So this is the first story of Doctor Who to be a single episode in length. It feels a bit wrong to be reviewing this story on it’s own, since it is really just a set up episode for The Daleks’ Masterplan a little way down the line. I would rather just wait and see how it sets up that story later – but I set out to review every story, so review every story I shall.
There isn’t an awful lot to talk about in terms of the story line itself; though the story of it’s existence is quite interesting. It was the last episode ever to be produced by Verity Lambert; who if you have seen An Adventure in Space and Time, you will know is a big deal. The episode was originally devised to give the main cast a week off from filming. This is why the story centres instead around a space crew. The situation also allowed Dalek creator Terry Nation to attempt to write an entire plot without the Doctor, just focusing on his creation. He had always wanted to have a separate Dalek show outside of Doctor Who but it never came to fruition.
The crew start getting picked off by Varga plant thorns. I really liked the idea of the Varga plant. The crew knew that the Daleks had arrived on their planet because the Varga plant is only native to Skaro. The idea that they prick you with a thorn and you begin to turn into one is quite haunting. Their roots can slowly pull them across the ground so they are even mobile. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Varga plant in the new series. I think if it was updated it could make for a pretty intense story.
Anyway; the story also sets up the Daleks being part of a conference with representatives from the seven galaxies. The story ends with the representatives all agreeing and approving the plans to conquer Earth.
The human crew are killed by the Varga plants and the Daleks but their rescue message and beacon still survive. This could be where the Tardis trio come into things in The Daleks’ Masterplan.
Although the episode is mostly setup for the later story, I still feel compelled to give it a rating out of ten. So because we know very little about how the story develops at this stage, just on face value I’m going to give Mission to the Unknown five Varga plants out of ten. This is because as a prelude it does exactly what it set out to accomplish.