor. He's sympathetic towards the trapped alien until he sees exactly what it is, at which point he starts angrily mocking it for how helpless it is before gleefully trying to kill it.
    • And vice versa. Remember, the Dalek had been there for years, stoic and silent, until someone introduces himself to it as the Doctor. That's the point where it suddenly wants to kill, despite having no means of doing so.
      Dalek: Doc-tor? THE Doc-tor?! Ex-ter-minate! EX-TER-MINATE!! EX-TER-MINAAAAAATE!!!
  • Big Bad: Henry Van Statten originally seems to be set up as this, but the Dalek "Metaltron" soon proves a much bigger threat, sending him into an Enemy Mine with the Doctor.
  • Bill... Bill... Junk... Bill...: "Broken, broken, hairdryer, broken..."
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Dalek's rampage is stopped, van Statten is arrested, and his illegal collection of stolen alien artifacts is shut down for good. However, the Dalek left a huge body count in its wake, and it, the Doctor, and Rose are all thoroughly rattled by both the violent experience and the former two's shared trauma as Time War survivors resurfacing.
  • Bizarre Instrument: The recently-acquired alien device that Adam gives van Statten is revealed by the Doctor to be an alien instrument that's played by stroking it with your fingers in a particular way.
  • Blatant Lies: Rose asks if Adam can come along on their adventures. When the Doctor asks if this is because he's good-looking, Rose says coyly that she never noticed.
  • Blind Shoulder Toss: Van Statten does this with the alien musical instrument after playing a few notes, content that he now knows everything he needs to about it.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Van Statten says there must be some way of negotiating with the Dalek. The Doctor points out that you can't negotiate with an Omnicidal Maniac who thinks you should die simply for being different.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: It's a sign of what kind of episode this is that the Doctor says the Daleks' catchphrase of "Exterminate".
  • Break the Badass: When the (up to that point in the episode) jovial, flippant, cool-headed Ninth Doctor realizes the alien he's been locked in a room with is a Dalek, the way he immediately flings himself at the door in a panic, pounding on it and frantically begging van Statten to let him out, is by far the most effective way to make new viewers (and jaded old viewers) take the Daleks seriously again.
  • Broken Aesop: While the Doctor is certainly being unpleasant in torturing the Lone Dalek, he is treated as wrong for wanting to kill the Dalek and treating it as absolutely evil. However, when the Dalek gets free it kills over 200 people, and it is clear it intends to wipe out all humanity. It does gain human feelings, but it's clearly an exception and Rose's sympathy towards it is largely born from ignorance, while the Doctor knows firsthand how dangerous the Daleks are and is proven right.
  • The Bus Came Back: This episode is the Daleks' first major appearance since the Time war.
  • Character Shilling: The Doctor's description of the damage one Dalek could do unchecked. Notably, this episode reintroduces the Daleks from the original show as a threat, when previously they'd suffered Badass Decayinvoked. Tropes Are Not Bad.
  • Character Title: "Dalek".
  • Chewing the Scenery: The Doctor starts literally foaming at the mouth. Justified because it's a Dalek.
  • Circling Monologue: The Doctor performs one when he first speaks to the Dalek.
  • Collector of the Strange: Van Statten collects and studies alien artifacts. Collecting a live Dalek may not have been the best move...
  • Computer Equals Monitor: The Dalek smashes a computer monitor with its plunger arm, and proceeds to both recharge itself (draining power from the entire West Coast in the process) and absorb the entire Internet.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The lone Dalek wipes out the base's security, takes command of the place, drains all electrical power from the entire west coast of the United States, and establishes itself as a very credible threat to the world, reminding us why these creatures are the Doctor's greatest enemy.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Dalek's cry of "Have pity!" as the Doctor tortures it echoes Davros' exact same words in "Genesis of the Daleks". He asked more or less the same thing of Seven back in "Remembrance of the Daleks", and got about as sympathetic a response as Nine gives the Dalek.
    • The scene of the Doctor being tortured is shot to strongly resemble the controversial torture scene that opened "Vengeance on Varos".
    • The Cyberman head van Statten has in his collection is of the kind seen in "Revenge of the Cybermen", all but identical to those from "The Invasion" but distinguished by its thicker head tubes and the gun at the top of its head. Though not necessarily a Continuity Snarl, since these Cybermen could too have ended up on Earth off-screen, "The Invasion" would have been more appropriate since that dealt with a Cyberman invasion in the 20th century whilst "Revenge" took place in the far future.
    • Van Statten's museum also contains a stuffed Slitheen arm, presumably looted from the wreckage of Downing Street.
    • The Doctor compares van Statten to Davros, the latter of whom isn't mentioned by name but is described aptly as "king of his own little world".
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Henry van Statten, whose computer company is based on stolen Imported Alien Phlebotinum, including an imprisoned Dalek.
  • Cow Tools: The contents of van Statten's museum are primarily visible to accentuate how much he collected over the years. At least one of them is described as a hairdryer by the Doctor, but the rest go unexplained beyond being broken.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: Since this is the episode that definitively introduced the Daleks into the revived series, its title seems to be a conscious nod to "The Daleks", the serial that introduced them to the classic series (though it's fittingly retitled "Dalek", since there's only one of them this time).
  • Crucified Hero Shot: The Doctor, when van Statten is torturing/interrogating him.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Doctor brandishing a gun, torturing his enemies and gloating about committing genocide? Though this wasn't the first attempt to introduce a Dark Side to the Doctor's character, from now on there would be a continuing theme of the Doctor losing his moral inhibitions and the matching importance of his Companion as a Morality Chain.
  • Death Seeker: The Doctor shows signs.
    Henry van Statten: You survived.
    The Doctor: Not by choice.
  • Distress Call: The Dalek, but there's no other Daleks left alive to receive it. The Doctor mocks it for this.
  • Distressed Dude: The Doctor ends up chained and shirtless.
  • The Dog Bites Back: At the end of the episode, van Statten's surviving subordinates revolt and drag him away to wipe his memory and dump him somewhere, just how he used to punish incompetent subordinates at the beginning of the episode.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: After the Dalek gets loose, Simmons, the man who had been torturing it on van Statten's orders, casually asks it if it's going to sucker him to death. Do we really need to say what happens next?
  • Door Jam: Rose is not quite fast enough to make it through the security doors and ends up trapped with the Dalek. This gives Rose a chance to fend for herself and overcome a problem without the Doctor to help her.
  • Dramatic Irony: All of the drama and tension comes from the audience knowing exactly what Henry von Statten has locked up in his alien collection, but the Doctor having no idea, making his at-first earnest attempt to help the alien his first (and quite riveting) encounter with the Daleks in the new series. Part of it also then comes from Rose and the other humans being totally unaware of the Doctor's past history with the Daleks and being shocked by the anger and violence in his voice.
  • Driven to Suicide: This episode demonstrates just how scared the Daleks are of becoming anything other than their idea of perfection. When the Dalek realizes that it absorbed some of Rose's DNA, it comes to see itself as a "sickness" before ultimately telling Rose to give it a suicide order, not wanting to stay alive as something that isn't 100% Dalek.
  • Dying Alone: The Dalek uses this as a ploy to gain Rose's sympathy: "My race is dead. I shall die alone."
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The entire episode takes place in van Statten's secret underground alien museum in Utah.
  • Electric Torture: The Doctor is the torturer, and the evil Dalek is the victim. Effective as it's the first time in the new series you see the Doctor acting actively "cruel" to another creature, showing just how seriously he takes the situation.
  • Electrified Bathtub: The Dalek triggers the sprinkler system, and electrocutes the guards through the resulting puddles.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Oddly, one that doesn't involve the character being established actually doing anything: When the Doctor first sees the Dalek, he completely freaks out and begs to be let out. That's right: The Dalek is so dangerous that the Doctor's first instinct is to get as far away from it as possible.
  • E.T. Gave Us Wi-Fi: Apparently, broadband came from Roswell.
  • Everyone Has Standards: At the end of the episode van Statten's employees revolt and get rid of him, partly because they've lost all respect for him but mostly because his arrogance and incompetence resulted in the deaths of over 200 people.
  • Everything Is Online: The Dalek not only manages to download the entire Internet within mere seconds from a random terminal, but it also simultaneously drains the entire western United States of electricity.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Van Statten continues to treat the Dalek as the prize of his collection, ignoring the Doctor's warnings.
  • Evil Is Petty: Van Statten subjected the Dalek to frequent electrical torture because it refused to talk. Yes, seriously.
  • Fake Kill Scare: The scene in which the Dalek is chasing Rose. She gets trapped behind the closing door, then you hear "EXTERMINATE!" and a shot over the radio. Then it's revealed she didn't get killed after all.
  • False Innocence Trick: The Dalek pulls this on Rose, only to get a bit more than it bargained for when absorbing her DNA causes it to actually start feeling things like "compassion".
  • First Time in the Sun: In the climax of the episode, the Dalek blows a hole through the roof and opens its casing just so it can feel the sun on its body for the first time before it dies.
  • Foreshadowing: One of the techs mentions that the last person to touch the "Metaltron" burst into flames. When Rose touches the Dalek, because she's a time traveller it feeds from her and draws enough power to free itself.
  • Get It Over With: Rose to the Dalek. "Go on then, kill me."
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: A weird case — van Statten's "goddamn it" remains about the strongest bit of profanity used in the main series... but it was his use of the antiquated term "spooning" that people made a fuss over.
  • Hate Sink: Henry van Statten is an egotistical billionaire and collector who views his men as expendable and tortures a Dalek he captured because it refused to talk. That's right, van Statten is so unlikeable that a Dalek is considerably more sympathetic by comparison. Lampshaded brilliantly by the Doctor, whose ninth incarnation holds a more personal hatred for the Daleks than ever before.
    The Doctor: Do you know what a Dalek is, van Statten? A Dalek is honest. It does what it was born to do for the survival of its species. That creature in your dungeon is better than you!
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Well illustrated in the Doctor. His sheer loathing for the Dalek leads him to spout an extremely hateful rant, even referring to it as filth. Not unlike the Daleks towards all other life.
    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.
  • Heroic BSoD: The Doctor nearly loses it when he finds a Dalek survived the Time War.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The female guard, De Maggio, stays behind on the stairs that the Dalek is levitating up in order to buy time for Rose and Adam to escape.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Van Statten wasn't killed, but he surely paved the way for his eventual fate. His policy of using torture on his alien captive caused said alien to go on a murdering rampage when it finally got loose, and his fondness for wiping people's memories and dropping them off in a town starting with the same letter as their last name got turned around on him by his newly appointed second-in-command.
    Goddard: And by tonight, Henry van Statten will be a homeless, brainless junkie living on the streets of San Diego, Seattle, Sacramento... Someplace beginning with "S".
  • Hostage Situation: The Dalek, after refusing to kill Rose the first time, threatens to kill her so the Doctor will raise the blast door trapping it in the lower levels.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: After getting contaminated with Rose's DNA, the Dalek begins to develop human emotions. This ultimately leads to it killing itself, as it can't bear to have emotions, as it's then no longer a Dalek.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: The Dalek can, but only if it has been ordered to kill itself.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: The Doctor ended the Time War by wiping out the Daleks and his own people, bleakly explaining that he had no choice.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him!: The Doctor IS prepared to simply blow away the titular creature, but Rose pulls this trope on him.
  • Ignored Expert: The commander of the second wave of troops to fight the Dalek brushes off the Doctor's advice to aim for the eyestalk as the Dalek's only weakpoint, confident that he can defeat "one single tin robot" despite the fact that it's already killed everyone else who's tried to defeat it thus far. It doesn't end well for him and all his men.
  • Immune to Bullets: The Dalek has an anti-bullet force-field (apparently powered by sheer badassery) surrounding it.
  • Internal Homage: The destruction of Gallifrey, which the Doctor here elaborates on (and which turns out to have been his own doing), was also a massive Story Arc in the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels.
  • Internal Reveal: Two — when the Doctor realises that there is a Dalek, and then when the rest of the characters realize how dangerous Daleks are.
  • Internet Incorporated: Henry van Statten claims to own the Internet.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • "Take him away, wipe his memory, leave him by the side of the road somewhere." First said by van Statten regarding an employee he fired on a whim, then said later by Goddard regarding van Statten after his actions resulted in over 200 people being killed.
    • Dare to compare!
      Ninth Doctor:note  [joyfully astonished] It's not working... [laughs mean-spiritedly] Fantastic! Oh, fantastic! Powerless! Look at you. The great space dustbin. How does it feel!?
      Third Doctor:note  Well, well, well. Daleks without the power to kill. How does it feel?invoked
      • The real kicker is that the latter is long before the Time War, and the former is not long after, over half a dozen incarnations later. Three treats this kind of situation like a staunch, reserved, and observant gentleman who is happy to be in a position of superiority over a group of Daleks and believes there's a real chance at turning the tables on them. But after seeing the Daleks have grown into a much bigger threat and propelled the Time War, Nine is reduced to panic by the presence of just one Dalek, and then - when he realizes he has the upper hand - gets worked up into a frothing rage turning openly wrathful and vindictive, maybe even bloodthirsty.
    • Also:
      Dalek: So are you. [The Doctor's smile slips] We are the same.
      The Doctor: We're not the same! I'm not... no, wait. Maybe we are. You're right, yeah, okay. You've got a point. Because I know what to do. I know what should happen. I know what you deserve. [sadistic grin] Exterminate! [yanks down the shock lever]
  • I Will Fight Some More Forever: The guards keep shooting at the Dalek as it becomes clear that their weapons have no effect and it can kill them easily, instead of regrouping and trying different tactics.
  • Kerb-Stomp Battle: The Dalek single-handedly kills nearly the entire garrison of the bunker it was imprisoned in.
  • Kick the Dog: Van Statten has an aide memory-wiped simply for giving him the wrong answer.
  • Large Ham: The Doctor's scene alone with the Dalek, in which Christopher Eccleston was literally foaming at the mouth by the end of his scary, awesome speech:
    The Doctor: Why don't you finish the job, and make the Daleks extinct? Rid the universe of your filth! Why don't you just DIE?!
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Van Statten's standard punishment for people that he fires, before dumping them in a city with a name beginning with the same letter as their last name. At the end of the episode, Goddard has van Statten subjected to the same treatment.
  • Last of His Kind: The Dalek.
  • Laughing Mad: Briefly, but the Doctor’s attack of laughter at seeing the Dalek chained up does have a maniac quality to it.
  • Laugh with Me!: "I'll tell you how they got in, in-tru-da-window! [...] In-tru-da-window, that was funny!"
  • Mercy Kill: The Dalek begs for Rose to order it to exterminate itself, because it can't bear to be an impure Dalek.
  • Morality Chain: Rose arguably acts as one to the Dalek. She "corrupts" it, making it unable to kill her, and even convinces it not to kill the Doctor and van Statten.
  • Mythology Gag: A dark one, albeit: The Doctor refers to the Dalek as "the great space dustbin" while torturing it. Daleks have been said to resemble dustbins — among various other things — by fans and non-fans of the show alike.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: When asked her name, Goddard says "Goddard, sir, Diana Goddard."
  • Name-Tron: The Dalek is at first called a "Metaltron" by van Statten and Co.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: From 2005 to 2012.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Much to the Doctor's fury, the Dalek tells him that "WE ARE THE SAME" regarding them being the Last of Their Kind.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Doctor has this moment when he realizes that van Statten's "Metaltron" is a Dalek: he panics and begs to be let out of the cage before the Dalek can kill him.
    • And vice versa: the Dalek's reaction when it's faced with a man introducing himself as its species' greatest enemy, the Doctor, is to try and kill him, but its weapon is broken.
    • The one characters had when they saw the pants-browning horror that was the following statement.
      Adam: Great big alien death machine. Defeated by a flight of stairs.
      DiMaggio: Now listen to me. I demand that you return to your cage. If you want to negotiate, I can guarantee that Mr. van Statten will be willing to talk. I accept that we imprisoned you, and maybe that was wrong. But people have died, and that stops, right now. The killing stops. Have you got that? I demand that you surrender, is that clear?
      Dalek: E-le-vate!
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The Ninth Doctor carries the heavy weight of being the Last of His Kind in the war between the Time Lords and the Daleks by his own hand, but manages to keep a mostly calm and optimistic outlook, even being funny and silly at times. When he sees that the "Metaltron" in van Statten's vault is a surviving Dalek, he immediately becomes extremely bitter and even violent, to the point that the Dalek eventually tells him that he "would make a good Dalek", which leaves him unable to think of a response because this Villain Has a Point. In the old show, and in public consciousness even more so, Daleks were often played for laughs. This signals very effectively that on the new Doctor Who, Daleks ain't funny — as everyone else learns quickly enough.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Anna-Louise Plowman's attempts at an American accent. Subverted with Corey Johnson (van Statten), as he was born in New Orleans.
  • Our Slashers Are Different: Tying in with the show's longtime affinity for horror plotlines, this episode takes the conventional slasher outline and transplants it to an American oligarch's private underground museum, with the killer being a Dalek that survived a Great Offscreen War that wiped out the rest of its species. The killer being an Implacable Man takes the form of the Dalek's self-defense mechanisms, and the relentless slaughter is motivated by the fact that the Daleks were deliberately engineered to be Absolute Xenophobes, with the Doctor describing them as "the ultimate in racial cleansing."
  • Parent Service: Christopher Eccleston's Shirtless Scene.
  • Pet the Dog: The only half-decent thing van Statten does throughout the whole episode is offer his sympathies to the Doctor after Rose's apparent death. Unfortunately for him, this just earns him a "The Reason You Suck" Speech due to how he was partially responsible for her (almost) dying in the first place.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The original version of this episode, the Big Finish Doctor Who story "Jubilee", was well over twice as long and involved a massive Timey-Wimey Ball. It also starred Dr. Evelyn Smythe as the companion, who (as opposed to Rose) already had plenty of experience with Daleks. Robert Shearman cut out the Alternate Timeline plot and the political implications of the original story, and instead focused on Character Development for Rose and the Ninth Doctor, with fantastic results.
  • Pun: Courtesy of van Statten: "I'll tell you how they got in, in-tru-da window!"
  • Pyrrhic Victory: What the Doctor seems to be feeling after the Dalek self-destructs.
    Rose: Is that the end of it then? The Time War?
    The Doctor: I'm the only one left. I "win". How about that?
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The Doctor delivers several to van Statten, at one point bluntly calling him worse than the Dalek.
    • When van Statten wonders what the Dalek wants:
      Van Statten: There has to be something it wants.
      The Doctor: What's the nearest town?
      Van Statten: Salt Lake City.
      The Doctor: Population?
      Van Statten: One million.
      The Doctor: All dead. If the Dalek gets out, it will murder every living thing. That's all that it needs.
      Van Statten: But why would it do that?
      The Doctor: Because it honestly believes they should die. Human beings are different, and anything different is wrong. It's the ultimate in racial cleansing, and you, van Statten, YOU'VE LET IT LOOSE!
    • An especially powerful one once Rose is trapped down with the Dalek:
      The Doctor: Let me tell you something, van Statten. Mankind goes into space to explore. To be part of something greater!
      Van Statten: Exactly! I wanted to touch the stars!
      The Doctor: You just want to drag the stars down and stick them underground, beneath tons of sand and dirt, and label them! You're about as far from the stars as you can get! And you took her down with you.
  • Reconstruction: The episode might as well be called "Reconstruction of the Daleks"; the production team are clearly going all out to make the Daleks a genuine threat. Before writing the script, Rob Shearman asked his girlfriend what she thought were the silliest things about the Daleks. He then took the responses he got — that they couldn't go upstairs, that they had that silly plunger, that they couldn't see anything behind them, that bullets could damage them, etc — and had the characters actively invoke them in the story. And then had the Dalek completely subvert the expected weaknesses and even use them to kill said characters horribly:
    • The Dalek can swivel its midsection and weapons to kill people behind it.
    • The Dalek now has a forcefield that melts bullets.
    • The Dalek can actually fly up stairs. This had been demonstrated in the earlier story "Remembrance of the Daleks", but that story was both over fifteen years in the past at the time of this story's airing, and was broadcast at a time when Doctor Who wasn't as popular with or watched by as many people as were watching in 2005, so it's not entirely surprising that the production team thought a refresher was in order.
    • The Dalek can now use its plunger to crush people's skulls and leech off electrical sources to repair casing and weapon damages.
    • The half-spheres embedded in every Dalek's lower chassis seem a lot less frivolous when it's revealed that they're a sophisticated self-destruct mechanism.
    • It's also notable that several terms often used dismissively towards the Daleks ("tinpot", "pepperpot", etc.) tend to crop up — and the people who use them tend to die horribly not long after.
  • Ret-Gone: This episode heavily implies that the destruction of the Daleks (and the Time Lords) in the Time War erased them from the history of the universe. For one, the Dalek searches for traces of its kind through the internet, satellites and radio telescopes, only to find nothing. Then there's the fact that, in this episode and the next few series, any appearance by a Dalek or Time Lord must be a survivor of the Time War as far as the Doctor is concerned. Of course, this does not always stick.
  • Roswell That Ends Well: The mileometer from the Roswell ship is seen in a museum of alien artifacts. Van Statten claims that alien tech from the incident ended up creating broadband.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: The female guard on the stairs, armed with a dinky pistol against the Dalek as it flies slowly up them in pursuit. She had already seen how useless many such pistols were against it before, but still stood on the staircase firing at it alone until she is effortlessly exterminated, not slowing it in the slightest, instead of wisely retreating with Rose and Adam.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Rose says she and the Doctor are Just Friends, which is good news to Adam.
  • Shirtless Captive: The Doctor is relieved of his jacket and shirt when van Statten takes him prisoner and tortures him with a medical scanner.
  • Shirtless Scene: For Christopher Eccleston.
  • Shocking Voice Identity Reveal: The Dalek's distinctive voice and flashing headlamps are all the Doctor needs for the horror to sink in.
  • Shout-Out: The joke of an alien culture's hairdryer being mistaken for a weapon was previously done in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    The Doctor: If you want orders, follow this one. Kill yourself.
    Dalek: The Daleks must survive!
    The Doctor: [literally foaming at the mouth] 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: [Beat] You would make a good Dalek.
  • Slow Doors: Complete with an Indy Hat Roll by Adam.
  • Smug Snake:
    • Van Statten's callous disregard for the lives of his men as the Dalek massacres them, as well as his massive ego, make him completely unsympathetic and detestable.
    • Simmons, the guy tasked with "making [the Dalek] talk", also comes across as a bit of a smug, slimy weirdo who enjoys his job of essentially torturing a living thing every day a bit too much (it's a Dalek, granted, but it's not like he knows that).
    • Adam is also a bit full of himself as well. It's a hint that, as the next episode demonstrates, he might not be the best choice of companion for the Doctor.
  • Spoiler Title: How much more suspenseful would the beginning of the episode been if the title hadn't already informed the audience of the "Metaltron"'s true nature?
  • Stating the Simple Solution: The guy who'd been drilling into the Metaltron takes off his gloves and offers them to the Doctor, telling him the last guy who touched it burst into flames. The Doctors response: "I won't touch it then." Goddard gives a little smirk.
  • Stealth Insult: While telling van Statten about the Daleks, the Doctor says they were created by a man who "was king of his own little world", and then tells van Statten that "You'd like him." Van Statten, of course, has no way of knowing that the man in question, Davros, is one of the Doctor's archenemies, the Doctor hates him and that Davros is a raving lunatic!
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: The Doctor gets strapped to a wall-based body scanner and unwillingly examined via Agony Beam.
  • Stunned Silence: When the Dalek tells the Doctor that he "would make a good Dalek" after the Doctor vehemently shouts at the Dalek, "WHY DON'T YOU JUST DIE?!", the Doctor is left speechless by the realisation that the Dalek is right.
  • Suicide Dare: The Ninth Doctor delivers this line almost verbatim to the titular creature, and gets a great big Shut Up, Hannibal! for his efforts. An unusual case of the (anti-)hero delivering this line to the villain.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Much like in their last televised appearance, the Doctor tries to talk a lone Dalek into committing suicide, as everything it stood for is gone.
  • Teen Genius: Adam claims to have hacked into the US Defence System at the age of eight.
  • Temporary Scrappy: Adam Mitchell joins the Ninth Doctor and Rose Tyler at the end of the episode. He is promptly ejected from the TARDIS at the end of the next episode ("The Long Game") after using time travel for a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme. To make matters worse, he accidentally helps the villains and then tries to blame the Doctor and cover up what he's done.note 
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Simmons, upon being confronted with the released and seemingly powerless Dalek, smugly asks whether the Dalek is intending to "sucker [him] to death". The Dalek then grabs the scientist's face with the plunger and crushes his face.
    • Rose, Adam, and DiMaggio try to flee up a staircase, believing the Dalek's design will prevent it from climbing. Adam even taunts it to this effect.
  • That Liar Lies: The Dalek responds to the Doctor's claim to have wiped out the Dalek race with "YOU LIE!"
  • They Died Because of You: Attempted by Rose against the Dalek. Doesn't work, because, well, it's a Dalek.
    Rose: They're all dead because of you!
    Dalek: They are dead because of us!
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Daleks.
  • Tortured Monster: This is the one story where a Dalek comes off as sympathetic.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: As does the episode title. While a great episode, how much more shocking would have it been if the audience had no clue a Dalek would be involved? Then combine that shock with the Doctor's outright panic. Subverted for newer fans, who probably didn't know what Daleks were.
  • Tuckerization: Robert Shearman named Diana Goddard after his wife Jane Goddard, who acted in "Jubilee" as an in-joke.
  • The Tunguska Event: Henry van Statten claims to have found the cure for the common cold in "the Russian crater". An odd reference, considering the Tunguska Event did not leave a crater.
  • Unstoppable Rage:
    • The Dalek's rampage comes off as one, given what it shouted at van Statten when upon cornering him. Then again, it's a Dalek — they start at Unstoppable Rage and work their way up.
      Dalek: Van Statten. You tortured me. [tone rises dangerously] Why?!
      Van Statten: [after various panicked apologies and excuses] I swear, I just wanted you to talk!
      Dalek: [with a definitely acid tone] Then hear me talk now. EXTERMINATE. EXTERMINATE! [gun-stick raises] EXTERMINAAAAATE!!!
    • The Doctor himself gets a fair amount of this in this episode, like when he first tries to kill the Dalek and when he's yelling at it to die.
      The Doctor: Your race is dead! You all burned, all of you! Ten million ships on fire! The entire Dalek race wiped out in one second!
      Dalek: You lie!
      The Doctor: I watched it happen! I MADE IT HAPPEN!
    • This is the only time we see the Doctor revel in what he did in the Time War. (Even then, he recoils after the taunt, horrified that he went there.)
  • Unwitting Pawn: Van Statten and Rose. As neither of them have any way of knowing what a Dalek is, they are oblivious to the danger.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Paramilitary guard DiMaggio is an Action Girl who tries to stop the Dalek herself with a normal handgun. It ends as well as one would expect.
  • Villain Has a Point: The Dalek's "Not So Different" Remark leaves the Doctor unable to come up with a response, let alone a rebuttal, as he realises the intense hatred he shows to the Dalek proves it right.
  • Villain Respect:
    • Straight example when the Doctor exhorts the Dalek to kill himself and it tells him he'd make a good Dalek. It doesn't please him, but it's meant as a compliment.
    • An inverted example comes when the Doctor is raging at Van Statten.
      The Doctor: Do you know what a Dalek is, Van Statten? A Dalek is honest. It does what it was born to do for the survival of its species. That creature in your dungeon is better than you!
  • Villainous BSoD: The Dalek never lets the Touch of Rose take full effect, but the results are much the same.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: The Doctor asks van Statten if letting the Dalek live was worth losing everyone it killed.
  • We Have Reserves: Van Statten orders his soldiers to stop attacking the Dalek, as they're expendable and it's unique.
  • Wham Episode: Though Daleks were enough of a staple that they would obviously return to the series, some people considered them a bit of a joke. This episode shows how deadly and xenophobic the Doctor's foes can really get. And while the Doctor's already revealed that the Time Lords were gone, this episode reveals the Doctor was responsible for the act that killed all of the Time Lords.
  • Wham Line:
    • "You would make a good Dalek."
    • "I watched it happen. I MADE it happen!"
    • "E-le-vate!" After years of being joke antagonists, one line made quite sure these would be far more terrifying and less joke-prone than their older incarnations.
    • "Dok. Tor." While the title gave away what van Statten had in his basement, hearing the voice again qualifies both in-universe and for fans.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: Averted. The Doctor is as horrified at the deaths of van Statten's legions of nameless henchmen and scientists as he would be at the deaths of anyone else. He even calls van Statten out on sacrificing them so pointlessly.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: The Doctor gets a couple very brief ones. One in the form of a Dalek commenting on how he would make a good Dalek for suggesting its new orders were to kill itself, one in the form of Rose pointing out that the Dalek wasn't the one pointing the gun at her.
  • Why Won't You Die?: The Doctor, not happy that the Dalek slipped through the cracks when he annihilated the others, yells at it "Why don't you just die?"
  • Withholding the Cure: Van Statten claims to have discovered the cure for the common cold, but isn't letting it out of the labs. "Why sell one cure when I can sell a thousand palliatives?"
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: How the Dalek made Rose touch it. Justified in that it was tortured, but it's clear that it was exaggerating to trick Rose into touching it.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: The Doctor is mortified when he's told that "You would make a good Dalek."
  • You Shall Not Pass!: DiMaggio tries to hold off the Dalek with a handgun so Rose and Adam can escape.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Doctor Who NSS 1 E 6 Dalek


Dalek suicide

The Dalek, who goes through a traumatic roller coaster of discovering morality, discovering emotions beyond hate and fear, and being unable to kill anything that it hates, begs Rose to make it commit suicide as it watches the sunlight, unable to do anything. Rose complies. It gives one last, rather morose-sounding "Exterminate!" before blowing itself up out of self-loathing.

How well does it match the trope?

4.89 (19 votes)

Example of:

Main / AlasPoorVillain

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