Revolution begins with a flashback to the 2019 special, Resolution. We see the Doctor and her fam overcome the Daleks. After this the episode flashes forward to the present day. We learn through some rather drawn out scenes that Jack Robertson (Chris Noth) has rebuilt the Daleks, or at least their outer shells. He offers these “security drones” to Jo Patterson (Harriet Walter) to aid in her Prime Ministerial bid.
As this is taking place, a demoralised 13th Doctor ekes out a bare existence on a prison asteroid. Additionally, Yaz, Ryan and Graham attempt to confront Robertson after witnessing leaked footage of the Dalek security drones.
This backfires and the fam realise they need the Doctor. Notably, Captain Jack busts 13 out of the prison asteroid and they make their way back to the Doctor’s companions. Meanwhile, Leo (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) has cloned a Dalek mutant, to Robertson’s utter horror. Despite agreeing to destroy it, Leo is possessed by the Kaled. As this is taking place the Doctor and Jack reunite with the fam only to find that 13 has been missing for 10 months.
Our heroes compare notes and 13, Graham and Ryan confront Robertson. In the same way, Jack and Yaz enter the secret Osaka facility where they are attacked by Dalek mutants. Yaz and the man who can never die fend them off before the Doctor, Graham and Ryan arrive with Robertson in tow. As it happens, Leo, fully under Dalek control confronts them and teleports the Dalek mutants into the empty Dalek shells.
Again the Daleks rise and threaten the human race. Furthermore, in a very 7th Doctor like move, 13 sends a message to the “RTD-era” Daleks inside the time vortex. Significantly these Daleks view the Earth-created Daleks as impure. A civil war erupts. Significantly, Jack Robertson turns on the Doctor and her friends and sides with the Daleks.
The corrupt executive is ultimately rescued by Captain Jack, Ryan and Graham. In one of the silliest moments in the new series, hundreds of Daleks fly around the TARDIS. Ultimately they fly into the TARDIS only for 13 to reveal it was a spare, which teleports the Doctor’s oldest foes into the void. Back on the real TARDIS, Ryan reveals he no longer wants to travel with the Doctor.
In a tear-jerking moment, Graham says likewise. The 13th Doctor gifts the guys with psychic paper and the fam share a final hug. Finally, Ryan attempts to ride his bike once more. Notably, Ryan and Graham see a vision of Grace (Sharon D. Clarke) Ryan’s grandma. Revolution ends with Ryan trying to ride his bike with Graham’s encouragement.
The acting in Revolution was somewhat spotty. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett performed excellently throughout. Both as Leo and the Dalek possessed Leo. His scenes with Chris Noth were the strongest in the episode. For this reason I really felt for Leo when he died. John Barrowman gives us an immensely likable Captain Jack Harkness.
Barrowman’s understated musing on life with the Doctor during his conversation with Yaz was also great. I loved his delivery of Jack’s line “The joy is worth the pain”. Now on to Jodie Whittaker. I feel that despite her best efforts, Whittaker is not as good a Doctor as any of her predecessors. I say this without malice, as the actor herself is charming and a great ambassador for the show.
Whittaker got a nice moment with Tosin Cole, where she apologised for being 10 months late. I also enjoyed her interaction with Barrowman, as I feel these two performers play well off each other. I’d say that 13’s upbeat attitude in her initial scene in the prison made no sense and was poorly acted. Going back to Chris Noth, this actor showed a good range during this outing, going from unctuous to incredulous to conniving to faux heroic, as Robertson is credited with saving the planet by the media.
Bradley Walsh delivered some fantastic acting during his final scene in the TARDIS. I for one believe that Doctor Who is a poorer show for Walsh’s departure. Tosin Cole also stepped up his acting game in his scenes with Walsh and Whittaker which was great to see. Harriet Walter and Mandip Gill were passable in their roles, although I think they could have done a lot better.
The CGI in Revolution was well realised. I love the red extermination effect that the mutant Dalek weaponry used. The time vortex is once again impressive, as are the effects of the TARDIS materialising in Graham’s home. I got a kick out of the alien prison which put me in mind of The Cabin in the Woods as well.
Impressive also was the CGI of the energy bubble that allowed 13 and Jack to escape prison. However, I’m not really a fan of the mutant Daleks. The bronze Daleks’ return was great. I felt though that their use was somewhat heavy handed. As I said earlier the scene where the bronze Daleks flew into the TARDIS was silly and made them look foolish.
Revolution’s incidental music was excellent all the way through. The Dalek mutant reveal theme was great if a little too funky. I believe that the Doctor’s “imprisoned” theme was good, and the theme that accompanied Captain Jack’s return was brilliant. In my view there was a nice soulful theme when 13 returns to her TARDIS.
Additionally, there was a beautiful theme when the 13th Doctor and Captain Jack talked. The score used when Dalek!Leo went to the Osaka facility was also good. The “Britannia” theme that played when Jo Patterson gave her speech was funny and ironic. The music used when the fam hug for the last time was lovely.
A pretty patchy story that could have been better. Some strong performances at times though.
- Incidental Music9.5