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Doctor Who: Death to the Daleks

"Inside each of those shells is living, bubbling lump of hate."

I don't often say this, but don't bother watching 'Death to the Daleks'. I mean it, don't bother. Just skip past this one. There's nothing here you haven't seen done a hundred times before.

'Death to the Daleks' is another case of Terry Nation being lazy and just recycling story material and character types from his previous scripts. He should really know better but clearly can't be bothered. There's barely enough plot here for one episode, let alone four. The final episode is the worst, as the Doctor enters the city and is faced with an almost endless series of intelligence tests that even a nine-year-old wouldn't find too challenging. I'd love to know how the hell the Daleks were able to solve the maze test since they don't have fingers.

With only two more after this, and the BBC refusing to increase his pay, Pertwee seems to have put himself on autopilot. Poor Elisabeth Sladen is reduced to doing basic companion duties like screaming and asking questions with obvious answers. The secondary aliens, the Exxilons, are rubbish. The sets, costumes and special effects are all dire. The human characters have the collective personality of a sink plug.

And then there's the Daleks. I know this may seem sacrilegious to many, but I don't like Daleks and think that they are seriously overrated. They are used constantly not because they are the Doctor's best adversaries but because they are the most famous. This story pretty much treats them like they are a complete joke. Which might go some way to explain why composer Carey Blyton seemed to think that this was a comedy. His score would be better suited for an episode of Steptoe and Son, not Doctor Who.


Notes and Quotes

--If the Exxilon City drains everything of power, how are the Daleks still able to move around? What’s that? Psychokinetic power, you say? I guess the best way to deal with a plot hole in a Terry Nation script is to just fill it up with bullshit.

--Episode 3 ends on one of the series' all time worst cliff-hangers: the dreaded pattern on the floor! However will the Doctor get out of this one? Oh, he's going to play Venusian Hopscotch.

--The Doctor assures Sarah that he won't go away. So what's the first thing he does once she's back in the TARDIS? He wanders off. Its one rule for him, another for everyone else.

--Exxilons make for terrible archers but excellent singers.

--Just as it was in 'The Mutants', the opening scene seems to be some unintended tribute to Monty Python.

--Either the Exxilons have a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, or the TARDIS is still able to translate everything even with no power.

Dalek: "Human prisoner has escaped. I have failed. Self Destruct!"
--Well, you certainly won't go far in the Dalek army with that attitude.

Sarah Jane: "That sounded awfully close."
The Doctor: "It's some sort of subterranean wind effect, I should think."
Sarah Jane: "Who are you kidding? I think I hear your "wind effect" gnashing its teeth."

The Doctor: "No. They move by psychokinetic power."
Sarah Jane: "I see."
The Doctor: "Do you?"
Sarah Jane: "No."

One out of four games of Venusian Hopscotch.
--
Mark Greig has been writing for Doux Reviews since 2011. More Mark Greig.

5 comments:

  1. I would like to nominate this review for best caption of the week.

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  2. I agree. Mark's captions are always good, but this one is special.

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  3. Why is Venusian hopscotch almost exactly like normal hopscotch? Maybe we need to concentrate less on developing a universal language and more on implementing a universally accepted offside rule with which to communicate.

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  4. A universally accepted offside rule? Not a bad idea, Paul. But it will have to be easier to explain than the regular one or no one is going to to be able to remember it.

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  5. The one part I loved about this story was when the daleks discovered their weapons wouldn't work, so they made truce with the humans, then surreptitiously exchanged their weapons for ballistic weaponry and went out and slaughtered the humans... at least, I think that was this story.

    Anyway, I agree that most dalek stories are rubbish, but the idea of the daleks is great (at least, how I imagine them).

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