Friday, September 25, 2009
At the heart of Planet of the Daleks beats a rather exciting story that has been overshadowed by the hackneyed shenanigans that have been recycled from previous Nation-penned stories. This episode, though, is refreshingly free of any blatant references/ripoffs from the past, and actually seems, by comparison to the first five installments, to be rather exciting.
There's a whole new rank of Dalek not yet seen in the series, who looks fairly impressive (the only recycled bit from this episode is the Dalek Supreme itself, taken from the two Cushing Dalek films and augmented with a $3 flashlight as its eyestalk). The idea of trying to place the Thal explosive at just the right location to trigger an ice volcano is also well realized and makes for good TV (if you can overlook the Louis Marx toy Daleks in the model sequences). What I actually like best about this episode is that The Doctor doesn't necessarily win, and any success that he does achieve is down to sheer luck. Pertwee's look of shock and defeat after the bomb fails to trigger the ice volcano is so memorable, especially coming from a Doctor who has often borne the signs of invulnerability.
At the end of this (and, unfortunately, after one more lecture from The Doctor, to Taron, about the horrors of war), Latep asks Jo to come back to Skaro with him. We know how this is going to go, because Latep is completely useless. Even The Doctor doesn't seem to concerned when Latep asks him if it would be okay if Jo came back to Skaro, because he knows what the answer will be, too. I'd love to be a party to the unseen conversation that Latep and Jo had, though. The fact that Latep asks The Doctor (as a potential son-in-law would do to a potential father-in-law when asking for his daughter's hand in marriage) is interesting. Why would Latep need to ask The Doctor? Is it because Jo said, "I'm not sure, but ask The Doctor"? Despite her becoming a much more independent (and sought after, apparently) young woman, did she still feel that she needed The Doctor's guidance? She knew how she felt about the situation (as evidenced by her blase push off to Latep shortly afterward), but perhaps she wanted The Doctor to say no? In the event that he didn't, did this cement things in Jo's mind from now on? And we all thought the Doctor/companion domestics began with the new series of Doctor Who...
One of those rare stories that ends much better than it began. I almost feel bad for slagging off the first five episodes as much as I did. Almost.
Posted by Steven at 1:52 PM