BBC’s ‘The Power of the Daleks’ project comes to an end, and maybe that’s for the best
Episode Six — “The Power of the Daleks, Part VI”
By Brandy Dykhuizen. With its get-right-down-to-it opener, the final installment of The Power of the Daleks wastes no time jumping into extermination mayhem. Daleks swirl around shouting “Exterminate! Annihilate! Destroy!”, initiating the business of wiping out all the good people of the colony with their twirling weapons of doom.
As far as the humans of this little drama go, the baddies are still the baddies — with the exception of those brave, redemptive few (Lesterson, Valmar) — and the good guys have mostly been left zapped in the dust, save for those who arrived in the TARDIS, that is.
Bragan, as the self-proclaimed new governor, quickly quashes Janley’s excitement over a hard-won revolution. Not so fast, Janley – did you really think Bragan would be happy merely squawking out orders over the telecom, all safe and cozy in his guarded office? What would be the lesson in that? No, like those pesky Daleks, Bragan can’t rest until everyone else is killed.
To the rational mind, leadership may imply that there’s a loyal following running around somewhere, but to a megalomaniac nearly suffocating on his own paranoia and hubris, success isn’t achieved until you are alone at the top. A cautionary tale of becoming like the enemy, only even the Daleks fail to see the point in destroying their own kind.
As far as endings go, all the necessary elements are present: a battle, a fairly just body count, a hero who saves the day, and a last-minute hint that the enemy wasn’t wiped out as thoroughly as was hoped. This project from BBC Worldwide, however, was never quite able to feel like anything more than an odd echo of Doctor Who – an ambitious and fun venture sure, but one that required an active effort from the audience’s part to properly enjoy it.
Sure, this generation has become accustomed to unstoppably chatty Doctors – frenetic Tennant twitches, Matt Smith one-liners and Capaldi’s intense eyebrows leave little room for pause – but even beyond that, the animated version of The Power of the Daleks had a hard time holding up to its live action Hartnell and Troughton counterparts. Unless the Beeb finds a more dynamic and expressive way to tackle animation that would jive a heck of a lot better with the existing audio, I see no reason for further attempts at digging up the dead.
“We won the revolution!” – Not so fast, Janley.
“Your usefulness is over.” – Dalek
Polly: “Doctor, you did know what you were doing, didn’t you?” Doctor: *giggles childishly and plays his recorder*
BEST MOMENT: Lesterson, whose meltdown initiated last week, went completely coo-coo bananas in “Part VI”. He abandoned his fear long enough to marvel at and muse over the creatures he decided must be about to take humans’ place in the universe. As The Doctor gives him a blank expression like he’s some sort of idiot, chaos and carnage ensue, culminating in Lesterson actually trying to reason with the Daleks. His madness has come full circle – he might have given them life, but they just aren’t the grateful types. Despite his turnaround and minor repentance, our dear crazy Lesterson is killed by his own monsters.
EPISODE’S MVP: Well, The Doctor does save the day, and maybe even a few planets (who knows where the Daleks would have headed next). He was clever about it, but never overtly so, and sometimes it was easy to forget that he was even there. But with a cast of ding-dongs running around in circles killing each other and dodging Daleks, and a pair of all but useless companions, The Doctor was probably the best this little exercise had.
– Well, it’s been fun, but let the countdown to Pearl Mackie’s April debut begin!
– Polly showed a surprising amount of weakness once the battle commenced, imploring The Doctor to just go back to the TARDIS and make their escape. I found the dissonance between The Doctor and his companions in this serial to be quite strange, but then, if that’s all they had to offer, I’d ignore them, too.
– As the TARDIS takes off from the colony after all the Daleks were destroyed, the camera zooms in on one broken, half-exploded Dalek who slowly lifts his damaged eyepiece and watches the TARDIS zoom away…it’s never quite over!
6 out of 10
Series Score: 7 out of 10
Before: “The Power of the Daleks, Part V”, here.