Knight of the Woeful Countenance
Today was my first day back on the treadmill after a weekend in the Rocky Mountains where I had no access (and, frankly, no desire). I expected it to be a rough go. but overall it wasn't bad. I still went for just over four miles, which wasn't half bad. Unfortunately, I spent it watching another damn Dalek story, and a weird one at that.
So let's talk about that.
Revelation of the Daleks - Part 1
(TARDIS Data Core recap)
I will at least give writer and script editor Eric Saward credit for trying to do something unusual with the story. The setting is the planet Necros, home to a pseudo- funeral parlor named Tranquil Repose. I say pseudo because it is filled with the bodies of extremely wealthy people who have had their bodies cryogenically frozen at the moment of their death so that they can possibly be revived and cured in the future. So on the one hand it looks and feels like a planet-sized mausoleum, but on the other hand the interred are not technically dead.
In fact, there is a bizarre recurring cutaway radio DJ character who plays music, gives dedications, and adds color commentary to the goings-on while alternately dressed like a sixties hippy, an Elvis impersonator, and I think a particularly bad Marlon Brando impersonation. Similar to the couple in the much better Vengeance on Varos, the DJ character has no direct connection to the story (at least so far), but instead acts as a kind of solo Greek chorus.
There are sub-plots that involve a new dignitary being prepared for viewing, with an officious funeral director ordering people around and a homely female subordinate mooning after him. Meanwhile a pair of rebels infiltrate the facility, with the young woman in search of her recently-deceased father (she later finds him inside what I must admit is a pretty dang cool Crystal Dalek). Also meanwhile, the (I think) owner of the facility is under the thumb of Davros, or more accurately Davros' head which is placed inside a giant swiveling jar. He looks remarkably healthy since he was last seen dying in Whatever It Was of the Daleks that I can't even be bothered to look up (the one with the stupid Dalek helmets). Anyway, the owner of the facility hires a mercenary to assassinate Davros - the mercenary and his assistant being a fairly blatant homage to Don Quixote and Sancho.
You may notice that I haven't mentioned the Doctor or Peri yet. That is because, although they appear periodically throughout the episode, they never actually intersect with the story or characters appearing throughout. At the start of the episode the TARDIS materializes on a snowy hillside, Peri exits dressed sensibly for the second story in a row, and then the Doctor follows her out and basically calls her fat several times. They have come to Necros because some old friend of the Doctor has died (actually a lure by Davros to get the Doctor to show up), and they spend the rest of the episode walking to the funeral home, encountering a mutant along the way who provides some exposition before dying, then climbing a stone wall because they can't find a door (at which point the Doctor basically calls Peri fat a couple more times, because for some reason Eric Saward thinks the Sixth Doctor should be an asshole as often as possible), and then ultimately come face to face with what appears to be the Doctor's gravestone. It took me more time to write this paragraph than the actual screen time spent by the supposedly lead characters of the story.
Part of the weirdness of the story is that virtually all of the characters are played in a heightened pantomime style. I'm not exactly saying that Classic Who is generally a bastion of fine dramatic acting, but usually the characters bear at least a passing resemblance to real people. In this story, however, everything is played for camp. Also, the background music sounds like the bastard love child of Goblin and Tangerine Dream, and I don't mean that in a good way. I don't dislike it quite as much as The Twin Dilemma, but so far this story is really fighting hard for a slot as the second worst Sixth Doctor story.
Who knows, maybe the second part tomorrow will redeem the story. Anything is possible. But I kind of doubt it.
Episode(s): Revelation of the Daleks - Part 1
Steps Walked: 7,386 today, 2,309,717 total
Distance Walked: 4.02 miles today, 1,191.59 miles total
Weight: 246.00 lbs (five day moving average), net change -61.30 lbs