Number : Season 3, serial 2 of 9.
Which One : Short non-Doctor adventure prelude to The Dalek Master Plan.
Cast : Jeff Garvey : Barry Jackson
Marc Cory : Edward de Souza
Gordon Lowery : Jeremy Young
Malpha : Robert Cartland
Written By : Terry Nation
Produced By : Verity Lambert
First UK Broadcast : 9 October 1965.
Length : 1 x 25 minute episode.
1) “Mission To The Unknown”
Plot : In this spin-off, which doesn’t feature the Doctor. A small group of Earth astronauts crashland on a jungle moon of Kembel, where they discover it is a staging post for a Dalek invasion campaign.
Meanwhile, the Daleks hold a meeting; with all of the other alien species – from the 5th galaxy; to form a super army.
Whats good : It’s a short non-Doctor interlude to The Dalek Master Plan. It is bold – to not have the Doctor in it. Good premise. Some good ideas. The Varga plants.
Whats bad : It could have been longer; two episodes – to better explore the ideas. Who should have done more non-Doctor spin-offs.
Review With Spoilers : Mission To The Unknown is a one-episode prelude to The Dalek Masterplan, which doesn’t feature the Doctor.
This episode centres around 3 Earth astronauts; Jeff Garvey, Gordon Lowery – and Marc Cory; who have crashlanded on the jungle moon of Kembel and are attempting to radio homebase.
They deduce that the moon is really a staging post, for another Dalek plot against Earth but the Daleks and their bio weapon; the Varga cactii – find and kill them – before they can warn anyone.
It was a bold move to have an episode of Doctor Who, without actually featuring the Doctor in it (his name does still appear in the credits though). In some regard, the very idea of this, may not have worked.
However, under the capable hands of writer Terry Nation; we have an interesting short tale about stranded astronauts. Serving as a prologue to The Dalek Masterplan episode – to come.
“Now all is ready. We at this table pledge our allegiance to the Dalek cause. Our armies will reduce the galaxies to ashes. Their people to dust. And Earth we will conquer first. Victory! Victory!” Malpha
Nation always imbued his stories with plenty of ideas, (sometimes too many) and Mission To The Unknown actually could have been much longer than it’s one episode run; to better develop these concepts.
The idea of the Varga plants. Brought from Skaro by the Daleks – as bioweapons. Which hunt people down and scratch them with their poisonous thorns; turning victims into mindless killers and finally – Vargas plants – themselves. Has real potential as a Who monster – and is underdeveloped.
This is – aside from the main point of this story, which is to set the scene for a new Dalek tale – and covers the joining together of Galaxy 5; into a super army z at a secret meeting.
The scenes of the Galaxy 5 representatives, around the glowing table; agreeing a treaty has shades of the Star Wars cantina – just for all of the different alien designs on offer (obviously it precedes Star Wars by some 12 years but the notion is the same).
Mission To The Unknown proved that the show could do material, without it’s main character present. In terms of world-building (or universe-building), it is a shame, that this wasn’t attempted again.
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