While this blog isn’t dedicated to Doctor Who, I can’t resist making a review for the New Year’s special, which absolutely blew my mind. Normal book reviews are already drafted and will resume next week! This first section is spoiler-free, but do mind the marker below.
I made my review for series 11 as a whole a few weeks back, and while I stand by my opinion that it was an excellent and solid run, I do think that this New Year’s special added a sense of completion that I hadn’t realized I was missing. I did appreciate how Chibnall reshaped Doctor Who in a way we haven’t exactly seen before, producing a series that was Doctor Who at its most revolutionary and its most traditional and pushing the boundaries of what Doctor Who could be in this new era. All the same, as much as I loved series 11 and the ways it challenged and changed the formula of New Who as it had been produced under the helm of Moffat and Davies, in particular the isolated nature of the episodes, I did enjoy how in Resolution everything seemed to come together. The return of a certain enemy of the Doctor was fabulously well done, and I considered it a great send off given that we are going to have to wait an entire year for series 12. 😒
Again, this is a spoiler free section, but what I will say is that the title of the episode has an incredibly deep significance, at least in the way that I see it. More than anything else, I think that the theme of this episode is resolutions, in the firm decisions made by characters to change, to grow, to mature beyond and make a stand for what they believe in, particularly as pertains to family and friendship.
AND NOW FOR THE SPOILERS!
On the topic of family and friendship, I think that the dynamic between Ryan, Graham, and Aaron was fairly well done and developed, and the Doctor’s small comment about dads was a nice touch because it contains another small hint about her loneliness, which also brings up what I am really hoping they bring up in series 12 — the “Timeless Child” that was teased about during Ghost Monument.
With regard to the Doctor’s development, I enjoyed that we got to see a bit of her darker side and more of what the past Doctors went through shining through — I feel like the majority of this series was spent trying to explore as many new paths as possible, and so while the Doctor occasionally hinted at past adventures, they never really had ramifications unto the plot until that moment where she faced the Dalek and it recognized her for who and what she was.
I was really worried about Lin and Mitch for a hot second, because I was mildly convinced that they were gonna die since they were just too cute and sweet, so I am glad that they made it out alive. That said, Lin is going to have a hell of a time on her hands convincing the authorities that she was possessed by an alien and that’s why she was running about murdering people and stealing things. Especially since now that UNIT is gone and the government no longer believes in aliens there is no one to corroborate her story that alien possession is even possible.
As for the Dalek, and possession in general, I thought that the changes made to the way the Dalek functioned were super interesting, if a bit convenient that it suddenly seemed to have magic powers, though it worked well enough with the plot that I was (for the most part) able to ignore it. My favorite part with the Dalek however was the parallel of Lin constructing the Dalek armor and the Doctor making her sonic screwdriver in the first episode, both of them constructing key elements of their signature features from scrap.
Speaking of key elements of the show — the loss of UNIT is a swipe at Brexit, true, but also has a very real consequence for the show in that now the Doctor has a lot less backup when it comes to dealing with disaster on planet Earth, and so we have to wonder how that is going to play into series 12.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed this episode, and I know we’ve barely started 2019 at this point but I already want it to be 2020 so that I can experience series 12.