Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Exterminez-vous! Part Quatre - Le Quatrieme Docteur (The Fourth Doctor)

Due to some drama, I really needed to take a day yesterday but I present to you the fourth article in our continuing series about the Doctor's history with the Daleks.

The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker, pictured right) is pretty much the incarnation that immediately springs to mind when Doctor Who is mentioned. The first episodes of the series seen outside of the UK were of Tom Baker and he lasted the longest in the role (seven years). Combine that with quirky behavior and a long-ass scarf and you have yourself a veritable icon.

This Doctor was chosen by the Time Lords (seemingly satisfied with his earlier penance) to undertake a secret mission his first year (Season Twelve)—prevent the creation of the Daleks in the first place! This mission comprised a four-part story arc called Genesis of the Daleks.

Taken to the planet Skaro, the Doctor and his companions (the super hot Sarah Jane (Elisabeth Sladen, pictured left) and the not-so hot Harry) arrive during the planet's civil war—the war responsible for the creation of the Daleks and the mutated Thals. Almost immediately, they encounter Kaled soldiers who describe their struggle against the Thals for dominance of Skaro. If you remember the Doctor's very first encounter (discussed here), the predecessors of the Daleks were called the Dals but it was 500 years after their genocidal war so a bit of misnaming isn't that big of a deal.

Anyway, we eventually meet an old, shriveled guy in a chair with a very familiar lower half. This is Davros (pictured lower right), the greatest scientist of the Kaleds, and he unveils the Daleks. Davros admits to accelerating the mutation of the Kaleds and putting them into "travel machines." These actions, by the way, are not condoned by the Kaled government. Davros gets word that he'll be forced to stop his experiments, so he goes over to the Thal stronghold and betrays the Kaleds. You see, the Thals have been working on the mother of all rockets to eradicate Kaled-kind and Davros gives them the means to destroy the Kaled base. After the destruction of the Kaleds, Davros declares his Daleks as the superior beings of the universe shortly before his forces capture the Doctor and his companions (they had been prisoners in the Thal base and only returned to Kamp Kaled to retrieve the Time Ring—a device that would return them all to the TARDIS).

As expected, the Doctor manages to escape. His plan is to use explosives to kill the nascent Daleks, but after some soul searching, he realizes he can't do it—committing genocide would make him no better than his enemies. After the TARDIS crew leaves, The Daleks appear and recognize no one as their superior, even Davros. Their creator is killed in short order as the Doctor leaves Skaro with his friends.

It would be almost four years until the Daleks returned in Season Seventeen's Destiny of the Daleks. This time, the Doctor's companion was fellow Time Lord, Romana, who had just regenerated (now played by the adorable Lalla Ward, pictured left). The TARDIS had been using a randomizer in order to elude the physical embodiment of chaos in the adventure just previous.

Upon landing, the Doctor and Romana find themselves in the midst of a 200-year war between the Daleks and the silvery-humanoid Movellians on the good-ol' planet Skaro. After escaping from capture, they find the supposed-to-be-dead Davros alive and seemingly well. The Doctor eventually stops the war and captures Davros. He grants custody to the Movellians who plan to take to Earth for trial.

Destiny of the Daleks seemed to be the end of any future Dalek stories since creator Terry Nation decided he would not write any further stories featuring them. Fortunately, this decision would change in time for the Fifth Doctor to encounter them before regenerating again.

Unlike the Third Doctor, the Fourth incarnation of our hero went out with quite a bang. He died saving the universe from his other arch-enemy: the evil Time Lord known only as the Master. After seven seasons, Tom Baker passed the role to Peter Davison (pictured right). We'll get to him next time.


smacky said...

He did have some cute female companions!

smacky said...

Oh, and I may have missed it, but did they ever explain what in the HELL is wrong with Davros? How can he even be the same species as the Kaled? This goes beyond being in a wheelchair like Steven Hawking. This guy has a lizard face and metal hardware mounted into his skull!

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