Timestamp #309: Eve of the Daleks

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Doctor Who: Eve of the Daleks
(1 episode, New Year Special, 2022)

Timestamp 309 Eve of the Daleks

A fun holiday murder romp!

It’s New Year’s Eve 2021 and Sarah is angry. She’s the owner of ELF Storage and her business partner Jeff has failed to show up once again. She’s also perplexed because regular customer Nick arrives and asks for a list of items that cannot be stored in his storage unit. Luckily, his Monopoly game does not fit this category.

Nick is kind of adorable if a little lovesick.

The Doctor and her team arrive in ELF’s basement, but they were aiming for the sentient beaches of San Munrohvar. They don’t get another shot because the TARDIS is rebooting to clear the Flux debris. In place of a party, they find a temporal disturbance.

That disturbance includes Daleks, which promptly exterminate poor Nick. The Doctor and her friends find his body while Sarah takes a call from her mother. The Dalek emerges behind her and opens fire. The travelers try to confront it but the Dalek exterminates them as well.

Press reset – Let’s do the time loop again!

Nick and Sarah do the routine but recognize that something is odd. The TARDIS crew do the same and try to stop Nick’s death but find nothing there because Nick has returned to the lobby to save Sarah. Sarah finds a force field surrounding the building, so she heads for Jeff’s storage unit to see if he’s hoarding any weapons.

Nick arrives in the lobby and is exterminated. Sarah finds that Jeff has stored his stuff across an entire floor rather than in one unit, but her frustration turns to fear when she is exterminated. Team TARDIS finds the forcefield and the dead bodies, and the Dalek informs them that a time malfunction has resulted in a repeat of the last few minutes. They are exterminated again.

Let’s do the time loop again! Except this time, it starts at 23:53, one minute later than the last cycle. Nick is already at his unit, Sarah sees the Dalek arrive on the CCTV, and Team TARDIS runs for Nick. Everyone collects on the first floor and seek refuge in Nick’s unit, which is full of items belonging to ex-girlfriends just in case they want it back. Unfortunately, there’s only one exit and the Dalek burns through it. The group agrees to meet on the fifth floor before they are exterminated.

Let’s do the time loop again! Starting at 23:54, Nick and Sarah decide to ignore the Doctor’s plan since they blame her for their predicament. They go the basement while Team TARDIS head for the fifth floor. After the Doctor detects a second Dalek signal, Dan splits off at the lobby as a distraction, which he does until he’s exterminated.

Nick and Sarah find the TARDIS and a second Dalek. Nick confesses that has an “embarrassing” crush on Sarah and comes in every New Year’s Eve because she’s guaranteed to be there since Jeff always lets her down. After the touching moment, Nick is exterminated, Sarah finds a door that is not shielded by the forcefield, and then Sarah is exterminated.

The Doctor and Yaz explore Jeff’s storage units and find a room full of dangerous weapons. The Dalek arrives and reveals that a squad was assigned to kill the Doctor for her role in destroying the Dalek war fleet using the Flux. They also learn that the TARDIS created the time loop. Both women are exterminated.

Let’s do the… well, you know. Starting at 23:55, Team TARDIS heads for the lobby and berates Sarah for breaking the agreement. Sarah tries to save Nick, thinking that since he dies at five minutes to midnight, he might not make it to the next loop. Nick survives by luring the Daleks into a trap where they kill each other. The Doctor finds him and they return to the lobby. The group make a plan to bounce their lifesigns around the building while they look for a way out, including asking Sarah’s mother to call ten seconds before midnight. The team is exterminated when three Daleks materialize in the lobby.

Resetting at 23:56, Sarah is immediately killed when the Daleks destroy the elevator. Nick is promptly killed when the power goes out and he is ambushed. The Doctor rushes into the darkness while Yaz and Dan discuss the former’s romantic feelings for the Doctor. The Daleks exterminate them and then hunt down the Doctor.

Resetting at 23:57, Team TARDIS finds Jeff’s stash of illegal fireworks. Yaz goes to the fifth floor while Dan tells the Doctor about Yaz’s feelings, pointing out that the Doctor pretends otherwise. Yaz retrieves Sarah and Nick and the Doctor explains that the next loop is a decoy to hide their true intentions. They are exterminated.

Resetting at 23:58, Sarah rushes to the 5th floor and calls her mother, telling her she loves her. When she emerges from the elevator, she is exterminated. Nick sets up a distraction with his stuff and is exterminated. Team TARDIS lounges in Nick’s storage unit apartment before being exterminated.

Resetting at 23:59, the team takes Nick’s hazardous materials to the basement. The Doctor sets up the trap while the humans run for the door. The Doctor joins them as Sarah’s mother calls, triggering the explosion when the Daleks shoot the phone. ELF Storage collapses in a brilliant fireworks display.

Having survived the Dalek trap, the Doctor, Yaz, and Dan find the rejuvenated TARDIS while crane operator Karl Wright films the fireworks show. Later on, Nick and Sarah embark on a trip around the world. As they start their new life together, the TARDIS arcs through the sky behind them.

All told, this was a fun story that acted like a coda to the Flux storyline. The TARDIS needs to recover and the team needs to come to terms with what they faced, and one of their enemies wants revenge.

The fact that the Dalek squad was dispatched indicates that something of the Dalek fleet survived the Sontaran strategy, and that makes sense since the Doctor’s enemies (and their Master) will be her end. It seems the destruction wrought by the Flux will be a matter of plot convenience going forward.

We get some hints of lore – Dalek assassins figured heavily into The Chase, and the use of sonic screwdrivers on concrete was a small part of The Doctor Dances – but otherwise, this one is light, quirky, adorable, and fun.

Rating: 5/5 – “Fantastic!”

UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Legend of the Sea Devils


The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

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