Episode Three — “The Power Of The Daleks, Part III”
By Brandy Dykhuizen. People are just so darned surprised to learn that other creatures have the capacity for intelligence. “The Power of the Daleks, Part III” focuses on that charming human attribute – that most of us assume we are top dog, not to be outdone by any other creature, terrestrial or otherwise. It’s almost too easy for the Daleks to tap into that particular form of arrogance/insecurity to dismantle the colony from the inside. All they have to do is utter a few words, and the crew falls over themselves dreaming of how to harness this intellect for their own good. Higher production and quicker outputs, but the glory would be all theirs!
Meanwhile, the Daleks, never to be underestimated, are showing an extremely high level of patience in dealing with these numbskulls as they subtly attempt to outwit The Doctor. Having declared themselves the human’s servants, The Doctor orders one of the Daleks to immobilize itself. It complies, but after a few moments of gear shifting, comes back to life with the retort that only Lesterson can immobilize them, as he is the one who gave them power. Clever Daleks. Thus, The Doctor is momentarily muted while he musters up a new approach. This is a game of chess that can only last as long as it takes for the Daleks to increase the power supply and begin the extermination.
As the Daleks get more screen time and the stakes creep ever higher, The Power of the Daleks becomes more enjoyable to watch. While not yet free of tiffs and peevishness, the dynamic between The Doctor and his two companions is evening out, as the humans have move past The Doctor’s renewal to assume their own roles in the colony’s fracas. Ben may very well revisit his mistrust – he hardly seems to have it all out of his system yet – but even he, as The Doctor so perfectly put it, has finally started using his brain. There might be hope for humanity yet.
“Is it an intelligence that we can control?” – Lesterson exhibits some of humanity’s finer qualities.
“Congratulations, Ben – you just used your brain!” – This might be sincere praise, not sarcasm, coming from The Doctor.
“This is a case where a little injustice is better than wholesale slaughter.” – The Doctor, keeping Polly focused.
“A DALEK IS BET— IS NOT THE SAME AS A HUMAN.” – One of the Daleks almost gives himself away.
BEST MOMENT: The Doctor and Bragan are in a bit of a Mexican standoff, as they cannot expose each other’s crimes without implicating themselves. Polly’s hunch that Quinn was altogether innocent has been proven true, which means Bragan must have murdered the true examiner. While he has the power to tattle on The Doctor for not being the real examiner, the only way he could have known what the real examiner looked like is if he was the one who murdered them. The Doctor finds himself in the middle of precisely the sort of puzzle he loves, whilst trying to convince everyone around him that the murder mystery plot is only secondary to the real problem at hand – the power of the Daleks.
EPISODE’S MVP: Polly jumps up from the backseat to take a stand for justice amidst the general confusion in the colony. She’s seemed content quietly observing, keeping Ben relatively calm and sizing up the characters around her. Now she’s quite sure of Quinn’s innocence and it’s altogether unacceptable to her that he should be carted off and punished while the real murderer remains at large. She understands that the Daleks pose more of a threat, but she’s not content to sit back and wait while The Doctor fixes Problem No. 1. She’s off, taking matters into her own hands and running the risks of those who stick their noses where they don’t belong.
– Oh, how much more playing puppet can a Dalek take? Rattling off chemical formulae and explaining the laws of thermodynamics to a giddy Lesterson has to have them stewing like oversized pressure cookers by now.
– The Doctor seems more pants-pissingly scared of the Daleks this time around than in later iterations. I suppose he’s not the seasoned veteran quite yet.
– Lesterson is a fantastic caricature of a research scientist. He’s on to something; no doubt he’s quite clever. But all you need to do to manipulate him is massage his ego and convince him you think he’s as smart as he thinks he is. Entire industries run on this sort of fragility.
– Poor little Polly is being held as collateral in an attempt to keep The Doctor from meddling. Hopefully she can wreak a little havoc from wherever they’re keeping her (communication room?) and shake things up a bit.
– We are now three episodes into Daleks without hearing them say “EXTERMINATE!” Must be a record.
7 out of 10
Next: “The Power Of The Daleks, Part IV,” soon.
Before: “The Power Of The Daleks, Part II”, here.