Thursday, April 7, 2011

Best of/ Worst of 5 part 3

 Best of /Worst of 5 part 3
Kevin Scott Bolinger

Greetings and Salutations. Welcome to part three of my look at Doctor Who. Today, we shall take a look at two of the Doctor’s most famous villains, the Daleks and The Master. I will then give my closing thoughts on this long running show, and leave it up to you, the reader, to decide who is the best Doctor for all time. I will not, however, tell you my personal favorite. Why? Simple, I like them all.

      Let us dive right in by tackling the Daleks first. They are the oldest of the Doctor’s enemies. They first appeared in the second storyline, simply titled “Daleks“. After the events of “An Unearthly Child” the TARDIS materializes on a strange world, in the middle of a forest. There is a city in the distance. The world is Skaro. The city, the home of the Daleks. The Doctor and his companions make their way to the city, and upon arrival, realize they have been exposed to radiation, which has weakened them. As the episode progresses, they learn that there is another race on Skaro, the Thalls, who have been at war with the Daleks for a very long time. The Thalls help them escape.
      Over the long years the Doctor, in his various incarnations, has come into contact with the Daleks as they proceed with their plans of universal conquest. The Daleks change over the years, at first, limited to traveling only within the confines of their city, since they needed static electricity from metal floors to move. They overcame that quickly, developing an anti-gravity mode of locomotion, allowing them to hover, fly, and even go up stairs. Then came an event that let everyone know what they were truly dealing with,

     The Time Lord’s approached the fourth Doctor, ordering him to Skaro at a particular point during it’s history. This point was the birth of the Daleks. His mission, to stop it. This is the multi-part story known as “Genesis of the Daleks” and is considered by many to be one of the best of Classic Who. Upon arriving at Skaro, they quickly realize they are in the middle of a huge war. The war between the Thalls and the Kaleds. The use of atomic weapons has left a poisonous radiation over the planet, and mutants have been the result, mostly among the Thalls, who are fighting for their very survival. The Kaleds, portrayed as almost Nazi-like, have the upper hand, but desire a weapon to finish the Thralls once and for all. Enter Davros.

Davros and his children, the Daleks
A Kaled mutant inside the Dalek shell

  Davros was a mad genius, horribly scarred and blinded, he was bound to a mobile device he used to get around. A single artificial eye was imbedded in his forehead, above the near empty sockets of his real eyes. His left arm was nearly useless, and he controlled his machine with his right. He was far from defenseless. He utilized the radiation from the war to create a new race, a race devoid of most emotions, no need for love, or honor. These mutants were made from Kaled volunteers. He placed the new, small, single-eyed creatures in a mobile armor base, similar to the one he was in, yet they had deadly weapons exposed, and a dome at the top with a single moving eye stalk. These were his Daleks.

    It seemed the Doctor had arrived a few days too late, and Davros had succeeded, and the Daleks were born, so, the Doctor did the next best thing. He tried to stall their development into the deadly race they would become. Eventually he would turn the creations on their creator. The Daleks shoot Davros, and his body and his creation become sealed in a cave for thousands of years.

    The Doctor had thought he had won, but in his later travels, he would once again find himself on Skaro. This time, an excavation by an alien race, had unwittingly uncovered the cave, and the Daleks and the newly revived Davros would rise again. Davros was quickly becoming as hard to kill as the Doctor himself. Eventually, despite the Doctor stopping them at every turn, the Daleks would rise to power, and develop time travel of their own. This lead to the Last Great Time War, already discussed under my write up of the eighth Doctor.

     Even the Time War could not keep them down. First a single Dalek, fallen to Earth from the war, was located. Shortly there after, it was learned that the Dalek Emperor had survived the war, by escaping before the war was locked. The Daleks took their time, and using Earth in the distant future, they were able to build up a massive fleet. This all came to nothing, as the Doctor’s companion Rose , with the power of the time vortex in her head, would simply erase them from existence.

   The Daleks were not completely gone, as a small group of four, a secret organization, known as the Cult of Skaro, the only Daleks with names, would find a Time Lord device known as the Genesis Ark. This happened to coincide with an invasion of the Cybermen from an alternate reality. Immune to the Cybermen’s weapons, the Cult of Skaro succeeded in opening the Genesis Ark, a device, like the TARDIS, that was bigger on the inside. It turns out it was a prison ship, and it was transporting millions of Daleks. They are freed and begin fighting the Cybermen. At the Torchwood institute, the Doctor and Rose use a device that had been created to open a crack between universes, to suck both the Cybermen and Daleks into the void between realities. All are sucked in except the Cult of Skaro who use emergency time travel to escape. The result of all this, was Rose being trapped in an alternate reality.

   They would return again, this time in depression era New York. Their plan, to use a radiation wave heading towards Earth to create a new form of Dalek, one half human. Only one of these monstrosities was created, and he was killed by the other members of the Cult of Skaro. They too were destroyed with the exception of one who used his emergency time travel yet again.

    This would lead to one of the largest confrontation with the Daleks the Doctor had ever witnessed outside the Time War. The surviving member of the Cult of Skaro had somehow ended up in the Time War. This caused him to go insane, yet he was able to free both Davros and the Supreme Dalek from the war. Davros then set about rebuilding the Daleks. They then began to steal planets from both time and space, the last one they steal, Earth itself. Hiding the entire group of planets one second out of phase with the rest of the universe, the plan was to use them to create an energy field capable of destroying the universe itself.

    The Doctor and a group of his former companions, thwart the Daleks, but, his friend Donna paid the price. Her DNA and that of the Doctor got mixed to create a new, human version of the Doctor, but the transfer worked both ways, with Donna getting the Doctor’s memories and intelligence. This caused her to be able to work out a way of freeing everyone, and controlling the Dalek equipment to return all but one of the worlds to it’s proper place . The Human Doctor, not having the benefit of time with humans, destroys the Daleks and Davros. Donna begins suffering the effects of the transfer, and the Doctor has no choice but to erase her memories. After using the TARDIS to tow the Earth back to its rightful place, he brings Donna home. If she were to ever remember him, her mind would burn.

    The Daleks would not return again until the eleventh Doctor. After receiving a call from Winston Churchill, the Doctor and his new companion Amy, travel to world War Two London, there to find that Churchill has been using creations known as Ironsides to fight the Nazis. These turn out to be two Daleks. These Daleks set an elaborate trap to get the Doctor to acknowledge who they are, so that a new form of Dalek can be created on their ship with a device known as the Progenitor. They succeed, and the new superior Daleks destroy the old flawed version, and escape in time.

   They last appeared as part of a coalition of all the Doctor’s enemies, their goal, to lock the most dangerous being in the universe in an un-escapable box known as the Pandorica. That most dangerous being? The Doctor himself! So ends our brief look at the Daleks. Now we can move on to The Master.

    The Master was born on Gallifrey around the same time as the Doctor. The two were childhood friends, always playing together. Both were taken at age eight by the Time Lords to gaze into the Untempered Schism. The Doctor ran from the time vortex within, the Master went mad, a constant drumming sound now in his head. He would recover enough to attend the academy with the Doctor, where he would be a member of a group known as the Deca, a group the Doctor also belonged to. Eventually, he and the Doctor would have a falling out.

The Master, age 8, looking into the Time Vortex

After the Doctor stole the TARDIS and fled from Gallifrey, the Time Lords decided to send the Master after him, to bring him back. This began a long obsession the Master had with the Doctor. Coupled with his insanity, this lead to many plans to either take over the universe, or simply kill the Doctor. As he approached old age, and his body began to decay, he merged himself with an alien known as Tremas. This however, damaged his DNA and he could no longer regenerate as other Time Lords.

     In this form, he would plague the Doctor more and more, even causing the death and regeneration of the fourth Doctor. Though he tried, he could never quite gain the upper hand with the Doctor. Eventually, the sixth Doctor was put on trial for interference, and in a twisted way, the Master came to his defense, though his true goal was the hope that the Doctor and his evil future incarnation, the Valeyard, would destroy each other.

    The Seventh Doctor would reveal that he was partially to blame for the Master’s actions. When they were boys, the Master was bullied, and in coming to his defense, the Doctor had killed the bully. This would eventually lead to Death taking on the Master as a force to do her bidding.

     The Master was captured by the Daleks, in a time before the Great War, and he was executed. His remains were taken by the Doctor for return to Gallifrey. On the way, the Masters essence escaped, causing the TARDIS to crash, the Doctor to be shot and regenerate, and eventually, would have caused the entire universe to get sucked into the Heart of the TARDIS. The Doctor stopped him, and destroyed the Master once and for all…

    Or so he thought. The Time Lords, during the war, had brought back every great warrior they had in history, including the Master. However, the Master, being a coward of sorts, decided to flee instead of fight. He escaped far into the future, and used a Chameleon Arch to alter his memories and DNA into a human. This human became Professor Yana, a man, who at the very end of the universe, was trying to save the last of humanity by sending them to a place simply known as Utopia. The Doctor arrived at the same point in time and space, accidentally, as the TARDIS tried to shake off Captain Jack Harkness, a man made into a fixed point in time by the time vortex in Rose’s head, several years earlier. He was an impossibility even the Doctor had trouble looking at.

     As the Doctor offered help to Yana, he would talk about Gallifrey, and time lords, and regeneration with Jack, with Yana and his helper listening in. As the words are spoken a change comes upon Yana, who notices his pocket watch. When he opens it, the spell of the Chameleon Arch is broken, and his true self, the Master is revealed. His assistant shoots him, as he makes his way into the TARDIS. There he regenerates into a new younger version. He quickly moves to steal the TARDIS, but the Doctor uses his sonic screwdriver to lock the controls, limiting the TARDIS to only travel back to the last place it had been, give or take eighteen months.

The Master, as Harold Saxon, Prime Minister

  Eventually, this leads to the Master becoming Prime Minister of England under the name Harold Saxon. He introduces an alien race known as the Toclafane,  tiny floating metal spheres. The Toclafane turn out to be the humans Yana sent to Utopia with the Doctors help. After a year, the Doctor is able to use the Master’s own devices against him, and he undoes everything the Master had caused, creating the year that never was. Only those upon the flying UNIT aircraft carrier, Valiant, know what happened. The Master is then shot by his own wife, and he refuses to regenerate. The Doctor burns his body upon a great pyre.

    Even this would not be the end. As his body was consumed by the flames, a ring fell to the ground. A mysterious woman picks it up. This leads to his eventual return, but he was even more insane. His new body could generate energy burst, which he could aim at those around him. Using alien technology, he turned the entire population of Earth into himself. Eventually, it is revealed that the drumming in his head was put there by Rassilon and the Time Lords on the last day of the Time War, just before the Doctor used a weapon known as The Moment to end the war, burn Skaro and Gallifrey and lock the war in time.  Rassilon used the Master as a back door.

   As Gallifrey was appearing through time next to Earth, causing devastation, the Time Lord council, with Rassilon appeared before the Doctor and Master. Rassilon easily undid the changes to humanity the Master had caused, but the announced it was time to enact the final sanction, the end of time itself, the result would be the Time Lords would exist as pure energy, truly immortal. The Doctor could not allow this, if he killed the Master, the link the Time Lords used would be broken. He couldn’t bring himself to do it, but he did shoot the control device the Master had used. The Master, realizing the insanity of his entire life, the drums that drove him to kill, was caused by his own people, finally steps up to the plate. He openly attacks Rassilon, cursing him for doing this. The Time Lords, Master and Gallifrey are all sucked back into the Time War, sealed away forever. In his last bit of life, he had saved the universe.

Rassilon and the Time Lords, ready to enact the End of Time.
After this, the Doctor was truly the last of his race. As mentioned above, events mere moments after all this would cause the next regeneration of the Doctor. He was finally able to let go of the guilt of both the Master and the fate of his people, for he had seen that they truly had become evil. He had made the right decision in the end, by burning Gallifrey. If he hadn’t, the universe itself would have been lost. The Doctor that emerged from this regeneration could finally go on with his life.

    What is it about Doctor Who that has drawn me and so many in? The effects in the old days were cheap and corny, but the stories were magnificent. The character himself, a being of constant change and rebirth, was unique. No manifestation of the Doctor was ever like the other, though aspects of those that came before would show through. In their own way, all eleven have been fantastic.

     I would love to see this show go on for many years to come. We are a little under two years away from the shows 50th anniversary. I hope they make a special that combines the old and the new, to showcase what has come before, and where the show is heading. I am fairly new to the Who universe, though I always knew about it from broadcasts on public broadcasting networks as a kid. I will admit, it was the New Who that got me into it, but I have gone back and watched many episodes of the older Doctors. I have all the episodes on a portable hard drive, so I am still in the process of getting through them all.

   So, this leaves us with the real question then, who is the best Who? I have my favorites, but I love them all. There are episodes I can watch again and again, both of the old stuff and the new. I will even be doing my first cosplay as one of the Doctors, sonic screwdriver included. The Who following is not as big here in the United States, but New Who has changed that somewhat. I know many here who have watched the new shows and loved them, I have been trying to convince them to give the old shows a chance. So, you all tell me, in comments here, or on Facebook, who is your favorite Doctor. Let us see what we can make of all this. Till then, we are all simply the universe, trying to find it’s voice, we are one!

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