Friday, June 29, 2012

Doctor Who: 036 The Evil of the Daleks

At the end of the previous serial, The Faceless Ones, the Doctor and Jamie discover the TARDIS has been stolen after saying farewell to Ben and Polly in 1966 London. The Evil of the Daleks, picks up right at that point as the Doctor and Jamie chase after a lorrie carrying the TARDIS away from Gatwick Airport. Thus begins the final serial in season 4.

Again, sadly, most of this story is missing. Of the 7 episodes in this serial, only episode 2 exists, which happens to be Vicki's first on-screen appearance. Thankfully, a full set of telesnaps and audio tracks allow this story to be reconstructed. As with The Faceless Ones, I had four reconstructions to watch: the Loose Cannon reconstruction, the Joint Venture reconstruction, the Elaphe reconstruction, and an unidentified reconstruction that uses white subtitles (probably by the same party who produced the unidentified one from The Faceless Ones... this one spells Theodore Maxtible's character name as "Theodroe" in the credits). The existing episode 2 is included on the Lost in Time DVD set. As in previous reconstructions, The Loose Cannon one is probably the best overall. While some of the animation in it is a little crude, it's impressive for a fan production and helps keep the action moving.

The Doctor and Jamie manage to follow the TARDIS' trail to a Victorian antiques dealer named Edward Waterfield. While attempting to discover what Waterfield has done with the TARDIS, they are gassed and wake up in a Victorian manor house in 1866 where they uncover and foil yet another plot by the Daleks to conquer the Human race: a dastardly plan to reputedly isolate "The Human Factor", the traits that have enabled Humans to beat the Daleks time and again, so the Daleks can create super-Daleks with human qualities in order to defeat humanity. The Daleks hold the TARDIS hostage on Skaro in return for the Doctor's co-operation in isolating "The Human Factor". What the Daleks are really after, however, is "The Dalek Factor" which counteracts "The Human Factor" and will imbue humans with Dalek-like qualities (not too unlike the Robomen in The Dalek Invasion of Earth, except that they were actually being controlled by the Daleks). The Daleks plan to use the Doctor to spread "The Dalek Factor" through all of time and space so they can conquer humanity. In the end, the Daleks are defeated as the Doctor uses their plan against them and instead infects the Daleks with "The Human Factor", giving them freewill and the ability to question orders.

This is not a typical Dalek story where the Daleks come charging in and EXTERMINATE everyone. I'm wondering if this might be because this serial was written by David Whitaker, not Terry Nation. The first several episodes are more about Edward Waterfield, his daughter Victoria (who will replace Ben and Polly as the Doctor's new companion) and the owner of the house, Theodore Maxtible. I found myself liking the Victorian setting as well as Edward Waterfield, even though I had heard he didn't make it through this story. The last couple of episodes are set on Skaro and feature the first appearance of the Dalek Emperor.

Personally, I thought "The Human Factor" and "The Dalek Factor" were a little silly as plot points, but the story generally worked pretty well. As I mentioned, I was much more into the Victorian setting where most of the story takes place. In the final battle with the Daleks, Edward Waterfield is killed and the Doctor tells Jamie that Victoria will have to come with them. The final battle let the season go out literally with a blast. :) While the final scenes don't exist as aired, there is 8mm footage that the special effects team filmed while making the final scenes, so that footage gives an indication of what the final battle might have looked like on-screen. A reconstruction of this scene appears on both the Lost in Time set and on the DVD for the next serial, The Tomb of the Cybermen.

At the end of this serial, the Doctor makes a comment that perhaps this will be the final time they would see the Daleks. This was supposedly the final Dalek story on Doctor Who as Terry Nation was attempting to get a Dalek series off the ground based on a pilot he wrote. That series never materialized, and the Daleks did eventually return to battle the Doctor many times.

I enjoyed this story and would certainly like to see more episodes found. With 6 of the 7 episodes of this serial missing, our total missing episode count for season 4 goes up to 33 and our total for Troughton goes up to 28. I'm also going to begin including stats of the number of incomplete and missing serials to this tally: Hartnell stands at 6 missing and 6 incomplete while Troughton is at 3 missing and 4 incomplete at the end of season 4 (which doesn't have a single complete serial for either Hartnell or Troughton). Next time, the earliest complete Troughton serial and the start of season 5, The Tomb of the Cybermen.

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