Episode 005 – “The Dead Planet”

Well, here we are. This is the story that, for better and worse, helped Doctor Who become the success that it is today. It introduced the Daleks, who are generally rather boring, and poorly used, but which are very popular, and so they’re also very over used. Still, you gotta give it up for that final shot in this episode.

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Fresh off their adventure in the past, the TARDIS crew find themselves in a strange, forbidding forest of petrified trees, flowers that seem like glass, and a dead animal made out of metal. There’s a city that the Doctor is itching to explore, but Ian won’t have any of it, reminding the old man that they’re all depending on him.

There are a lot of little moments in this episode. I liked the Doctor asking Barbara to tend to Ssuan because he felt he was too old to really talk with her. I liked Ian and the Doctor each trying to take charge, with various degrees of success. And you have to like the Doctor sabotaging the TARDIS to make sure they “must” go do what he wants to do. That sort of thing is very “Doctor”, and something one can easily see any of his incarnations do.

I’m also very pleased that, as yet, Ian and Barbara just don’t trust the Doctor. That’s good, and very realistic, I feel. He also doesn’t trust them, which makes it even better, and leaves Susan caught in the middle, which makes for some nice drama.

I will say in the negative that there’s too many moments where not much happens. This story is seven parts, of which this is the first. It should have been four; there is much padding. But still, this episode holds up well, and I can only imagine what it must have been like to be a kid over fifty years ago and have to wait a week to find out what was scaring the bejeezus out of Barbara.

You don’t have to wait that long! Just until tomorrow!

Next time: “The Survivors”

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