Emissary of the Daleks promised to be a bit more of an interesting look at the rather tired Dalek occupation storyline, focusing on the idea of an Emissary leading the planet instead of the Daleks full-force, but sadly within the first episode a Dalek ship arrives with a Dalek Supreme and a bunch of Daleks on it, and it spends the whole run time being nothing but predictable Dalek stuff. Dalek stuff done well, don’t get me wrong, but original it’s not! Let’s take a closer look…
On the planet Omnia, a young man leads the Doctor and Peri through the battle-scarred ruins of a city. Among the rubble he shows them proof that their invaders and new masters, thought to be invincible, can be defeated. The proof is the blasted, burnt-out remains of a Dalek.
But this is a Dalek-occupied world like few others. For one thing, there are few Daleks to be seen. And for another, the Daleks have appointed an Omnian, Magister Carmen Rega, to govern the planet as their emissary.
Why are the Daleks not present in force? And can the Doctor and Peri risk helping the Omnians, when the least show of resistance will be met with devastating reprisals from space?
*spoilers appear from here on out!*
While nothing during these four episode will surprise you, it does have a good guest cast, particularly Carmen Rega (Saskia Reeves), who struggles with punishing her own people for disobeying Dalek rule purely because she knows a worse fate for far more would await an actual uprising, and her son Aldo (William Ellis), who is trying his best to find and build an actual uprising with a group of rebels. It takes Aldo the better part of three episodes to actually find/create a rebellion, so at least for most of the runtime we’re lacking in that particular trope, anyway… Their interaction and dialogue are the only true highlight, and worthy of praise.
The cover is actually good, I just wanted this only picture to be more in the middle of the review…
It does feel like a waste, given so many scenes and cliffhangers are The Doctor, Peri and Aldo running from Dalek gunfire in a generic run around. “can the Doctor and Peri risk helping the Omnians, when the least show of resistance will be met with devastating reprisals from space?” the synopsis asks, but it never comes up. The Doctor doesn’t stop and go “should I help these people?”, of course he doesn’t! He reprimands Carmen for following the Daleks and helps free the planet. At no point is this interesting dilemma actually acted out. Throw in Carmen knocking the Doctor out and sacrificing herself as a small attempt at redemption, rather than letting him do it and you’ve got a really predictable story here.
I don’t know if there is anything else to say about it. This is turning out to be a short review, but it all just passed over me in a rather middle ground “the actors are doing a good job, but the script feels like it was put in a random Dalek story generator” kind of way…
Not much to say here, beyond obvious Dalek connections! It does feature the black and gold Supreme Dalek, which first appeared in the Third Doctor TV story “Planet of the Daleks”, other Supreme Daleks of other colours have appeared before and after that, but it is always nice to see that colour scheme (in your head, thanks to the cover, obviously…)
Emissary of the Daleks isn’t a bad story, its just very by-the-numbers, and with the exception of two new characters and their complex relationship, it doesn’t ever raise above predictable. It’s perfectly fine if all you want is a regular Dalek affair, but after the synopsis promised more, I can’t help but feel a little let down…