Remembrance of the Daleks

Chase - Posted on 08 August 2009


WOW! That is more like it! DW is a strange creature. It can go from the worst three episodes to the best in some time. This is the best since maybe CAVES and it is truly GREAT! Totter's Lane, Coal Hill School, a scientific advisor, a Brig reference, and "aim for the eye piece." The Hand of Omega. And for once, all the disparate parts seem to fit together as a whole without bogging down the action...and what action...

The cliffhanger is the definitive one for the McCoy era and is quite memorable as a Dalek flies up the steps! The action seemed fast, the Doctor clever but not totally and even Ace seems like a renewed character, not the horror show she was from DRAGONFIRE. With last season happily gone, this season seems fresh, new and least in this episode.

McCoy and Aldred share a unique rapport this time and it is very very funny. "You drive!"  And the whole left-right thing ranks of Abbott and Costello but it's a nice take on that. Also some humor in the quick pace of the dialog such as "humans"  and "Give some of that nitro 9 you're not carrying" and "choke,"  "no thanks."

A few things: why the military take to the Doctor and even send Mike off with Ace on a mission SO EASILY is beyond me. And WHY the Dalek operator takes so long to attack Ace and the Doctor is also beyond me.

And Micheal Sheard (great guest star) kicks or knees Ace between the legs and she goes down as if she had male privates...WHY? Still that might explain alot.   

The location work works, the music works, and even though the first Dalek was pretty silent, he works, too. McCoy is in top form and there are mysteries afoot. Just what is the hand of Omega, who is the little girl, and that can't be Davros in that chair or they would have shown us him. Who is it? Is the Emperor back? A few things in this story will turn up in the 2005 series PARTING OF THE WAYS and DALEK, including the skeleton image showing up when someone gets shot by a Dalek.

Nice episode! DW seems back!   

Okay still a good story but WTF? When I first saw this I reveled in the action scenes, which were so much better than the action in just about every other story. Things moved, exploded, Ace ran and got stuff blasted around her. Normally this type of action was reserved for SPACE: 1999, the Bionic Woman (FEMBOTS IN LAS VEGAS), the Six Million Dollar Man, and other more expensive shows. Although at one point, Ace runs directly into a Dalek and runs past it...that's stretching things to unbelievability. Daleks cannot shoot straight.

But the WTF was...just after escaping from a Dalek, the Doctor goes to a...diner? talks some strangeness to a man behind the counter who blames sugar cane on his being in England, rather than say, his own kind turning him in to white slave traders. THEN the Doc goes to a funeral palor and finds a coffin he put there as the man with white hair. THEN he energizes a baseball bat. THEN he takes the coffin out floating past a man at the palor, who faints. THEN he fools a blind man in order to bury the coffin. WTF? He mumbled something earlier about sorry he started all this. Is he to blame for all these deaths? Okay, in hindsight, I am guessing the other episodes explain more about this and I half remember he talking to Ace on steps somewhere about the plot. And also I've read so much about this episode and others where the Doc planned something (all to come). So that explained all about what is going on here. But I can't blame any viewer who hadn't read all that stuff and didn't know all about DW at this time or any other, for going WTF WTF?

The location work still is wonderful and the camera work is brilliant and the action very WOWish. I wish Ace did tell Mrs. Smith about the no coloreds sign and argue with her but this leaving thing is very much her. She's in (her future) characterisation throughout this, mind you it's the character just getting established and she's not the same FOOL we saw in DRAGONFIRE bar a few lower decibled, "Ace!" and some such stuff. Here, she works so much better than in DRAGONFIRE, she's almost not the same girl...   

Glad that the Emperor Dalek's man and the renegade Mike explained the two Dalek factions to me while in the midst of fighting. I was not sure what was going on with the Daleks either. They seemed to be fighting each other, which is exactly what they were doing. The Doc later explained all of that in the military base, which looks like a UNIT base from the 70s, or was that the 80s. There's also a mention of Spiridon from PLANET OF THE DALEKS.

A good episode and another good cliffhanger.  I'm just not sure about all this recon stuff. 

Wyldstaar's picture

Of all the McCoy stories, this is the only one I've got on DVD.  It is an okay story, but in comparison to most of the rest of the episodes preceeding it for a very long time it's exceptional.  I loved all the An Unearthly Child references, but the writer missed an extremely obvious one.  When The Doctor goes to the Coal Hill School, the headmaster assumes he is there to apply for the job of grounds keeper or something like that.  Groundskeeper?  Didn't the school's math and history teachers disappear recently?  The headmaster should have made some mention of that instead.  Ian and Barbara won't return until 1965.

Enter: The Conquering Chicken

Well wasn't the headmaster taken over by Daleks? He certainly would not have mentioned Ian and Barbara if he was and even if he was not, why would he tell that to this man, the Doctor?


I must make mention of the Dalek skeletal insides showing as they transmat, it's way wicked. And in this episode we get to see a Dalek claw come out and almost kill the Doctor, he saved by Allison, who some fans say didn't do much. Why didn't anyone notice Ace on the floor? Maybe they were hoping she was dead? No!  What's with the Doctor almost sneezing as he did sneeze in DELTA and almost got himself and Ray killed by the calm bounty hunter? He sneezes here again. And what's with dumbo Ace calling after the Daleks, who retreat, not because of her. She yells out, "WIMPS!" Why, what was she going to do to them if they came in in full force?

Well McCoy gets alot of sayings here, almost all of them funny or interesting in some way ("Lovely flowers Begonias!" "Weapons are always useless in the end"---uhm, isn't he being just a bit hypocritical here considering what his whole plan is in this story?). Ace is almost intolerable in the "I know Mike has grassed on us" and then the Gilmore guy (Chunky Gilmore? Didn't get that reference the first time and without the DVD text, still wouldn't) just seems to let him go or does he run away? Why didn't Ratcliffe notice the girl was in the seat?

And while we're no it, I never understand guys like Ratcliffe--didn't they learn that Hitler types end up dead? Why work for murderous Daleks anyway? Or Davros?

Rachel does a Liz Shaw on the Br..I mean on Gilmore, telling him off a bit. The period music least off the DVD...

Another thing I have to add to this is the misgivings I had at the time when I found out what the Doc was doing. In hindsight now, dealing with terrorists like Daleks is the only way to go: blow the shit out of them as he does here but his whole plan is to destroy Skaro. Does he know that no one else is on that planet but Daleks? And is that going to dent their plans? I mean aren't they spread out across the galaxy or the universe by now? WTF?

Having the Doctor this ruthless...and btw, the Hand is supposed to be somewhat alive...having the Doc not care about that or about what he is doing and seemingly as ruthless as his enemies conflicts me. On one hand, it makes him creepy. On the other, it makes him stronger than he used to be and makes him somewhat authoritative and protective of who he deems the good guys. But what if he turned against us? On the other hand, I feel that the Doctor was always so peaceful and pascifist but if you really examine his past and the stories, he's not at all. He's certainly no TOMORROW PERSON, who can't kill. He does and willingly kills off species, as far back as Hartnell in THE DALEKS. Troughton would ruthlessly kill and lure Cybermen into death traps in WHEEL IN SPACE, destroy almost every invader he comes across, Pertwee outright shoots an Ogron...with a gun, Baker, the good one, Tom, destroys Sutek (thank goodness) and others; Davison gets rid of the Mara and the Malus; Colin...well let's not go over that again...and thjis the way we want the Doctor to be? If it were real life, I'd have to say yes--if Daleks did exist, I'd want to know that there was someone willing to kill them off to save us all. If he stuck to his morality and let us all die, what good would that do for us and for him?   

In any event, it is a strange thing. I'm sure some of this conflicts with what went before but I didn't really care about that as long as a good adventure is being told. The interior of the Daleks ship looked good but the exterior and the land of the spaceship looked dated then and looks dated now. It looks like someone's lowering it on poles or something. The music is okay in this episode. The running around and skulking and hiding is also quite tense. 

A pretty good episode.  


Mike was doing what exactly? Was he still a bad guy? Trying to reunite with the last Black Dalek? The battles were great even if some of the Daleks, including the garbage bin topped Special Weapons Dalek looked a bit...shakey and rubbishy. For some reason I kept getting the Special Weapons Dalek idea that it was more impressive than it looked on screen, maybe do to pictures or maybe I"m getting it mixed up with what was supposed to be in the 1996 NEW Paul McGann series had it come about: the pics of those are all over the net or were in 1998.

To be honest, though, it was tough work keeping track of all the factional Daleks and which was which and who was who but to just enjoy it was...easier. Why did the Doc let all those people into the Dalek ship...perhaps to escape the lower way without being seen? Maybe?

So Davros appears, is destroyed or may have gotten away...again, sigh. He trades jibes with the Doc and they're pretty good jibes and he looks pretty monstrous and all that. "Unlimited rice pudding!" The Doc has more and more McCoy-isms and those are pretty good, too. He doesn't seem to roll his Rs as much here and there's almost no mixing of proverbs but there are some ("Ashes to ashes, dust to dust") and he seems, to be honest, completely bloodthirsty in a sneaky Time Lord ish way. Like Ace, in the last lines of the show, I am unsettled, did he do good? Skaro destroyed didn't bother me so much as who did it. And in such a sneaky way. Thus the rest of the show is set in motion, not to mention scores of New Adventures arcs...

Also the way the Doctor talked the Black Dalek into destroying itself seems, at first, to be pretty cool but when you think about it, it's stupid. IF one Dalek can destroy a colony (which seemed true in POWER OF THE DALEKS but not so much here when anti tank guns can blow them up), why wouldn't this one fight to the death and even could have taken out the enemy of the Daleks : the Doctor. It should have done that but didn't. Perhaps it was damaged in some way.  Who was the funeral for? soldiers? Mike? Ratcliffe? Anyone know from the novelization?

Anyway this was infinitely more watchable than most of the stories around it, ahead or behind. The effects are ranging from good (the battles, the stunts) to well, okay (cartoony shots of the Hand of Omega firing). It's an okay story...and the Daleks still, despite wobbly heads and a sort of ramshackle look, make great villains even if they don't make good conversation as the Doctor says.

Dr. Solar's picture

great story.

shows what McCoy could really do as the doctor, like when he confronts davros and then confronts the black dalek. 

makes me wish his run lasted longer.

Man Of The Atom

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