Doctor Who #167: The Evil of the Daleks Part 3

"Why, you bite at each other as if you were old enemies!"TECHNICAL SPECS: Missing from the archives. A reconstruction it is, then. First aired Jun.3 1967.

IN THIS ONE... Because the Daleks want the Doctor to isolate the "human factor", he manipulates Jamie into participating in a test.

REVIEW: The story keeps adding characters, not necessarily to its advantage. The previous episode's ruffian is revealed to be one Toby, working for Arthur Terrall, Ruth Maxtible's fiance controlled by the Daleks. Seeing as the kidnapping of Jamie is quickly undone, and as Toby dies at the end of a Dalek gun by the end of the episode, these seem two characters too many. We also meet Kemel the Turk, a mute and simple strongman who isn't the most shining example of non-white casting in the program's history. At least Kemel seems to be on the side of the angels, as he needs to be told Jamie is evil so he'll cooperate, but the impossibly slow scene in which his strength is demonstrated to a Dalek in a closet is particularly tedious in the audio format. The promise of a likewise audio-only battle between him and Jamie, and the Scots' facing of multiple death traps in the next episode doesn't fill me with confidence either.

What IS the human factor? If it's all up to the Doctor - and it is - there's no doubt he'll throw a wrench in the Dalek works. Jamie's test, which involves trying to rescue Victoria from the south wing, is meant to showcase the human factor. It may well turn out that factor is friendship, because that's what's truly being tested here. The Doctor manipulates his young friend into the rescue attempt by undermining Jamie's confidence in him, using reverse-psychology to send him on his way. But while we can trust that the Doctor is playing a longer game and isn't sincere when he antagonizes Jamie, it's still the kind of dark moment we usually identify with the 7th Doctor. The central scene is the argument between them, and though the Doctor doesn't REALLY put the TARDIS before his friend, and doesn't REALLY mean to help the Daleks, we can still wonder if their friendship can weather this. It's turning out to be a great story for Jamie though. In part because he's the only companion and has room to breathe and grow, but also because he's resourceful and headstrong, and damn it, he doesn't need to do everything he's told. I don't think I've ever liked him more than I do in The Evil of the Daleks.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Suffers from too-big a cast of guest characters, but the focus on the central friendship of the series allows for its best moments.

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