Dr. Who: The Daleks, Part 7

The final episode of this story that introduced us to the Doctor’s longest standing (or rolling) baddies.

Dalek - Thal battle

The Rescue

Eventually, Ian, Barbara, and the surviving Thals who accompanied them through the mountain do make their way into the Dalek city via the city’s water supply. Around the same time, Thal leader Alydon realizes that the Doctor and Susan have been captured by the Daleks (again) and gets another group of Thals to go into the city from the other side to try and rescue them.

The Doctor, meanwhile, has been having a chat with his captors. He’s horrified when he learns of the Daleks’ evil plans to make Skaro uninhabitable for any living creatures except themselves, and tries to bargain with them. If they’ll stop their plans to freshly irradiate the planet, he says that he’ll show them how the Tardis works.

Yeah, that’s a good idea.

The Daleks aren’t interested–they don’t believe what the Doctor tells them about his Time and Space machine anyway–but they do show him that they have the fluid link that he desperately needs to make the Tardis work. It’s right there, just a few feet away from where he and Susan are, and just out of reach.

Dalek battle

Fortunately, help is on the way from two separate fronts. Alydon and his group sneak into the city just as Barbara’s and Ian’s group sneak into the area where the prisoners are being kept.

The battle is on!

For all their shrieking about Extermination! and impressive zapping weapons, these first Daleks are surprisingly easy for a bunch of humanoids without their own big-ass guns to defeat. I especially like the shot where one of the Thals grabs hold of a Dalek, and it spins around and around with a man clinging to it. Whee!

During the fight, the radiation thingy is destroyed, and the static electric power source that the Doctor sabotaged in the previous episode finally conks out. The Daleks run out of power, and stop. It’s not just a matter of being unable to move within their metal shells–the Daleks are dying.

Dalek ride. Whee!

One of the Daleks asks the Doctor to please turn the power back on, but he replies that he can’t; he doesn’t know how. And so the Daleks all die.

I could feel sorry for them except that–like all modern viewers looking back on this ending with over 50 years of future Dr. Who episodes–I know that Daleks are even harder to get rid of than cockroaches or dandelions. Even when it looks like they’ve all been wiped out across multiple universes, they’ll be back. Oh yes, the Daleks always come back.

But that’s it for this particular bunch. The Thals have the city, which means shelter and reliable food resources, as well as an opportunity to rebuild their world.

“If only there could have been some other way,” Alydon says sadly at this moment of triumph.

They all head back to the Thals’ camp near the Tardis. The Thals would like the Doctor to stay and help them rebuild Skaro, but he refuses. “I never give advice.” Well, that will change over the years too. He adds that, someday, he may return to see how their grandchildren are getting on.

The Thals give their new friends some parting gifts–Susan gets an oversized cloak of her own–and everybody says goodbye.

Barbara and her Thal boyfriend

Barbara and her Thal boyfriend are reluctant to part, but of course she can’t stay and he can’t get into the Tardis and go with her since his own people need him. So they kiss and make their farewells.

She then joins the Doctor and the other companions in the Tardis, which makes its usual noise as it disappears out of the scene. The Thals watch this with amazement, and one of the women steps into the spot where the Tardis was a moment ago.

Inside the Tardis, an explosion occurs at the console just after they depart. Everyone is thrown back and knocked.

What happens after that is another story.

There are a lot of nice extras on this DVD, commentary on some of the episodes and that informative text throughout that seems to be available on all the classics Doctor Who discs. It’s on every one I’ve seen from the pilot up until Peter Davison’s era.

There’s also a featurette about the creation and development of the first Daleks that begins with a clip from an interview with Sydney Newman. His remarks confirm that the scene in An Adventure in Space and Time is accurate: he didn’t like the idea, putting it in the category of Bug-Eyed Monsters, which was a type of cheap sci-fi that he hated. But Verity Lambert argued passionately for this story about the Daleks, and she was right. They’ve been popular since they first appeared on British television screens.

Newman admits that he didn’t want to do The Forsyte Saga either, the historical drama that was a massive hit for the BBC in the late ’60s. Shows what he knows.


Author: Kathryn L Ramage

Kathryn L. Ramage has a B.A. and M.A. in English lit and has been writing for as long as she can remember. She lives in Maryland with three calico cats named after the Brontë sisters. In addition to being the author of numerous short stories, reviews, essays, and period mystery novellas, she is also the author of a series of fantasy novels set in a dukedom called the Northlands on an alternate Earth whose history has diverged from ours somewhere during the medieval period.