Doctor Who #48: Day of Reckoning

"There will come a time when you are forced to stop travelling and you’ll arrive some where."TECHNICAL SPECS: Part 3 of The Dalek Invasion of Earth. First aired Dec.5 1964.

IN THIS ONE... The Resistance's attempt to break the Daleks' prisoners free leads everyone to be separated. Jenny, Barbara and doomed Dortmun race through Dalek-occupied London. Ian stows away on a saucer. And the Doctor, Susan and David are imperiled by a Dalek bomb.

REVIEW: Another memorable episode, largely thanks to the shots of Daleks patrolling the famous landmarks and empty streets of London while Barbara and Jenny push Dortmun's wheelchair at dangerous speeds to get to safety. I suppose Dalekmania had something to do with it because in the past year of the show, we haven't seen anything even close to this. Doctor Who hasn't been on location, much less cleared Trafalgar Square and put Dalek graffiti on the lions! Iconic stuff. I certainly redeems the frequently bad staging - people hiding in plain sight, a man running right up to a Dalek before he sees him - but that's not to say there isn't some inspired direction as well. I like, for example, how we see Dortmun play on a little chess board, then cut away to the Resistance's Trojan Roboman strategy. It works, but Dortmun's damn bombs don't, so few rebels make it out of there alive, falling prey to the Daleks' guns with their obscene thrusting elements (which I've always found more effective than the always-late white-out).

Our characters all get separated, at least for a time. Before the Doctor rejoins Susan, she's with David, hiding in the bushes. Their relationship still isn't overt, but they do cradle each other and Susan is keen to invite him aboard the TARDIS. But he won't go, he doesn't believe in running away. When she's left with him at the end of episode 6, it won't just be a new life for her - finally a place she can belong to - it's one with David, who represents a sedentary way of life more than anyone. At first, the Doctor resents the fact Susan defers to David. She's always put her faith in locals (Ian and Barbara, but also Ping-Cho and the Sensorites), while the Doctor primarly has faith in himself. But when David shows the old man respect, his heart is melted and he follows the rebel's lead. We don't know it yet, and neither does Susan, but this is basically the scene where the Doctor gives David her hand.

After a scene of extreme wetness from Susan, Jenny has taken the role of Barbara's best girl. Dortmun sacrifices himself to help the girls escape to the Bedfordshire Mine, where everyone seems to be heading, knowing he would never reach it in his condition. His new and improved bomb doesn't work any better than the last model, but at least he stands up to the Daleks, literally, so as not to make this the world's first stand-off exclusively on casters. Ian, for his part, has taken the express to Bedford by stowing away on the saucer with fellow inmate Craddock (he's looking for his brother there). There's a creepy tussle with a Roboman whose strings are cut when they beat his head gear off, but otherwise, this part of the story is pretty standard fare. No worries, there's lots to look at besides.

VERSIONS: The DVD's enhanced effects option "repairs" a single saucer shot in this episode.

REWATCHABILITY: High - Vivid imagery and meaningful character content more than make up for some lax direction here and there.

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