Monday, October 5, 2009

XXX4 - Death to the Daleks 4

The Doctor and Bellal's journey through the city of the Exxilons should have been more fun and exciting than it turned out to be. Instead of having puzzles and mazes that the viewer could play along with at home, The Doctor and Bellal are thwarted by tiled floors and spinning lights as they make their way to the core of the city. It's a shame that we don't see how the Daleks make out in some of these tests. The Doctor had to convince Bellal not to shoot him during one of the tests. How could a Dalek do the same for one of his own kind when their prime directive is to kill?

Sarah, after two very strong stories to introduce her character, is given a lot less to do throughout this whole story, and she joins the equally (and increasingly) ineffective party of humans in this episode in trying to deceive the Daleks into thinking they've loaded bags of parrinium on board their ship. In fact, the humans might be slightly less useless than the Daleks themselves, whose only success is blowing up the beacon and restoring power to their ship (and thus rendering The Doctor's efforts meaningless and his destruction of one of the 700 wonders of the universe come off as wanton destruction).

Death to the Daleks is a reasonably entertaining and diverting tale, but at its heart is a burnt out writer who doesn't know what he wants to do with his creations anymore. Looking ahead, though, it is the last Dalek story of an era when the Daleks were the sole focus, and when they were seen to be a lot stronger at formulating plans and orchestrating devious partnerships with lesser races. It's also, canonically, the last Dalek story in what has become known as the First History of the Daleks. With Terry Nation's "Dalek story" slot for the next season, things would be very different indeed...


Robert Konigsberg said...

Don't touch the red squares, he said, and Bellal's foot is touching a red square. Don't touch any other squares, he said, and Bellal jumped on a square. I know, I know. Just ignore me.

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