lørdag den 4. april 2009

Who Review #73 - Death to the Daleks

The TARDIS lands on a planet when it suffers a power drain. Sarah changes, as she was in a bathing costume, whilst the Doctor takes a look around. He is attacked by a cloaked figure. Sarah goes after him but finds his oil lamp covered in blood. She runs back to the TARDIS where she is attacked by another cloaked figure; she runs from the TARDIS after hitting the creature. The Doctor overpowers his captives. Sarah approaches a city with a glowing tower. The Doctor avoids a booby-trap,whereupon he meets two humans who take him back to their spaceship. The humans are Stewrat, Railton, Galloway and Hamilton. Their ship has also suffered power failure. They have come to the planet Exxilon to get a mineral to cure a space plague that is killing millions. Sarah is taken captive by the Exxilons by the city. A ship lands; it isn't a relief ship - it is a Dalek ship. The Daleks prepare to exterminate.

The Daleks weapons also suffer an energy drain. The humans and Daleks propose to work together on a solution to their problem. They say they too are dying because of the plague; also they pretend they are only four strong, when there are in fact others aboard the ship. Railton and a Dalek are killed by Exxilons and the group taken captive. At the Exxilon village they meet Sarah, who is to be sacrificed. The Daleks aboard the ship have developed automatic guns to replace their energy weapons. Commander Stewart appoints Hamilton in charge before he dies, but Galloway pretends not to hear that. That Daleks enter, killing Exxilons. The Doctor and Sarah run down a tunnel, but the tunnel where they were going to be sacrificed. They hear a roar. Galloway agrees a new deal with the Daleks: they will help wipe out the Exxilons' enemy, use the Exxilons to mine the mineral and hand over the Doctor and Sarah. Two Daleks head after the Doctor and Sarah. Sarah waits at a branch, where a short figure emerges, whilst the Doctor investigates one of the tunnels. A metal tentacle rises into the air, emitting a hissing sound, preparing to strike the Doctor.

Sarah and the figure, called Belal, talk. Bellal is one of the races on Exxilon which the Exxilons want to destroy. Another of Bellal's people warn of the Daleks - they take cover. One of the Daleks heads down the tunnel taken by the Doctor. The Dctor watches, in cover, whilst the tentacle destroyes the Dalek. The Doctor meets up with Sarah and co. Bellal tells the Doctor that his people had an advanced scientific society but destroyed themselves when they built the city - a living entity in its own right. Bellal and his people want to destroy the city and avert their destruction; the other Exxilons merely worship the city as a god. Daleks are dispatched to the city to investigate as well as lay charges on the tower, assisted by Hamilton and Galloway, which they deduce is the cause of the power drain. The Doctor learns that another Dalek has been destroyed and that the city tower is the cause of the power drain; also Bellal's people probably visited Earth and taught humans to build (shades of van Danicken!). Bellal and the Doctor head for the city whilst Sarah goes off to help the humans load the mineral aboard their ship. The Doctor notices that the symbols on the city wall are a logic puzzle, which opens a door when solved. They go into the city (with two daleks hot on their heels). They pass through another room by solving a maze problem on a wall. A third obstacle is a pattern on the floor.

The Doctor follows a path over the patterned floor. Bellal follows, wondering why the caution; the Doctor throws a coin and the floor is hit by electrical discharges. One of the following Daleks receives a shock but is only slightly damaged. Sarah finds Jill; they plan on getting the bags of minerals aboard the ship. The Doctor is stumped at the next room, whilst Bellal is mesmerised by a light and tries to kill the Doctor. He gets rid of the mesmeric influence on Bellal; a door opens and they move on. The Doctor speculates that the city wants intelligent people for some perpose, hence the tests. The last test is an attack on their sanity. They enter the city's heart - a control room with a main computer. The Doctor starts working on destroying the computer; the city starts creating anti-body creatures. Hamilton and Galloway set a charge on the tower; Galloway keeps one. The Daleks distract the anti-bodies, allowing the Doctor and Bellal to escape. The city begins to break down. Galloway and Hamilton load sacks onto the Dalek ship. The tower is destroyed and power returns. The Daleks take off, planning to fire a plague weapon. Galloway uses a charge to destroy the ship. Jill and Sarah managed to load the mineral on the Earth ship; the Daleks only had bags filled with sand. The city is destroyed; the Doctor states the Universe is down to 699 wonders.

Death... is a lovely bit of fun. It has a simple, lightweight plot which is OK from time to time. Especially considering the six parter only a Doctor and six stories away....

The negatives first: the Daleks act a bit hysterical at times, when they screach at losing control or when one commits suicide for losing Jill; the model Dalek ship is pretty naff; the supporting cast don't have much to do in this, except Galloway played by Duncan Lamont and Bellal played by Arnold Yarrow; the tests in the city seem a bit too easy.

There are lots of fun touches. The trusty local quarry is made to look suibtably alien at times. The city was a nice bit of modelling; its destruction is realised quite effectively (melting, with a high screach of pain accompanying). Carey Blyton's incidental music is quite unusual too; he used a saxophone group to play a melody for the Dalek scenes, which admittedly makes them appear comical!

Add to the stuff I like, I have also a sentimental reason for liking this story because it reminds me of a certain time and place, back in the 80s, when I first saw it.

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