Image Credit: BBC (Fair Use)
Image Description: The Time Lord Victorious promo image
By John Salway
Name: The Trailer
Current TLV investment: £256.44
The depths of space…. a lone Dalek adrift in zero gravity… a desperate message for the universe… This is how the story of Time Lord Victorious was first introduced to the masses, as one of the galaxy’s greatest scourges warns anyone listening about the threat posed by the Doctor. It’s a very effective, attention-grabbing statement, that uses a short 30-second runtime to quickly convey that something is very wrong – so much so it even grabs the attentions of the Daleks…
Except, now that I’ve actually experienced most of the TLV storyline, it’s become clear that this trailer is a little bit of a lie.
The Dalek featured is the last surviving member of the Dalek Time Squad, and we’ve seen his future in The Hollow Planet, A Dalek Awakens, and Genetics of the Daleks. In this trailer he seems genuinely terrified of the Doctor – and that doesn’t really fit with what the Daleks have seen of the Time Lord across the range, nor with his manner when he encounters the Doctor again later.
Simply put, the Tenth Doctor definitely goes too far in his war against the Kotturuh in the Dark Times – he commits a literal genocide and commands a war fleet to this end. But his actions are tightly focused on this one particular goal, and there’s no reason for the Daleks to presume a threat to the rest of the universe at large. In some ways, his actions were a blessing for the Daleks, as they would likely have been harshly judged by the crystal squiddy adjudicators if their species had survived until the Daleks’ genesis
And yes, this Doctor does end up fighting against the Dalek Time Squad and their own nefarious plans (with the aid of his other selves), but by this point he is greatly reduced in circumstance. He would have failed completely if not for the actions of Inyit, last of the Kotturuh – so why this Dalek seems so utterly fear-struck is hard to imagine.
Perhaps I’ve got it wrong, and it’s not the Tenth Doctor, Time Lord Victorious, that this Dalek sees to warn us about, but the Eighth Doctor, who was last seen stealthily sabotaging the Dalek Time Squad’s spaceship, toying with its inhabitants, and causing the explosion that sent this Dalek flying into the void. He would have personal reasons to fear this incarnation.
But that doesn’t really work either, does it? The Doctor has always hated and fought against the Daleks, so that’s nothing new, and would hardly constitute a threat to the universe. So after considering the options, I’m completely stumped as to why Trailer Dalek is broadcasting to the universe at large, and with such an authentically agitated tone.
Thank you for bearing with me through my overthinking of thirty seconds of footage that, really, achieved everything it was intended to do by creating an intriguing mystery. But this Dalek message is also supposed to be a part of the range’s canon, and in the relatively tight web of continuity that has made up Time Lord Victorious, it is one tiny snag that I can’t quite rectify. Even if it is pretty cool!