Doctor Who #9: The Expedition

"So, there is something you'll fight for?"TECHNICAL SPECS: The episode is on disc 2 of The Beginning DVD boxed set as part 5 of The Daleks. First aired Jan.18 1964.

IN THIS ONE... Ian convinces the Thals of the need to fight the Daleks and sets off with Barbara and a Thal party into the wilderness to flank the Dalek city.

REVIEW: So how are you liking those titles? A lot more Voyager than TOS, right? We haven't yet fallen into a pattern, but to me, a Doctor Who title should sound like NOUN of SCARY NOUN. A couple more generic titles to go, I'm afraid. With The Expedition, we finally hit the padded portion of the first Dalek adventure. The beginning really belongs to The Ambush, and the end to The Ordeal, while the middle bits don't really do much at all.

So the fluid link is in the Daleks' possession, but the TARDIS crew can't get it back without the Thals' help. The Doctor and Barbara want to use, even manipulate, the Thals, but Ian doesn't. While he's no pacifist, he believes they should find their own reason for fighting the Daleks. He tries to convince them that the Daleks will eventually come for them, but they claim they'll just move away. So he shows them through actions, by attempting to bring Dyoni to the Daleks so they can experiment on her, and gets Alydon's fist in his jaw as a result. He's shown them a new way, and destroyed an entire way of life in the process. But while we might muse at the moral implications today, the show doesn't really do so. The Thals' pacifism might as well be communism, and centrist authority figures like the teachers hold that one extreme is as bad as the another. The Doctor, for his part, represents revolution (or will). his presence changes things (though companions sometimes act as catalysts), so no status quo is safe, whether left or right-leaning.

In the middle of the episode, we have a sequence that shows the Daleks to be far less interesting when they have no human foil to interact with them. It's a lesson that will have to be learned again and again by various production teams, both in and out of canon. Through the drone of technobabble, we learn that the Thal anti-radiation drugs are incompatible with Dalek biology, making them go insane. There is something very disconcerting indeed about the mad Dalek's moans. They deduce that radiation is actually healthy for them, and that the level is too low outside the city and plan to drop another bomb. The Thals are in danger, but don't know it, and Science isn't in a much better position. The cardboard stand-up Daleks that shore up their numbers aren't TOO noticeable, but they won't be hard to find.

On the Thal side, plans are drawn to infiltrate the Dalek city from the rear while a distraction is staged out front. As Barbara, Ian and some Thals enter the marshlands, we step deep into movie serial territory, a danger every few minutes. The good intersects with the bad, with a cool squid-like monster rising from the mist contrasting with ill-fitting nature film footage of "giant" grubs. Ian makes himself useful, finding a shortcut through the mountain using logic, while Barbara makes her fears known and seems to hand around Ganatus a lot. Not that there's any chemistry between them, but he does sleep with his head on her ankle. Early-60s-tv code for Love, I suppose. The cliffhanger has one of the Thals fall prey to a weird vortex effect in the swamp while he's refilling the water gourds from a source said to be full of phosphorescent chemicals! Confirmed: Science is definitely in jeopardy.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - There just doesn't appear to be enough material for a full episode here. The bits you're likely to remember will always seem like they're from the previous or next episode.



Blog Archive


5 Things to Like (21) Activities (23) Advice (74) Alien Nation (34) Aliens Say the Darndest Things (8) Alpha Flight (25) Amalgam (53) Ambush Bug (46) Animal Man (17) anime (52) Aquaman (71) Archetypes (14) Archie Heroes (10) Arrowed (20) Asterix (9) Atom (30) Avengers (58) Awards (33) Babylon 5 (140) Batman (677) Battle Shovel (13) Battlestar Galactica (134) Black Canary (22) BnB 2-in1 (40) Books (60) Booster Gold (16) Buck Rogers (12) Buffy (6) Canada (70) Captain America (69) Captain Marvel (55) Cat (156) CCGs (51) Charlton (12) Circles of Hell (6) Class (11) Comics (3961) Comics Code Approved (12) Conan (15) Contest (13) Cooking (15) Crisis (77) Daredevil (33) Dating Kara Zor-El (5) Dating Lois Lane (23) Dating Lucy Lane (13) Dating Princess Diana (11) DCAU (404) Deadman (9) Dial H (128) Dice (10) Dinosaur Island (16) Dinosaurs (67) Director Profiles (9) Doctor Who (1677) Doom Patrol (22) Down the Rabbit Hole (7) Dr. Strange (17) Encyclopedia (28) Fantastic Four (56) Fashion Nightmares (19) Fiasco (14) Films Within Films (6) Flash (83) Flushpoint (86) Foldees (12) French (49) Friday Night Fights (57) Fun with Covers (56) FW Team-Up (37) Galleries (9) Game design (26) Gaming (111) Geekly roundup (763) Geeks Anonymous (47) Geekwear (13) Gimme That Star Trek (60) Godzilla (53) Golden Age (432) Grant Morrison (75) Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction (8) Green Arrow (50) Green Lantern (87) Hawkman (39) Hero Points Podcast (13) Holidays (241) House of Mystery (15) Hulk (44) Human Target (8) Improv (34) Inspiration (45) Intersect (5) Invasion Podcast (44) Iron Man (50) Jack Kirby (87) Jimmy Olsen (74) JLA (95) JSA (25) K9 the Series (30) Kirby Motivationals (18) Krypto (202) Kung Fu (98) Learning to Fly (11) Legion (129) Letters pages (6) Liveblog (12) Lonely Hearts Podcast (21) Lord of the Rings (18) Machine Man Motivationals (10) Man-Thing (6) Marquee (89) Masters of the Universe (9) Memes (39) Memorable Moments (35) Metal Men (5) Metamorpho (65) Millennium (72) Mini-Comics (5) Monday Morning Macking (7) Movies (457) Mr. Terrific (6) Music (73) Nelvana of the Northern Lights (8) Nightmare Fuel (21) Number Ones (59) Obituaries (41) oHOTmu OR NOT? (76) Old52 (11) One Panel (291) Outsiders (165) Panels from Sheena (5) Paper Dolls (7) Play (76) Podcast (488) Polls (5) Questionable Fridays (13) Radio (18) Rants (20) Reaganocomics (8) Recollected (11) Red Bee (26) Red Tornado (10) Reign (563) Retro-Comics (3) Reviews (52) Rom (116) RPGs (539) Sandman (21) Sapphire & Steel (37) Sarah Jane Adventures (70) Saturday Morning Cartoons (5) SBG for Girls (4) Seasons of DWAITAS (100) Secret Origins Podcast (8) Secret Wars (25) SF (30) Shut Up Star Boy (1) Silver Age (368) Siskoid as Editor (34) Siskoid's Mailbox (10) Space 1999 (51) Spectre (20) Spider-Man (100) Spring Cleaning (15) ST non-fiction (19) ST novels: DS9 (8) ST novels: S.C.E. (19) ST novels: The Shat (2) ST novels: TNG (9) ST novels: TOS (13) Star Trek (1712) Streaky (2) Suicide Squad (38) Supergirl (89) Superman (1060) Supershill (11) Swamp Thing (23) Tales from Earth-Prime (7) Team Horrible (4) Teen Titans (83) That Franchise I Never Talk About (53) The Orville (29) The Prisoner (5) The Thing (54) Then and Now (4) Theory (51) Thor (52) Thursdays of Two Worlds (43) Time Capsule (8) Timeslip (7) Tintin (23) Torchwood (62) Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms (5) Toys (65) Turnarounds (7) TV (193) V (6) Waking Life (1) Warehouse 13 (9) Websites (102) What If? (103) Who's This? (204) Whoniverse-B (11) Wikileaked (3) Wonder Woman (82) X-Files (246) X-Men (102) Zero Hour Strikes (26) Zine (5)