Evolution of the Daleks

Roots: Evil of the Daleks. The Invasion and The Web of Fear (Doctor Who villains in sewers). Phantom of the Opera, The Talons of Weng Chiang (genetic experiments involving pigs, villains in sewers and theatres). Having the Daleks in the Empire State Building is clearly inspired by The Chase. Tallulah is almost certainly named after Tallulah Bankhead. The Doctor's final confrontation with Caan may have been loosely inspired by the Doctor talking the Black Dalek to death in Remembrance of the Daleks. The Doctor quotes The New Colossus

Goofs: The Doctor says that Daleks never change their minds. So what about the Dalek in Dalek, or the Dalek he persuaded to commit suicide in Remembrance of the Daleks?

Why does the Doctor need to interfere with the wireless to deafen Sec? Given that he's got a sonic screwdriver, surely he could have just used that on its own. [Perhaps he's using the wireless as an amplifier, or needs to ensure that the sound continues after he's gone.]

Dalek Sec says that gamma radiation (which, let's not forget, is part of the same electro-magnetic spectrum as radio waves and light, and which is produced by a wide range of radioactive substances) can splice human and Dalek genetic codes. If that's true, which it patently isn't, then any planet exposed to it would be full of hybrid species. No wonder Sec says the Doctor's knowledge of genetic engineering is "even greater than ours." Mind you, the Doctor's got very little grasp of actual science either, as he thinks that wrapping his body around the flagpole will cause Time Lord DNA to infect the genetic solution that's being fed to the new hybrids. How is this supposed to work, given that the gamma radiation is only being used as a power source? Also, since when does gamma radiation come in the form of lightning? [This stuff might have made sense if they'd used the pre-existing technobabble term "biodata" rather than "DNA", and "artron energy" rather than "gamma radiation" and might still if you assume that Dalekanium has some seriously weird reality-warping properties.]

The Doctor says that the Daleks' creator thought removing the emotions makes you stronger. Having met him many times over, surely he'd remember that Davros was a big advocate of emotions like hate.

It's night. That means that the sun is on the opposite side of the planet. So why do you need a big building to conduct the radiation from the solar flare into your genetics lab? Not only will the Earth absorb most of the radiation, but if there's any left, it will be travelling the wrong way when it hits the Dalekanium.

If the pig slaves only survive for a few weeks, then why don't the Daleks use something more durable, like Robomen (The Dalek Invasion of Earth)? [Either sewers would play havoc with Roboman systems or, being the 1930s, they can't get hold of sufficiently advanced electronics (although but they can get access to the equipment needed for this kind of genetic experimentation).]

The Daleks are clearly dubious enough about the Dalek humans to implant a self-destruct mechanism. So why do they arm them with weapons which will blow Dalek casing off (whilst, incidentally, causing precisely zero collateral damage to the theatre)? Surely it would have been possible to get weapons that killed humans without being potentially fatal to pure Daleks. Also, why not activate it as soon as they start firing at the pure Daleks?

So why did Jast and Thay bring Sec to their confrontation with the Doctor? His presence doesn't seem designed to achieve anything.

Why is there sunlight coming through the manholes into the sewers at night?

During their final confrontation why doesn't Caan just exterminate the Doctor?

Technobabble: There's no point in chromosomal grafting, it's too erratic. You need to split the genome and force the new Dalek human sequence right into the cortex.

Dialogue Triumphs: 'You told us to imagine and we imagined your irrelevance.'

Continuity: Emergency Temporal Shifts eat up the power cells, and the Daleks were stranded after making one. [Presumably Dalek Caan has had enough time to recover the power he lost.] Sec says that no Dalek has felt pain of the flesh for thousands of years - suggesting that Genesis of the Daleks was within that timescale. Dalek Sec has an American accent. Before the "final experiment", the Cult of Skaro tried breeding Dalek embryos, but the resultant embryos had "flesh" that was "too weak". They have over 1000 humans ready for their final experiment of creating Dalek-human hybrids. The Pig slaves are trained to kill by slitting your throat with their bare teeth. The Dalek who is designated controller connects itself to the military computer in order to to co-ordinate military action involving the hybrids.

The sonic screwdriver can make a valve radio create a screeching noise which hurts Dalek Sec's ears. The Doctor can use it to tell the Daleks where he is and to light a Bunsen burner [when he apparently hasn't turned the gas supply on!].

Martha now fancies the Doctor.

Links: Martha is resentful about Rose. There's a mention of deadlock seals (School Reunion, although this is now something that can be done to an electronic device to prevent interference. The Daleks plan to make Earth into New Skaro (c.f. War of the Daleks). The Doctor mentions the Daleks' creator (Genesis of the Daleks).

Extras: This story has an episode of Doctor Who Confidential. The BBC website had an online commentary, which has since been taken down. It also has a behind the scenes video podcast.

Location: New York, Saturday 1 November and Sunday 2 November 1930.

The Bottom Line: We Always Survive.' After the first half, this story was a massive let-down. The plot is a few set pieces strung together by some nonsensical science which doesn't even have the decency to be technobabble. The Daleks have become the Cybermen - they now believe that removing the emotions makes you stronger, their primary goal is survival via converting humans, rather than conquest by exterminating them, they attack from the Sewers as the Cybermen did in The Invasion and Dalek Sec even says "Excellent". This could have been a big-budget version of Evil of the Daleks, but unfortunately there's no thematic depth, no believable characters, and a paper thin plot. As a result, the episode has to rely on special effects and some fairly poor action sequences in order to make any impression.

Discontinuity Guide by Stephen Gray
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