Review [DW]: “Revelation of the Daleks”

22×6. Revelation of the Daleks
Writer: Eric Saward
Director: Graeme Harper
Script Editor: Eric Saward
Producer: John Nathan-Turner

Synopsis: The Doctor and Peri arrive on the planet Necros, where Davros has been exploiting an operation known as Tranquil Repose – ostensibly providing funeral services as well as cryogenic suspension – to create new Daleks and gain control over galactic food supplies, just as local businesswoman Kara has dispatched an assassin to kill Davros and rebel Daleks attempt to capture him.

Review: I’ll say this much: “Revelation of the Daleks” is not predictable. Whether that’s because it’s creative or because it’s just a mess, I’m still not entirely sure (actually, I think it’s probably both). I can’t off the top of my head recall another Doctor Who serial where a flamboyant DJ blows up Daleks by blasting rock-and-roll at them with a sonic transmitter, where said flamboyant DJ seems to have better surveillance capabilities than whatever passes for a security force, where a subplot revolves around a somewhat simple-minded assistant’s crush on her womanizing boss, where Davros has dialogue concerning financial fraud and deceives assassins with an illusion of his own head suspended in a vat, or where we discover that people have apparently been ground up for protein and secretly marketed as food. As you might expect from such a description, this one is all over the place tonally, veering from dark comedy to action/adventure to horror, while the various characters and their subplots randomly crash into each other and/or stick around just long enough to get killed (yes, this is yet another mid-’80s Doctor Who bloodbath). In fact, the Doctor and Peri take the entire first 45-minute episode meandering their way to where most of the action is taking place, and they don’t really drive the plot so much as just get carried along by it. Speaking of the plot, I should also mention that the Daleks are having some sort of civil war, and that Tranquil Repose can’t fulfill its promise because of overpopulation and scarce resources for would-be revivals, and that two other gun-toting renegades have broken into Tranquil Repose because one of them is looking for her father’s body, and that the Doctor becomes worried that he’ll never regenerate again when he finds a statute of himself with his current incarnation’s face…and that none of this really coheres into a satisfying whole as the script jumps around from one thing to another. While this is certainly an improvement over “The Two Doctors” and “Timelash,” it’s just too disjointed and contrived for me to give it a full recommendation.

Rating: **1/2 (out of four)

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