|Originally Broadcast 26th October 1988|
Written by: Ben Aaronovitch
In a nutshell: The Doctor must once again rid the planet Earth from the threat of Davros and the Daleks.
Review: The last time I reviewed an episode of McCoy’s Who I just had to point out how much I love the opening titles and I have to do it again here! There’s just something about the arrangement of the theme with the visuals that teams together and creates excitement for me. I love it!
Back to the episode though and isn’t it odd how the Dalek battleship wobbles onto the exact same spot it landed in before? There are some surprisingly strong emotions flying between Ace and Mike as they finally get a chance to comment on his being a traitor which just strikes hard for classic Who, I’m not used to seeing it too often.
Away from this and it’s Daleks vs. Daleks on the streets of London with some exciting visuals and something I’m surprised we didn’t see more of in 1964’s ‘Dalek Invasion Of Earth’. The Emperor has also arrived on the bridge and I think it’s quite clear this is Davros. The voice gives it away if nothing else. I also believe the little girl who played the ‘fake Davros’ is such an amazing actress, everything she does it very effective and she sells it well. Even those dodgy lightning bolts works (well, maybe not ‘works’ but is average).
“Typical human. You can always count on them to mess things up.” I like McCoy when he shoots lines like this off at or about people, he does it with such panache. Also little touches like when he doffs his hat as the Dalek shuttle leaves the playground. I think his Doctor, like Matt Smith’s, relies on little touches or movements to create the scene. He’s a much more physical actor but that isn’t to say he can’t handle the dialogue. Just look at the amazing scene he gets as he performs a monologue to the Dalek mother ship. I think it’s safe to say it’s gone down as one of the most powerful and memorable scenes in the entire history of the show.
And why shouldn’t it? Every line is just pitch perfect on writing and delivery. This is the ultimate good versus evil battle of dialogue here and the Doctor wins hands down. I’m not a big fan of that Omega device though. I think whenever something game changing in the show happens, it’s the result of a crap and plain effect. This time Skaro has been destroyed whereas in the past we’ve had one of the most important regenerations (from Pertwee to Baker) looking like nothing more than a simple transition shot.
Now what IS a great effect is the death of Mike. The prop of the stairway is shockingly effective as it crashes underneath his body. I was quite surprised by the force used to show this scene, it hits home even harder that we’ve lost “one of our own” at the end of the episode. The final Dalek self destructing (seen in the picture above) is a pretty corny scene but somehow really works. The little pepper pot wobbling around shows how cheap it is and yet it works because it also shows how crazy and unstable it is.
I can’t think of a better serial to open an anniversary series with, this has been truly brilliant and one of the best serials I’ve seen of the show. Certainly one of the best I’ve reviewed for this blog, in fact, I think it’s the best I’ve reviewed for this blog. If the rest of this anniversary series holds up to this level of television we’re in for a real treat. Bit will it? Time will tell. It always does…