Reviewed By: adamelijah
Review Date: 3/23/15 6:18 am
2 out of 2 found this review helpful.
One of only two sequels to the alternate Earth scenarios posed by the Doctor Who Unbound series, Masters of War finds the alternate Third Doctor (David Warner) and his companion retired Brigadier Lethrbridge Stewart landing on Skaro, the homeworld of the Daleks and the Thals to once again find the Daleks are ruling the planet, but these Daleks are acting very differently. The Doctor seeks to once again free the Thals, but soon both Daleks and Thals will have to cope with a far greater threat.
The one complaint critics have raised is that this is a very long production, essentially being two one-hour episodes. For my money, it merits every minute of it. This story explores a lot of themes and presents an alternate take on the Genesis of the Daleks. At the end of Genesis of the Daleks, Davros is destroyed by the Daleks because he didn't program them with pity. But in this world, Davros gave some Daleks pity and these remained with him and while the Daleks were still fascists, they were benevolent fascists who came back to protect the Thals by taking over Skaro and forcing the Thals to aid in their own defense. In essence, the main universe Daleks are more like Nazis, these are like a well-intentioned colonial power subjugating native peoples "for their own good".
This take on the Daleks is fascinating and it allows you to see the Daleks and Thals in a new light. These Daleks seem more courageous and less like xenophobic. We also see the Thals great weakness and that is their lack of courage. The Thals seems less like well-meaning peaceniks we met in the very first Dalek serial and more like people who simply lack the nerve to protect their own freedom which led them to conscript the Kaleds to fight their alien enemies, which led to Davros' crippling which led to the creatuibDaleks.
David Warner is great as the Doctor, although kept out of action, a fact the Doctor himself acknowledged in the second episode and of course Nicholas Courtney stepped into being Alistair Lethbridge Stewart with ease. The Daleks really make this story shine, and it's a fascinating world that Eddie Robson's crafted. Overall, the Masters of War is a materful story and a must-hear program.