Doctor Who #350: Planet of the Daleks Part 5

"It's a good feeling, isn't it? When the hunted become the hunters."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired May 5 1973.

IN THIS ONE... Surviving to the dawn, our heroes mount a multi-pronged infiltration of the Dalek base. The Spiridon Wister dies contaminating the Dalek plague lab. It's also the one where they push Daleks into a shallow pool of ice water.

REVIEW: There's still a little bit of hanging around dealing with this crazy planet's dangers before the protagonists actually spring into action and start the third Act. And I'm afraid it's not very good. The Doctor lets the Thals empty their laser guns ineffectually at bright animal eyes in the darkness (which look horrendously fake) before offering fire as a solution. Meanwhile, Vaber's impetuous attempt to blow up the Dalek refrigerator is revealed to be stupid for an extra reason - it's based on Codal's relatively baseless assertion that this will kill the Daleks, when it it will actually defrost their huge army. So the Thals aren't doing very well as a group. Not to worry, the Daleks are rubbish too. Just as I was starting to think this was their best showing since the Invasion of Earth, here they are letting themselves get dragged into a foot and a half of cold water when they up and die. So much for driving an armored tank. The Doctor's assertion that they are particularly susceptible to cold is new information somehow retconned into their history, just like the casing alarm described earlier. Terry Nation is playing fast and loose with his metal monsters and with our memories of their earlier clashes with the Doctor. We're still denied the mutants' true appearance though.

It's also pretty dumb of them to require Vaber to betray the other Thals when they already know where they're holed up. What's the point, except giving them an excuse to shoot him in the back? They're not doing so well back at the base either, where Jo's friendly Spiridon has infiltrated their bacteriological lab where - more crazy science! - they're administering a light-based serum for a viral bacteria. His suicide run at the plague box creates an interesting moment as the only two immune Daleks realize they can't ever open the door without killing their own forces, but it seems incredibly risky, doesn't it? What if these Daleks decided killing everyone was better than being trapped in there? We also see what a Spiridon looks like because they become visible when they die. I know, it's nonsense.

As the plot kicks into overdrive, the character subplots start to fall by the wayside. Taron isn't so worried about Rebec anymore, and she's the one who gets to drive an empty Dalek into the heart of their base (as Ian had all those years ago). Jo chooses to partner up with Latep since they had a brief flirtation in the previous episode (a handshake understood to be a bit more, there's not much there), but they don't really have time to interact. Maybe she can cry over his body in the finale. What. He's got dead weight written all over him. I've forgotten the details of this story, but I'd be very surprised if he makes it out alive.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-Low - It's got its moments, but generally, the characters on both sides are by turns required to act as ineffectually as possible to let the plot happen.



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