It’s the final end! Or is it? Can the Daleks survive the Mechanoid onslaught in the DALEKS! finale?
DALEKS! has been one of the most ambitious elements of Time Lord Victorious. Across five weeks it’s given us a complete Dalek animated adventure as long as a full episode of Doctor Who itself. So far we’ve chased along in the Daleks’ wake, bouncing from one world to the next, from calamity to disaster, with such speed it’s been hard to take stock. But with Day of Reckoning we can finally judge this experiment. And have the Daleks succeeded?
The budget may not always have matched its ambition, but it’s impossible to fault its beautiful design work
Ultimately, DALEKS! has been a mixed bag. But even in the areas where it hasn’t been entirely successful, it’s done so in the finest Doctor Who tradition – aiming for the stars on a budget more appropriate for a day trip to Aberdeen. So if the final battle between Mechanoids and Daleks in Day of Reckoning may be less Lord of the Rings and more like one of those YouTube videos pitting 10,000 polar bears against 250 Roman legionnaires, it would be extremely petty to mind too much. Not just because this is free, but because it’s delivered with such joy and love of the source material.
That love shines though in things like the realization of Skaro. A beautiful recreation of the design seen in The Widow’s Familiar, itself based on The Dead Planet, it’s the purest of thrills to see Daleks whizz along their tracks between the building. The interiors too are where the animation medium pays off. The Dalek control room pays tribute to the past while creating a truly massive chamber with huge vaulted ceilings. But they’re easily filled by the egos of these new Daleks. The Emperor in particular just brims with a delightful self-importance, especially now that the tide if finally turning in its favour.
As the Dalek Strategist’s schemes come to fruition it continues to prove one of the great Doctor Who villains
Meanwhile, the Strategist feels like he’s become the embodiment of all the best Dalek stories – the ones where they manipulate and connive their way to victory. Across the whole of Time Lord Victorious, it’s become one of the most compelling Doctor Who villains for years. Perhaps if fandom makes a New Year’s resolution to use all our birthday candle wishes in 2021 for the same thing, we can magic up a James Goss scripted TV appearance for it.
Goss’ partner in crime, Dave Ladkin, also deserves much of the credit in making these Daleks so distinctive and memorable. The designer’s update of the TV Century 21 Golden Emperor to fit the post-2005 aesthetic is nothing short of genius, while every crack and weld in the Strategist’s patchwork shell defines its character as much as Nicholas Briggs slimy vocals. And while we’re taking a last chance to hand out plaudits, we have to mention Briggs work bringing so these new Dalek individuals to life. He’s plainly been reveling in exploring this unique squad.
Ultimately DALEKS! barely impacts on Time Lord Victorious, but remains a fun bit of Dalekmania in its own right
And if we haven’t ever quite wound up rooting for the Daleks, there’s a grim satisfaction in seeing the Strategist wheedle and maneuver its way to victory. And while you might have your suspicions it also keeps you uncertain what its ultimate intentions are – save the Emperor? Or replace it?
One surprising thing, though, is how little Time Lord Victorious has actually impacted DALEKS! The Defender of the Daleks comic may be a semi-sequel, revealing the Entity’s creators. And the Archive of Islos may be namechecked in various other installments. But the narrative in the animation itself never cycles back around to explaining what the Daleks wanted with the Archive in the first place. Or what anything that happens here has to do with the Emperor’s wider suspicions about disturbances in time. In one way that’s a positive. You can get the full enjoyment out of this series without ever even having heard of the Time Lord Victorious. But it does seem a shame the Hond, and the plan to ensnare the Doctor in their schemes, aren’t introduced in this final episode.
That’s the end for DALEKS! But you keep track of more adventures for the Emperor, the Strategist, and the others in the rest of Time Lord Victorious. 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.