Hello everyone, the Historian here, along with the regular crew of Ketina, Ronelyn and Schmallturm, bringing you the last episode in this epic of the Daleks' invasion of Earth. Without further ado, let's get to the summary!
Episode summary: First aired 26 December 1964. The bomb is closed around Ian and begins to move to be dropped into the shaft.....Ian frantically pulls at wires as, above, the Daleks monitor the bomb's progress. He manages to short the thing out, stopping its descent, but a team of Robomen haul it back up the shaft using a long rope. Ian manages to open a trap door at the base of the bomb and uses the rope to lower himself into the shaft. Unfortunately, Dalek monitors have discovered him emerging and a Dalek, finding Ian dangling, fires at the rope. It snaps, sending Ian sliding down the shaft. He comes to a turn, hits his head on the wall and is knocked unconscious...Back in the Dalek centre, Barbara and Jenny are marched towards the control room. Barbara whispers to her friend that she will keep the Daleks occupied while Jenny tries and destroy whatever equipment they can, but are immediately silenced by the Dalek who is escorting them. As they enter the room, the two women overhear the Black Dalek being told that the explosive is almost repaired. The Black Dalek orders that the Robomen herd the humans into the area where they will be killed by the explosion; the humans, no longer useful, will be exterminated! Barbara and Jenny take note of which device a Dalek uses to issue orders to the Robomen. Barbara whispers that they could use the device to make the Robomen attack the Daleks! Just then, the Black Dalek notices them and demands the information about the rebellion that Barbara claimed to have. When she tries to show it Dortmun's plans, the Black Dalek insists on hard information. Using a hodgepodge of historical names and allusions, Barbara attempts to distract and bamboozle the Daleks as Jenny tries, unsuccessfully, to edge her way towards a control panel. Finally having panicked the Daleks, Barbara uses the moment to run to the Robomen control machine. Before she can get an order out, the Daleks recover and capture the two women. They will be held in the HQ to die in the explosion! Meanwhile, the Doctor and Tyler use binoculars to examine the Dalek installation from the clif face. As David and Susan join them, the Doctor has formed a plan; he sends the young people to destroy a wired attached to a metal aerial on the other side of the crater using the acid in Dortmun's remaining bombs. Meanwhile, he and Tyler will enter the mineworks and attempt to sneak into the Dalek HQ. Ian recovers consciousness and discovers he has landed near a hatch in the wall. He manages to get it open, but is nearly caught by a Roboman who is driving a group of humans hauling timber on the other side. He manages to get the hatch closed before he is seen. The Black Dalek is told that the bomb repairs are finished and it orders the evacuation of Daleks to the surface, where they will be picked up by saucers before the explosion. Outside, the Doctor manages to destroy the alarm attached to the outer door and he and Tyler cautiously enter the HQ. Back in the shaft, Ian cautiously opens the hatch again. He crawls through and then has an idea. He drags some of the timbers and positions them out the hatch into the shaft. At this point, the Daleks launch the bomb again, but, unbeknownst to the Daleks, Ian's plan works and it is halted by the timbers laid across the shaft! The Doctor and Tyler hide on either side of a doorway as the single-minded Daleks file past them and out of the building. They see Barbara and Jenny, trapped against a wall by magnets stuck around their necks. Releasing them, the Doctor and Barbara are overjoyed to see each other, although the Doctor continues to worry about Ian. Still there is no time for that; Barbara explains the Daleks' plan to the Doctor and he is immediately more determined than ever to stop them. He goes to a scanner and adjusts the frequency to monitor Susan and David's progress in destroying the wire. He is delighted to see they have almost been successful already. Unfortunately, altering the frequency has triggered an alarm, alerting the one Dalek left on the base. It bears down on the Doctor, who stands there calmly, as if daring the Dalek to exterminate him...just before it can do so, the Dalek suddenly becomes inactive! Susan and David have been successful in destroying what the Doctor knew had to have been the source of the Daleks' transmitted power in the area, and all of the Daleks not in the saucers are incapacitated. The Dalek facing the Doctor overheats and is destroyed! Barbara now tells the Doctor about the Robomen order control and he immediately grasps her plan. The two issue orders to the Robomen to destroy the Daleks! They are joined by the human workers, pouring out of the caverns and overwhelming the immobile Daleks. Ian, heading for the control room where he hopes to find Barbara, meets her, the Doctor, Tyler and Jenny. He tells them of his sabotage of the shaft, but the Doctor realizes the bomb will explode within minutes; they must escape quickly! They join Susan, David and Wells on the cliffs outside the mineworks and watch in horror as a huge explosion envelops the mine, causing magma to flow--a volcanic explosion in England! The Doctor delightedly notes that the Dalek saucers, hovering to pick up their comrades, had all been destroyed by the back draft from the explosion. Tyler and Jenny stand, stunned. What they had never allowed themselves to hope for has come to pass...it is over. But what next? Later, back in London, Wells and a team finish clearing the debris from the front of the TARDIS. Tyler is thrilled by how much of London survived the firebombing and the Doctor tells him the hard work of rebuilding the planet must now begin. He believes Tyler and his friends are up to the task. The two are surprised and delighted as Big Ben chimes for the first time in years. Susan, meanwhile, sits alone. The Doctor joins her, concerned about an apparent injury, but it is only her shoe that is damaged, not her foot. The Doctor takes it to repair, but he seems to be feeling a bit awkward with her. The two try to find things to say to each other, then the Doctor goes to check on the ship. As he approaches its doors, he sees David approach and Susan go to join him. The Doctor enters the TARDIS, looking sad, as the two young people begin to talk. David confesses his love for Susan and asks her to stay. She, painfully, says she cannot leave her grandfather. But she loves him too. She is torn, wanting to stay, but feeling she must leave, and she begs David not to make her choose. Just then, Ian and Barbara approach to say goodbye to David. Ian natters on, not realizing what has gone on, but Barbara is more perceptive and finally pulls him away into the ship. Inside, the Doctor, looking sadly at Ian and Barbara, touches a switch on the console. Susan and David begin a painful goodbye, but are surprise when they see the TARDIS door snap shut! From inside the ship, the Doctor informs Susan he has double locked the doors; she cannot get in. For he has realized that his beloved granddaughter is now a woman and her future lies with David, not an old man. "One day," he tells her, "I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, Susan, goodbye, my dear." And the Doctor activates the controls. Susan and David watch as the TARDIS fades away, leaving Susan and David Campbell to begin their new lives together. As they walk away, Susan leaves her TARDIS key on the ground where she dropped it....
*Sniff* Excuse me, I think I have something in my eye...
Ahem. Yes, well, here we are at the end of a second Dalek story, seeing this outpost of the creatures foiled and destroyed by the very humans they thought they had conquered. A fine ending to a very strong story, I think. Not without its weak points, but certainly the good far outweighs the bad. I'll have more to say about the story and its themes in the wrapup post (I always seem to steal material from myself for these last episodes, so I'll try to refrain), so let's try to stick to this week itself.
This episode had two moments that just out and out some of the gutsiest (is that a word? I doubt it, but I hope you know what I mean) in the show's history thus far. Barbara's wonderful mishmosh of history (which predictably delighted me) while trying to distract the Daleks is incredibly brave and shows us how far she's come from the terrified woman who first met the creatures a year ago. She is well aware of what they can do, but she is willing to lose her life to stop them from destroying the Earth. Just fantastic. The other moment is, of course, the Doctor's supreme confidence in his own plans, facing down a Dalek as it comes straight at him, gun stick at the ready. He doesn't even flinch!
The other extraordinary thing in this episode is, of course, the ending with David, Susan and the Doctor. "He knew you could never leave him," David says, and it's a testament to the Doctor's growth that he is able to let Susan go. Remember how protective he was of her back on the Sense-Sphere? The scene is just written and played beautifully by Hartnell (the look of pain on his face as he realizes what he must do!) and Peter Fraser; Carole Ann Ford is also very good, though I felt she went a little over the top with her sobbing. Still, they all combined to produce a rather touching farewell.
Once again, though, we come back to the stupidity of the Daleks' plan. Ian foiled it with some wood. Admittedly, the Daleks weren't counting on any of the humans being brave or smart enough to ever think of a way to do anything--and they'd have been right if not for our friends. Still...Ian, actually, is the one who comes off as kind of, well, not given much to do this week. His scenes, although apparently important, were a little mediocre this week. He pulls some wires, he falls, he opens and closes a hatch, he sticks some logs out of the hatch. That's basically it. Sure, he basically foils the Daleks' plans, but his scenes feel ineffectual; they're the weak link of this episode. Well, them and the stock footage. As Ronelyn pointed out, none of the footage worked together at all, and almost none of it, with the exception of the running magma, matched the script. (Let me see if I can remember: we have water destroying an embankment, flowing magma and nuclear explosions. Kind of in that order. I may have missed something too.)
And then, there were the gaffes. Hartnell makes a few Billy-fluffs (though I suspect it's Terry Nation's script that is responsible for once again confusing a constellation with a solar system, not Hartnell), there are some problems with props (Jenny's "magnet," for example, doesn't seem to hold her to the wall very well)...but it's the Dalek who looks right at the Doctor as it runs off to the surface that killed us. It's obvious that the operator didn't realize which way the top with the eyestalk was pointing...and the director decided to keep rolling anyway.
Something I feel compelled to mention is our first real "EXTERMINATE!" Not "exterminated," not "KILL," but a full fledged "THE HUMANS MUST BE EXTERMINATED! EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!" The first time we really hear what would become the Daleks' warcry/ catchphrase!
And I believe I should let that close my portion of this week's post. So, the Doctor, Ian and Barbara will move on and so shall we. Next week, a new adventure! Until then, I remain
Let's see, how about this week's highlights - both good and bad, in general chronological order this time:
- First, Ian yanking on the wires from the inside of the bomb to sabotage it. Shouldn't it have been dark in that bomb? How come Ian could see to pull the right wires?
- Then Ian's inexplicable slide down the shaft, landing with no apparent injury beyond a yet more torn jacket.
- As Barbara and Jenny are escorted to the Dalek control room they make their plan immediately in front of the Dalek leading them! "I'M RIGHT HERE. I CAN HEAR YOU."
- Loved Barbara's distracting the Daleks with the spontaneous history lesson. Not so keen on the physical interactions with the Daleks in that scene however. Capture by plunger!
- Okay, I eventually got what Ian did with the logs to block the mine shaft, but at the time he was doing it, it didn't make much sense.
- The hatch Ian took from the mine shaft into the hallway looked like a huge bottle cork. I actually thought it looked cool, but very weird nevertheless.
- Wobbly magnet restraints. Jenny saying "I can't move it" while visibly moving and barely keeping it attached to the wall. It's one thing to have faulty props. It's another to point out how "good" they are when they are obviously acting faulty.
- Dancing Dalek conga line.
- As the Doctor and Tyler hide outside the control room the line of Daleks pass by them. As they do I'm thinking "good thing Daleks doing have good peripheral vision" just as a Dalek slides by look to his left exactly at the Doctor! Guess they don't have any vision!
- Over the top scenes of Robomen and humans attacking the Daleks. "Don't break the props! Don't break the props!"
- Followed shortly by relatively unrelated stock footage of exploding nuke, landslide, avalanche, and volcanic eruption. Please, choose one, or the other, or the other other, but not both, thanks.
- But it all ends with the fantastic scene with Susan, the Doctor, David, and her shoe, as she tries to decide between her grandfather and her new love, with the Doctor finally making the decision for her. I particularly loved the bit where Ian is trying to ask David random stuff and Barbara is tugging oblivious Ian away so that Susan and David can say goodbye (or not say goodbye, as the ended up).
- And the final shot of Susan's TARDIS key shown where she dropped in on the ground where the TARDIS was previously standing. Very cool
So, overall lots of good mixed with lots of not quite as good. :)
NEXT WEEK: "THE POWERFUL ENEMY"