July 10, 2014

Doctor Who: The Dalek Invasion of Earth

The Whoathon rolls along with another Dalek episode. This one stands out for a few reasons. This is Susan’s last episode. (Hooray!) This is the first time in Doctor Who they got rid of a companion. It has become second nature to the show, but I wonder what it was like back then. Was it a shock that Susan left? The end of the episode is fairly somber. Also, this episode is the basis of non-canon Doctor Who movie Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150 A.D. Why do I know that? Because I’ve seen the Rifftrax version. Some of the people from MST3k do their MST3k thing on the movie. It deserves it. Peter Cushing plays the Doctor, and he’s a human scientist. It’s pretty bad.

There is a lot of lapel grabbing in this episode.

Our heroes arrive in London. Has the Doctor finally been successful in bringing Ian and Barbara home? Ian even says it doesn’t matter if they’re off by a year or two. Really, Ian? The Doctor immediately thinks something is wrong because it’s so quiet. He knows they aren’t even close to the right time period. Yep. They later find out it’s 2164. Susan causes a bridge to collapse because she’s Susan. That traps the TARDIS underneath the wreckage and hurts her ankle. They’re stuck, and she gets to whine about her ankle hurting for the rest of the serial. The Doctor yells at her for being an idiot. Surprisingly, the Doctor is very nice to Ian in this one. He tells Ian he's impressed by Ian’s optimism and compliments Ian’s intelligence. Huh? In fact, during this whole story, the Doctor is much nicer in general. The women get separated from the men, and Ian and the Doctor get cornered by dudes wearing headgear. They're about to dive into the river to make their escape when they turn around and see a Dalek coming out of the water. It’s kind of a neat image.

It turns out that Susan and Barbara have accidentally met up with the resistance. The Daleks have taken over the Earth and are digging to the core. Some people are sent to work in the mines, while others are made into Robomen. Those would be the dudes wearing helmets. The Daleks control the Robomen and use them to police the Earth.

Something I found interesting was the show’s attempt to address continuity issues. Doctor Who doesn’t care about continuity! The Doctor and Ian have a discussion about how when they first met the Daleks, the Daleks could only move on metal. These Daleks are different. The Doctor says this is an invasion force, so they are adapted for that. Plus when they first met the Daleks, that was far in the future. I admire the attempt, but wouldn’t Daleks in the future not limit themselves to metal floors if they could already go mostly anywhere they wanted, including the water?? It’s bad enough that Classic Who Daleks can’t go up stairs. We’re the scariest race in the universe, but don’t run up the steps, okay? The 4th Doctor taunts them about that in "Destiny of the Daleks." At least the show was self-aware at that point.

David, you really want to marry Susan?

Moving on. The resistance attacks the Dalek ship, and then a large part of the story is spent with all of the characters trying to get north to the mines. Susan bonds with one of the resistance fighters, David. She mostly cries and screams, like she usually does, so I can’t understand why he falls in love with her. It is discovered that the Daleks want to remove the Earth’s core, replace it with some kind of power device, and pilot it around the universe. That’s the big plan. This doesn’t make any sense, on any level. How is putting something in the core going to let them drive the Earth around like a ship? They already have plenty of ships. Why do they need to use the Earth? Wouldn’t it be slow and take a tremendous amount of power? I can’t get my head around this plan AT ALL.

Lapels! I think he's already thinking of dumping Susan. Hence the grin.

Of course the resistance and the TARDIS crew stop the nonsensical plan, and the Daleks are defeated. Then we come to the big scene. Barbara has to drag oblivious Ian inside the TARDIS so Susan can say goodbye to David alone. David asks Susan to marry him, but Susan refuses because her grandfather needs her. I don’t know where she gets that- everyone else is always taking care of her; she doesn't take care of anyone. The Doctor locks Susan out of the TARDIS and tells her that he wants her to belong somewhere and lead a normal life. He makes a little speech. The TARDIS dematerializes, and that’s it. End scene.

Saying goodbye. And lapels.

This is a weak episode. I'm reluctant to say that. I usually enjoy the Dalek episodes, but this wasn't up to par. The Dalek's plan makes no sense. The story drags. Ian and Barbara are separated for most of the story. However, Susan is gone!


Doctor: First
Companions: Ian, Barbara, Susan
Episode: #10, "The Dalek Invasion of Earth," six parts- 'World's End,' 'The Daleks,' 'Day of Reckoning,' 'The End of Tomorrow,' 'The Waking Ally,' 'Flashpoint'
Adversary: the Daleks
Classic Lines: Ian, to the Doctor: "Doctor, sometimes you astound me." The Doctor: "Only sometimes, dear boy?"; the Doctor, to Susan, saying goodbye: "One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine."
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: This episode was the basis of the non-canon movie Dalek Invasion of Earth 2150 A.D.
Next Up: "The Rescue"

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