|Originally Broadcast 19th November 1966|
Written by: David Whitaker
In a nutshell: As Lesterson tests the Dalek, Janley and Bragen plot to use the alien weaponry to take over the colony.
NB. As this episode is missing from the BBC archives, this review is based upon the surviving audio book narrated by Anneke Wills and the photo-novels from DWM’s recent Missing Episodes special.
Review: So we’ve set up the plot and now it seems we’re away. There’s a absolutely fantastic scene between the Doctor and the Dalek as the Time Lord orders it to immobilise itself. The painful tone of the Dalek voice as it obeys is just amazing. But afterward the Doctor leaves and we realise everyone is going to be taken under the power of the Dalek plot and believe them as being slaves and a force to help the humans. I have to sigh a bit when it happens this way although I suppose the story and characters are a lot more interesting here than any other time everyone believes the Daleks.
The politics also comes up in full force in this episode, with an investigation brought in to solve the mystery behind the smashed communications. I can’t help feel this is the weakest element of the script as it doesn’t feature the new Doctor or the Daleks yet it’s still an interesting plotline. I like the way most of the characters think in this episode, how everyone wants to use everyone else, because I think it’ll be so fascinating to watch when it all comes tumbling down. The only problem is I don’t want to wait another three episodes for that to happen.
I feel sorry for the Dalek as it comes under heavy scientific questioning from Lesterson. Can anyone withstand such hideous tests? I know I couldn’t and I’ve not had all my emotions drained from me to leave only hatred. I’m sure the Daleks will have a very fun time exterminating him later on in the story. I do admire the drastic action the Doctor goes to in order to save Lesterson and it’s obviously a scene so striking it had to be reused in 2005 for ‘Dalek’.
I said at the opening of this episode how the set up has been done so we can now get on with the events of the story but that isn’t the case. We’re now almost halfway through the entire serial and character plots are still developing as we learn Janley and Bragen are the rebels ready to take over the base. I’m not really used to this with the six-parters. There are usually two episodes to set us up before two or three episodes of the action standing still a bit before a resolution in the final one or two parts. Whitaker hasn’t done that here (so far!) with the plot developing at a strong pace, things are still on the move here and evolving nicely.
Back in Lesterson’s laboratory, the Dalek has to stop itself admitting it’s better than humans to merely different from a human. What I love about the Dalek in this episode is how it hates what it’s doing. You can really tell in its voice how it detests saying it’s not the same as a human or having to obey the Doctor when he talks to them. It just makes the aliens so much more menacing because we know how deadly they can be and are going to be in a couple of episodes time.
Bragen reveals his hand to the Doctor and Ben by announcing he’s found the body of the real Examiner. The Doctor has to bluff his way out of it but I can certainly sense danger closing in around the Doctor from every angle. The Daleks are multiplying and becoming deadlier by the second whilst he also has to contend with a kidnapped Polly and Bragen who knows his secret. I really love how this story is being told and, at the halfway point, it’s still so exciting. The cliffhanger is sadly chanting Daleks again but then there is something so exciting about chanting evil Daleks that has an impact on every audience member.