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Recap: Doctor Who S6 E1 "The Dominators"
They march on, continuing on their quest for hugs...
An unintelligent enemy is far less dangerous than an intelligent one, Jamie. Just act stupid. Do you think you can manage that?
The Doctor

Season six kicks off with "The Dominators", which sees the TARDIS arrive on a peaceful planet of fashion disasters named Dulkis. The Doctor has visited the planet before, but didn't expect to accidentally land on an island that once served as a nuclear test site—especially considering that the last time he was here, the planet was uniformly peaceful. He's also puzzled by the fact that there seems to be no radioactivity present on this nuclear test site. Two alien invaders called Dominators, hailing from another planet of fashion disasters, also land on the island and promptly use their box-shaped robots (Quarks) to turn the pacifist Dulcians into slaves.

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe make friends with Cully, the son of one of the Dulcian councillors. They convince him to fight back despite his people's pacifism and love for drawn-out ethical debates. The Dominators' ultimate plan is to drop an "Atomic Seed" into a volcano, converting the planet into a lump of radioactive fuel for the Dominator fleet. Zoe is forced to wear a dress.

The Doctor intercepts the atomic seed and plants it aboard the Dominators' ship as it leaves, destroying it and killing its pilots, while the volcano erupts harmlessly. (Well, nearly harmlessly, as the TARDIS is right in the path of the lava flow. This cliffhanger leads directly into the following story.)

Tropes included

  • Apocalypse How: Nuking the core of the planet to make radioactive fuel would make this a Planetary/Physical Annihilation.
  • Blood Knight: Toba.
  • Chekhov's Volcano
  • Chewing the Scenery: Both Dominators.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: The Dulcians have both.
  • Easily Conquered World: The Dulcians are Perfect Pacifist People, so they don't even know how to defend themselves.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Dominators' plan.
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: the introduction of the island.
    Cully: Well, here we are everyone, the Island of Death! Uninhabited for one hundred and seventy years. Nothing can live on this poisonous plot of soil.
    Wahed: You're being melodramatic again, Cully, as usual. You know perfectly well there's a permanent survey unit there to monitor the radiation.
    Etnin: And there's a weekly visit by parties of students to show them the horror of atomic radiation.
    Cully: All right, all right, I know.
  • Fake Shemp: Patrick Troughton wasn't present for location filming; a body double, Chris Jeffries, filled in for a few scenes. His face is briefly visible in the final episode.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The rather gruesome disintegration effect used when a Quark kills Tensa, which was cut in several foreign markets and toned down by the BBC themselves in later episodes of the story.
  • Glass Cannon: The Quarks have firepower capable of destroying an entire building at long range, but are helpless against the terrible threat of a Scotsman tripping them up, throwing a blanket over them, and sitting on them.
    • It should be noted that Quarks emit warning signals when tripped or covered.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: The Dulcians have golden hair to indicate their innocence and naiveté, with Kando being the most obvious example.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Or blown up by their nuclear seed, in case of the Dominators.
  • Insult Backfire: Of a fashion.
    Doctor: But Jamie, it's a brilliant idea! It's so simple, only you could have thought of it!
    Jamie: Ohh! *clearly pleased, then cottons on* ... Hey!
  • I Will Only Slow You Down: Cully says this when he gets hit by a Quark's blast. But No One Gets Left Behind.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Toba always goes for the more violent option and repeatedly urges Rago to kill the natives (which they both think includes the Doctor). Rago says they need the natives for manual labor. It's easy to agree with Rago, since he doesn't want to kill our heroes and Toba is such a malicious bastard, but Toba is ultimately proved correct; if they'd killed the Doctor early on they would have succeeded in everything they were trying to do.
  • Made a Slave
  • Magic Tool: This is where the sonic screwdriver ceases to be just a screwdriver, and gains the power to burn through concrete.
  • Meaningful Name: All over the place.
    • From the Latin we have "Dulkis" (dulcis, "sweet, pleasant, agreeable"), "Senex" (senex, "old man") and "Bovem" (bos / bovis, "cow")."
    • "Cully" is an old English word for "dupe" or "simpleton".
    • Numerical Theme Naming: The first three Dulcians to be killed by the Quarks are called Wahed, Etnin and Tolata — Arabic for "One", "Two" and "Three".
  • Merchandise-Driven: The Quarks were conceived with an eye to the merchandising opportunities. In the event legal disputes about their ownership prevented the creation of the proposed range of Quark toys.
  • No One Gets Left Behind
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: The only thing they can agree to do is wait.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The Doctor realises the Dominators need at least semi-intelligent slaves, so he pretends to be really dumb.
  • People of Hair Color
  • Perfect Pacifist People: The Dulcians. Not portrayed in a complimentary way.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Toba and Rago, respectively.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Most of the Quarks are taken out by fairly low-tech means, including dropping rocks on them.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: The Dulcians' outfits have to be seen to be believed.
    • Lampshaded by Zoe, when she has to wear one: "They're not very efficient garments, are they? ... They feel impractical!" Though Cully tries to invoke She Cleans Up Nicely, saying she looks "more like a girl now".
      • To be fair, Zoe and Kando's (the only Dulcian girl we see) floaty little see-through dresses do actually look relatively good on them, but the heavy, pleated dresses made from miles of cloth that are worn by the men are not flattering...
      • For that matter, everyone on Dulkis also seems to wear flimsy open leather sandals, in spite of all the outdoor areas shown on camera consisting entirely of rough rocky rubbly quarry-type terrain, which could easily be painful on such barely-protected feet.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: The intended Aesop about the naivety of pacifism.
    • Accidental Aesop: The story can be read as supporting activist students, encouraging them to reject rote learning and the irrational laws of the older generation, and take direct action against injustice.
  • Smoldering Shoes: What's left when a Quark gets blown up.
  • Styrofoam Rocks: All over the place.
  • Tin-Can Robot: The Quarks.
  • Toilet Humour: Patrick Troughton ad-libs that his improvised bombs are made with "number nine pills" — laxatives.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: Because else the Dominators will destroy the whole planet.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: But only because the Quarks are low on power.
  • With Due Respect
  • Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Sure, go on a trip to the radioactive island. And when the radioactivity turns out to be gone, go wandering about and attract the attention of the aliens that have just landed.

Doctor Who S5 E7 'The Wheel in Space"Recap/Doctor WhoDoctor Who S6 E2 'The Mind Robber"

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