Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Review of Doctor Who's: "Resurrection Of The Daleks"

Written by Eric Saward
Directed by Matthew Robinson

Davros (to Lytton, regarding the Daleks): “So they have returned to their creator. Like an errant child, they have come home.”

Wow at this point in the series, you are barely able to pass a season without The Master or Cybermen terrorising The Doctor and his companions but now the use of the Daleks and Davros is becoming more and more sparse. It’s got to be to add to the effect but overall it’s a neat tactic.

The Fifth Doctor is the second incarnation of the Time Lord that has to encounter this maniacal creator and his evil race but this isn’t necessarily Davros’ best story. It is however one of Peter Davison’s stronger stories and definitely an enjoyable enough serial as well.

A Time Corridor is creating all kinds of chaos and it wastes very little time in bringing The Doctor, Tegan and Turlough back to Earth and soon enough all kinds of disaster seems to be happening. A weary guy named Stien needs helps as he’s fleeing from a bunch of trigger happy baddies.

That’s not all – they’re also the Daleks. When they aren’t invading a spaceship in a bid to snatch Davros, they’re also attempting to capture The Doctor as well. It’s interesting that for once neither they nor Davros’ appearances actually come as a cliff hanger. It’s refreshing too as they get more to do than in “Destiny Of The Daleks”.

On the spaceship containing you have an interesting enough crew, lead by an argumentative new guy and a ballsy female doctor in Styles. Both of them throughout the serial go from being trigger happy at one minute to trying to play it cool the next.

They’re all aware that the Daleks are trying to get Davros back and while they do end up failing in keeping Davros, points given to them for sheer might if nothing else. Plus there also comes a point where a missing Turlough helps out with them as well, although at first they don’t particularly trust the lad.

As for the Daleks, it seems that when they are in trouble they will go to Davros nowadays. They might also be determined to betray their creator but at the same time, he’s also needed in helping them out. Unlike their previous serial, the Daleks aren’t exactly in short supply of allies.

On one hand you’ve got Lytton, a nasty piece of work who also has to cater to Davros’ whim but with a race of cloned soldiers and a plot to invade Gallifrey by using The Doctor and his companions, at least the ante seems to be upped in comparison to serials prior to this one.

However the reason why Davros is in such high demand from his creations stems back to the Movellans. It seems despite logic creating an impasse during that on going feud, the Movellan actually managed to get one better by creating a virus that could harm the Daleks.

If I were The Doctor, I’d keep some of this virus for future battles but The Doctor’s too busy getting double crossed by Stien and winding up as a hostage of the Daleks. Apparently cloning him and his companions would be a brilliant way of infiltrating Gallifrey and destroying the place but to be fair, couldn’t the Daleks just raid the place anyway? After all they do love to intrude as well as kill on sight.

Fortunately The Doctor doesn’t have to deal with a clone version of himself as Stien shows signs of faltering and manages to free The Doctor. The actor who plays, while overdoing the stutter is one of the stronger guest stars of the episode. Stien’s sacrifice in defeating the remainder of the Daleks is also noteworthy.

As for Davros, it’s also refreshing to see that he’s beginning to learn some more lessons. He’s happy to help his Daleks become the supreme being but he’s also come up with a nifty device that makes at least two of them subservient to his will. He also pulls the same whammy on a few of Lytton’s people, notably Kiston.

Of course the one thing slightly against this serial is the lack of many scenes between Davros and The Doctor. Davros is a lot more aggressive towards a less threatening version of The Doctor but he also takes some delight in noting The Doctor’s cowardice. The Doctor has an opportunity to destroy Davros but falter. Clearly he’s forgotten something in “Genesis Of The Daleks”.

When it comes to defeats, I suppose it makes sense to use the Movellan virus to do it. If you’re going to have plenty of the stuff around, why not put it to good use? Both the Daleks and Davros find that they are vulnerable to it. For Davros it really comes across as a shock to the system.

However it’s not the Daleks and Davros that are most memorable thing about this serial. Tegan’s exit after three years is the very thing that strikes a chord. Janet Fielding gives a great final performance as an exasperated Tegan has enough and leaves the TARDIS. For a second you think she might change her mind but as exits go, Tegan’s is definitely one of the strongest given to a companion on the show.

Also in “Resurrection Of The Daleks”

These episodes were shown in a double bill, which ended up being the format for the next season.

Galloway: “You’re pathetic.”
Stien: “That too.”

I just noticed that there was a fair amount of smoking in this serial. Given that this had a younger audience, I was a little surprised.

The Doctor: “Trouble with you Tegan is you have no imagination.”
Tegan: “Just because I can’t get worked up about a crumbling building?”

Davros: “You speak as if my Daleks are no longer capable of war.”
Lytton: “A lot has happened since your imprisonment.”

Terry Molloy is the third actor to take on the role of Davros and is also the longest serving actor playing the role as well.

Lytton: “Every precaution has been taken.”
Davros: “I work here or not at all.”

Stien: “Help? You don’t know how much of a coward I am.”
The Doctor: “Well you can take this opportunity to show me.”

How come we didn’t get to see Leela, Benton and Mike Yates during those flashbacks and how were Tegan/Turlough cloned if the Daleks never had them captive?

Davros (to Lytton/Daleks): “I am very difficult to kill. You should already know that.”

Davros: “Who do you obey?”
Daleks: “We obey Davros. He is our master.”
Davros: “Excellent.”

We heard the Cloister bell as well in this serial. We also heard it in “Logopolis” as well.

Davros (to Kiston): “I have waited a long time for this. Once The Doctor is exterminated, I shall build a new race of Daleks. They shall be even more deadly with me as their leader. This time we shall triumph. Once again my Daleks will be the supreme beings.”

Davros has been asleep for 90 years. That’s the amount of time that has passed between this serial and “Destiny Of The Daleks”.

Davros (to The Doctor): “You are soft, like all Time Lords. You prefer to stand and watch. Actions require courage. Something you lack.”

The Doctor: “No, don’t leave. Not like this.”
Tegan: “I must I’m sorry.”

This was released on DVD prior to the Davros box set in November 2007. Good commentary from Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Matthew Robinson.

Like I said at the start, “Resurrection Of The Daleks” isn’t the strongest of Dalek/Davros stories but it’s engaging enough, violent without going too far and has an interesting exit in Tegan. Overall, there’s more good than bad with it.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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