Thursday, November 16, 2006

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

Written by Ben Aaronovitch
Directed by Andrew Morgan

The Doctor: “This is the Doctor. President elect of the high council of the Time Lords. Keeper of the Legacy of Rassilon. Defender of the Laws of Time. Protector of Gallifrey. I call upon you to surrender the hand of Omega and return to your customary time and place.”
Davros: “Ah…Doctor. You have changed again. Your appearance is as inconstant as your intelligence. You have confounded me for the last time.”

When it comes to this era of Doctor Who, my feelings are perfectly clear. Some stories work brilliantly and other stories don’t. This however falls into the former category as we take a trip down memory lane. After all this was the last story to ever feature the Daleks or Davros in the old series.

The Doctor and Ace, who are practically getting to know one another arrive back on Earth in 1963 and in terms of the fact that this episode marks the show’s 25th anniversary, there’s something rather apt to them landing in this particular time period for the serial.

Soon enough they learn that a death has occurred at a junkyard and the military are all over it. The nice guy Mike who Ace is somewhat flirty with happens to be a sergeant and Rachel, the over eager scientist is determined to learn as much from The Doctor as she can, despite his evasive nature.

At the junkyard itself there is a Dalek who wastes no time in attacking as many soldiers as it can. Knowing that Ace has some Nitro-9 handy, The Doctor uses it to destroy the wretched thing. When there’s one Dalek you can always guarantee that there are more but Rachel is keen to learn more about the creature.

The Daleks usually visit Earth to either enslave or go on a mad killing spree. Here they seem to be a bit more ambition. The Renegade Daleks are after the Hand Of Omega and have no problem using as many things to obtain this. On one had they’ve got Mike Smith following The Doctor as well as the nasty Ratcliffe.

With Mike as a spy, Ratcliffe is able to deploy a few men into actually digging up the Hand Of Omega halfway through the serial. Before then The Doctor collects it and has a blind priest give it a ceremony. The method in which the Hand Of Omega is used to be transported raises a few eyebrows.

As for the Daleks, it’s nice that this serial doesn’t waste too much time in having The Doctor meet them. A transmat sees a few Imperial Daleks showing with The Doctor almost about to be exterminated at one point. It seems the Headmaster is working with this lot and there’s no surprise in them being also after the Hand Of Omega.

However there is one particularly fantastic moment in this serial. In the past and the future we’ve seen companions try to hold their own with the Daleks. Of course we’ve never seen one of them actually physically assault a Dalek and having Ace beat the crap out of one of them with a baseball is an utter joy.

This might be Sophie Aldred’s second serial but she’s quickly made Ace into a loveable character. On one hand, she’s a typical stroppy teenage girl who reacts to things instantly rather than rationally thinking things through. That being said, the dynamic between her and The Doctor is one of the strongest going.

It is however something of a shame that Mike turned out to be a traitor. Ace’s hurt over this was palpable. Of course after his betrayal was revealed, Mike really was on borrowed time. He tried to use information to stop Daleks from killing him and then he stole the Renegade faction’s Time Controller.

Mike also made a cardinal error in pointing a gun at Ace. Of course he probably realised that his chances of redemption with her were already non-existent and to be fair, Ace had to worry more about that creepy little girl being a killer rather than Mike. The girl certainly didn’t have much problems in killing him.

That’s the interesting thing. When it came to both factions of the Daleks, they had certain leaders. With the Renegade Daleks, there was that little girl and her battle computer and then later in the story, a black Dalek. The Imperial Daleks on the other hand only had Davros as their leader.

In “Destiny Of The Daleks”, Davros wasn’t introduced into the fray until halfway through. Personally I found that a little annoying but nothing compared to his treatment. He only appears for about five minutes in the last part of this whole serial and his defeat has never felt so easy.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent scenes between Sylvester McCoy and Terry Molloy as The Doctor and Davros allow their mutual animosity to come out. Davros rants about destruction and wanted the Hand Of Omega to allow his Daleks to really know the concept of time travel.

However threatening Gallifrey’s destruction lead The Doctor to do something pretty underhanded. Davros manages to escape but with his Daleks and even Skaro destroyed, I can see why we would have to wait until “The Stolen Earth” and “Journey’s End” to see the megalomaniac again. This serial really could’ve ended him once and for all.

Also in “Remembrance Of The Daleks”

Out of all the speeches, the Martin Luther King one is the most effective and a stark contrast to Dalek beliefs.

The Doctor: “You must be in the military.”
Gilmore: “How did you know?”
The Doctor: “I’m very perceptive.”

Apart from the Black Dalek, we also had Special Weapon Dalek who could wipe out several Daleks with one shot – cool!
The Doctor: “Oi, Dalek, it’s me, The Doctor. What’s the matter, don’t you recognise your mortal enemy?”

Imperial Dalek: “You are The Doctor. You are the enemy of the Daleks. You will be exterminated. Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!”

There’s no real continuity between this serial and “Revelation Of The Daleks”, nor do we get anything extensive on Susan, Ian or Barbara.

The Doctor (re Dalek): “You destroyed it.”
Ace: “I aimed for the eye piece.”

Ace: “Don’t anyone give me a hand.”
Alison: “Ace, are you alright?”
Ace: “I had an argument with the window.”

At one point in this serial, Ace actually jumped behind the sofa. As a Doctor Who, I have never done this.

Imperial Dalek: “Renegade Daleks are in the area.”
Davros: “They will surrender the Hand Of Omega.”

Mike: “Where have you been?”
The Doctor: “Dalek hunting and now it’s reversed.”

This serial made tonnes of references to race and xenophobia throughout. Ace was disgusted when she realised that black people weren’t allowed in Mike’s mother’s B&B.

Ace (to Mike): “I said shut up. You betrayed me. You betrayed The Doctor. I trusted you. I even liked you.”

Gilmore: “The shuttle seems to be leaving.”
Rachel: “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”

Anyone else think that Mike Smith felt a little similar to Mike Yates from the Jon Pertwee era of the series?

Davros: “The Daleks shall become Lords of Time! We shall become all - ”
The Doctor: “Powerful! Crush the lesser races! Conquer the galaxy! Unimaginable power! Unlimited rice pudding! Et cetera! Et cetera!”

Why is Davros all hooked up on wires and in a white casing? Only his hand suffered major damage in “Revelation Of The Daleks”.

Davros: “Are you threatening me? If so it would be most unwise.”
The Doctor: “Everytime our paths have crossed, I’ve defeated you.”

Davros: “Have pity on me.”
The Doctor: “I have pity for you. Goodbye Davros, it hasn’t been pleasant.”

This was released on DVD in 2001. There’s a good commentary with Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred.

“Remembrance Of The Daleks” is a nice look at nostalgia as well as noting the changes in both the Daleks and Davros are since their debut serials. Davros isn’t quite as well served in this serial as his creations but at least 20 years later, his reign of terror takes a twisted route.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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