Doctor Who #169: The Evil of the Daleks Part 5

"I am not a student of human nature. I am a professor of a far wider academy, of which human nature is merely a part. All forms of life interest me."TECHNICAL SPECS: Missing from the archives. As usual, I've used a reconstruction. First aired Jun.17 1967.

IN THIS ONE... The Doctor completes the experiment and injects the human factor in a trio of Daleks. Victoria is taken into the time cabinet. And Jamie has a sword fight with Tarrell.

REVIEW: As far as plot goes, everything of significance happens in the last few minutes, but that doesn't mean there's nothing interesting in the first 20. This is an episode about confrontations. One physical confrontation has been lost with the video, a prolonged sword fight between the Jamie and Tarrell, but the the rest are character-based. The Doctor's battle of wits with Tarrell leads us to believe the man is more than under Dalek control, but has perhaps been transformed into some kind of Roboman. Unfortunately, the fact that he has electricity running through his body seems to be a piece of weird science abandoned in the final moments when the Doctor sends him away with the house's innocent bystanders. The Doctor's battle of conscience with Waterfield is more interesting. The latter man's reached his breaking point and tries to prevent the Doctor from giving the Daleks the improvements they asked for, but the Doctor's quick to remind him that it's all a bit too late for him to grow a backbone. Of course, Waterfield is missing the point. The human factor may in fact pacify the Daleks, not make them better conquerors. However, there's a chilling moment when the Doctor says it may well come to destroying an entire race. Waterfield thinks he's talking about humanity, but the Doctor is here contemplating the genocide of the Dalek race. It's a dark moment that's only acceptable because the Daleks are so dangerous, it seems a necessary evil.

And then there's the struggle between the Doctor and Jamie over trust. Jamie is at his most earnest here, telling the Doctor he's just to callous for him. Jamie questions whether he can trust the Doctor, and while we the audience believe we can, the man's just done talking about genocide. It doesn't come from a place of callousness, but it's still a ruthless necessity. When the Doctor says he cares about human beings, it's true. The monsters' inhumanity make them fair game. Or will the human factor be their redemption? The playful Daleks at the end - that cliffhanger seems more for the audience's benefit than the protagonists, seeing as it may destroy a beloved villain - DO have humanity in them, which means they should be on the Doctor's protection list. A genocide at this point would be more tragic.

Meanwhile, Victoria finally meets one of the regulars (though we know she joins up, she hasn't done anything yet to indicate she'd be a companion) and is it me, or does the smile she wears on the lone tele-snap betray a little chemistry between her and Jamie? Apparently, sparks flew off the set, but how much of that translated on the screen? I wish we had the visual evidence to judge for ourselves. Something the tele-snaps were able to save though is Maxtible showing a talent for mesmerism in a creepy sequence that may well have hypnotized the folks at home (I averted my eyes from the screen to make sure - I don't feel mysteriously refreshed, so I think I'm out of the woods).

REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Settles scores between various characters, which is as interesting as any motive plot. Only the truth about Tarrell is lacking, and it doesn't look like they'll have a chance to answer those questions in the episodes left.

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