Thursday, July 12, 2012

Doctor Who-Destiny Of The Daleks
                      It had been five years since there had been any Dalek based stories on Doctor Who. The Tom Baker era of the program had developed it's own distinctive flavor,more oriented around gothic horror type plot lines than a lot of overt science fiction. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the program was so successful during this time. On the other hand the season long 'Key To Time' series of serials proved that more purely science fiction plotlines in Tom Baker era Doctor Who could definitely work extremely well. This was also a regeneration story. Not of the doctor but of his time lady assistant Romana. From this point on that character would be played by Lalah Ward,whose close relationship with the Doctor would spill over into their personal lives as well.

                       The serial starts with the doctor attempting to repair a damaged K-9 while Romana regenerates into the form of Princess Astra from the previous set of serials. The TARDIS lands on a rocky,radioactive planet that is soon understood to be Skaro. While trying to explore the area,Romana and the doctor are separated at which time she finds herself menaced by a pair of Daleks. The doctor meanwhile is rescued by a group of silver haired humanoids called Movellans,whose apparent mission to defeat their enemy Daleks is at first somewhat appealing to the Doctor. Meanwhile the Daleks are attempting to revive Davros,now in suspended animation to help fight this battle. The Doctor soon learns the Movellans are in fact ful androids bent on total destruction of the Daleks at all costs. In the end,Davros is placed back into cryogenic sleep again and sent to Earth to stand trial for his crimes. But not until the Doctor leaves the logic bound Movellans with a little lesson about the fate of those who makes mistakes in war.

                     While a somewhat quirky anti war story for sure,this serial introduces an unusual new wrinkle into Doctor Who. We're never sure if the Movellans are a hindrance or an asset. Especially as they often behave no better than the Daleks,often worse. On the other hand a hats off to the wardrobe department whose glittery suits,silver braids and platform shoes gave the Movellans a funky late 70's look rather like a race of alien robot Rick James clones. In her first appearance Lalah Ward makes an excellent first impression as Romana. She comes off as elegant,intelligent and highly observant. While definitely a serious episode in terms of it's content,it does showcase some of the humor that would define this season of the fourth doctor. This is showcased strongly in a rock/paper/scissors game the doctor plays with the Movellans to show them the futility of war time aggression. While it's mixture of quirkiness,wit and sociopolitical commentary this is a very compelling final Dalek story for the Tom Baker era.
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