Doctor Who: The Perils of Nellie Bly / Nightmare of the Daleks Review

It’s time to unofficially end the Doctor Who Monthly Main Range as this duo was supposed to be the release after The Lost Resort (under the title of “Perils and Nightmares”) before they were both understandably plucked from the schedule. It’s also the end of the Marc stories, which feels like they’ve only just begun. Does it end well? Is he still playing second fiddle to Adric, despite still being alive and in The Doctor’s face? Let’s find out!

Synopsis (of “The Perils of Nellie Bly”):

When the TARDIS crew arrive on the RMS Oceanic, they meet notorious journalist Nellie Bly on the final leg of her voyage to travel the world in less than eighty days. But with a saboteur on board, the Doctor and his friends must race to help Nellie reach her destination – and save her future.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Both stories were perfectly fine, but neither I’ll admit jumped out as being anything memorable.

“The Perils of Nellie Bly” is a good bit of fun as the TARDIS quartet arrive on the RMS Oceanic and meet the famous journalist (voiced by Sydney Feder). She isn’t portrayed as some sort of hero either, which is refreshing, she’s very much about her adoring fans as much as doing it for all women out there and making history. She does have a rival on another ship who has sent a woman named Marion Jones (Carlyss Peer) to sabotage her at various points, leading to The Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Marc to cut away anchors that have been unfairly dropped, rescue Nellie (who turns out to be Tegan after they swapped outfits) from being tied to the mast and stop a train after Nellie was intentionally led onto the wrong one. Even then, on the right train going in the correct direction Marion tries to derail it only for The Doctor and Marc climb the coal carriage and stop her, which was a fun visual (in my head, obviously). In the end Nellie arrives and hints that her rival is stuck in the middle of the ocean because she also set up a saboteur, and also that she assumed The Doctor and co. were from the future, showing she is still a clever and apparently open-minded journalist…

“Nightmare of the Daleks” was a mixed bag, though the core concept was fun. Marc collapses as his cybernetic inner-self had been accidentally connected to another network, causing the TARDIS to follow the source. They arrive on a drilling platform in the middle of an ocean planet where the workers are all either going into a coma or outright dying while in their sleeping pods thanks to shared nightmares about Daleks. It turns out eventually that Daleks had crashed onto the ocean world and long since died but their neural network and the strength of their “pure hate” had allowed them to “haunt” the planet itself and influence the dreams of the workers, hoping to control their bodies so they can escape. That was at least a fun idea…

The Bad:

Remove Adric and this could just be the cover for Nightmare of the Daleks by itself. Nicely composited though!

Sadly I found the end of Nightmare of the Daleks a bit flat. Everyone is in the dream world and The Doctor figures out that there is no way to “unhaunt” the planet and stop the Daleks, so he plans to use his mental energy to suppress them. Marc then interjects, says he can do it and stay alive for a long time due to his enhancements and after a brief back and forth The Doctor agrees, leaving him to essentially dream for eternity, which is certainly better than death so it at least makes sense why Marc isn’t on the old list of companions that The Doctor saw die, but it’s still a pretty flat exit. Feels like we’ve seen the “no Doctor, I’ll do it!” “Don’t be a fool!” “It’s my choice!” “Okay then.” ending a lot recently, or maybe that’s just me. I guess I was hoping for a more uplifting end, plus Marc mentions Adric again just to give a final bit of salt into his own wound in how his story arc got turned into an Adric one.

I don’t know, after how good Warzone and The Lost Resort were I was hoping for something of similar quality for his send-off…

The Continuity:

Not a lot really. It’s the end of Marc’s adventures, which started with “Tartarus”. I’m not going to list all Dalek stories (hell, all Dalek stories featuring Nyssa would take a while…) but I will say it reminded me in parts of the Eighth Doctor comic “Children of the Revolution”, which saw Daleks living in an underground cavern on an ocean world and deals with psychic energy, though it is otherwise a completely different story…

Overall Thoughts:

Overall Perils and Nightmares was a mix. “The Perils of Nellie Bly” was entertaining enough but also so light and fluffy that I’ll forget it exists in about a month, while “Nightmare of the Daleks” was more memorable but mostly for a rather plain and unexciting exit for Marc. I’ll just rate it in the middle, because I can’t say it’s bad, but I can’t say I’ll particularly want to listen to it again…

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