How Can I Miss You If You Won't Go Away?
The bad news: It's another damn Dalek story. The good news: It's the last damn Dalek story forever. Well, at least, it was supposed to be. That lasted for about five years, which means that after this weekend I get a respite from them for several months. Seriously, I told my wife earlier today that she could go ahead and write my blog post for the day - Just say, "F%&$. Another Dalek story," and then a frowny face. Actually, though, it turns out that at least the first two episodes are pretty good.
Let's talk about that.
The Evil of the Daleks - Episodes 1 & 2
(TARDIS Date Core recap)
This is the sixth Dalek story in four years, not to mention a couple of times that they have shown up in passing. In all fairness, aside from The Chase each of the Dalek stories so far have been pretty good when taken on their own merits. It's just the frequency that wears me down, especially given that the modern era has exactly the same problem. Apparently in 1966 creator Terry Nation started shopping around a Dalek television series in the United States, and so the BBC decided to cut ties and kill them off once and for all. So here we are with The Evil of the Daleks, which was intended to be the grand finale to their entire existence as far as Doctor Who was concerned.
The first episode is really pretty clever in how it sets up the story. At the end of The Faceless Ones the TARDIS had gone missing, and the Doctor and Jamie set off to find it. This episode opens with the two of them on foot chasing after a flatbed truck hauling away the TARDIS to destinations unknown. From there they follow a chain of clues, all left very carefully by a mysterious Victorian antique dealer named Waterfield. At one point the Doctor and Jamie are sitting in a local bar/nightclub (having been led there by a matchbook cover), and notably in the background there plays two of the biggest pop hits of the day: Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen by The Seekers and Paperback Writer by the Beatles. I suspect that, if this story were to have ever been officially reconstructed by the BBC, that second song would have been excised and replaced due to licensing issues. As it is, only the second episode still exists on film, so as usual I was watching the Loose Cannon recon.
Anyway, there is no sign of any Daleks in the first episode until the very last moment, when we discover that Waterfield is actually from the year 1866 and has been sent forward in time by the Daleks specifically to lure the Doctor and Jamie into their trap. In the final shot a Dalek appears in the transporter in hidden room in Waterfield's mansion and murders one of Waterfield's lackeys.
The second episode has our heroes arriving at Waterfield's mansion and being lured into the transporter, where they are knocked unconscious by some gas and then taken back to the Victorian era. We also finally meet Waterfield's daughter Victoria, who is being held prisoner by the Daleks in order to compel Waterfield to do their bidding. Ultimately she will become a new companion, but in this episode she only appears in one brief scene where she is caged and tormented.
As it turns out, Waterfield is merely an employee of a very wealthy man named Theodore Maxtible. Being stupidly rich, he had funded Waterfield's scientific research into time travel. During the course of their experiments, they used static electricity to try to distort time and ended up creating an opening for the Daleks to enter and dominate. Now, the Daleks have decided to perform an experiment in order to figure out what it is in humans that has consistently caused mankind to defeat the Daleks at every turn. By the end of the second episode the Daleks have ordered the Doctor to assist them in their experiment, which will be performed on Jamie -- who has disappeared after apparently being kidnapped yet again. Dun dun DUN!
Interestingly, originally the woman from the previous story (the one whose brother had disappeared, and who wound up kissing Jamie twice) was originally intended to be the new companion -- that is, until the actress turned down the offer. So instead, the writer for The Evil of the Daleks was tasked with coming up with a replacement for the replacement, thus giving us Victoria. I have deliberately not read ahead in the story, so I presume that her father is going to meet an unfortunate end.
So far the story has been surprisingly strong, and different in style than any of the previous Dalek stories. I hope that holds up, because this sucker is seven episodes long. That means I'll be watching it all the way through the weekend. I fear that the middle part is going to have quite a bit of padding. My prediction: Frazer Hines gets a week off from work for episode three, and then Patrick Troughton gets a week of for episode four. Tune in tomorrow to find out if I am right...
Companion(s): Jamie McCrimmon, Victoria Waterfield
Episode(s): The Evil of the Daleks - Episodes 1 & 2
Steps Walked: 7,023 today, 562,184 total
Distance Walked: 3.56 miles today, 267.22 miles total
Weight: 281.62 lbs (five day moving average), net change -25.68 lbs