“The Power of the Daleks,” is our first introduction to Patrick Troughton as the Second Doctor along with his companions Polly and Ben. As seen from the title it is one of the early Dalek episodes and involves the Doctor getting his bearing under his new regeneration and trying to solve the crisis on the human colony world of Vulcan where he is mistaken for the examiner and soon finds himself caught in a revolution against the Governor of the colony by his head of security Bragen.
This is the 2nd Doctor in our 12 Days of Doctors count up to 12th’s first Adventure.
“The Power of the Daleks,” is one of the missing episodes that I hope is eventually rediscovered. I was fortunate enough to find the story in two recreations on youtube. The links here for the first 5 parts:
and here for the final part 6:
I love these recreations as they are one of the only ways to see and hear what remains of the original work, and they are usually quite good at capturing the drama of the actors and the script. How does “The Power of the Daleks,” hold up? I’ll get into that in the assessment.
Here is the assessment of the episode:
Pros: The Second Doctor / The 2nd Doctor – The Second Doctor is fantastic. Patrick Troughton is good at playing the buffoon who is also the trickster and in playing things stupid as he is able to figure out about Braden’s rebellion and the Dalek threat by pretending to be The Excaminer and is believed to be for most of the arc, and he eventually convince the Scientist Lesterson about the danger of the Daleks and to help him stop them after Braden has the Daleks kill the Governor. His relationship to his companions is great too as he comes off confused about who he is and recognizes he is the Doctor but no longer the Doctor he was before. We see him figure this out when he uses his “500 Year Diary,” and we also see his creativity when he creates a Sonic Key (precursor to what the screwdriver would be used for) to free his ally Quinn to fight the Daleks. He is also really good at the recorder.
Polly and Ben – The Doctor’s companions aren’t bad this episode and they actually do have character too. We see that Polly’s empathy is able to pull the rebels over to their side against the Daleks, and we see Ben’s ingenuity help the Doctor in his fight against them too. They aren’t useless…though Polly is a pretty big Damsel in Distress for a few of the parts, which is kind of annoying, as well as her comment about Ben being a real man and him rescuing her (when surprise he’s been captured too). They are still good companions. Not my favorite by a long shot (I like 2nd’s later companions of Zoe and Jamie much more), but they do their roles very well and are the clarity of voice in the Doctor’s more sly approach.
Lesterson – The scientist who has good intentions but is easily manipulated is this guys trope. He is a great character though, especially after he sees the Dalek rally in their ship and tries to convince his assistant Janley that he was wrong and the Daleks need to be stopped. He succeeds in this and sacrifices himself in order for the Doctor to overload the Dalek’s power and destroy them. He’s a fully 3 Dimensional character.
Janley – She’s ambitious (joining Bragen for power) but makes the right choice in the end when she realizes the Dalek’s mean to kill them all so works with the people she had originally back stabbed. She also dies in the process but her redemption arc is complete.
The Governor – I wish that Bragen had more reasons to kill him than ambition…when you first meet him he seems to have full control of the colony and their are hints of a dictatorship, but we never know for sure because Braden is so blatantly bad, which reveals that though the Governor is arrogant he does in fact care about the colony.
The Action – There is a lot of great action in this episode. Especially with the sheer quantity of Daleks and their manipulation the war between the Governor’s forces and the rebels. You can never tell where peoples’ loyalties lie until the Daleks arrive on the scene.
Rising Action – The Rising action is great, we see the factions established over a good amount of time as well as the plotting of the Daleks as they slowly take control. It is brilliant and there is a terror as they pretend to be good and eventually end up destroying most of the characters in the ship.
The Writing – Is brilliant. There is lots of showing and not telling. David Whitaker did a great job with this script and Christopher Barry was fantastic on direction.
Okay – Bragen – This guy could have had reasons beyond ambition, instead he plays up the paranoia once in power and we do see his regret when a Dalek asks, “Why do humans kill humans?” It is a brilliant critique of us in that one statement and the anger in Bragen’s eyes since right after goes full Dalek and turns on the people who aren’t part of his security force.
Quinn – The Doctor’s ally and the Governor’s second in command, this guy isn’t really memorable. He is generic good there at the end to pick up the pieces of the broken colony that has lost all power and many of the people. He serves his role, just isn’t super memorable.
This was a fantastic episode that I highly recommend. I can’t wait until the first recreation finishes up Part 6, since that recreation was superior to the second that played more like a radio drama with scenes overlaid. It was still really good and this is one of my favorite episodes now that I recommend to any lover of the 2nd Doctor and Classic Who.
My final score for this episode is 9.5 / 10.