“The Daleks”, 1963
Part 3: The Escape
Time for another installment of The Doctor. It’s part three of “The Daleks”. Susan is still lingering by the entrance to the TARDIS as thunder and lightning crack. She looks up.
“Who are you?”
It is a chap with blonde hair looking a little reminiscent of Max von Sydow as seen in The Seventh Seal.
“Do not be afraid”
I notice that Sydow is wearing what looks like a turtle shell. Also he doesn’t really look much like Sydow. The turtle shell looks ridiculous. As if he were playing the mock turtle in an adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
It was this chap who frightened Susan in the forest yesterday. He’s sorry about that. Some business about the drugs now. A frontal shot of non-Sydow now and the turtle shell looks much more like a cape. A cape made out of turtle shell.
Non-Sydow gives her an extra supply of drugs but is concerned about the daleks stealing them if she goes back to the city. He gives us a name now:
“I am Alydon of the Thals”.
Hold on, I thought it was “Dals”. Is it Thals or Dalls? Come on Terry Nation, stop messing me about here. He wants Susan’s trust and she pledges it. He takes the turtle-shell cape off and says he’s going to escort her through the forest. Again, I thought it was a jungle. Is it a forest or a jungle? Is it Thals or Dalls? Continuity please Nation!
Susan mentions that she was told that Alydon was mutated. “If they call us mutations,” he says gravely, “what must they be like?”
Cut back to the daleks now.
Even they are calling the Dalls, Thals now. Maybe I was mishearing them before.
Susan has made it to The Doctor, Ian and Barbara. She talks about her meeting with Alodyn.
Ian, ever the pessimist, sounds sceptical about Alydon. He admits though “The Thals seem more friendly”.
Susan clearly fancies the pants of Alodyn.
“I don’t know why the Daleks think the Thals are mutations … judging by Alydon they are MAGNIFICENT people”. Alright keep your knickers on love.
The Doctor wakes up, but he’s weak. Barbara wants to help the Thals. We get a good bit of Basil plot exposition from Susan now. Unless the Thals can arrange a peace treaty with the Daleks they are all going to die because there has been two years of bad harvest.
The daleks, meanwhile, are busy eavesdropping on all of this. They contemplate letting the Thals be destroyed by this catastrophe. They want to bring the surviving Thals into the city but for dastardly reasons.
“The provision of food. Rest. All. Of. These thing. Will. Give. Them. A false sense of sec-ur-it-y.”
The only thing missing is an evil cackle. Villainy!
A sly dalek brings food and water for the prisoners and calls Susan over.
“We are. Go-ing. To help. The Thals. Which is. What. You. Want us to do”
At this juncture, I’m not sure I can see what the daleks plan is. Why don’t they just let the Thals die of starvation? Why this plot contrivance to bring them into the city? It’s possible they want to steal their remaining drugs, but they didn’t mention it. It seems they want to destroy the Thals in circumstances of their own choosing.
Alydon is near the TARDIS and more poncy Thals join him. One of them is a little older and is wearing a black plastic crown. They ponder what the daleks might look like now. This older Thal, let’s call him “King Thal” notes:
“We have changed over the years too. The once proud warrior race of Thals are now farmers”.
We get a close up of Alydon who looks ruefully into the distance.
“But the daleks were teachers weren’t they, Temmosus” “Yes and philosophers” “Perhaps they are the warriors now”
King Temmosus and co wonder if they might be able to exchange ideas with them. Some leaden dialogue here.
“Tell me Alydon”, says Temmosus, “how old is this girl”. Alydon looks shifty. Everyone thinks he fancies Susan. Some sub-text goes on here with a female Thal and Alydon who seem betrothed in some way.
The daleks surround Susan who is making a big list. They seem to be mention “quantities of vegetables”. In exchange they want to examine the Thals. The daleks want to examine what she’s written.
“What. Is. This last word. Here? Su-san?”
Susan lets out a giggle. I thought it was funny too to be fair. Susan wants to be the messenger. The daleks refuse, they have another plan.
The daleks seem to be a bit more bullying and threatening towards Susan now. Back to Ian and The Doctor. Ian wonders if they can trust either the Thals or the Daleks. The Doctor thinks that the Daleks are brilliant people of science and that they should trust them.
Are you sure Doctor? Ian grabs the Doctor “Why? WHY are you on their side and against the rest of us?!”
“Take your hands off me! How dare you!”
A bit of a fight breaks out and Barbara has to split them up. The Doctor made some sinister faces during that sequence. Curious.
The Doctor, Ian, Barbara and Susan ponder ways they might escape. Ian, naturally, is torpedo commander number 1 here, shooting down any and all ideas. The Doctor points out that the floor is made of metal. As are the streets in the city outside. Why? The metal must be vital to them! Ian gets excited, the Doctor shuts him down.
“Now, let’s concentrate on the Daleks themselves. Have you noticed than when they move about there’s a kind of acrid smell? Hmmm? Have you?”
He’s a little manic.
“I think they are powered that way”. But unlike dodgems, only the base of the machine touches the floor. So how do they complete the circuit?
“I believe the Daleks have found a way to exploit”, says the Doctor excitedly, “STATIC ELECTRICITY!”
They draw power from the floor. Their eyes seem to work 360.
“Now Chesterson”, says the Doctor, “Would you mind CONCENTRATING young man”. Ha ha ha.
They have Alodyn’s turtle cape. Ian contemplates it.
“And what will it do young man hmmmm?” says the Doctor impatiently.
The cape could be a perfect way of putting them out of action.
King Temmosus thinks that the Daleks hold the key to the Thal’s future. He advises Alydon to “examine very closely” what he “thinks to be inevitable”. Wise. “It’s surprising how often apparent defeats can be turned into victory”.
Susan’s note arrives and Temmosus reads it in a triumphant voice “They are going to help us!” The Daleks claim to have no malice towards them and want to build a better future.
Now let’s just pause here. Is Temmosus actually an idiot? He’s buying this? The Daleks and the Thals have been at war for 100s of years and he is taking this scrawled note at face value?
Anyway, back to the prison and a dalek has brought The Doctor and his companions some food. When the dalek is gone Ian suggests staging a distraction. Barbara has another idea. “Making mud” using the water they’ve just been given and dirt from Susan’s shoes.
Susan lays the turtle cape on the floor and lies on it as a dalek enters. Meanwhile Ian sneakily puts a little metal thing and wedges it in the automatic door, which now cannot close.
The dalek is startled by it. The companions and the Doctor rush the dalek. “Keep. A-way. From. Me.”
They struggle with it, Ian puts the mud on its lens, and they push it onto the turtle cape. It has worked, the dalek has seemingly been deactivated.
They are looking for a catch on the top of the dalek. They are going to open it!!!
They take the top off, look a bit stunned and then use the turtle cape to lift whatever they’ve seen inside there out. Ian wants to get in.
Never mind that WHAT WAS IN THERE??! This is agonising. Ian gets in the dalek shell. He talks and his voice sounds dalek-y but not enough. He tries to be more monotone. They take the mud off the lens so Ian can see.
Ian can’t work out the controls so they pull him down the corridor.
As we go to the credits, we cut back to the turtle cape and a little claw comes out from underneath.
ARGGHHHH best cliff hanger yet.
NEXT EPISODE: The Ambush