Reviewed By: Lord Slarr
Review Date: 6/29/16 1:02 pm
4 out of 4 found this review helpful.
Power Of The Daleks had a really tough job to do of making people like and accept this brand new Doctor as the Doctor. Yet somehow, Whitaker not only manages but also sets the bar for Dalek stories and a brilliant episode in general.
So how does it introduce us to the new Doctor, unlike with 9 to 10 we're not spoon-fed the information, if anything Whitaker is as elusive as possible on the subject which adds a sense of mystery and awe to this new Doctor, back then you wouldn't be quite sure if this was the Doctor, at least in the first episode although the moment he sees the Daleks is powerful and conveys that this definitely is the Doctor by showing it rather than exposition. It also helps that even though he's still getting into the role, Troughton is funny, whimsical and gives a brilliant performance whenever on screen, I don't think Doctor Who would of continued without him as he has a certain charisma and gravitas which was needed for this Doctor and Troughton does the job stupendously.
Ben and Polly are really enjoyable in this episode and seem to have a much better chemistry with Troughton. Polly trusts the new Doctor instantly and plays along with his games like with the Lesstersonn-listen tounge twister while Ben doesn't quite believe it for a while and gets very frustrated when the Doctor continues bouncing around merrily in a crisis. Not only is this very funny and entertaining to watch its also quite clever as the companions were and indeed are meant to be an eye for the audience to see through and Ben and Polly do that by representing both sides of the audience, the side which is embracing the new Doctor and the side which is sceptical. This definitely works to ease the audience into this new Doctor in a very subtle way which just shows what a great writer Whitaker can be.
The other characters in this story are great, all with their own very distinct personalities and motivations. The interactions they all have with each other demonstrate that this is a troubled colony for instance the way they all suspect each other of sending for the examiner, it shows a level of distrust just below the surface. My personal favourite is Janley, while she has good intentions deep down she's willing to use any means and is incredibly manipulative turning any situation to her advantage if at all possible. The colony is also a great setting as not only is its world built up nicely its also got a remote atmosphere making any danger, especially the Daleks, even more threatening.
The Daleks are portrayed perfectly here, I mean it should be mandatory for people about to write a Dalek story to watch. Yes the Daleks are driven by their hatred of lesser thing and yes they have armour and gun, but they have much more to them which a lot of episodes forget callously. In this as well as efficient killers they are really clever and manipulative, they manage to build an army of Daleks right beneath the noses of the colony, slowly multiplying with the episode only slowly showing it with suddenly more Daleks than usual appearing. It's creepy and actually makes the Daleks scary and they do it all through human psychology by saying that they are their servant, building machines for them, as a Dalek chillingly says during the episode, "we know the human mind".
The actual story itself is paced brilliantly, some people often snort at 6 parters and even though I'm a fan of the longer stories, this surpasses most, you couldn't remove an episode, barely a moment is wasted, constantly building and developing both the stakes and the atmosphere. It's so gripping that I was approaching midnight watching it, really tired, but I couldn't stop listening (as I listened to it on Cassette), any story that can do that is well worthy of high praise.
Overall I can't fault this story, taking into consideration the budget and materials they had to work with for this story they honestly couldn't of done better, its close to perfect and one of my all time favourites. The Daleks are done perfectly, all the characters are great, you couldn't of had a better introduction to my favourite Doctor and era.