It seems that I somehow managed to neglect blogging about the episode “The Dominators” after listening to the episode as an audiobook some months ago. Here are my thoughts on it!
The episode “The Dominators” sees the Doctor landing on a world that has embraced pacifism completely. The planet has no prisons, and an island where once in the past a nuclear test was carried out is kept as a warning.
On this world, Dulkis, a flying saucer carrying members of a race known as “the Dominators” lands. Conveniently the Doctor arrives almost immediately after.
Interesting elements for discussion in the episode include the reaction of the people of the planet to the arrival of people from other worlds they do not yet know exist. There is some skepticism, and sometimes “simple” explanations are adopted rather than explore the possibility that more complex and troubling scenarios may be true. As the character Balan puts it, “Oh, I dare say our atomic experts could provide a reason, but it seems pointless to spend time searching for reasons to prove facts. A fact is a truth.”
The episode also provides some snippets of seemingly endless deliberations among the leaders of Dulkis. Fighting is an option they have long rejected, simply submitting seems inappropriate, and doing nothing seems equally unacceptable. And so perhaps more than any other episode, “The Dominators” provides a good starting point for discussion of pacifism and what its limits might be, if any.
The episode (if you watch it rather than listening to the audiobook) also provides a classic example of the low-budget special effects characteristic of classic Doctor Who. The Dominators are served by robots called Quarks which were in fact children dressed in the robot outfits, and who apparently regularly fell over: