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Theory:Doctor Who television discontinuity and plot holes/The Daleks

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< Theory:Doctor Who television discontinuity and plot holes

You are exploring the discontinuity index, a place where any details or rumours about unreleased stories are forbidden.
Please discuss only those whole stories which have already been released, and obey our spoiler policy.

This page is for discussing the ways in which The Daleks doesn't fit well with other DWU narratives. You can also talk about the plot holes that render its own, internal narrative confusing.

Remember, this is a forum, so civil discussion is encouraged. However, please do not sign your posts. Also, keep all posts about the same continuity error under the same bullet point. You can add a new point by typing:

* This is point one.
::This is a counter-argument to point one.
:::This is a counter-argument to the counter-argument above
* This is point two.
::Explanation of point two.
::Further discussion and query of point two.

... and so on. 
  • It is originally stated that the Thals have travelled for 4 years but this is later reduced to 1 year.
Different Thals may have travelled from different distances.
  • At the end of episode 1 Barbara screams and in episode 2 the scream is clearly reenacted, you can tell because her arms move in a different way.
Welcome to the world of '60s Doctor Who. Sometimes cliffhangers were replayed as film copies made from the previous week's recording; other times it was simply reenacted. Whether you like it or not, TV production "conventions" such as these are not errors.
In fact the reprise of the cliffhanger that begins episode 2 is in fact from the original recording of ep 1 that was wiped when that version of the opening instalment had to be remade because of a problem with sound on the first recording. And this reprise on part 2 has no scream by Barbara, it is only heard on the remade part 1 cliffhanger.
  • Ganatus is aware of the cultural conventions existing in England in the 1960's "We won't use one of the customs of your planet: "ladies first".
One of the travellers presumably mentioned this to him "off-screen" during what had been at least a few days spent together by that time. Furthermore, cultural differences would be a natural topic of discussion.
Given that the Thals are in contact (of a sort) with the Daleks, and that other Daleks have travelled off Skaro by this time and are likely aware of Earth, certain cultural information about Earth may have made its way to the Thals.
It's a bit far fetched to assume the Daleks had learned of Earth customs and been willing to discuss them with the Thals.
The preceding explanation seems more likely - learning it through normal conversation with the TARDIS crew, with whom they had alreday spent a reasonable amount of time.
  • Despite having turned off the power, the Thals are able to leave through the electronic doors.
The doors run on independent power cells.
  • The Dalek's plans don't seem to make sense. At first they want the Thals anti-radiation drugs because they believe it will enable them to abandon their casings and leave the city to reclaim the planet. However, after some of them have been exposed to the drug they discover that they are now adapted to require radiation in order to survive. But from this they conclude that they can never leave their city! Surely the whole point is that since the rest of the planet is still irradiated they don't need the drug to leave the city - they can proceed as they had originally intended. In which case, why do they need to detonate a second neutron bomb? It is clearly stated it is not just intended to kill the Thals.
It is stated that the radiation levels are dropping so eventually there won't be enough radiation left for the Daleks to survive. Hence, they need to increase the radiation levels again.
  • Why do the Daleks use words like "I feel" and "please" when they are supposed to be ruthless, non-emotional killers?
They were established as ruthless in this story, but far from emotionless, fear being primary among their emotions (Fear of death, and of the unknown / unlike are their principal motivations at this stage). Although they were later characterised as near-emotionless and single-minded (and especially in the conjectured alternate Dalek timeline after "Genesis", in which Davros has made greater efforts to engineer their minds), nothing in this story suggests that they are incapable of feeling (or even feigning) a wide range of emotions.
Later in their evolution, Daleks are seen to have become more ruthless and (arguably) less emotional. That hasn't necessarily happened yet at this point, and not to this group of Daleks.
The use of particular words doesn't require an "understanding of" or "belief in" those concepts.
Retconning has often suggested that Davros' conversations with the Fourth Doctor in "Genesis of the Daleks" inspired him to "reprogramme" the Kaled mutants' minds more than he would have done in an unaltered timeline. In that event, the Daleks of "timeline A" (1963-74 in show time) would be much as their first story suggests: merely cybernetically-supported "mutos" degenerated by the war, harbouring a vicious (but understandable) resentment of the Thals, and (by racist extension) any humanoid being that reminds them of their old enemies, and what they have been reduced to.
  • When the Doctor, Susan and Barbara escape wouldn't the Daleks notice that Ian wasn't there or if he was in the Dalek casing?
The Dalek clearly asumes that not all of them are being interrogated at once
  • When something was put under one of the electronic doors the door opened up again but when Barbara was trapped under a door the door kept closing.
The door behaves differently depending on what's under it.
The Daleks are locking the city down at the time and increase the power.
When the door reopened because Ian put an object under it, it is quite possible that this was not automatic, but something the Dalek did so he could investigate.
  • When Ian, Barbara and the Thals come out into a building in the Dalek city, it's a little coincidental that the building they arrive in is the same one that The Doctor and Susan are in.
Not a plot hole, just a plot convenience. They didn't need to add an eighth episode so they could search for each other.
  • The countdown to the bomb going off just stops with a few seconds to go.
So? It may be a cliche now, but it wasn't at the time, and that creates neither a continuity error nor a plot hole.
The countdown stopped because the power had finally been completely drained as a result of the short-circuit set up by Susan and the Doctor just before their capture.
  • Why don't the Daleks exterminate the Doctor and Susan instead of capturing them in episode 6?
They had no reason to do so, and keeping them alive allowed them to be potentially used later.
Although the Daleks had previously indicated a willingness to keep prisoners alive if it served another purpose, they had taken a definite decision that the travellers should be exterminated.
That decision might also have changed since observing strange activity from the Thals.
Simply, they hadn't gotten around to it yet.
  • When they are trapped by the Daleks and Susan mentions the vials she found, the Doctor says that he thinks they might have been anti-radiation gloves... drugs, where he was only supposed to say anti radiation drugs.
Like many people, the Doctor sometimes stumbles over his words.
Also, this error was later referenced in AUDIO: Flip-Flop where the Seventh Doctor mentions an invention by one of his earlier incarnations anti radiation gloves.
  • When the Daleks were seemingly destroyed in 1963 (TV: Remembrance of the Daleks), does this mean that the events in all episodes taking place later in history, like The Daleks, are eradicated from history?
When the Daleks sent the Hand of Omega to their sun they sent it to the Skaro in their timeline so when Skaro was destroyed it was actually far into the future after the events of this story. A Dalek announces that the Hand is "Entering Skaro Time Zone" shortly before the detonation.
  • The Dalek city is said to run on static electricity. This would mean that it is mostly metal, yet none of the Doctor's group, or the Thals, receive any kind of static shocks when they touch the walls and doors.
Davros's reference to electrical fields while describing the reality bomb suggests the possibility that the term "electricity" has some alternate meaning to non-Earth science.
Alternately, it could mean that the Dalek casings produce the electricity they use to glide along the floor, and not vice versa.
If the city runs on static electricity, they would wish to absorb and contain it, not let it spark away shocking people.
  • Why does Ian wait for Temmosus to finish his speech before warning the Thals that it's an ambush?
Modern viewers have the benefit of hindsight to inform them that no Dalek in its "right" mind would ever pay attention to any peaceful orator, however reasonable and convincing. Ian later expresses admiration for Temmosus' speech, and his murder is the deed that convinces Ian that the Daleks are beyond reasoning with. Previously in the story, the Daleks had shown selfishness and paranoia, but had not actually killed anyone yet. Ian and co., on the other hand, had already killed two Daleks as part of their escape plan, so a small sense of guilt may have even played a part in his hesitation (before he realised that there was indeed very little chance of the Daleks honouring their treaty).
To simply summarize the above, Ian may well have hoped that Temmosus' speech might persuade the Daleks.
  • Why does the Dalek cell contain a bed, something that they themselves would have no need for?
Assuming a humanoid-ish form for the Dals (which, even pre-"Genesis", seems a plausible supposition), then the bed might have been installed before the Daleks became so badly mutated that they were forced to resort to their machines. Granted, "Genesis of the Daleks" complicates this, but it is still possible - as suggested in "The Universal Databank" - that the comparatively primitive Daleks of this story were Kaleds who mutated at a slower pace than Davros' engineered mutations, and survived by salvaging some of his early travel / survival machines.
Another possibility: Who would the Daleks imprison? Humanoid Thals. Perhaps the bed was a concession to some kind of honorable treatment of prisoners.
  • Considering the radiation had been in gradual decline for hundreds of years, but was still at dangerous levels: why was 23 days suddenly unacceptably long to prepare another neutron bomb?
That would give the Thals and the travellers 23 more days to find a way to stop them.
  • Some of the measuring equipment in the room The Doctor, Susan and Ian discover doesn't seem designed for use by Daleks.
The Daleks are a race that sometimes used slaves for them to work,maybe they had some before those events and they left their equipment before being most likely executed.
  • At the End, the Thals don't have the knowledge to use basic equipments from the Daleks appearing as a somehow primitive folk. But still, they were able to develop an anti-radiation-drug with equipments like vials. And, anyway, it's strange that there is a drug for anti-radiation, but that's something else.
They could have preserved their skills in certain forms of medicine while otherwise becoming technologically ignorant. Especially if that was one particular form of medicine their lives all depended upon...

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