"Traitor? An archaic word for so advanced a... 'man' as yourself."TECHNICAL SPECS: Part 2 of the Daleks' Master Plan, one of three surviving episodes from this story found on the Lost in Time DVD. First aired Nov.20 1965.
IN THIS ONE... Daleks with flamethrowers, Mavic Chen talks to a man made of seaweed, and the Doctor steals the taranium core that powers the time destructor.
REVIEW: We only have three episode of DMP on video, and the first gives us a taste of what we may be missing with the rest. While the plot is as SF matinee as Nation usually gets - if perhaps a bit more political - the acting and direction elevate the material greatly. And that's what mostly been lost along with the images. Just look at Kevin Stoney's performance as Mavic Chen. His expressions add a lot to the character, and small alien behaviors, like the way he holds his pencil and the strange language he writes in, break the dull culturelessness of most "future" episodes. It looks like Douglas Camfield might have had a lot to do with such details, as he appears to be a rather thoughtful director. Again, I refer you to the scene between Chen and Zephon, where they discuss their ambitions and Chen speaks from behind metal bars for a time, a man figuratively trapped by the "smallness" of his current domain (the Solar System) and wanting more. There are other such flourishes, like the energetic camera work when the Doctor uses the chaos of an intruder alert to steal Terry Nation's MacGuffin, the taranium core, or how each delegate exhibits movements and postures as alien as their appearances. It'd be silly if it weren't so fascinating.
The characters are mostly well served by the script. The Doctor is brave and gives Bret Vyon a good talking-to. Steven, an astronaut, admires the many ships at the conference. Bret Vyon needs to take the lead, but is nevertheless impressed by the Doctor and winds up a follower rather than a leader. Among the heroes, only Katarina seems off. I don't just mean her strange, archaic expressions, but even her delivery. Though I thought a companion from a primitive time had a lot of potential (Leela is one of my favorites, for example), if the character doesn't work, ultimately, it'll be because Adrienne Hill couldn't make it work. On the villains' side, both Mavic Chen and Zephon believe themselves equal or better than the Daleks, but of course, the Daleks plan on betraying all the delegates once they're done with them (classic). Chen is so smooth and ironic, you get the sense he knows this and is playing a longer game, though this is likely hubris on yet another level. Zephon feels entitled, but the ol' pile of animated branches is a bit of a loser, going by the profile Chen draws of him.
The production values are good, with lots of different costumes and make-ups for the delegates, a moody jungle and miniature Dalek base, and coolest of all, Daleks with blowtorches burning down the forest to smoke the TARDISeers out. Pretty impressive.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - Having the video helps this episode greatly, as we can see how nuanced it is compared to the previous episode. On audio alone, we have to focus too much on Nation's wooden dialog. Here, the contributions of the director and actors have more of an impact.