The 4th Doctor – Season 17, Episode 1 – “Destiny of the Daleks” – The Limits of Logic

     “Destiny of the Daleks” is the second appearance of the Dalek’s during the 4th Doctor’s run. The first was one of my favorite episodes, “Genesis of the Daleks” that explores their origin and introduces Davros for the first time. “Destiny of the Daleks” is okay. I’ll explore why deeper into the review, but to summarize this is a story that has villains that have poor design, are never really explored and we never get to know the heroes and those assisting them. There were multiple chances to explore characters and civilizations and this episode only stuck to telling the story without going any deeper.

The episode was directed by Ken Grieve and written by Terry Nation (who as written a ton of “Doctor Who” episodes).

The story involves the Doctor and Romana materializing on a mysterious planet. From things unfold as they find themselves separated from the TARDIS. The Doctor realizes they are on Skaro as the Dalek’s are searching for Davros to help them in their stalemate with the Movellans.

SPOILERS ahead

The Pros:

The Daleks – The Daleks are great. They are certainly limited by technology of when it was filmed (they can’t fly making an easy escape for our heroes at one point when they go up a ledge), but they are enjoyable in how ham the exist as a species. The design of the Daleks is distinct and their irrational hatred for anything not a Dalek (apparently with the exception of Davros) makes them hilarious in their own ways. This episode is a great example of how stupid the Dalek philosophy is. They care so much about winning and extermination they can’t even catch when a rebellion is occurring and when they are being outsmarted. On top of this they can’t go up stairs or ledges (which the Doctor uses to escape at one point) and they can only see out of their eye socket, which sticks out from the shell. The Doctor easily defeats one by putting his hat on the eye stalk leading to the Dalek panicking and being easily defeated. Surprisingly enough they do manage to be threatening early on and they are such a fun species that they were definitely a pro in this story.

Romana – This episodes doesn’t explore Romana as a character but she is always active during the episode. Most of the time she is helping the Doctor or helping to revert a genocide of some kind (The Movellans or Daleks) and it was obvious why she traveled with the Doctor. She is a character who sees the value of life and relationships and protects those around her. Her siblingesque relationship with the Doctor is great too. He is clearly the older brother as he’s been around longer but she listens and as a team they figure everything out. They are both Time Lords and there is a lot of history to get to this relationship but it is great to see in this episode.

Davros – Davros is the genocidal creator of the Daleks who the Daleks both hate and need, depending on where they are in time and space. Here their whole goal is to bring him back so they can find the Movellans. Davos is an arrogant sociopath who works because he is the mad scientist trope. Here we see that on full display as he knows his creations will rescue him no matter what the Doctor and Romana do. He is eventually defeated when they don’t see how the conflict with the Movellans could lead to a human rebellion and because of it Skaro is returned back to the status quo of inactive. Why I enjoy his character and what makes him work in this is both the Doctor and Davros are arrogant mad geniuses, but Davros is the one who has no empathy and the Doctor calls him out quite a few times in their time together. Knowing that it was this Doctor who first met Davros enriches it even more as here is where they now continue their relationship as enemies post “Genesis of the Daleks” in regards to the television stories.

The Doctor – Tom Baker as the 4th Doctor is once again shown to be one of my favorites again in this one. In this he is largely outsmarting and neutralizing foes, but he still gets a lot of good banter in with Davros, and given their history together I love how the Doctor finds humor in how unchanged the monster Davros is. It is part of what makes this episode fun. The Doctor and Davros are both intelligent, but the Doctor can think chaotically where Davros can’t and that is how the Doctor defeats both the Daleks and the Movellans as they are both logic based species trapped and consumed by it. He does the unpredictable and because of it, humanity, Romana and the Doctor win.

Okay:

The Story – The story is pretty basic. You have two logic based species trapped in a stalemate trying to use those who are more intelligent to end the stalemate. The Movellans want to use the Doctor and destroy the planet and the Daleks want to use Davros to end the stalemate. This isn’t used in any intriguing ways. We don’t really get to know any character more and the factions aren’t even explored that deeply. It isn’t awful but there is so much potential in an enemy who can fight the Daleks to a stalemate.

The Cons:

The Movellans – As said above, this episode doesn’t explore the Movellans at all. We learn they are androids but that is it. Who created them? When did they start fighting the Daleks? What are their aims beyond the Daleks? None of these questions are answered and on top of it the costumes suck. They are wearing white costumes with white bead wigs. This is an episode that basic effort was put into and it shows. There was no this was going to make great as even great actors like Tom Baker can only work with what they are given. The Movellans are such an underwritten and poorly designed species that nothing about them works. The Daleks deserved better foes. They have history behind them as to why the Doctor fears them. By the end of the episode we have no reason to truly fear the Movellans.

I would only recommend this episode to the die hard 4th Doctor Tom Baker fans. This is an average fun episode of “Classic Who” but nothing elevates it to more than that. The Movellans are just awful villains and even the Doctor and Romana aren’t given a chance to be expanded more as characters. Nothing that happens in this episode changes them and the characters that surround them, outside of the Daleks, remain unexplored. This was the return of the Davros and the Daleks and in opposition to the the Doctor they really deserved a better story and a better foe to put them in a stalemate.

Final Score:  7 / 10. In the end on okay episode that could have been so much more.

 

 

The 12th Doctor – Series 9, Episode 1 – “The Magician’s Apprentice” – The Return of an Old Foe and a Choice

The Magician's Apprentice Doctor Who

    “The Magician’s Apprentice” kicks off a promising start to Series 9. There are some awkward moments for sure and it doesn’t appear that they know what to do with Clara this season as Missy is so front and center, but it is a lot of fun and overall a great ride. I’ll get into the details further into the review. I plan on reviewing all the episodes of Series 9, just as I did for Series 8.

      The episode was directed by Hettie MacDonald and written by Steven Moffat.

     The story involves the Doctor going into hiding as Davros has returned and he fears that their confrontation will end in his death. It takes Missy and Clara working together to find him and from there they are captured by Davros as the story unfolds from there.

The Pros: The Child in the War – The episode opens with a child in the middle of a battlefield watching and running as soldiers die around him. The Doctor throws him his screwdriver and when he asks for his name we learn it is Davros, leading the Doctor to leave him to die. It’s powerful as we know what Davros’s future holds just like the Doctor though at the same time this is when the Doctor is innocent, leading to the question of the Doctor maybe having created Davros through his fear and heartlessness.

Return to Old Sites – We return to Old Sites as Colony Sarf (a minion of Davros) looks for the Doctor. We got to the Shadow Proclamation and see them with Dragoons and they call Sarf away and we end at Karn where the Doctor is hiding with the Sisterhood. All of it is amazing, especially these 2 locations where powerful women rule.

Colony Sarff – This minion of Davros is awesome. He is a Colony of living Snakes and is a deadly foe and is super creepy and awesome. He finds and captures the Doctor’s friends and is the one who made all of Davros’s plans possible this episode. I liked the enemy a lot.

Skaro – Skaro is back and it looks awesome! Lots of Dalek buildings, the fact that they cloaked their planet after rebuilding it and it still looks like a wasteland like Gallifrey. It’s great being back here again.

Missy – Michelle Gomez really owns this role and it is wonderful as she stops all planes to hold the world hostage in order to get help from Clara to find where in time the Doctor is. It is a pretty cool scene and we see her kill multiple UNIT folks establishing she is the same old Missy and her defense of her friendship and rivalry with the Doctor shuts Clara down as we get glimpses of her and the Doctor’s childhood together in the references she makes. Later on she is shot by Daleks, but death has never stopped the Master before.

Davros – Davros is back as the anti-thesis to the Doctor and in his dying breaths wants to kill compassion in the Doctor and make the Doctor him. We see the 4th Doctor in “Genesis of the Daleks” appear and all the conversations Davros recorded of he and the Doctor together. He does this through letting his children the Daleks kill Missy and Clara though it is more complicated as he remembers the Doctor seeing him as a child…so there might be more going on. Did he send back the Doctor to kill him? Is Davros full of regret for what he’s done? I got that vibe from their conversation together.

The Doctor – The Doctor parties it up in Medieval England for a while and brings a tank and electric guitar…ti’s fun and frivolous and I didn’t like how it clashed with everything…it did show how the Doctor has been running from Davros and his regret at both probably not saving the child Davros and not killing him…as the episode ends with him ready to kill Davros the child with one of his own weapons from the future. The Doctor’s friends matter more than his core is what we see now, though with the Doctor there is always more going on.

Okay: Clara – She’s just kind of there. She helps UNIT figure out Missy’s plot and she talks Missy down but after that Missy owns the scenes and Clara is the side character (or puppy as Missy describes her) which is a shame. I don’t think the writers know what to do with Clara once again…except being the goodside of the Doctor while Missy is his darker side.

Okay/Con: The Doctor’s Party – The party is over the top and frivolous and I didn’t like it. It was okay I guess but it added nothing to the episode and took up time we could have had with Davros or Missy.

   This was as great episode, the only downsides were the party and Clara not doing all that much, but the dialogue between 12 and Davros is fantastic and Davros is finally humanized beyond a Saturday Morning Cartoon Villain. In this 2 parter we will no doubt learn how he became the way he is, and if that can be changed…as well as the Daleks being an inevitability of being created by him or if they will always find a way to exist in this Universe. Can’t wait to see what the next episode brings.

Final Score: 9.2 / 10

12 Days of Doctors – The 2nd Doctor – Season 4, Episode 3 – “The Power of the Daleks” – The Daleks’ Manipulation

power-of-the-daleks
“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:

Power_of_the_Daleks

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.

Second Doctor Power of the Daleks