Mission To The Unknown is an apt title for a reviewer heading into this one, as, well, it doesn’t exist bar some telesnaps and audio. This allows the story to be in one’s head rather than on the telly-box, but, as with all Doctor Who, particularly via Target novelisations, being in one’s head means the real thing in invariably a disappointment.
Mission is a unique story for it’s time – a Doctorlite, tale (well, a Doctor missing tale!) and whilst we’re more used to these now, and as Blink shows they can be very successful, I can only imagine the confusion in a less than savvy audience watching something that says Doctor Who at the start, has the music, etc etc but has no Doctor in it… Is this a bad thing though? Well, the confusion is, of course, but it has to be said that Mission sounds like a good episode, in its very unique sub-genre of one.
One thing that can be said for it though is that the Daleks get a welcome kick up the arse after their clowning around in The Chase. These Daleks are more akin to ones we’ll see later in Power of the Daleks and Victory of the Daleks (although I do hope there wasn’t any furtive “glance around in case anyone’s listening” moments like Daleks In Manhatten!) so it’s a welcome thing to see them take centre stage and continue to hold the show on their own shoulders. If they had shoulders. The supporting cast do a fine if thankless task – there IS a spin off in there someone. One wonders if an episode like this was shown today the internet would be clambering for a Marc Corey Torchwood type programme.
Derek Martinus knows his Who by now, though, and we know the jungles of Kemble will, and do, look pretty effective, so it’s a difficult episode to really complain too much about. Perhaps if it came directly before The Dalek Masterplan it would have made more sense, but since we don’t have this, or The Myth Makers, we’re stuck with the pacing we have.
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