DW: Genetics of the Daleks Review

It’s time for another Time Lord Victorious tie-in, but one with the Fourth Doctor, weirdly enough! This was announced late in the game (so much that it wasn’t included in the TLV subscription bundle…) and was made to act as a tie-in to an Escape Room activity that thanks to COVID barely got going. STILL! Funnily enough this story was actually good by itself, so let’s take a look!

Synopsis:

There are 10,000 humans in stasis aboard Starship Future. Ten thousand humans expecting to wake up on a distant planet, their new home. But twenty years into their journey, Starship Future takes on board fuel – and something else. Something that’s been waiting, frozen in space, for a very long time.

Something malevolent.

Something with a plan.

Unless the Doctor can help, it looks like the people of Starship Future have no future at all…

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

I like the three way battle this story presents, as a colony ship is invaded by a crime syndicate who replace several of the sleeping colonists with their own agents, meanwhile an unhinged scientist named Brooke (Andrew James Spooner) on board has discovered a lone Dalek floating in space and brought it on board, eventually becoming under its control. Captain Graff (Pippa Haywood) is forced to wake a different security officer when the previous one dies, and the new pilot, Finlay (Joseph Kloska) is suspicious of her. It does turn out that this Security Officer Swann (Nina Toussaint-White) is one of the sleeper agents, and the ship’s Medical Officer Chuke (Clive Mantle) is the leader of these criminals, and forces Finlay to keep this information a secret less his family in the cryo chambers suddenly die…

The Doctor arrives, seemingly because the Time Lords forced him to, just as everyone was asking questions about missing components and tampered cryo chambers, so of course he’s soon arrested. Swann decides to let him out so she can kill him in “self-defence”, but The Doctor instead contacts Captain Craff and complains about his prison bars vanishing, giving the Captain a good indication that he’s true in his statement that he’s no hostile invader. The Captain catches Swann in the act of trying to kill The Doctor, then a scared Finlay confesses what Chuke told him. This all becomes irrelevant when Brooke forces the corrupt Medical Officer to open a bunch of cryo chambers and reveal that the people inside had been partially converted into Daleks, ready to be finished off and placed in new Dalek machines.

Everything then suddenly becomes about fighting off the Daleks, which includes Chuke’s death, Brooke being turned into a Dalek, the Captain sacrificing herself to take out the Dalek-Human zombie things, and Swann sacrificing herself to destroy the Dalek casing creating machine. It also features the Dalek revealing to The Doctor that his whole Time Fleet was destroyed by a future version of him, and that a further incarnation would break the rules of time and commit genocide as the “Time Lord Victorious”. Obviously The Doctor believes this to be a trick, unable to comprehend himself ever going down that path, and soon watches as the Dalek is seemingly destroyed by an EMP blast created by the casing machine’s explosion. The Doctor says his goodbyes to Finlay, who wonders how he’s going to explain all this… but soon it doesn’t matter as the lone Dalek wakes and kills Finlay, leading to the events of the Escape Room, I guess, given it was called “A Dalek Awakens”.

The Bad:

A great cover! … sadly ruined for me when someone pointed out that they clearly used Peter Capaldi’s arm in the shot of Tom Baker’s Doctor… Sorry if I’ve ruined it for you too!

Not much actually, for roughly an hour it did a really good job of getting you to like the crew and the set up before everything went to a Daleky hell. I will say the Captain’s sacrifice was a bit crap, she said she was going to lead the Dalek Zombies to a specific bay and open the airlock, saying she’ll “be sure to grab a spacesuit along the way”, and then when it came to open the airlock he last words were “I never did grab that spacesuit”, or something to that effect. Well… okay, I guess there wasn’t one around, but it just came off like she couldn’t be bothered, rather than she was unable to save her own life and now had to face death. Very weird scene…

Also there was one of the worst “villain explains his plan is super-accurate detail to a stranger” scenes ever, as Chuke explains his syndicate infiltrating plan to the last point, before Finlay rightfully wonders why he’s telling him all this. It really made me shake my head as it was happening, there had to be a better way to explaining the plan to the listener…

The Continuity:

This is obviously part of the Time Lord Victorious storyline, specifically this Dalek was part of the Time Fleet the Eighth Doctor destroys in “Mutually Assured Destruction” (that I haven’t listen to yet because I’m still reading the book, but this was hardly a “spoiler”) and the Dalek in question mentions the events at the end of the book “The Knight, The Fool and The Dead”.

To build the new Daleks Brooke stole “duralinium” and “polycarbide”, two made up materials from the Third Doctor TV story “Colony in Space” and Seventh Doctor story “Remembrance of the Daleks” respectively.

Overall Thoughts:

Genetics of the Daleks is technically only just relevant to the Time Lord Victorious strand, but as a stand-alone Dalek story with the Fourth Doctor, it’s really quite good! A fun cast of varied characters with some good interacting plotlines, plus a good use of the Daleks. Forget Time Lord Victorious, this is an easy recommendation if you’re in the mood for a standalone Dalek story!

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