Made up 200% for that Dalek trash. This is easily the best episode they’ve done to date and probably one of the best in the entire series, going back to 1963. Why they waited till the third season to mine this vein is a mystery; maybe they needed the character to be fully established before they could hide him within himself.
That hiding — it’s a bit far-fetched, of course. But once you race past the fantasy science you’re good to go. It’s all a bit Seventh Doctor, but that’s only natural considering the source material, and though I was never very fond of that whole “make him a mystery again” idea (it culminated in some truly awful bullshit like that whole Lungbarrow thing) it’s fine here and it fits.
It’s a pleasure to see Martha doing this instead of Ace, who was never a favorite of mine. And to see the girl from Spaced, a brilliant comic actress, in such an adroit dramatic role, is icing on the cake.
The series can decline from here and circle the drain if that’s how it’s to be. This alone was worth it.
Why didn’t I buy Paul Cornell’s novel back in the day? Now the damn thing is out of print and sells for twice the cover price, at least.