Doctor Who: The Daleks’ Master Plan
(12 episodes, s03e10-e21, 1965-1966)
It’s a fantastic adventure with a lot of intriguing twists and turns that the Doctor and crew stumble into. It nicely capitalized on the thread started in Mission to the Unknown, even if it used the trope of missing an important message due to lack of attention. As a result, one special agent dies and the other almost does, and once again I issue the memo to the future to install annoying ringtones on the communication consoles. If in doubt, ask Nokia.
Meanwhile, Mavic Chen, the Guardian of the Solar System and unfortunate recipient of the yellowface treatment, sides with the Daleks over his own people after preaching about peace and harmony. Politicians never change, I suppose, however I did like how masterful he was in convincing his staff that otherwise faithful agents had betrayed the government.
I did like how Katarina, a girl from ancient Troy, was puzzled over modern medicine. Katarina’s motivations for remaining with the Doctor are unique: She believes that the Doctor is a god who can get her to heaven. It’s quite fitting, given the deus ex machina nature of the Doctor, and particularly chilling in the first-ever companion death in the series. It was an understandable move given how shallow Katarina’s character was, but I was just as shaken as the Doctor and I think it was because of the pure innocence Katarina embodied.
Actually stealing the key from the Doctor was an interesting way to keep TARDIS around, and while I appreciate the creativity in blocking the obvious solution to keeping our heroes out of trouble, I am growing a bit weary of it. The old switcheroo to get the Doctor into the meeting is creative, but how does no one notice the change in his gait or his feet?
I loved Sara Kingdom, a powerful take-charge female character, and her end was chilling as well. It’s a shame that the spin-off series that would have featured her never got off the ground. I also like the footprint effects for the invisible creature, which were impressive for a show of this era and budget.
The re-introduction of the Monk is a bit odd, and it seemed like filler to get the Daleks and Chen in position to chase the TARDIS. Luckily, the writers capitalized on the story point. He did have a suitable end, and as much as I want to see more of the Doctor’s people, I think I’m done with the Monk.
“The Feast of Steven” is an episode that should be excluded from this serial. It doesn’t add to the Dalek story, and the reconstruction doesn’t do it justice. I get what they were trying for since it was broadcast on Christmas Day, but it just doesn’t fit with the plot. On a minor note, the breaking of the fourth wall was a nice touch.
Also, Steven is still an idiot. Why, why, why(!), when he knows that there are Daleks around, would he call attention to himself by yelling for the Doctor? He’s ranking up there as my least favorite long-term companion.
A few minor notes: The cricket pitch scene was humorous, and reminded me of a similar scene in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Doctor’s magic ring is a little too convenient for my tastes; and the final episode is a perfect conclusion to this epic story.
To wrap it up, I finally get the Daleks I know as they betray their allies in their true xenophobic and genocidal fashion.
Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”
The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.