Doctor Who #166: The Evil of the Daleks Part 2

"You will not feed the flying pests outside. Answer!"
TECHNICAL SPECS: The only existing episode from this story, it can be found in the Lost in Time DVD boxed set. First aired May 27 1967.

IN THIS ONE... Jamie and the Doctor are taken to 1866 via Victorian time machine.

REVIEW: When there's only one episode left in the archives, and Troughton and Hines put in a lot of silent bits of comic business in it, it just makes you realize how much we've probably lost when so many of their episodes together were wiped. The moments we do have are all the more precious, like the Doctor warning Jamie not to bump into anything even as he does so, leaving Jamie to anonymously save a falling antique. Or Jamie touching the time machine and finding it hot to the touch. Jamie has great reactions throughout, really coming into his own as the single companion. He's smart enough to work out the time travel scheme by himself, but foolish enough to speak loudly during a break-in. He's becoming an expert in finding secret doors too, really not as dense as my impression of him used to be (might be his interactions with Zoe later). And he's quite the ladies man as well, noticing Victoria's hot mum in a painting, and getting massaged rather fondly by Mollie the Saucy Maid.

The Doctor's role is comparatively more functional, but Troughton still gets some important moments in. The Doctor's curiosity makes him forget about the TARDIS when a mystery is afoot. And confronted with a Dalek-engineered dilemma, he refuses to cooperate, and yet... We're with him when it dawns on him that the Daleks' signature energy (static) means what he thinks it means, and so the Doctor's role in this is to create the proper apprehension as things are revealed by the two guest scientists. Waterfield is very much a good man in bad circumstances, a man not built for murder or body disposal, and overwhelmed by what the monsters force him to do to save his daughter. The shockingly bearded Maxtible is anything BUT a good man, however. Though he presents himself as Waterfield's partner, he's an Ahab type, an obsessed zealot with more regard for science than he does for human life. If I know my Doctor Who, he's soon to start claiming he can control the Daleks, and he's almost certainly more complicit than he admits. Maxtible's house has other inhabitants - his daughter Ruth, the enthusiastic Mollie, a dirty ruffian who causes a cliffhanger, the Daleks, and of course, Victoria Waterfield. She gets a single scene where she is oppressed by the Daleks who are unhappy that she's losing weight (that's less of the human factor in her, I'm sure they theorize). Deborah Watling doesn't get to do much, but she's pretty and proves she can do terrified defiance well enough. A useful talent in this business.

As in Power of the Daleks, David Whitaker makes the Daleks funny without making them stupid (see The Chase). He understands they're funny because they hate and may actually fear everything. They're essentially control freaks who panic when they don't get their way. Birds, lost weight, they're all things they can't control so they FREAK OUT about them. Dudes, chill. Once again a shout-out to Dudley Simpson who underscores the Doctor's awakening in the past with dissonant music to go with his headache. And is that a video transition (à la Star Wars) I saw? Director Derek Martinus is certainly full of surprises.

THEORIES: So Maxtible and Waterfield have created a time machine using mirrors and static electricity... It's complete nonsense, of course, but the Whoniverse does make use of mirrors in similar ways later. While I might point to things like the 10th Doctor trapping a member of the Family of Blood in a mirror, the best link to mirror tech is in Warrior's Gate which shows the Tharils able to walk through time using what looks like a giant mirror. The idea of extra space contained in a mirror's reflection may in fact work the same way as a TARDIS interior. It's just as likely that Maxtible and Waterfield haven't invented a damn thing, and that it's all the Daleks' doing. They lock onto the static electricity signature with their DARDIS and bam, they've got the run of a Victorian house. There are no accidents in this story. The Daleks have obviously done their research, as they've distributed likenesses of the 2nd Doctor, which they've never met.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - There's great fun in the details, and the story continues to twist and turn. It does feel like we're still doing introductions though, a result of the change of venue.



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