Not sure why this story is so picked on so much but it's actually enjoyable. Yes, it has some of the most undramatic sequences, mostly in ep1, ever but nothing here is terrible. K9 has laryngitius? Okay. Romana regenerates just because she seems to want to and tries on bodies like she were trying on clothes...and the clothes go with her choices. Tom tries to be funny and almost succeeds here a few times but actually comical banter as Romana is in another room and the Doctor and she talk is funny. The whole thing is cute.
I do see how the rest of it is rather...routine in a way with the Doctor not really feeling scared or threatened in any way. Romana has to go get K9 and find the TARDIS buried in rocks and rubble...again, sigh. Yet she doesn't seem very tense about any of it. There are some good in jokes, Douglas Adams wise. Why Romana doesn't even try to talk Tyson instead of just assuming him to be bad and backing down a fall I don't get.
The Movellans are a visually arresting and strange race of beings and even though there are clues, it's not difficult to realize what they really are, especially later after fan boy stuff and the novel WAR OF THE DALEKS (which for the most part I liked) claims they are something else driven by the Daleks themselves.
Ahh, yes, the Daleks. Sorry, as always the title gives it away that they are coming. But even in this, assumed comical story, if written well into a scene, they have a lot of power. The bursting through the wall thing is preluded by the shimmering wall and the vibations of power that seem to fill the room Romana is in...then they come through and immediately start to shout at Romana. Brilliant cliffhanger and this scene gives them the power they deserve.
That the Doctor is on Skaro after so long is amazing and it's nice to see the Daleks back in DW after too long an absence. They seemed to dominate the Hartnell era (but didn't really) and after so long ,it's good to have them again, especially as Tom is about to leave soon and the last Dalek story was when he was the very serious Fourth Doctor early in his tenure. Yes, it's great to see the more confident Tom/Fourth Doctor facing off against them. What will he say to them?
Let's find out...a good start for the most part. Some very strange choices for the show, though. I mean why not have the TARDIS crashland, why not have Romana HAVE TO regenerate due to some body crisis or accident (perhaps even given to her by the Black Guardian or the Shadow's torture or something more exciting)? And after so long a season before it with the direction of getting the key, this feels both good and bad. good in that the Doctor is more free and doesn't work for anyone any longer, free to go off and explore and bad---in that he and the show once more lacks a real purpose and sense of urgency. I mean to stay safe all the two travelers have to do is stay inside the TARDIS. And some strange dialog, "Ohh, look, rocks." Still, it's not boring or stupid and right away we get to see a body, indicating some danger.
Lalla gets her acting chops into the part now: she’s screaming at the Daleks, fooling their lie detector machine, faking her dying, recalling that the Daleks used to be humanoid themselves at one time, and bragging a small bit. Tom’s just as good, less fooling around this time, although he does bend and bow to the Movellan captain at the same time and their heads meet. He also brags to a Dalek, “If you’re supposed to be the superior beings, why don’t you try climb up after us?” His worry over Romana is shown and as they descend into the Kaled City (what’s Davros doing in there? I thought he was in the bunker?), all is very tense and odd. A very good episode. I really also like David Yip, who later played THE CHINESE DETECTIVE and was in one of the James Bond movies (possibly one of the or the last Roger Moore ones). Seeing Davros in the web was pretty creepy and the cliffhanger is just great! The script actually made more sense: the Daleks were looking for their creator because they knew something was wrong in their design. Tyson or whatever he was originally called knocks into Davros’s chair which is why he reactivates at that moment. The Movellans were called Petrans or something like that and were all female. They are all, the Movellans fairly pretty, still. All in all, a good episode, upping the tension from the first episodes’s jokey feel…
by the way though, the start of this episode has the worst music I've ever heard on any UK or US show...it sounds like Keystone Cops comedy music...all while they are wheeling Davros around trying to escape...luckily it's only a short bit.
Okay, Davros is out and despite alot of criticism this story gets and David Gooderson who plays Davros gets, I think he's perfectly creepy, agititated, threatening, and the mask is if possible, even more disgusting than it looked before. Davros is, to me, just a great villain, even in this where he has few if little self defenses, his madness takes hold.
Romana and Tom get some great scenes and in what other show can the heroes be held by robotic would be universe controllers and be able to play scissors, rock, paper!? I confess I don't understand the game much but that's me, not really very sharp. It's a fun scene and an amazing idea that may or may not hold up. Can two computers and robotic battle forces really not be able to figure out that they have to do something else to stop the balance? It's an interesting idea but it's also strange that the Daleks are now seemingly all (or at least these Daleks) robotic. The Doctor smashes a Dalek mutant down against rocks in a harsh scene, in fact, the Doctor in this story seems more the macho action hero but with added humor of course.
Tyson, at one point, seems to have been blown up and maybe I was not paying attention but how did the Dalek prisoners get away? Did Tyson help them escape? The Daleks are...menacing to me anyway. Yet they look sort of raggy and loose, and bump and move in different ways that they really shouldn't. One has its top move up before it moves out. Another rocks in a funny way and Davros does also. Yet...they still kill people. BTW the extras could have been more convincing when waiting to be killed. AND why did the Doctor wait so long to give in? At least one woman died thanks to his waiting.
The Spack off comment is funny.
Oh and the Movellans? What's their deal? Who or what made them? Did some of the other Daleks make them as has been suggested in WAR OF THE DALEKS novel? Anyway they seem super strong at one point but then can't beat Romana up or even really kill anyone. They get taken very easily, can't see prisoners are in control of two Movellans who have been reprogrammed ( I guess) and who are ahead of the humanoids, and can have their arms ripped off (in the US version I could swear that Romana was shown tearing the arm off but not so on the UK dvd). Parts of the Nova device bits do not make sense.
And why doesn't the Doctor take Davros back to Earth himself in the TARDIS? Too dangerous?
Despite all of these things, this story is still enjoyable, Davros menacing, the Doctor funny and interacting with Romana, Davros, and Tyson in a fun and relatable manner, and the setting visually interesting. The whole Davros vs the Supreme Dalek is set up for the future stories...
The Gallifreyan Embassy - Forum