"Once I have destroyed the Doctor, and his preposterous coat
, I will be unstoppable! The universe will fall to the supreme might of the Daleks!"
The Doctor: But did you bother to tell anyone that they might be eating their own relatives?
Davros: Certainly not! That would have created what I believe is termed... "consumer resistance".
As you can tell from the title, it's Dalek time! And since it's a tale from the 1980s, this also means it's Davros Time as well. Let's see how things end up this
The TARDIS lands this week on the rather snow-covered planet of Necros, literally a graveyard planet for the universe, to pay respect to the late agronomist Arthur Stengos. The Doctor is wearing a blue overcoat, which looks quite neat and not
eye-killing bad. It's also apparently the local colour of mourning, if only because nobody anywhere in the universe would think his usual technicolour nightmare suitable for that purpose. He makes Peri wear a blue overcoat as well. He and Peri bumble around outside for the vast majority of the episode, we are introduced to a plethora of characters running the main offices of Necros — a place called Tranquil Repose. Here, the dead are buried and the near-dead are placed into suspended animation. They're entertained by a radio DJ with a (predictably awful) fake American accent who randomly dresses up as musicians in the eras between the 1950s and 1980s.
The Doctor and Peri continue to meander through the snow, and Peri finds some neat-looking flowers that the Doctor compares to a soybean... and then the Doctor is savagely attacked by a completely random mutant, who he defeats in seconds. As it turns out, the radio DJ is watching them in a life-and-death struggle and broadcasts to the citizens of Tranquil Repose. In fact, for some reason, white Daleks are trundling around the resort for the dead, serving the severed head of Davros! So, of course, Davros takes this pretty well and demands that... people deal with the intruders who just invaded the lower catacombs of the building. Wait, who
And then those intruders, Natasha and Grigory, come across the remains of the Natasha's father, Arthur Stengos, who is being rebuilt into a Dalek
, with a clear casing for once. This explains where those white Daleks who are apparently loyal to Davros come from. Natasha had suspected something strange when Arthur, uncharacteristically, requested to have himself placed in suspended animation. The intruders then blow him up to put him out of his misery.
In any case, the mutant tells the Doctor and Peri about this guy known as "the Great Healer", who apparently made him this way. Then he dies. So now the Doctor and Peri are going to go see this Great Healer and talk to him... if they can actually find the place. They do
find a lovely statuary, filled with memorial statues for every person who's been laid to rest there... including the Doctor
? As the Doctor nears the statue, it topples over, falling onto him.
As it turns out, the Doctor was not
crushed by the falling stack of polystyrene. Go figure. Finally breaking into the building known as Tranquil Repose, Peri and the Doctor quickly find themselves stuck in the middle of about 5 running plot threads — involving not just Davros, but also the mercenary Orcini note
, a group of grey
Daleks, the fact that Davros is making Soylent Green
, and a romantic subplot that ends with an asshole being killed by the woman who pined for him. Needless to say, the Doctor and poor Peri are quickly captured and are still royally confused while Davros exposits about how awesome he is. Luckily, Peri escapes and stumbles across the DJ, who is currently fighting off Daleks with a gun that fires compressed rock and roll
. And then the DJ dies in a scene that isn't nearly as tragic and sad as it thinks it is.
So, the Doctor and Orcini escape from Davros — blowing off Davros' hand in the process. Peri meets up with the pair, but not before Orcini decides to stay behind and blow up the entire Soylent Green
factory and Dalek-making facilities instead. The remaining surviving orderlies of Tranquil Repose wind up escaping the resulting explosion, Davros is captured by the traditional gray Daleks who then take him off to a trial where he will most certainly be exterminated
, and the Doctor suggests that the people make Soylent Green
out of those flowers that Peri found earlier rather than people. Sure, it ruins the joke, but what the hell: the Doctor's in a shockingly good mood.
Peri's not, though. She whines that this wasn't exactly a restful location to be, and objects to a few ideas from the Doctor. So, the Doctor smiles at Peri and offers to take her to— WOOOOOOOOOSH
Cue the horrible wrath of dissatisfied BBC controller Michael Grade.
We never really got to find out where the Doctor was going to take Peri onscreen, actually — it was supposed to be Blackpool, but instead their very next adventure was into an 18-month long break that nearly cancelled the series. The fans (and production team) had a royal fuss over the whole ordeal. The originally planned episode, "The Nightmare Fair", would have seen the return of the Celestial Toymaker
When the show returned, the Doctor and Peri were instead sped off somewhere else entirely
. In fact, the show going on hiatus scrapped the Season 23 that was then being prepped. Some of the lost stories were put into storage by their writers, while others, not more than sketches or ideas, were completely lost. However, four of the lost stories were turned into novelisations courtesy of Target Books (The Nightmare Fair
, Mission to Magnus
, The Hollows Of Time
and The Ultimate Evil
). Big Finish
have also adapted these, along with a number of proposals that were considered for the lost 1986 season (and some for the 1985 season), as full-cast audio adventures. (They also delight in making snarky references to Blackpool at every opportunity.)
Oh, and this was also the final serial in the 45-minute episode format of the classic Doctor Who
series. This format wouldn't return to the series until the revival in 2005, with the first episode
. The show came back in its original 25-minute format, treading lightly in the wake of a controller who thought the show wasn't up to par anymore
. Doctor Who
returned meekly, with no more cinematic outdoor filming aside from the first scene of the first episode, now fully-videotaped, and very much on trial...
Watch it here
- Anti-Hero: Pretty much everyone who isn't a villain.
- Big Damn Villains: The Doctor is saved from Davros...by the Daleks arriving to seize Davros.
- Bloodier and Gorier: This is one of the bloodiest serials of the Sixth Doctor's era, which says a lot.
- Body Horror: The Daleks made from Human remains
- Canon Immigrant: The Glass Dalek, which first appeared as the leader of the Daleks in the novelisation of the original "The Daleks".
- Crapsack World: Necros is a not-very-nice place populated mostly by not-very-nice people. It kind of says something that Davros — as in, 'creator of the Daleks' Davros — isn't even the most unlikeable person there.
- The Corpse Stops Here: Hey, it's a giant graveyard planet.
- Electric Torture: Davros uses it on Orcini.
- Orcini and Bostock are clearly based on Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. They are, however, much more badass and less delusional.
- Jobel and Tasembeker are Expies of Joyboy and Aimée from the film version of The Loved One.
- Kara is heavily based on Servalan from Blake's 7.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Jobel and Kara are graphically stabbed.
- Foreshadowing: Many fans were obviously impressed by how much better the Doctor looked in blue in this: the Expanded Universe ended up replacing his colour-clash outfit with a much more tasteful version in various shades of blue.
- Genre Savvy: Davros has upgraded himself to shoot lightning bolts and even has a clone to divert assasination attempts. As his last appearence climaxed with the Doctor holding him at gunpoint he's clearly learned to take precautions.
- Handicapped Badass: Orcini
- And Davros who gets to shoot LIGHTNING BOLTS from his hands.
- Harsher in Hindsight: The Doctor finding what he thinks is his grave becomes more poignant when he actually visits his own grave in "The Name of the Doctor".
- Reality Subtext: This was almost the last Doctor Who episode, as Michael Grade wanted to cancel the show.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: Orcini
- Heroic Sacrifice: Orcini decides to stay behind to make Stuff Blow Up in order to destroy the factory and Davros. Unfortunately, Davros escapes just in time.
- Hitman with a Heart: Orcini is one of the greatest assassins of the age... who would Never Kill An Innocent and gives all the money he earns from his jobs to charities.
- Homage: This is Eric Saward doing his absolute best to pastiche Robert Holmes, who he by this time practically hero-worshipped. Also has a great deal in common with Blake's 7, in general tone and in particular in terms of Kara being a blatant Servalan-Expy. The actual plot, about a dysfunctional mortuary, was taken from an Evelyn Waugh novel.
- Human Resources
- Kick the Dog: And in this episode of "Dysfunctional Doctor/Companion relationships", he settles for calling her fat and ignorant. Clearly he was in a good mood. Why does she stay with him again? And let's not even get into some of the other relationships in this episode...
- Kill 'em All: To be expected whenever the Daleks are involved.
- Manipulative Bitch: Kara.
- Noble Demon: Orcini is a ex-member of an order of knights kicked out for nebulous reasons who, although he now ekes out a living as a ruthless mercenary, tries his hardest to keep living up to his old order's ideals of nobility and honour. It sets him up not only over most of the characters in the story but many of the similar 'hardened mercenary' characters who appeared quite a lot throughout Saward-era Doctor Who.
- Pet the Dog: The Doctor gets a touching moment where he nurses a dying mutant early in the first part.
- He's also the only one other than Peri who seems to care about that poor DJ
- The Pig Pen: Bostock.
Orcini: "He [Bostock] tries to do as little as possible about his personal hygiene; for all that, he is a good squire."
- The Power of Rock
- Recycled In Space: Rock'n'roll!
- Red Herring: Though Davros appears to be a mostly defenceless head in a jar for much of the story, Orcini realizes just a little too late that he wouldn't leave himself so vulnerable. Sure enough, the real and very much intact (well, as intact as he was last time we saw him) Davros shows up seconds later.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Davros' Dalek bodyguard promptly abandons him when the regular Daleks enter the room.
- Supporting Protagonist: The Doctor. He basically wanders around the snowfields of Necros for an episode, wanders around some caves, has a confrontation with Davros and then stands around while everyone else sorts out the plot. You kind of get the feeling that Eric Saward preferred writing about everyone else but him.
- Took a Level in Badass: Davros finally regains a good chunk of the menace and cunning he had in "Genesis of the Daleks".
- Villainous Breakdown: As Davros is taken away for trial on Skaro:
Davros: I created you! I am your master!!
Dalek: We serve only the Supreme Dalek.
Davros: That upstart! I could make you all Supreme Daleks!! I have the power!! You must obey MEEEEEEEEEE!!!
- Whole Plot Reference: Many references to Evelyn Waugh's novella The Loved One, especially the twisted relationship between Jobel ("Joyboy" in the Waugh story) and Tasembeker.
- Would Hit a Girl: Orcini stabs and kills Kar] after he finds out she's almost as bad as Davros and had simply hired him because Davros was a threat to her business, not because Davros is a genocidal Nazi By Any Other Name.
- The X of Y
- You Are Fat: The Doctor accuses Peri of eating too much. She later retaliates by calling him "Porky".
- Tasembeker calls Jobel this :right before she kills him.
- You Look Familiar: Jobel is played by Clive Swift, who later appears as Mr. Copper in Voyage of the Damned.