Time Runs Out for Sara Kingdom
Today was the big finish for The Daleks' Master Plan, and also the big finish for Sara Kingdom. Is the universe saved? Does the Dalek Time Destructor work? Does William Hartnell come back from his unexpected vacation right at the climax of the story?
Let's talk about that.
The Abandoned Planet / Destruction of Time
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
So, it turns out that the stolen directional unit is basically a plot McGuffin that allows the TARDIS to get back to Kembel accurately before blowing up and returning the TARDIS back to its status quo of wandering aimlessly for future stories. Now that the TARDIS is conveniently back on Kembel for the big showdown, the Doctor leaves to check things out while Steven and Sara Kingdom wait behind. At which point William Hartnell completely disappears from the story within 30 seconds of the beginning of the penultimate episode, and doesn't return until several minutes into the final episode. I don't know whether it was a planned break, or if was the result of the ongoing tension between Hartnell and producer John Wiles, but in any case it is strange to say the least to have the primary hero of the story just up and disappear for most of the climax.
Ultimately Mavic Chen is finally (and thankfully) killed by the Daleks. The universe can only stand so much of a man who is vain enough to start half of his sentences with the phrase, "I, Mavic Chen..." I don't even care that he was a traitor to humanity, he was just an annoyingly ego-centric asshole.
Also ultimately, the Doctor finally shows up just in time to steal the Time Destructor and carry it away, but not before it ages Sara Kingdom to sand and also dissolves the Daleks themselves, leaving one cute little slimy Dalek embryo wasting away in the dust. The Doctor survives the Time Destructor for hand-wavey reasons, and then he and Steven depart Kembel after the requisite commentary on what a terrible waste the whole thing was.
Now that it is all done, I have to say - I don't understand what the actual Master Plan was. The whole thing was a bunch of Sturm und Drang about getting the teranium in order to power the Time Destructor, and then use that to rule the universe. Except, how was that going to work? The super weapon was able to be used once before the teranium core was depleted. It took 50 years of mining in order to extract just that one sample of teranium, and no more was to be had anywhere. So, sure, it was a terrible weapon, it turned at least a large chunk of the planet Kembel into dust, along with anyone and anything within its range. But there's no second use. So even if it hadn't been prematurely deployed on Kembel, even if it had been used to destroy all life on Earth, then what? The rest of the universe shrugs and says, "we never liked those jerks anyway" and it's back to square one for the Daleks. It's less a brilliant Master Plan and more a science nerd's fantasy to finally get back at all the stupid jocks who made fun of him at recess.
I dunno. I have heard people refer to this as "the greatest Dalek story ever" and I'm just not feeling it. Parts of it were very good individually, particularly early on when Nicholas Courtney was on screen. But for my money, The Dalek Invasion of Earth was far superior on every level. Then again, at that point I wasn't sick of the Daleks yet. I mean, I was in the sense that I am completely bored with the Daleks having to show up every single season in the modern series, resulting in travesties like The Daleks Take Manhattan, but in the context of this project at the time that Dalek Invasion of Earth happened it was only their second appearance.
At least in a few more stories we finally get the Cybermen, so we can alternate between overdone foes.
Companion(s): Steven Taylor, Sara Kingdom
Episode(s): The Abandoned Planet / Destruction of Time
Steps Walked: 6,158 today, 352,099 total
Distance Walked: 3.03 miles today, 162.02 miles total
Weight: 290.58 lbs (five day moving average), net change -16.72 lbs