It’s the return of the Mecha- Mecho- those good round boys, in Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious – DALEKS! new episode Planet of the Mechanoids!
The Doctor Who animated Time Lord Victorious spin-off continues in the third episode of DALEKS! as the Emperor leads what remains of its forces to the Planet of the Mechanoids. It’s looking for help with the Daleks’ battle for survival against the Entity. But what hope of mercy for a species that’s spent its entire existence trying to exterminate every other? As it turns out, the Mechanoids have long memory banks, and will take a lot of convincing to enter an alliance with the Daleks.
The Mechanoids have a long association with the Daleks. Conceived back in 1965 as an attempt to recapture the success of Dalekmania, they battled Skaro’s mutants in The Chase, they faced them again in the pages of the TV Century 21 comic strip. This led to some surprisingly strong opinions as to the spelling of their name – ‘Mechonoids’ in the production paperwork for The Chase, but ‘Mechanoids’ in the comic. But with the classic Daleks comic such a strong influence on DALEKS! it’s no surprise writer James Goss has gone with that version.
By splitting our Daleks up, the episode highlights their distinct strands of Dalek personality
Originally talking in a continuous stream of almost unintelligible pseudo-computer code, DALEKS! upgrades the Mechanoids’ vocabulary to something more normal. It’s a move which helps make Planet of the Mechanoids the strongest episode of the animated mini-series yet. It’s always been at its best when focusing on the manipulations and politics of the diverse Dalek personalities. And this installment smartly splits the Daleks up, each paired with its opposite Mechanoid number. The Emperor and the Mechanoid Queen (the increasingly indispensable Anjli Mohindra) deal with the high level negotiations. Nobody’s fool, the Queen bats aside the Emperor’s condescension and claims to have deigned to reconsider the Mechanoids’ value. To its discomfort, she quickly identifies the Daleks’ diminished circumstances, and weighs up whether to destroy them utterly.
In the meantime, the Strategist appeals to Mechanoid 2150 (Ayesha Antoine), a scientist model, to help it strengthen Mechanus’ orbital defences ahead of the Entity’s arrival. While they work well together (though Blogtor Who fears 2150 will prove a little naive about the Strategist’s intention) it does have unexpected consequences. By abandoning his post at the Dalek Saucer, the Strategist has left the Imperial Guards to their own devices. And they prove to be their own worst enemies as their particular mix of Daleky paranoia and aggression lead them to pick a fight with the Mechanoid security force which vastly outnumbers them.
Design wise, Planet of the Mechanoids is the strongest episode so far
Planet of the Mechanoids also plays to the format’s strengths, design wise. The robots of Mechanus have always been a strangely pleasing bit of sixties monsterdom, and they’re superbly realised here. Their city, too, looks fantastic. And it cleverly finds a way to mix loyalty to the version previously seen in The Chase with taking the opportunity to expand its scope beyond the dreams of the original team.
The episode also gives us the strongest cliffhanger so far, based both of Dalek deviousness and a general sense of threat. Can the Daleks and the Mechanoids survive?
More Dalek action is coming our way next week, as Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious continues…
Episode Four of DALEKS! will be out on YouTube next week. Can Mechanus withstand the assault of the Entity?
Meanwhile, you can keep track of everything tying into Time Lord Victorious, what’s out next, and all of Blogtor Who’s reviews of the adventure so far on our Time Lord Victorious Master List page.