Time Spent in the Dalekanium Hurt Locker
Holy cow, what an excellent pair of episodes this morning. Big action scenes, flying saucer attacks, dramatic sacrifice... and, best of all, a record low weigh-in for me after the workout. Life is good (except for the human race in the rubble of the Dalek invasion.)
Let's talk about that.
Day of Reckoning
The story opens with a huge action sequence as the assault on the Dalek flying saucer continues. The Doctor is rescued and carried away by one of the rebels, but Ian is trapped on the saucer after nearly escaping down the ramp. Many of the rebels are killed outright, and the rest are scattered. Barbara ends up with Jenny, a particularly dour survivor. Susan spends a great deal of time with the handsome young rebel David. As the Daleks patrol the streets of London, including iconic shots of the Daleks crossing the Westminster Bridge in the shadow of Big Ben as well as many other landmarks, the surviving humans rush about trying to find safety.
Ultimately the Doctor is reunited with Susan and David, although he is barely mobile while still recovering from the near-surgery on the Dalek ship. In actuality, William Hartnell was injured in a fall while filming the opening scene, and as a result was largely written out of this episode and most of the next, aside from being carried from place to place and mumbling about needing to rest. It plays very well, though, and I give major props to Hartnell for soldiering on through the filming even in a diminished physical capacity. By the end of the episode, the Daleks have decided to just firebomb all of London and head north to their mysterious mines in Bedfordshire.
The End of Tomorrow
David and Susan disarm the particular firebomb that is directly threatening their position. Barbara spends the story on the run with Jenny, after the wheelchair-bound scientist Dortmun sacrifices himself for their escape. At one point Barbara Wright, Goddess, plows through a Dalek patrol while driving a tanker truck. She just grits her teeth, stomps on the accelerator, and blows right through them. Because Barbara? You just don't mess with her.
As for Ian, he ends up at the mines in Bedfordshire, after hitching a secret ride aboard the Dalek flying saucer. There is some drama there about Robo-man patrols, and a black marketeer who is able to bring in supplies to the miners (at a price). The climax leaves Ian and his new companion Larry facing off against a giant reptilian monster called the Slyther, which the Daleks use to keep the humans from escaping the mines. With no way to retreat, Ian faces certain death!
So here's the thing about this particular story: With very few exceptions (such as the teenage Carole Ann Ford), everybody who worked on this story had directly experienced the London air raids during the Second World War. The action and situations portrayed here weren't just fiction, they were a very thinly-veneered recreation of their recent history. You can see this literally everywhere in the story, and it really resonates. This really is Doctor Who at its finest.
Companion(s): Ian Chesterton, Susan Foreman, Barbara Wright
Episode(s): Day of Reckoning, The End of Tomorrow
Steps Walked: 6,522 today, 172,633 total
Distance Walked: 3.05 miles today, 77.30 miles total
Weight: 297.52 lbs (five day moving average), net change -9.78 lbs