Writer: Terry Nation
Starring: William Hartnell, Carole Ann Ford, Jacqeline Hall & William Russel
The adventures continue for the Doctor and his associates on the world of the Daleks. So, too, does the delicious, oozing cheese. In fact, this episode may have some of the most cheese yet. Between Susan meeting the Thrals (who wear hulking plastic capes which make them look like avocados with limbs) and the absurd actions of Ian in the efforts of the rest of the gang to free themselves from Daleks, its an instant classic! It has been some time since I last reviewed something, so, without further ado, let’s dive right in to THE ESCAPE.
It has actually been quite some time since I viewed the episode in question. Various jaunts out of town for weekends (or weeks) at a time have slowed down my unhealthy intake of questionable cinema (as well as my ability to read the postings of my followers, which I will be working to catch up on!). Ideally, I would have gone back and revisited the episode, however I’m stubborn, lazy, and a bit of a bastard so I’ll just hope my memory doesn’t fail me.
Perhaps this would be a legitimate concern with any other episode or film, but not Doctor Who’s The Escape. Too many memorable things happen, whether its the Thrals looking like a bunch of ridiculous, granola-eating hippie fruits, or the Doctor and Ian wrestling a Dalek into submission. The episode also has some great reveals about the Daleks and Thrals. Firstly, concerning Thrals:
- They are generous and peaceful.
- They have a fondness for bulky, plastic sheerting and being overly-trusting.
- They are idiots.
And what of the Daleks? Regarding Daleks, we have learned:
- They are evil, scheming, and without scruples.
- Their optical stem is their achilles heel.
- And they draw power and move in the same way that bumper-cars do: through an electrified floor.
Each of these points is crucial to the episode’s plot. The Thrals overabundant supply of gullibility (perhaps exacerbated by countless generations of exposure to radioactive fallout) allows the scheming Daleks to use Susan to bring them to their destruction and get the radiation meds to boot. Susan is cajoled by the Daleks into writing and signing a note offering peace, which the Daleks hope will lead the Thrals into a trap. This is the first main plot line. Back with the Doctor, the gang is plotting their own escape, once they learn that the Daleks gather power from the floor. Helped by a Thral cape brought back by Susan, the Doctor manages to cut the power to a Dalek when it brings them their food. They then remove its head and Ian Chesterton climbs inside. He will pretend to be a Dalek leading the others to an “interrogation.” In order to get inside, however, the Doctor has to remove something from the Dalek’s head. The audience never sees it, however it causes Ian to look disgusted. They wrap it up in the Thral cape and head out. Their plan seems to be a success.
…however, on the floor, the tarp begins to stir.
It’s another great episode, with some funny moments, but also some genuinely great ones. I especially enjoyed the ominous closing shot of the Dalek squirming under the tarp. What a great way to end it. In fact, this may be my favorite episode yet.