DALEKS! isn’t quite over yet. The last two Daleks in the universe stand against the Entity. But they’re not alone as the Mechanoids are reluctantly dragged into the battle too
Doctor Who spin-off DALEKS! picks up from last week’s cliffhanger as the Daleks and the Mechanoids unite to fend off the Entity’s assault on Mechanus. It probably results in the best balance of action and drama of this animated strand of Time Lord Victorious. The defence of the planet lends the battle a structure the show’s sometimes lacked. This time the Mechanoids form clear battle lines that make the action easier to follow. While with the Entity pursuing a specific objective – to get past them to the Emperor – there are clearer defined stakes.
Meanwhile, the decision to split the Emperor and Strategist up and pair each one with their Mechanoid equivalent continues to pay off. Within the city, the Mechanoid Queen directs her forces while her alliance with the Daleks stands on a knife’s edge. Especially when it turns into a three way debate as the Entity issues an ultimatum; offering to leave Mechanus in peace if the Emperor is turned over. Can the Dalek leader convince the Queen the extra-dimensional alien intends to destroy her world whatever she does?
The interplay between the Daleks and their Mechanoid opposite numbers continues to be a highlight of DALEKS!
Meanwhile high in orbit, the Strategist and 2150 strike a contrast. They’re not worried about such questions beyond their pay grade. Fulfilling the role usually taken by the Doctor in such events, they brainstorm a clever solution built out of whatever they have to hand. They have a mutual respect for each other’s abilities. Even if the Strategist occasionally remembers to throw in a threat of extermination later. It’s a refreshing change of pace. In recent years the Daleks have sometimes felt like shouty dullards. But The Deadly Ally remembers that they’re all scientific and engineering geniuses. You can easily believe in the Strategist as one of those Daleks that used to fill their city with cubist art back in The Daleks.
If the Emperor itself is a bit shouty and obtuse, at least it’s entertainingly so. It going outside to literally shout (and shoot) impotently at the sky is potentially the most Daleky thing ever. Nicholas Briggs is obviously having great fun with voicing these distinct Dalek characters, and Blogtor Who can only hope he gets to flex these particular vocal muscles on TV one day.
Populated by literally faceless characters, the excellent voice work in the series is an essential part of the formula
Under voice director Scott Handcock, Anjli Mohindra (Mechanoid Queen) and Ayesha Antoine (Mechanoid 2150) also deserve praise. Both of them walk the difficult tight rope of portraying soulful robots with great skill. Mohindra in particular mantains a nice, restrained curiousity, rather than horrified outrage, as more layers of the Emperor’s total psychopathy are revealed. While Antoine’s 2150 would audibly roll her eyes, if she had them, at the Strategist’s need to randomly mention Dalek superiority every five minutes. These Mechanoids aren’t angry, they’re just very disappointed in you. And with their visual design even less expressive than a Dalek’s, that’s almost entirely down to Mohindra and Antoine.
The Deadly Ally leaves us in a rather surprising place. And with one ten minute episode left, there’s a lot of ground left to cover. We’ve still no information on what was in the Archive, or where the Entity is from. Nor how any of this leads in to the rest of Time Lord Victorious anyway.
More Dalek action is coming our way next week, as Doctor Who: Time Lord Victorious continues…
The DALEKS! finale will be out on YouTube next week. Will the Mechanoids have their revenge on the Daleks as the Doctor Who spin-off concludes?
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.