We Are the Daleks

Posted in Episode by - January 02, 2017
We Are the Daleks

Released July 2015

1987 Great Britain is a divided one, the members of the upper class elite seemingly never further separated from those below them. With media mogul Alex Zenos offering an economic miracle that has investors scrambling in support, the Doctor and Mel seek to discover the truth behind Zenos’s partners and just how the phenomenally popular video game Warfleet is involved.

The title makes it apparent that the Daleks are the foe of the tale, but they are presented in a rather unique fashion here as they hope to exploit the power of the free market to begin their newest attempt at universal conquest. Indeed, these Daleks are intricately aware of the influence of the Doctor on those around him, a crucial piece of their plan hinging on their enemies becoming too demoralized to continue on once the Doctor is out of the picture. At the same time, the 1980s setting and vibe lends a novel edge to events that makes perfect sense within the confines of the Seventh Doctor era, the smart and serious characterization of both leads providing an intriguing alternative to the more light-hearted versions written and portrayed on television. Sylvester McCoy’s voice absolutely seethes with rage whenever he has to even mention the Daleks as he goes undercover into the world of politics and business, and Bonnie Langford is superb as Mel proves how intelligent she is as she plays the Daleks at their own game with some rather unconventional thinking.

Given the rather divisive effect that 1980s Doctor Who has had on fans of the franchise, the decision to so firmly entrench this story in the 1980s in its stylings and sensibilities is a somewhat brave one for Big Finish to pursue. Nonetheless, in a decade where subtlety was hardly at the forefront, the presence of a skyscraper shaped like a Dalek right in the middle of London is a potent piece of imagery that sets the tone of the forthcoming story perfectly, especially once it is revealed that the Daleks have put it there simply to get the Doctor’s attention. These days the Daleks work best when placed in unexpected situations, and their seeming willingness to deal with the United Kingdom as a representative of Earth as they offer to provide financial backing to help Earth ensure its place in eventual intergalactic commerce certainly qualifies. Of course, Doctor Who has afforded glimpses into what an Earth under Dalek control actually is, and Warfleet offering humans a direct- if unknowing- interface to the Dalek war aganst the Thals again highlights how duplicitous these beings are, willing to use anything and anyone to achieve their goals and showing just how similar to Daleks humans have the ability to be.

There’s quite an important message about the potential greatness of capitalism tempered by a very real discussion about how it can quite easily be humanity’s downfall as well, and the intelligence of the script makes it perfectly clear how easily humans can mimic the dreaded Daleks in their sensibilities and actions. Still, ‘We Are the Daleks’ uses humour to gets its point across rather than delving into overly serious territory, managing to capture the essence of the 1980s even better than many of the televised serials in the process. It’s a bit offbeat but immensely entertaining, and ‘We Are the Daleks’ makes the most of its two leads and its iconic foes to kick off the post-200 Main Range for Big Finish in fine style.

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