Doctor Who delivered in an entertaining New Year’s Day special with “Eve of the Daleks.” I went into this not knowing what to expect, but anticipating it to deliver as holiday specials have in the past. And I am happy to report that it gave me everything I was hoping for.
Jodie Whittaker (The Doctor), Mandip Gill (Yaz), and John Bishop (Dan) put on one heck of a show as their characters contend with being stuck in a time loop on New Year’s Eve. They are joined by Aisling Bea (Sarah) and Adjani Salmon (Nick).
I thoroughly enjoyed how hilarious the special was, this despite the very serious issue the characters were dealing with. If we’re kicking off a new year, shouldn’t it be with laughs and smiles?
There was quite a lot that went down during the Doctor Who New Year’s 2022 special, so without further ado, check out our review below. And remember…SPOILERS ahead!
Doctor Who meets Groundhog Day
We first meet Sarah, an owner of a storage facility, who is stuck working at her family’s storage facility on New Year’s Eve while everyone she knows is partying their way into a new year. Enter Nick, the guy who will turn it all around for her. It’s clear at the facility to spend time with her, but she couldn’t be more oblivious to his intentions. Soon enough, their New Year’s Eve takes a very strange turn.
After the events of the Flux, the Doctor decides to reset the TARDIS, which leads directly into the madness of this episode.
Before we know it, a Dalek shows up to the storage facility — new and improved I must add, with the ability to rapid-fire laser blasts. Everyone converges on this facility, which is where the ridiculousness of the time loop begins.
Wait…weren’t we just here?
During round one of the loop, the Doctor learns that her sonic screwdriver is not doing the trick like it usually does. Before she can make much sense of what’s going on, she, her companions, Nick and Sarah are all exterminated by the Daleks.
For round two, everyone is pretty much aware that they’re stuck in a Groundhog Day situation. It quickly becomes apparent that there is no way to exit because it’s blocked by an electrical shield. The Dalek has all the control. But with the Doctor involved, you know that won’t last long.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Dalek just wing it with every time loop. Sometimes it’d be absolutely relentless and just exterminate everyone on the spot, sometimes it’d find joy in taunting its prey, and other times it says a few words intended to royally tick off the person it was trying to kill.
The third and fourth loops
During the next loop, the group learns that Nick uses his storage facility to hold onto things given to him by his ex-girlfriends. It’s weird, but Sarah takes this opportunity to go nuclear on him. Granted, she’s frustrated by the whole time loop situation but she does not show him mercy. She finds him to be strange and annoying and doesn’t understand why he keeps all these random things around her family’s facility. He doesn’t have much to say but ultimately sacrifices himself during this loop because, well, he does love her.
In the fourth loop, the Doctor figures out that with each loop, the time is shortening. Each time they come back it’s a minute closer to midnight. Oh, and there’s another Dalek roaming about the facility. I liked how the episode kept raising the stakes like this. There was never a moment where it felt like the Doctor had succeeded because every time she got close, the Dalek(s) proved that they had the upper hand.
To keep the Dalek distracted, Dan hilariously tries to run around it in circles. It’s not tremendously successful but it is fun to watch. Soon enough, the Doctor finds out from the original Dalek why this is all happening. When the Doctor tried to reset the TARDIS, the Daleks took the opportunity to get back at her for destroying their fleet.
The fifth and sixth loops
In the next loop, Sarah makes observes that in that every loop, Nick is always killed by 11:55 p.m. As the minutes tick by and midnight approaches, the Doctor figures out that the weakness the Daleks have is relying on the previous time loop for information. Whatever they did in a previous time loop is what the Daleks will use to predict their actions. So the Doctor comes up with a fake plan to trick the Daleks.
This involves Nick making a fort out of all of his exes’ things to make the Daleks think that they’re going to make bunkers to protect themselves. By the time the final loop comes around, the Daleks all arrive at what they think is a barricade but is really a bunch of fireworks.
Once the Daleks attack that barricade, they realize they’ve been tricked. And just like that, the group survives and makes it into 2022. Oh, and Sarah and Nick end up together and go off to travel the world. We’re all here for a love story, aren’t we?
Yaz’s feelings for the Doctor confirmed
In the hoopla of the time loop story, there is one very important moment that takes place between Yaz and Dan. It’s such an important moment, in fact, that it has been the center of many fan theories for quite some time. During a conversation with Yaz, Dan asks her about her feelings towards the Doctor. And not just, “Oh yah, she’s cool,” but really asking her how she feels.
It’s been obvious for a while that Yaz might have some romantic feelings for the Doctor, and now we finally have confirmation! She does indeed like like her, folks! My heart is so happy.
Dan brings this up to the Doctor as well, but it’s tough to say how she feels about it. Whittaker has done such a marvelous job of playing the Doctor and keeping up the tradition of being emotionally distant. Plus, I’m pretty sure the Doctor’s memories of Rose (Billie Piper) are still in there somewhere and I don’t think she could ever take on that kind of heartbreak again.
There are still two more Doctor Who specials left before Whittaker’s exit, so maybe we’ll get to see more of this love story unravel. But for now, I think we are all celebrating the fact that it was even brought up. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO US!
I loved this New Year’s Day special because it was simple yet exciting. They didn’t need to go above and beyond for the story, but it gave viewers everything we could have wanted from it: humor, drama, love, and hope for the new year.
If there is anything to complain about it’s that we only have two specials left of Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor before the regeneration happens. I’ve loved her as the Doctor and feel she has brought an exciting new perspective to the character.
But I won’t get into that now, we’ve still got some time, and based on the promo for what’s next on Doctor Who, I don’t think we’ll be disappointed in her grand finale. The Sea Devils are back, fellow Whovians!