Sunday, 14 July 2013

The Power Of The Daleks (Episode 6)


Originally Broadcast 10th December 1966

Written by: David Whitaker

In a nutshell: The Daleks turn on the human colonists with the chant “Exterminate, Annihilate, Destroy”!

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: And here we are, on the final page, as we enter the sixth episode of the first Patrick Troughton serial and it’s hopefully going to be a mass extermination for everyone bar the Doctor and companions. And Lesterson, I like him now but, narratively, he has to die.

I don’t really get Bragen. He takes over as the new governor and then decides to kill all the other rebels who worked with him. Whilst they are alive he will never be safe, he argues. But, who will follow him after they’re all killed? I feel it’s a lame plot point just as an excuse to wipe out a few more characters but never mind that because Ben’s back! Now we’ve got all our characters out of imprisonment and ready to defeat the Daleks.

When Bragen delivers a broadcast to the colony it plays really well. It gives the impression this episode would’ve also worked really well without the Daleks in it. A political story of rebellion would’ve fitted just as well. I’m glad the Daleks are here though, as they’ve been brilliantly wicked in this serial, using their intelligence in such an interesting manner. I still hate Janley but I admire her here, she’s out to save her own skin but finally realises her mistakes. I do root for her a little despite being a bitch in the past but she dies and, despite having sympathy for her, I am glad she gets a taste of her own medicine.

The end of the Daleks?
All this time I’ve wanted the Daleks to start exterminating everyone and I’ve finally got it now I realise the problem. It’s so visual. This episode is, I think, the one true ‘must see’ episode rather than one that kind of works on audio or telesnaps. I’m not going to base my opinion of the episode based on that though, because of obvious reasons, but it’s impossible to tell just how good this episode really is without having it to watch.

It’s very surprising when the Doctor decides Bragen’s guards can be used as cannon fodder for the Daleks whilst they find out how to save the day. The episode feels a little slow by this point, with the Doctor taking an age to work out how to stop the Daleks. I think this serial is a true classic and one of my favourite stories, but it’s the first two to three episodes which really make it work and so memorable. After the halfway point it starts to slow a bit and rely more on the visuals we’re sadly lacking. Overall though it really works and it’s the greatest Dalek serial of the 1960s, bar, possibly, ‘The Evil Of The Daleks’. I also think it’s a satisfying episode because all those characters you hate from the story all get killed at the end so it kind of cheers you up as you get closer to the end.

I think it’s impossible to gain an impression on Troughton’s Doctor yet because he became very underused in the last two or three episodes. From what I’ve seen (or rather heard) I love him but I need another serial or two to really make my mind up, hopefully a serial where he’ll get used more consistently.

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