Monday, August 25, 2014

ClassicWho Reviews: The Dalek Invasion of Earth




     I’m being facetious, but the World War II parallels are quite blatant in this serial.

     The crew land in a future of Earth, where it becomes swiftly evident that the Daleks have—you guessed it—taken over the world!

     While Barbara and Susan become involved in the local resistance movement (in Britain-because everything happens in Britain), the Doctor and Ian are taken captive by the Daleks, who are forcing humans to work in the mines for reasons unknown, and converting anyone who tries to escape into Robomen, who are nothing like Robocop. Also, the Black Dalek has a pet snake-thing, which makes about as much sense as everything else did in the Sixties.

     This is one of my favorite serials, partly because Daleks, and partly because of the World War II references. Earth has become Vichy France, complete with a daring Resistánce, as well as desperate locals who would sell them out for a bit of food. Also, the Daleks are totally Nazi-saluting with their plungers, and it is hilarious.

Also, Daleks are Space Nazis. In case we didn't make that very clear.

     One can presume the idea of moving Earth hither and thither through space was totally stolen from Yog-Sothoth, who had some sort of vague similar plan in Dunwich Horror, but given how busy he is kept throughout the run of Doctor Who I guess we’ll never know what he thought of the matter.

     Most disappointing is the conclusion to Susan’s story arc. The actress chose to leave because the writers kept abandoning character development in favor of having reasons for her to scream really loudly. She randomly falls in love with a Resistance member, and the Doctor seems fine with his beloved granddaughter marrying a man she just met. He says his goodbyes and leaves her to her happy life. (Which, if what I hear of the audio plays is true, was not really that happy, what with vengeful Daleks and all that…) To be fair, the scene is quite heartwrenching, but it is just the first in a series of unsatisfactory conclusions for female companions.

     Overall, however, it’s an excellent serial, and definitely set up the Daleks as one of the Doctor’s most dangerous enemies. (Which is promptly undone in The Chase.)

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