Sunday, July 8, 2012

Doctor Who-Dalek War
                         In terms of DVD releases it's cases such as this where the continuity of Doctor Who gets somewhat murky. This set actually encompasses two separate third doctor era serials. Both are related to the other to a degree. But it is treated as one epic 12 part serial here because there is one connecting thread between the two of them. And that's the Daleks. In their last appearance on Doctor Who they were shown trying to manipulate peace on the planet Earth to their own advantage. But it had been quite awhile since we'd seen the Daleks matched up with their original adversaries the Thals. This also marked the every important first collaboration between the Daleks and the doctors other nemesis The Master. As such,this marks Robert Delgado's final appearance in the role he originated. Since these are actually two separate stories,I'll describe them as such.

                           In 'Frontier In Space' the TARDIS materializes inside a 26'th century Earth cargo ship in the middle of a very unpleasant situation. There is a conflict arising between Earth and a race called the Draconians. Both parties are perceiving that the other party is attacking them. Each time the doctor and Jo Grant appear to be the most likely culprits in elevating this conflict and are taken prisoner by humans. This eventually leads the doctor and Jo to be separated when he is sent to a penal colony for political prisoners upon learning the attacking Draconians are actually Ogorons using a hypnotic device to appear that way,in order to assure the conflict. Upon jury rigging an escape from the prison the Doctor learns the entire affair was orchestrated by The Master,who is trying to capture his opposing time lord to curry favor with those on Gallifrey. He is assisted not only by Ogorons but new companions the Daleks. During a conflict with them the Doctor is severely injured during the ensuing conflict with the Master. Before he loses consciousness he manages to send a message to his people about what is happening.

                     In 'Planet of The Daleks', Jo finds herself nursing an unconscious Doctor as the TARDIS is sent,apparently by the time lords to this jungle planet where Jo only finds plants that emit a sap like spray. Upon being hit by some of this she soon finds herself covered with a yellow fungus. And it's growing. After locating another derelict space craft further along she finds two humanoids who soon reveal themselves to be Thals.  They manage to find the Doctor,revive him and despite being skeptical of him being a now legendary figure in Thal lore,they explain the situation at hand. The planet is apparently called Spideron,where the natives are mostly sentient plant life. Including one who have the ability to make themselves invisible. The Spiderons themselves are being manipulated by the Daleks into helping them produce this. So the Thals, with advice and help from the Doctor and Joe manage to thrawt the Daleks operation against them with the Doctor again leaving the Thals with the message not to glamorize these events to others,and therefore war itself.

                Together these stories are an elaborate set of events that does form a strong epic flavor to them. Particularly in the final six part serial. The doctor helps the Thals to understand the importance of tactical cunning and the occasional necessity of armed conflict with the Daleks,who are again up to their usual heartless and amoral tricks as they attempt to exploit the abilities of the Spideron. Jo Grant,known for getting herself and the doctor in trouble by leaping before she looks,seems to have little choice in the matter in this episode due to the Doctor being incapacitated in the beginning. So this sometimes irksome quality of this character is perfectly justified here. Of course this would not be the last time the third doctor would encounter the Daleks before the end of his run. He only did so because,after all he spent a large part of this particular regeneration confined to Earth. But that's another story.
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