Though Jodie Whittaker's 13th Doctor didn't visit us on Christmas, Doctor Who did make a triumphant materialization on New Year's Day. We really enjoyed the finale of Season 11, but the special, titled "Resolution," truly felt like the proper finale to Whittaker's first foray in the TARDIS. That said, it wasn't the start of a new era for a certain nemesis of hers.
There's one very important moment for every new Doctor, one that usually comes fairly soon after their regeneration. It lets you know what kind of Doctor they are going to be, and though Whittaker has already let us know, she finally got to have her classic moment in the special. She faced off with an old enemy, one that underwent an interesting redesign.
As fans are well aware, the Daleks are back. Well, one of them is back. Was back. A Dalek showed up and Jodie Whittaker fought it, okay? The 13th Doctor going up against a lone (and deadly) Dalek was the perfect way to ring in 2019. It turns out that the Dalek in question had been on Earth for quite some time — a long time ago, the creature within the metal shell was split into three parts and separated. It wasn't until Steppenwolf used a boom tube to regain these mother boxes that... whoops, forget that.
Thanks to some intrepid archaeologists, the Dalek manages to reform itself, and it wastes no time in fashioning itself a new casing. It uses Sheffield steel to do it, in a scene that nicely echoes 13 crafting her new sonic from the premiere. It looked scarier than Daleks have looked in quite a while, but don't expect this design to continue forward for every Dalek that we see on the show from now on. Producer Matt Strevens makes it clear in a new behind-the-scenes video that this design was intended for just this one Dalek, not an entirely new race of them.
"This Dalek, in a sense, can exist outside of all the other Daleks..." Strevens says, adding, "... we're not sort of saying, 'This is the beginning of a new race.'" According to him, it very much is a "one-off Dalek."
That's a shame, because the design (and characterization) was fantastic. Designer Arwel Wyn Jones says that they definitely wanted it to have the "traditional silhouette," but that they did want to update it slightly. This also gave them leeway to use "real materials" in its real-life construction.
Take a look at all of the Dalek-mania right here:
Just because this particular Dalek was one-and-done, we wouldn't say that some form of the deadly pepper pots will never show up to battle the Doctor again. As showrunner Chris Chibnall says, "The moment you think you've destroyed them, they keep coming back." He then quotes the Doctor herself, who at one point in the episode says, "I'll never be rid of them."
The Doctor Who team also showed us some more behind-the-scenes action in another video, which highlights the grand nature of this expanded episode. From a car chase to tanks getting blown up, this was an episode that was definitely on par with some feature films, which the cast and crew were very much aware of.
Doctor Who will return for Season 14 in early 2020. When will the Daleks return? When all of the street signs around you suddenly read "Bad Wolf," you'll know that they're close.