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< The Myth Makers
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The Daleks' Master Plan

Rating Votes
10
22%
16
9
33%
24
8
25%
18
7
14%
10
6
1%
1
5
0%
0
4
4%
3
3
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Average Rating
8.4
Votes
72
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Latest Community Reviews

From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
8
Plot Rating:
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Replay Rating:
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Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: GuiannosReview Date: 5/17/19 12:07 am
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

Spoiler warning. Very famous and almost universally known spoilers but just in case you still care I'm not going to be shy about this one.

The Daleks' Master Plan is arguably the greatest epic of the Classic era. Only the War Games compares to the length, breadth, and scope of this story. Since The War Games survives and we only have fragments of Master Plan it's hard to make the argument for what could have been the First Doctor's defining story but both tales have their strenths.

I'm convinced that Terry Nation only had 4 ideas in him. Most of his stories feature 2 of the ideas at once but this one pulls out all the stops and gets all 4 in play. The first, obviously, is the Daleks. Second is the deadly planet with jungles and toxicity that threaten anyone who steps foot on it. Third you have the bold human resistance, exemplified by the SSS. Finally, you have the idea of jumping between worlds across space and time as a sort of road film. The original Daleks/Mutants story used ideas 1 & 2. The Keys of Marinus combined ideas 2 & 4. The Chase had 1 & 4. I could go on with only the Android Invasion being an outlier. But here, in the Master Plan, all of the ideas mesh together into one grand script that attempts to be the best of all of them.

The story is really 2 central plots that overlap with a few self-contained stops along the way. First you have the Daleks conspiring with Mavic Chen to conquer Earth's solar system and later the entire galaxy. This is a game of espionage as Chen is the appointed Guardian of the Solar System and is trying to hide his plot from the Space Security Service (SSS) who is under his command and sworn against the Daleks. The Star Wars-esque gallery of aliens on the galactic council is generic enough to not be distracting but unique enough to be memorable and engaging for plot purposes. It's interesting to see the duplicity of Chen and the patience of the Daleks who are much more strategic and intelligent here than in previous stories. The central macguffin of a rare material Taranium needed to complete the Daleks' ultimate weapon, the Time Destructor, works well to drive the plot and add a sense of forboding and urgency. The second plot is the welcome return of the Meddling Monk who is seeking revenge against the Doctor for stranding him on Earth in the 11th century. It's a small part of the overall story but is memorable and adds another element of threat and complication to an already tense situation. The combined plot plays out as a chase across 5 different planets as the Doctor tries to escape his enemies and prevent the Daleks from creating their weapon.

This isn't Terry Nation's master work or the greatest Dalek story of the Hartnell era. That would be the Dalek Invasion of Earth. What this is, however, is a turning point for Doctor Who and a coming of age story. It's a story where The Doctor, for the first time, faces real consequences for his actions and comes face to face with the result of his interference during his travels. Both the Daleks and the Monk trying to exact revenge elevates both from mere adversaries to actual enemies. These are no longer baddies that the Doctor can escape while giggling and playing pranks on them. We see this not only from the vengeance plots but in the escalation of the stakes. The obvious evidence of this is in the death of not one but two companions. Death has been no stranger in Doctor Who from the start but it's never hit this closely before. Even with the impact being brunted by swapping out Vicki for the barely introduced Katarina seeing a young companion violently die is traumatic. Adding the death of Sara Kingdom who presumably was going to replace her is a twist of the knife in a still sore wound.

But do those deaths accomplish anything? From a character perspective, not much. At least not immediately. To the audience, this is a change and a sign that this adventure through space and time isn't as safe as it has seemed. There is a higher sense of danger from here on, a shadow over events that says "everything may not turn out okay." To the Doctor and Steven, though, these were misfortunes. Both young women died heroically by their own choice. Had they been murdered or exterminated things might be different. A noble sacrifice is a tragedy and doesn't reflect on the Doctor for getting them into that situation.

I hold the unpopular opinion that Katarina should not have been introduced and instead it should have been Vicki in that airlock. No, really; put down your pitchforks and hear me out. I'm not saying Vicki would have pulled that handle. I'm certainly not saying I wanted her to die, or that the audience at the time would have coped with something that traumatic. The fact is that Katarina was new to the TARDIS. The Doctor and Steven had no real attachment to her, no reason to be moved beyond her being a kind girl, a brave girl. There was no meaning to her death. There was nothing to unpack. Steven is justifiably upset and angry that the Doctor didn't do more to save her but accepts the Doctor's pragmatism about the events. After all, she was just a girl and they have more pressing matters at hand. It wouldn't have been so easy if it were a proper way companion, a beloved companion. A confrontation would not have been so easy to postpone. The same goes for Sara. Big Finish gap aside, she had barely been with the crew when she died doing her duty as a soldier / space constable. Her loss was not felt other than another life out of many. Sara's arc ran its course but Katarina? She was nothing more than a sheep to the slaughter.

All in all, the plot is meandering and often has too much time to fill. The Feast of Steven break is pretty disruptive to the flow of the story and hurts the tone although in retrospect I love it for the opportunity it gave to Big Finish to expand on this TARDIS crew. While most of the acting is above average for the time, Katarina and Sara are both one dimensional characters and don't contribute much outside of being tragic. This is a good Dalek story and a great follow up to the Time Meddler but it is not the greatest epic of the Classic era. Master Plan comes close to injecting real depth into the show but stays its hand and is less for it.

"A waste. A terrible waste."
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
10
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
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Reviewed By: MercuryReview Date: 11/21/18 1:48 pm
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

This is an epic 12 part story from writers Dennis Spooner and Dalek originator Terry Nation, beginning with the episode The Nightmare Begins.

This adventure continues the story introduced in the episode Mission To The Unknown and features the Doctor trying to thwart the Daleks evil plans to conquer the solar system. It also features Nicholas Courtney (later to play Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, a series regular), as Bret Vyon. He, along with the regular cast, Kevin Stoney as villainous Mavic Chen and most other cast, perform superbly. The Daleks too are at their peak in many ways and are great villains for this epic. In addition there are the other interesting alien characters and even the return of the Meddling Monk (Peter Butterworth) from the Doctor's home world! The story even has the shocking deaths of no less than 3 of the Doctor's 'companions'!

The word epic is absolutely right for this mammoth story and it is incredible how the quality and interest is kept over an unprecedented 12 episodes. The only slight drop in quality being the 7th episode The Feast of Steven which is a Christmas special of a far more light- hearted and whimsical kind. To compare that episode and criticise it as a blot on the story is very unfair, you have to take it on its own as a special episode more comparable to the kind of comedy spoof used for charity telethons in later years. On that basis it is quite successful. The other 11 episodes are brilliant, exciting and well made.

A classic.

My Ratings: Episode 7 - 7/10, all other episodes 10/10

Overall: 9.75
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
10
Plot Rating:
9
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
10
Effects Rating:
10
Has Prerequisite(s):
Yes
Reviewed By: FinleyWadeReview Date: 9/22/17 5:09 pm
1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

The daleks' master plan, the mother of all Hartnells. This is my favorite 1st doctor story (and Iv'e seen all the surviving stories, animations and galaxy 4 and mission to the unknown on audio). It is simply superb, from the blockbuster plot, to the outstanding side cast and regulars alike, and the devastating departure of not one but two companions; the daleks' master pan has it all. For a story that is almost 5 hours long, it barely ever drags (I say 'barely' due to episode 11). Kembel is a chilling planet that provides a great scene for the dalek's base and just under half of the episodes. We were introduced to Kembel and the daleks' plan in mission to the unknown which I highly recommend listening to before this story as it provides good context and I think it's a great story (it comes bundled with daleks' master plan CD). The scenes at the base are great and intersect well wit the story enhancing the plot. Day of Armageddon survives so we get to see all the different races of aliens which was great as actually being able to see them makes it easier to picture them in the rest of the story. Maveck Chen, the guardian of the solar system, is the main vllian (along side the daleks of course) of the story. He's a great villain and I love is evil, power hungry personality. We also meet Bret Vyron, a space agent who is working against the daleks and joins the doctor and co in this story. I like Bret so much so that I think he could be companion material. He is portrayed by the legendery Nicolas Courtney who plays the exceptional Brigadier lethbridge-Stewart in subsequent stories. We learn that the daleks are after a teranium core, that chen will provide, to power the weapon that they have devised. After part 2, the chase is on. This was the third different place every week dash around type story (after the keys to marinus and the chase) done in doctor who and the best. So, episode 3 sees us visit desperus the prison planet. There, we acquire one of the prisoners as the doctor and co try to take off in chens ship that they stole from kembel. Spoiler warning, read no further if you care about major spoilers.
Katrina is held hostage in the airlock with the prisoner. He demands to be taken to Kembel despite the fact that that would be a suicide mission for the others. Katrina then sacrifices herself by opening the airlock and killing both herself and the prisoner. It's a tragic goodbye and she dies like a hero. It would have been nice to see more of her as the only other story she made an appearance in is the myth makers. I believe big finnish has done some more with her though, and sara kingdom. With Katrina's death still weighing on them, the crew arrive on earth to meet one of Bret's contacts who turns out to be in league with chen. Sara kingdom, bret's sister, kills bret as she thiks he is the enemy. This is great and truly symbolizes the military mind and what corruption, and the daleks, can cause. The crew, along with kingdom, are transported to the planet miri which has on it the teranium core. Miri's okay, nothing special. I do like the idea of the invisable monsters though who offer resistance to our characters. The fact that the teranium core is there means that our team can aquire it and have a bargaining chip. They find a dalek ship and escape, sara kingdom on their side from learning the truth. Then they learn that the ship can be controlled and they are brought back to kembel where the doctor hands them a dud teranium core and they make a swift exit in the TARDIS. I just realised that this review is exceeding 650 words so i'm going to try and be a bit more consise. After this follows parts of the story that fulfill the dash around aspect of the story. The crew have a 1 part Christmas special which is fun and wall breaking and serves to develop the relationship the doctor and steaven have with sara. There's a controversial fourth wall break which i'm fine with. Then, a quick escapade with the meddling monk on a volcano. I liked it and welcomed the change of scene. Talking of change of scene, we quite randomly visit egypt for a couple of episodes. Some fans hate these but I like them and feel they could have worked better as there own stand alone story as they don't have much to do with the plot. The meddling monk follows them here and he's as good and funny as always. Any way, the daleks show up in the end and we're back in the plot again as we leave Egypt. Then episode 11 which is the epitome of filler. It should have just been left out. It can feel like episodes 7 - 11 are just the new writer brought in just hoping a bout planets because he needed to make the story last for 12 parts. Though as previously mentioned I like these episodes, they are not on par with the ones written by nation. What is on par, in fact exceeds the other parts is episode 12, my favourite. This behemoth of a story is brought to a beautiful conclusion as the daleks and chen are foiled at the price of half of kembel and the most horrible way a companion has met their demise, sara getting aged to death by the time destructor. At this point, we really car about sara and to see her die in the most brutal way is just tragic. The doctor gives a beautiful little speech at the end of what a waste all the death has been. Overall, for the longest doctor who adventure that was so well developed, had so many great characters and performances and tragic demises I could give no less than a 10 / 10. he only major negative is part 11, WHY DO YOU EXIST?! (thank you for sitting through over a 1000 word review / series of ramblings, you deserve a medal :) ).
From the Reviewer:
User Rating:
7
Plot Rating:
8
Acting Rating:
10
Replay Rating:
5
Effects Rating:
8
Has Prerequisite(s):
No
Reviewed By: AbortedFoetusReview Date: 1/11/16 3:46 am
0 out of 0 found this review helpful.

There's no way I can call this a bad episode. It's fun for the first couple of parts, I'd say from parts 1-6, however I feel as if it started to repeat itself from 9-12 quite a bit and I did start rolling my eyes whenever Steven and Sara got captured. However the story makes up for it with a brilliant premise, the final part is superb, the daleks are pretty impressive, however it is WAY too long, I would recommend skipping parts 7 and 8 to be honest, probably even 9. A lot of it is total filler and I was seriously bored by the time it was at part 12. I definitely think that if the episode is ever recovered it would be much more entertaining, but as it is currently, I just couldn't love it.

I understand why this story gets a lot of praise, but I recon it would really daunt new comers so I think that you should definitely not watch this if you're new to the show as it is really off putting sometimes. Instead I'd recommend watching other dalek stories, such as The Daleks, The Dalek invasion of earth and The Chase, The Chase isn't all that great but the daleks and the dalek invasion of earth are two fantastic serials, The Dalek invasion of Earth being my personal favourite, it obtains William Hartnells most famous moment as the doctor, as the speech he gives is heart warming and it defines his doctor. The Chase isn't all that good but it has the goodbye of two companions who had been in the show for a long time and I felt sad to see them go.