As luck would have it, when this story’s title appeared on-screen, Sue was momentarily distracted by our cat, Tegan (who really is a mouth on legs).
Sue: Sorry, I missed that. What’s this one called?
Me: The Antiques of Death.
I think I got away with it.
Sue: This is odd. It’s as if they’re still hanging around the fringes of the last episode and they can’t find a way out. I suppose they’re getting their money’s worth out of Gatwick Airport, but the Doctor must be knackered after his last adventure. He isn’t Jack Bauer, you know.
Sue correctly guesses that Waterfield is a time traveller (“Forget the antique sideboards, it’s his antique sideburns that give him away”), but she runs into severe trouble when he addresses his alien overlords.
Sue: I can’t say I’m impressed with the monsters in this one – they look like evil StairMasters.
Me: They aren’t the aliens! That’s a time machine!
Sue: Oh, I thought they were tiny robots. Bloody recons. So does this guy have a better time machine than the Doctor? It looks more reliable than his. Does that mean Waterfield is a Time Lord? Is he the Mad Monk? Has he regenerated? Who’s he working for?
And then a Dalek turns up.
Sue: I didn’t expect that! Oh, that is exciting. Hang on a minute, does this mean there were two sets of aliens running around on Earth at the same time? The Daleks and the Chameleons?
Me: Yes. And don’t forget WOTAN.
Me: We’re in London the same day Ben and Polly joined the TARDIS crew – 20th July, 1966 – can you remember what happened on that date?
Sue: England won the World Cup?
Me: No. What was the Doctor doing?
Sue: God knows. I haven’t been taking notes.
Me: The War Machines! Remember? We only watched it two months ago.
Sue: Oh yeah, the Post Office Tower and those stupid robots. So does that mean there were two Doctors in the same city, on the same day?
Me: Yes. You thought the Daleks were involved because William Hartnell’s Doctor said he could sense them (which, in retrospect, he probably did).
Sue: Can the Doctors meet each other? If, for example, the Chameleons hadn’t turned up, could Patrick Troughton have got a taxi to the Post Office Tower and helped himself out? Is that allowed? Or can you only do that for Children in Need? Can William Hartnell give Patrick Troughton a hand with the Daleks?
Me: It’s an interesting idea…
The Doctor and Jamie have been kidnapped and transported back in time to a Victorian house. A maid named Mollie tells the Doctor the master will see him soon.
Sue: Ooh, the Master is behind this!
Me: It’s not the Master, it’s just a master.
Sue: Oh, that’s disappointing. But the Doctor definitely looked worried when they mentioned the master. It can’t be long before he turns up if they’ve started dropping massive hints about him.
When Jamie wakes up, he’s drawn to a painting of Victoria’s mother. Victoria is said to be the spitting image of her, and the young Scot is completely bowled over by her beauty.
Sue: That portrait looks nothing like her! How can Jamie believe that Victoria is beautiful when this is his only reference point?
Me: I’ve seen sexier Jackson Pollocks.
As Maxtible and Waterfield spill the beans to an increasingly suspicious Doctor, Sue becomes fixated on the increasingly bizarre science.
Sue: Did this bloke really make a time machine out of mirrors, or are the Daleks just winding him up? This doesn’t sound very credible to me.
As the credits roll, I think it’s fair to say The Evil of the Daleks is living up to its seminal status so far.
Sue: That was a 10 out of 10 episode. I can’t complain about that at all.
Sue: This doesn’t feel right to me.
Me: It isn’t right. The people who made this recon have hired actors to stand around with their backs to the camera.
Sue: They really went to that much effort?
Sue: But it looks weird.
And then Kemel turns up.
Sue: Does the Doctor steal this guy’s Fez? You know what he’s like.
The Doctor provokes Jamie into having a blazing row with him. It’s an electrifying scene, and Sue’s extended silence means she must be gripped by the drama too.
Me: This is powerful stuff, don’t you think? Sue?… Sue?… SUE!
It’s no good. She’s out for the count.
Me: You fell asleep.
Sue: No, I didn’t. I’m just resting my eyes.
Me: So you saw Jamie’s argument with the Doctor?
Sue: Erm, yes. Um, it was, er, very good.
Me: What about the bit when Jamie punched the Doctor in the face and broke his teeth?
Sue: Okay, okay, I fell asleep. IT’S BORING!
I refuse to rewind, opting to sulk instead. Sue doesn’t say a word until the credits are over.
Sue: Did Jamie really punch the Doctor in the face?
I’ve made Sue sit up in her chair, and I’ve plied her with coffee, but it doesn’t seem to help.
Sue: This is very difficult to watch. It’s too quiet. I can’t get into this.
The Doctor helps the Daleks extract the human factor from Jamie.
Sue: How do you extract the human factor from somebody? Is it a gas? A liquid? How does it work, exactly?
Me: You just have to go with it.
Sue: I can’t. I need to know how it works or I won’t be able to concentrate.
Me: Jamie’s thought processes and emotions are stored on a computer – I think.
Sue: So is ‘shitting yourself’ one of the emotions they’re trying to extract?
Jamie can’t stop going on about how beautiful Victoria is, even though he hasn’t met her yet.
Sue: Yes, she’s beautiful, Jamie, but her voice sounds like fingernails scraping down a blackboard. You’re going to be very disappointed when you rescue her, love.
As CGI versions of Jamie and Kemel climb a CGI rope towards a CGI balcony, Sue sinks deeper into her chair.
Sue: I’m really struggling with this story, Neil. Be honest with me, are you actually enjoying this rubbish? Does everyone struggle with it, or is it just me?
We both agree that Maxtible is a bit of a git.
Me: I bet this isn’t the first time Maxtible has hypnotised Mollie.
Sue: Is Mollie the new companion? She seems nice.
And then Sue’s patience with this particular recon finally runs out.
Sue: I’m starting to think this story was badly directed. It’s as if the director is shooting everything from the waist down.
Me: They’re using stand-ins again. It wouldn’t have looked like this originally.
Sue: So why do it then? It’s distracting. I need the narration, too. I think I’ve turned into a recon purist, God help me.
When Jamie challenges the Doctor’s authority again, Sue manages to stay awake this time.
Sue: Jamie is the first companion who’s given the Doctor a hard time since Barbara, I think. I like it.
When a Dalek with the human factor suddenly takes the Doctor from behind, Sue just can’t help herself:
Sue: Is that Dalek being influenced by Jamie’s sexy thoughts? That has to be the weirdest cliffhanger yet.
Sue: So are these Daleks children, then? We’ve never seen Dalek children before. How does that work?
Me: They’ve been injected with the human factor. It makes them childlike.
Me: Now you’re beginning to sound like them.
Sue: Is it because they’ve just been born? Because we saw Daleks being born on that production line story not so long ago, and they didn’t seem very childlike to me.
Sue: Why weren’t those Daleks childish? Childish in a Dalek way, I mean.
Me: You’ve lost me now.
Sue: Never mind. But if this is what they’ve managed to extract from Jamie, he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself.
Me: Don’t you think this scene is disturbing? The Daleks with the sing-song voices freak the hell out of me.
Sue is more disturbed by Maxtible, who’s becoming crazier by the second.
Sue: Why is he still obsessed with alchemy? He’s invented time travel. He could make more money as a time-travelling Lovejoy, surely? How much money does he need, anyway? It’s not as if he’s spending any of it on hair care products.
Sue isn’t impressed by the Emperor Dalek, either.
Sue: It doesn’t look right to me. It looks silly.
Me: What? It looks fantastic!
Sue: He’s got massive tits!
Damn, she’s right you know. I’d never noticed that before.
Sue: Are you sure it isn’t an Empress? If the Doctor decides to give that Dalek a name, it should be Jordan.
Sue: Why is this story seven episodes long, Neil? Seven feels like such an arbitrary number. They could have told this story in four parts, easily.
As it hurtles towards its conclusion, the Doctor starts banging on about his home planet like he’s David Tennant in, well, every episode of Doctor Who David Tennant was in.
Sue: The Doctor is very keen to get back to Gallifrey, isn’t he? Does Gallifrey exist at this point or has it been destroyed in the Time War?
Me: Let’s not get into that now.
As the Doctor walks through the archway, which makes Daleks even more Daleky, Nicol walks in on us.
Nicol: So this is what a recon looks like. How can you watch this rubbish? I had no idea you were torturing my mam like this.
Sue: (Pointing at the screen) Don’t step through that door, you idiot!
Me: Don’t worry, Nicol, she’s fine.
Nicol leaves us to it, shaking her head on her way out.
Sue: That was a scary moment for the kids. The Doctor must be putting it on, though. He’s much too smart for the Daleks.
As the guest cast start dropping like flies, Sue finally gives in to the conclusion that she’s been subconsciously battling against ever since we started this story.
Sue: So, is Victoria the new companion or not? I’m running out of options, and I’m sure I know the rules.
Me: Finally, she gets it.
Sue: (Sighing) She’s no Shirley Valentine.
The Doctor infects a squad of Daleks with the human factor, and before you can say “Genocide!”, he’s started a civil war on Skaro.
Sue: This probably looked great. It feels like a proper series finale with all these explosions going off. It feels epic. Is this what it would have looked like when it went out? The moving images we’re watching now?
Me: No. Not exactly.
Sue: Oh, this is really starting to piss me off now. What’s real and what isn’t? How am I supposed to judge this?
Another thing Sue has a problem with is not seeing Maxtible die.
Sue: They can’t do that! He has to get his comeuppance.
Me: He’s wandering around – insane and brainwashed – on an alien planet that’s tearing itself apart. I don’t think he got away with it.
Sue: He could come back.
Me: Don’t hold your breath. Although if anyone from Big Finish is reading this, please call me.
As Skaro is plunged into chaos, the Doctor proclaims it to be the Daleks’ “final end”.
Sue: Yeah, yeah, yeah. They’ll be back next year. Just you wait and see.
Sue: That was a game of two halves. I was going to give it Three out of 10, but the last two episodes were quite good, and now I’m torn. I think the choice of recon ruined it for me. I’m going to blame you for that.
Me: Don’t worry, I’ve got a special treat lined up for our wedding anniversary this weekend.
Sue: A romantic meal?
Me: Better than that, love. Our first Patrick Troughton story that actually exists!
Sue: You really know how to treat a woman.