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Recap / Doctor Who S29 E5 "Evolution of the Daleks"

Go To about Freudian...

Original air date: April 28, 2007

The one where some poor man is stuck looking like a pig forever.

Also the one where a Dalek decides to mess with his own biology and creates something really off-putting. Which results in a coup. Which results in another coup... which naturally almost results in the total extinction of the Dalek race.

Written by Helen Raynor.

It's still Manhattan and there are still Daleks. They attempt to create a race of Daleks in human bodies, using the Empire State Building as a lightning rod. Dalek Sec is now part human, which the other Daleks really don't like, and he wants to build their Daleks-in-human-bodies army to be part human as well, which the other Daleks like even less.

The Doctor, however, notices that Dalek Sec is developing human emotions, and races to help him, because sometimes one person with the right idea in the right place is all it takes to change the world. At the same time, Martha and Tallulah try to find what alterations the Daleks made to the Empire State Building.

Things get too touchy-feely for the other Daleks, who capture Dalek Sec and go back to the original plan of full-Daleks in human bodies (there's also some typically Dalek extermination of innocent humans, too - no change there!) The newly piggyfied Laszlo helps the Doctor escape, and after "wasting time" hugging Martha, sets off to remove the Dalekenium from the lightning rod.

As Martha improvises a death trap for the Dalek pig slaves, the Doctor fails to remove the Dalekenium, so he throws himself in the way of the lightning. In what will be a continuing theme throughout this series, he screams in absolute agony. The radiation revives the Daleks' army, but the resulting Daleks in human bodies become Time Lord/Dalek hybrids in human bodies instead ("Just that little bit of freedom"). The Doctor is delighted at having created a new species.

Dalek Sec sacrifices himself to save the Doctor and the new hybrid species refuses to shoot him. They start attacking the Daleks instead, and two of the remaining pure Daleks die in the process. Dalek Caan kills off the rest of the hybrids (to the Doctor's dismay), refuses the Doctor's offer of help and escapes. Laszlo is kept alive by the Doctor using the Daleks' genetics lab, although he'll be half-pig forever. Talullah doesn't mind.


  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: The Daleks send their hybrid army marching through them.
  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: An unusual case with Dalek Sec, as he speaks in a breathy near-whisper, but still utilizes the Dalek inflection.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death: After killing the pig slaves the elavator, Martha expresses remorse about taking a life but Laszlo comforts her by saying the Daleks killed them long before they mutated into pigs.
  • All-Loving Hero: Believe it or not, Dalek Sec was well on his way to this trope. He says that the killings in Hooverville were wrong, the Dalek "EXTERMINATE!" obsession is wrong and is convinced to, rather than have the Dalek hybrids supplant humanity, send the new Dalek-Human hybrids to a new planet where they can live in peace.
  • Assimilation Backfire: Hybrid-Sec finds himself developing human values and emotions as a result of absorbing human DNA, which eventually causes the other Daleks to execute him in disgust.
  • Big Applesauce: Tallulah says "if aliens had to come to Earth, no wonder they came here" while looking breathlessly at the Manhattan skyline.
  • Big Bad: Initially Dalek Sec, until Dalek Caan proves to be Eviler than Thou and deposes him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Sec is summarily executed for daring to dream that Daleks can be something more than screaming metal tin cans, Caan genocides the Time Lord-Human-Dalek hybrids and gets away with it (well, sort of) after rejecting an offer from the Doctor to work with him. However, most of the Cult of Skaro are now dead, and the Doctor is able to use his genetic genius to save Laszlo's life after the whole episode is spent implying his Incurable Cough of Death will kill him, so it's not all bad.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Invoked and enforced — Daleks have been taking humans for experimentation and conversion into either pig slaves or human Daleks, up until Solomon tried to reason with them.
  • Brain Monster: Dalek Sec turns himself into a Dalek/Human hybrid, which has a large exposed brain.
  • Captain Obvious: "They killed them, rather than let them live."
  • Close-Knit Community: Hooverville is a truly equal and accepting society; even pig men can live there.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Although they don't use the term "the Dalek/Human Factor", the plot concept of the Daleks wanting to imbue humans with Dalek nature and the Doctor wanting to imbue Daleks with human nature is reminiscent of "The Evil of the Daleks".
    • The Dalek control room also uses the same alarm used in "Destiny of the Daleks".
  • Disney Death: The Doctor is struck by lightning. He's fine.
  • Driven to Suicide: The Doctor right after Solomon's death. He dares the Dalek that just killed Solomon to go ahead and kill him next... and there's absolutely nothing in the story or Tennant's performance to indicate that he's bluffing or has some kind of brilliant plan up his sleeve. It seems that watching a good man the Doctor had grown to like and respect get killed right after appealing to a better nature Daleks just don't have was the very last straw. Daleks just seem to bring out all the Doctor's darker emotions, even the ones that cloud his desire for self-preservation.
  • First Time Feeling: When the Doctor sonics a radio to produce an ear-splitting noise, Sec is briefly overwhelmed by the sensation of physical pain. Once he recovers, however, he seems downright fascinated by the experience.
  • Foreshadowing: Less pertaining to the episode specifically and more to the series as a whole, "I am Dalek Sec, and you will obey me!"
  • Get It Over With: The Doctor — and only Sec prevents the Daleks from taking him up on it.
  • Gossipy Hens: Caan and Jast discuss their doubts about Sec's new orders. Thay even checks to make sure no one can hear them.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Sec is the first of a new breed of life; a cross between the tiny Dalek and a walking human body. He wants to make those that come after him are even more human.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After becoming a Half-Human Hybrid, Dalek Sec changes his plans for Earth, and instead opts to recreate the Daleks all as half-humans instead of full Daleks in human form. He convinces the Doctor to prepare for the gamma storm that will give the new race life and the Doctor convinces him, rather than having the hybrid race supplant humans, to instead go to a planet so they can begin anew. Sadly, it doesn't work as Dalek Caan and the other two betray him at the last minute, switch the transformation to full Dalek and capture Sec.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: From Dalek Sec, of all people — when Thay fires at the Doctor, Sec (who has been crawling on all fours like a dog) gets up and is hit by the shot instead.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Dalek Sec eventually rejects the Daleks' warmongering, and tells the rest of the Cultists if they continue their Dalek ways, they'll find nothing but destruction.
  • Humans Are Special: The Doctor's counter-argument to Dalek Sec's below point, by pointing out that the human mind has so much more potential than simply destroying other forms of life. This leads to Humanity Is Infectious, and Dalek Sec eventually changes his plan to make Dalek-Human hybrids and transport them across the universe to rebuild, instead of conquering Earth, which infuriates the other Skaro cultists.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Cited as Dalek Sec's motivation for combining himself with a human — now he can feel man's hatred, ambition and propensity for war.
  • Hybridization Plot: After undergoing a Heel–Face Turn, Dalek Sec decides to recreate the Daleks as Human/Dalek hybrids so that they can be rebuilt as a race of pacifists. Unfortunately, the rest of the Cult of Skaro betray him before this is successful.
  • Hypocrite: Given what he was complicit in doing, Thay has no right to say, "Daleks do not question orders".
  • Ignored Epiphany: Ignored by the other three Daleks, anyway. Sec fully embraces his "death begets death" style epiphany.
  • Improvised Lightning Rod: The Doctor uses himself as one for a lightning and cosmic ray strike.
  • Karma Houdini: Caan manages to use an Emergency Temporal Shift to escape and gets away with committing genocide. (However, it is later revealed that his next plan didn't work out for him, making this a bit of a subversion.)
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: A bit of Fridge Brilliance here, as the Empire State Building is the tallest in the world at the time, so it's perfect for attracting radiation from space.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: Gamma lightning can splice genetics into empty shells and program them to think they are a given species.
  • Messianic Archetype:
    • Dalek Sec is reborn as a combination of human and something else, after which he begins to preach about pacifism and forgives his race's greatest enemy. This radical ideology doesn't sit well with his cult, and he is betrayed by someone in his inner circle. He is chained and humiliated and, finally, is killed in order to save someone else.
    • Once again, the Doctor imitates J.C. with the heroic sacrifice at the lightning rod and then reaching out to Dalek Caan, saying that he is the only one in the universe who can show him compassion.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Over time, Dalek Sec begins to realise the true horror of the Daleks' war for supremacy. When Solomon makes a passionate speech, Dalek Sec admires him and is horrified when he is shot on the spot by one of the Daleks. He then decides to try to redeem the Daleks by remoulding their DNA to remove their genocidal instincts and begin a peaceful life on another planet. The other Daleks on the other hand reject this attempt at redemption and enslave him.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Nice Job destroying the last of your race, Dalek Caan. There could be a thousand of you, but thanks to your betrayal, you're now the last Dalek in the universe.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: During the attack on Hooverville there is atmospheric music for such a horror.
  • Pig Man: More of the mooks here. They're a short-lived race.
  • Plummet Perspective: Downplayed. The sonic screwdriver falls far, but not as far as it looks.
  • Punk Punk: Dalekpunk in this case. Amusingly, the hybrid army is armed with Dalek tommyguns.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Dalek Sec, the first Dalek to ever go pacifist, is shot by another Dalek.
  • Redemption Rejection: Dalek Sec and the Doctor try to redeem the Daleks by beginning a new race of Daleks, which would have ended their genocidal war with the universe. However, the other three Daleks reject this idea.
  • Sedgwick Speech: Here's a hint: never try to appeal to a Dalek's compassion. It has none.
  • Sequel Hook: Dalek Caan escapes, and the Doctor has no doubt they will meet again.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Dalek DNA is shown this way.
  • The Starscream: Dalek Caan overthrows Sec and takes his place.
  • Technicolor Science: The fluid the Daleks pump into their army of hollowed-out humans is a bright blue.
  • There Is No Cure: The Doctor tells Laszlo that he can't reverse the latter's partial conversion into a Pig Slave, but he can extend his formerly-shortened lifespan later on. The episode ends with Laszlo finding a place to belong despite his appearance in Hooverville.
  • Tragic Villain: Sec wants to revive his species and lead them away from their self-destructive ways. For this he is betrayed and killed.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Dalek Caan escapes via the same "Emergency Temporal Shift!" as last time.
  • Wasteland Elder: In this episode Solomon explicitly says that the collection of houses in Central Park is his "township" and that the Doctor should respect his authority.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Tallulah continues to sound like a British actress whose idea of Noo Yawk Tawk is mainly from Lina Lamont.
  • Whoopi Epiphany Speech: Played with in the aforementioned Sedgwick Speech. Daleks Caan and They wait until Solomon is done talking and then kill him, but Dalek Sec is clearly moved.
  • The X of Y: "X of the Daleks" — The first time the classic title format for Dalek episodes shows up in the new series.

Alternative Title(s): Doctor Who NSS 3 E 5 Evolution Of The Daleks