Friday, 13 September 2013

Big Gay Longcat reviews Doctor Who: Genesis of the Daleks Part Six

Harry and Sarah help save the Doctor from the little Dalek, and then the Doctor hesitates before setting off his bomb and destroying the Daleks. This is what we have been waiting for the whole story - the Doctor has been given this mission by the Time Lord in part one, but he has to consciously decide whether to change history by genociding the Daleks or to let history run its course.

A counterpoint to the discussion with Davros last episode, the Doctor and Sarah debate the opposing positions.

"Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished. Have I that right?"
"To destroy the Daleks? You can't doubt it."
"But I do. You see, some things could be better with the Daleks. Many future worlds will become allies just because of their fear of the Daleks."
"But it isn't like that."
"But the final responsibility is mine and mine alone. Listen, if somebody who knew the future pointed out a child to you and told you that the child would grow up totally evil to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives. Could you then kill that child?"
"We're talking about the Daleks - the most evil creatures ever invented. You must destroy them. You must complete your mission for the Time Lords."
"Do I have the right?"

And, though he hesitates, the Doctor doesn't decide not to kill the Daleks; he is interrupted by Gharman, who runs in to tell them that they have won without the Doctor having to commit genocide. The Doctor says
"I'm grateful to you, Gharman, more grateful than I can tell you..."

While Davros makes his speech to try to win the vote, the Doctor and Sarah collect the Doctor's confiscated things, including the time ring MacGuffin.

Davros reveals a "TOTAL DESTRUCT" red button that can be used to destroy all the Daleks, but he also says that they shouldn't press it. Gharman argues against Davros, but he does not know that there are Daleks on the way.

Bettan and the surviving Thals are going to blow up the bunker (so that is three separate bombs being set up in this episode). Sevrin goes inside to rescue the Doctor, Harry and Sarah, but he has only limited time or Bettan will blow them up too. She doesn't specify exactly how much time so this isn't a typical Terry Nation countdown, though there were plenty of those earlier in the story with the Thal rocket launch.

The vote is taken but the Doctor sees Nyder sneak out so they follow him. The Doctor and Harry overpower Nyder but the time ring falls off while they're fighting and they don't notice. They get Nyder to take them to where he put the tape of the Doctor's stories, and destroy it with a Dalek pewpewpew gun in a nice instance of poetic justice. I hope this scene didn't put some very nasty ideas into the heads of any employees of BBC Enterprises. Anyway, Nyder manages to run away.

Davros reveals that he has tricked Gharman and his friends.
"Do you believe I would let a lifetime's work be ended by the will of spineless fools like you? You have won nothing. I allowed this charade to be played out for only one reason. To find those men who were truly loyal to me, and to discover those who would betray me.
We... I... will go on!"
And he lets in the Daleks to exterminate them. This moment has been built up to since part five when the viewers were let in on the fact that the Daleks were coming, so it is more powerful when it arrives.

Sevrin finds the Doctor and they recover the time ring from the floor. Sending Harry and Sarah out of the bunker with Sevrin, the Doctor goes back to the green room alone to finish what he started earlier. Perhaps having seen Gharman and the others being negatived has made up his mind, or perhaps he would have made this decision before?

He is interrupted again, this time by a Dalek chasing him. Despite his trying to hide behind a corner, the Dalek stalks the Doctor, but it it touches the two wires and sets off the Doctor's bomb. The Doctor runs out in the nick of time just before the Thals set off their bomb, which only destroys the way out of the bunker.

Inside, Davros finds out that the Daleks are no longer obeying his commands when they don't want to. And when he sends Nyder to do something the Daleks don't want him to do, they negative Nyder.

Davros is confused by this turn of events.
"You must obey me! I created you! I am the master... not you... I... I... I!"

The Daleks negative the rest of Davros's mannys and then, just before he can press the red button...
"For the last time... I am your creator! You must... you will obey me!"


Fade to black.

The Doctor thinks his bomb has "delayed them for a short time, perhaps a thousand years,"  but this is only speculation. It seems to me (and this is my theory, not Professor Cat's, don't believe him) that it is more likely that the future is unchanged. After all, the DVD on the shelf is not now called Daleks' Invasion Earth 3150 A.D. Also, before the Doctor came to Skaro, Davros and the Kaleds did not believe in aliens and knew nothing about time travel. If they had not come, the Daleks would not have needed to invent spaceships (never mind time machines) to conquer the universe, because they would not have known that the universe beyond Skaro needed conquering. Though it did not come until later, this makes the Daleks seem like the mannys of Krikkit from Life, the universe and everything.

The Doctor says goodbye to Bettan and Sevrin and then he, Harry and Sarah use the time ring to leave. There is just time for one final speech between Sarah and the Doctor as they disappear into space:
"You don't seem too disappointed. We've failed, haven't we?"
"Failed? No, not really. You see, I know that although the Daleks will create havoc and destruction for millions of years, I know also that out of their evil must come something good."

Like Genesis of the Daleks for starters.

Genesis of the Daleks is a triumph of writing, acting and production, making it one of my favourite Doctor Who stories I have seen. If only it had managed to have Paul Darrow in it then it might have been my best of all.

The early episodes are great enough by themselves, being full of exciting twists and turns and dramatic scenes, but they are really just setting up for the last two parts to make their key scenes as powerful as possible.

Davros is a fantastic baddy, and it is not surprising when so much time was spent focusing on his actions that Genesis of the Daleks becomes as much his story as the Doctor's. It is also not surprising that Davros was too good a baddy to not return in later stories, although not only has he never been as good again since, I don't think he ever could be as good again.

Aside from Davros, there are also a number of great secondary characters. Nyder is a good Companion for Davros, especially in the scenes where they are conspiring together and making plans. Michael Wisher and Peter Miles played their parts totally straight (as really everybody did in this) and are superb.

Considering the story as a whole, it has padding - mainly early on - but it also has points where events are skipped over without being shown. This looks like they were pacing the story to ensure each part made sense by itself and finished on an exciting cliffhanger, and ensures that none of the six parts are boring or bad.

In fact I enjoyed every part of Genesis of the Daleks, though the weakest bit was the cliffhanger resolution at the start of part three. And the lack of any cats or Paul Darrow. Apart from that it was great!

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