Saturday, 13 July 2013

The Power Of The Daleks (Episode 4)

Originally Broadcast 26th November 1966

Written by: David Whitaker

In a nutshell: Lesterson is finally realising the truth about the Daleks as the rebels, headed by Bragen and Janley, believe they can control the Daleks.

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: I like how Lesterson is slowly realising how bad the Daleks really are as they are becoming more powerful. The irony is he’s realising this as the Daleks don’t need him so he’ll become expendable. I said it before but the Dalek voices in this serial are exceptional, they really do emote hatred and disgust for anything else, especially the reliance on the humans for their power.

Away from the Daleks, I’m surprised at how quickly Troughton gets his ‘catchphrases’ into his run. In the last episode we had “When I say run…” and in this episode we get the Doctor’s love for hats “I should like a hat like that” introduced into the mix. I like his portrayal of the Doctor, but I think he’s a bit harder and edgier than he is later in his time on the show. It works for this, his first serial, as the threat of the Daleks is so big, but he needs to mellow out before too long. There’s something about him that sounds sinister in this episode, a bit darker. I love both versions, but I’m more used to my Troughton Doctor being funny and a little bit silly at times, which we don’t get here in the same way we do later on.

Lesterson actually becomes a likable character in this episode, in the previous three he’s given the audience no reason to like or trust or side with him, yet here as his distrust for the Daleks emerges, so does his likeability. Once he starts blustering about the importance of human life I like him and don’t want him to inevitably die. Instead, my hate has gone to Janley who’s the real brains behind this operation (Daleks discounted).

I think this is the weakest episode of the bunch by far, my problem with six part episodes has started to creep in and not a lot is really going on here. There’s a big scene of the Doctor and Ben spying on the rebels that I feel isn’t needed. I suppose it shows us who the rebels are and that the Daleks can be ‘controlled’ by Janley but otherwise it feels like padding. The worst thing is it’s all resulted in the Doctor being locked up which is something that always happens when the writer wants to pad out a story.

The climax of the story has Lesterson finally realising the Daleks are reproducing and are truly evil, but results in the menaces from Skaro chanting away again. This has been a really weak episode in a very strong story, I’m just waiting for the Daleks to get moving and kill everyone now, but I’m guessing the next episode will need some stretching so we can save the extermination for the final…

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