Doctor Who #397: Genesis of the Daleks Part 4

"Suppose something's waiting for us in there." "That is nasty. Better not tell Harry, he's gone first."
TECHNICAL SPECS: First aired Mar.29 1975.

IN THIS ONE... Davros gets rid of many enemies and then our heroes walk back into his clutches.

REVIEW: Unstable or not, Davros wants the Daleks to be built in his image, both in form and thought. On his order, conscience and (positive) emotion are to be removed from the Daleks mutants, as they are things he himself lacks. Just like his creations, Davros believes himself to be superior and cannot recognize his faults. He is science unchecked by ethics, a monster who not only looks the part, but suggests his opponents be lobotomized rather than killed. It's wonderfully horrific. And it's that threat that looms over our heroes when they're recaptured by episode's end, Harry and Sarah hooked up to torture machines. Will the Doctor feel forced to reveal the Daleks' mistakes, perhaps creating a future in which they are even more unstoppable? Or can Davros even accept flaws in his initial design? He's quickly figured out the Doctor's weakness, but when it comes to his creations, he has a certain blind spot.

But maybe the Doctor is willing to do what it takes to ensure a better future, even sacrifice his companions. When he thought them dead, it seemed like he was quick to recruit a young Thal girl called Bettan. His answer to "what will you do now?" is "start again", which seemed more about his travel arrangement than his temporal mission. None of which takes away from the TARDISeers' happy reunion, or from their restored chemistry and banter, as Bettan is relegated to building a resistance army. In another version of events, might it have been Bettan crawling through an air duct, absent Sarah's expression of disbelief as she finds herself doing something she clearly hates AGAIN.

But make no mistake. No matter how brave the goodies are, this is Davros' episode. He and Nyder play Richard III and Buckingham, eliminating all opposition masterfully. Let the Thals blow up the Kaled city and use it to accelerate Dalek production while simultaneously pinning it on Ronson. And when Nyder overhears Gharman opposing Davros' experiments - is there anyone BUT Nyder who agrees with them? - he lures his fellow officer into a false sense of security, getting him to give up his allies. Compared to that, Harry almost stepping in a giant clam AGAIN, and Sarah screaming her head off as she runs from creatures who can't follow, is nothing but amateur hour.

REWATCHABILITY: Medium-High - A very strong chapter for the villain, but the production can't quite get away from the fact they're just resetting the heroes' position to square one.



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