Episode summary: First aired 29 January 1966. "No, I am alive and soon shall be master of the universe!" says Mavic Chen. "Perhaps, Kingdom, you'd like to lead the way. I'm certain the Daleks will be delighted to see you." With no other choice, Sara and Steven make their way into the Dalek tunnel, followed by Mavic Chen, still holding his blaster on them...!
The three enter the Dalek tunnel. Steven tries to protest, but it is quickly evident that Chen's hold on sanity has been lost. "I'm not a fool," he says. "I guessed your plan." Our plan is to destroy the Daleks, insists Sara, but Chen refuses to believe this. "Where is the old man, the one you call the Doctor?" he asks, but when Steven insists they are trying to find the Doctor, he explodes. "Now do stop this masquerade!" he snaps. "See, I know he is trying to usurp my position with the Daleks." "That is absurd!" Steven responds. The Doctor has always opposed the Daleks! "Yet I find you at the entrance to the Daleks' secret headquarters," says Chen. "I know the Doctor's here, and that he's trying to take my place. But I'll soon change that." Sara tells Steven to save his breath, Chen will never believe them. "I tell you, he's mad!" she says. "The Daleks need me," Chen insists. "And now I'll be able to show them the Doctor will betray them. Lead on!" As Chen still holds a gun to their backs, Steven and Sara continue into the tunnel.
In the Dalek control room, a Dalek reports to the Supreme that an assault division of five thousand Daleks await orders. "The Time Destructor will be placed in the lead ship," says the Supreme. It then turns as another Dalek reports that prisoners have been taken--Mavic Chen and two of the time travellers. The Supreme orders them brought to central control.
Daleks cover Chen, Steven and Sara. Chen attempts to dismiss them, telling the Daleks he will take his prisoners to the Supreme alone. "Until you realise that these people are my prisoners, I shall refuse to hand them over," he says. As the Daleks verify their orders, Steven insists that there is no proof that the Doctor is there. "Whatever else is thought about you, one cannot help but admire the way you both continue with your absurd bluff," says Chen. "Representative Chen, new orders have been received," says the lead Dalek. "You are to escort the prisoners to the Dalek Supreme." "Excellent!" responds Chen, and sends the two travellers ahead of him. After he leaves, the Dalek adds, menacingly, "But we are still to assist him."
The Supreme orders the prisoners to be brought into the control room. The three humans enter, followed by the Dalek guards. Mavic Chen walks in, believing (as always) that he is fully in control. "Once again, I - Mavic Chen - Guardian of the Solar System - have helped the Daleks with their conquest plan," he says, grandly. But the Supreme, almost ignoring him, replies to Chen, "Our alliance has ended." Chen is absolutely shocked and angered. "What!" he says. "But I have helped you time and time again with your absurd incompetence! I - Mavic Chen - will decide when the Alliance is at an end." He takes a step towards the Supreme. "You, Dalek Supreme, tell them they're to take their orders from me." There is complete silence as the Supreme simply trains its eyestalk on Chen. "I assume that this silence means that the orders have been passed. Good," Chen says, and walks to a Dalek. "You! Bring me the invasion reports." Again, silence. The Dalek does not move. All eyes and eyestalks are on are Chen. "It is essential that I know what stage the countdown has reached. Now, move!" No answer. "You did not pass on my order. Why?" But he gets no answer. "Failure to obey the orders of your ruler brings only one reward," Chen yells and raises his gun! The beam hits the Dalek and does nothing--completely ineffective! In desperation, Chen throws the gun at the Dalek, but it bounces right off! "Take him away and exterminate him, but do not fire in here - you will damage us and some of the controls," orders the Supreme. At this, Chen's mind finally breaks. "You cannot turn against me!" he screams. "I--Mavic Chen--first ruler of the universe - am immortal!" He runs wildly out of the room into the corridor. "Pursue and exterminate in safe area - repeat - in safe area," orders the Supreme, and the Daleks follow Chen, leaving Steven and Sara apparently alone...until Steven feels a tap on his shoulder. "Doctor!" he says in surprise. "How on Earth...?" But the Doctor shushes him and hands him something--the TARDIS key. The Doctor tells Steven to take Sarah and return to the TARDIS, using the impulse compass. "But what about you, Doctor?" asks Steven. "There is no use in all of us taking risks," the Doctor replies. "You must do as I say." But how did he get here? "I followed a Dalek here, of course," the Doctor says. "Now, let me get on." He moves towards the object in the center of the control room. "I am going to activate the Time Destructor," he says.
Chen runs through corridors, attempting to evade Daleks. "You will pay for your crimes against your ruler!" he screams. He keeps dodging, but the Daleks meticulously corner him. "You cannot kill me!" Chen screams, but the Dalek guns fire! And Mavic Chen falls to the floor, a victim of his arrogance and ambition.
Back at the control room, Steven worries that the Daleks will return any moment. Just then, the Doctor succeeds in activating the Time Destructor! The device emits a beeping sound and pulses with light. Suddenly, the Supreme and several other Daleks reenter the room. "I am afraid you're too late," the Doctor tells them. "The Time Destructor is activated." "Do not fire!" orders the Supreme. "No, you cannot fire, can you?" laughs the Doctor. "You dare not. If you were to, yes, you could kill us, but you will totally destroy your equipment. I think it is checkmate. Hmm. Send one of your Daleks over here. Remember, the Time Destructor is working... working slowly, but if you disobey me, I can accelerate it." "Do what he says," says the Supreme. The Doctor tells Steven and Sara to get behind the advancing Dalek and the three use it as a shield to exit the room, the Doctor carrying the Time Destructor. "Now, both of you, back to the TARDIS," says the Doctor. "What about you, Doctor?" asks Steven. "Do as I say, quickly!" says the Doctor, and Steven grabs Sarah's arm and they leave.
Down the corridor, Sara stops, protesting that they can't just leave the Doctor. "The Doctor knows what he's doing," says Steven. "At least, I think he does," he adds. But Sara objects. "If anything goes wrong and the Daleks recapture the Time Destructor, we'll have failed for ever." "I know what you're saying," says Steven. "Now, I'd go back too, if I thought it would help. Whatever he's doing, he's doing because he thinks it's the best way. Now, come on!" They run on.
Back at the doorway, the Doctor pushes his Dalek shield into the room and presses the door shutting mechanism, which he then smashes. Taking the Time Destructor, he runs down the corridor...
...Only to find Sara waiting for him! When he demands to know what she's doing there, she replies that she wants to help. "You must remember, my child, this machine is working," the Doctor tells her. "It's working slowly because its range is rather small at the moment, but it is working. Now, if you start to feel strange, you must let me know at once." They must get back to the TARDIS, he tells her. "Steven's not with you?" he asks. No, says Sara. "Hurry, my child, hurry!" says the Doctor, and they run.
In the jungle, Steven suddenly realizes that Sara is no longer with him. A roaring wind rises as the effects of the Time Destructor begin...
Elsewhere in the jungle, Sara and the Doctor, still carrying the pulsing Time Destructor, struggle on. "My dear, are you beginning to feel strange?" asks the Doctor. Sara cannot speak for a moment. She has begun to look older. "The wind... listen... Can't you hear it?" she asks. "I've never heard that on Kembel before." "Yes, well, perhaps it's this Time Destructor having an effect on the elements, hmm," speculates the Doctor. Destroy it! says Sara. "No, no!" replies the Doctor. "That's impossible my dear. There's one thing I do know about this machine - it will continue until the Taranium has finally burnt itself out. Our only chance is to get back to the TARDIS. Then I can neutralise it." The two struggle on again.
In the control room, the Daleks have managed to bypass the door control circuit. As the door opens, the Supreme orders, "Pursue and exterminate!" The Daleks move quickly to do so.
The wind has risen to a howl as the Doctor and Sara struggle on. Both are moving more slowly; Sara has aged from her strong self into an elderly woman as the Time Destructor takes its toll. "Keep going!" Sara gasps. "The Daleks must be after us by now!"
And, indeed, the Daleks have begun to pursue them through the jungle. Around the creatures, though, the effects of the Time Destructor can be seen as trees and plants begin to age and wither.
Sara and the Doctor still struggle on, more slowly. Sara has aged even more and even the Doctor is looking older. The Time Destructor continues to pulse...
Inside the TARDIS, Steven waits. He has the scanner on and is searching the area around the ship for his friends. He bangs his fist down on the console in frustration. "Nothing!" he says.
The Daleks continue to move through the jungle after the Doctor and Sara. They don't appear to be slowing down at all.
The wind has grown even stronger as Sara and the Doctor stumble on, barely able to walk. They are almost to the TARDIS...but Sara finally collapses. She in ancient, but determined and she tries to drag herself forward as the Doctor slowly moves into the clearing. But he, too, has aged horribly and can barely move. Around them, the jungle continues to age, trees and plants dying and turning to dust...
Inside the TARDIS, Steven happily catches sight of his friends. He opens the doors and runs out to help them.
He runs out of the TARDIS and is shocked to see that what was once jungle is now dust covered rocks. No vegetation can be seen. The Doctor has collapsed and the Time Destructor, still pulsing, is still on. Sara, too tired to even pull herself along, stops moving. Steven is horrified to see her, horribly ancient. She stops breathing...but moments later only a skeleton remains. Within seconds, the skeleton turns to dust and blows away in the wind. Steven is shocked, but begins to make his way slowly to the Doctor; he, too, is feeling the effects as his hair begins to turn grey. "Come on, Doctor," he says. "No, don't touch me," replies the old man. Steven insists, "I must help you." "Get back to the ship!" barks the Doctor. Steven moves to the Time Destructor and tries to turn it off. He flicks a switch and seems to change something, but the machine is still doing something. Steven then goes back to the Doctor and tries to drag him back to the TARDIS.
Once they are inside, Steven closes the doors. The properties of the interior of the TARDIS seem to reverse the Time Destructor's effects, and Steven and the Doctor are soon their original ages. "Thank you, my friend," gasps the Doctor. "Thank you, Steven. By chance, you reversed the Time Destructor. Instead of Time rushing forward, it's now racing back." Then the Doctor, still recovering, begins to look around for his other companion. He seems to realize what must have happened and says, sadly, "Sara? You realise she came to look for me, to see if I was all right? Hmm." "I was forcing my way through the jungle. I didn't even see her go." says Steven. Just then, the party of Daleks appear on the scanner screen--they are right outside. "The Daleks!" says the Doctor.
Outside the TARDIS, the Daleks notice the still-beeping and pulsing Time Destructor. In desperation, they fire at it, but their guns have no effect. Suddenly, the Time Destructor's effects begin to catch up with the Daleks and they appear to lose control of their motor skills. Their shells start to come apart, disintegrating into nothing. The Daleks inside fall to the ground and they, too, begin to change into embryos and then...nothing. Nothing but rocks and dust...and the Time Destructor, which finally stops beeping and becomes inert.
The Doctor and Steven leave the TARDIS and look around at the devestation. "Oh, dust. Nothing but dust!" the Doctor says, coughing. Steven walks over to what is left of the Time Destructor and picks it up. "Mavic Chen's Taranium Core has finally burnt itself out," says the Doctor. Steven throws it down in disgust. He looks around. "I wish Sara could have seen the end," he says, sadly. "Yes, my boy, so do I," the Doctor agrees. "You know, Steven, the one thing that Sara lived for was to see the total destruction of the Daleks. Well, now it's all over. Without her help, this could never have been achieved, hmm." Suddenly, the Doctor chuckles and points to a discoloured spot in the dust. "Millions of years of progress reversed back - that's all that remains of a Dalek." He chuckles again, but Steven sighs. "Lets go, Doctor. I've seen enough of this place," he says. The Doctor, though, lingers. He is still a bit pleased with himself as he says, "Well, my boy we finally rid this planet of Daleks!" But Steven angrily counts the cost. "Brett! Katarina!" And then, with a sob, "Sara!" He walks back into the TARDIS. The Doctor, no longer pleased, looks around at the devastation with sadness. "What a waste." he says, shaking his head. "What a terrible waste." He turns and enters the TARDIS, closing the doors. After a moment, the familiar wheezing, groaning sound is heard and the ship slowly vanishes from what was once the vibrant jungle world of Kembel.
S: Mavic Chen died with a full stomach. Because my god, did he eat a lot of scenery on the way out.
H: He just went nuts. It was amazing to see throughout the entire story, particularly the last two episodes, Chen's mental disintegration.
S: So, did the Doctor just resist the effects of the Time Destructor because he's a bad ass, or was it something else?
H: He didn't. He was just growing older slower. I think that Hartnell did have aging makeup, but I guess we're supposed to understand that lives a lot longer than a standard human even at this point.
S: From the “meta level” I understand that he's a Time Lord, but they haven't established any of that yet.
K: We definitely know he's an alien at this point, but that's it.
S: So did Chen not get enough Taranium for the Time Destructor to be all that?
Sc: It did seem to do what it was supposed to do, whatever that was.
S: I was expecting it to be on more of a galactic scale.
P: I speculate that the Doctor used a low setting, whereas in battle they would have used a high setting.
R: So, he had it on a trans-temporal stun?
H: Photobug is right, the Doctor did say it was on a low setting. Also, the Daleks weren't planning on turning it on until they were in position.
Sc: So, the Doctor turns on the time destructor. And the Daleks apparently can't turn it off. They couldn't plunge it. So the Doctor picks it up and carries it with him to the one safe place. Why didn't he just leave it behind? They would have reached the TARDIS on time, Sara wouldn't have died, and the Daleks would have all died because, CRIMENY, WE CAN'T PLUNGE IT! They should have just headed for their spaceship and ran!
H: Well, taking it back a moment to what the hell were the Daleks thinking.. going back to “The Dalek Invasion of Earth” we have proof that Dalek plans are stupid. Drilling out the core of the earth to drive it around?
R: IT WOULD BE LEET!
Sc: I think you're reaching.
H: What's the difference between a Dalek plan and a Nation script at this point?
S: Maybe all the Dalek planning made the assumption that the Destructor was at full power to work? You set it to full and “mwahahaha” you aged your enemy to death!
R: Maybe “master Steven” broke the nobs on the Destructor?
P: He did flip a switch.
H: Turned it in reverse? It wasn't clear.
K: No, it did work.
H: The caption said something about throwing it into reverse.
K: The Daleks got younger, turned into embryos, so it totally worked.
H: And that's how the Doctor survived. Sara was already dead when the Destructor was reversed.
K: So why didn't the planet get younger again?
H: Because it was already destroyed?
P: So, things that were already dead, like Sara, couldn't get younger.
S: Attack of the soundtrack on this one. From the moment the Time Destructor was on it was really hard to hear any dialogue.
R: I thought we were getting lost in the echoes of the death cries of Mavic Chen.
Sc: Could have been the fault of the recording.
H: Remember, this was someone pointing a microphone at the TV.
Sc: Independent of that though. But it was a gruesome episode.
R: I like at the end that the Doctor is like “oh dear, we've destroyed the Daleks, hehehe” and Steven was like “shut up, this is serious” and the Doctor shuts up.
P: We enjoyed the benefit of knowing the time device went into reverse because of the caption. The viewer didn't necessarily know that.
H: I think the visual was there in the original, maybe with the Doctor's makeup.
Sc: And the Doctor did say something about things being reverse. IF HE HADN'T FLIPPED THAT SWITCH WE COULD HAVE PLUNGED IT. BUT NOW WE'RE SCREWED.
S: The Daleks can communicate wirelessly, but they couldn't bluetooth with the Destructor to talk to it?
H: Well, they did have transistors when this was broadcast. [I think this was part of a longer discussion about technology and how big radios and/or walkie talkies would have been in 1966, but I can't remember specifics of who said what. --H]
S: In character or out of character, the Daleks seemed to really enjoy killing off Chen.
S: They actually took the 5 minutes to give him the silent treatment, then they wheeled off after him. They totally toyed with him. I HAVE BEEN WAITING TO DO THIS FOR 11 WEEKS. DANCE MONKEY, DANCE!
H: So there's something that I had been thinking about, prior to watching this episode. There is a gigantic loose end with Spoo's favorite character. Remember Karlton? No one on Earth knows what happened to Chen. Karlton could quietly take over. No one sent a message back to Earth.
K: Actually, there was all the other alien council guys who escaped.
H: But they're all going after the Daleks. Why would they go off to Earth except to conquer it.
R: “Let us not go back to earth. It is a silly place.”
S: There isn't any scenery left on Earth to eat. We would all starve.
P: We need to define “chewing scenery” here for our readers.
H: It basically means WAY over acting.
K: Right at the start of the episode, and I tried to keep this in my head, Chen goes “I am the Master of the Universe.” and I thought “Skeletor or He-Man?”
S: Castle Greyskull... yeah yeah yeah.
R: Very funny.
K: Hey. I'm typing here.
H: Does that make Karlon Cringer?
K: Okay, whatever.
H: In Doctor Who fan controversy...
R: Known as “fantroversy”
H: Sara Kingdom, companion or not?
S: Knowing what a lock is, I would say yes.
P: Is this about motivation?
S: What else is there to talk about?
Sc: I want to talk about the moving Daleks in the recon. Every Dalek moved. They spun around, moved down corridors, way more than just blinking lights. It was kind of impressive.
R: It worked really well. The only time I had trouble was when there was a lot of motion and it would go back to a scene and I was like “is this recon, or just a tableau?” and then it realized we were back to stills. So it took me out of things a bit sometimes.
H: Anyway, the controversy about Sara Kingdom is that she's only in one story. I think she counts as a companion. She was in more episodes than Katarina. She travels in the TARDIS longer than her brother Bret, who was only in the first three episodes. But there are people who think of her only as a secondary character and she shouldn't count.
S: I guess another companion test is the nature of her interaction of the Doctor. Did she learn anything from the Doctor? Did she grow as a companion? Did the Doctor miss her when she was gone?
H: You can use that argument with many secondary characters though. But she traveled with them for only 6 or 7 episodes. I think she's a companion, so I'm tagging this post accordingly as "Cast Changes."
C: She came in when Katarina left, right? So, if she's only a secondary character that means that the Doctor was female companionless for a good 7 episodes.
R: “I'm going commando! Billy Fluff this!”
K: My argument, she traveled though time and space in the TARDIS.
H: Well, it's not as controversial as calling the Brigadier a companion.
R: Well, what was he then?
H: He was a secondary character. These are the arguments fans have.
S: Are there any other open plot threads beyond Karlton?
H: Well, there's the armada looking for the Daleks.
Sc: Let's be honest, they're better off not finding the Daleks. Model UN finding the Daleks is not a good thing.
R: I think that's a universal truism. Finding the Daleks is never a good thing.
K: Unless you want pepper on your spaghetti.
R: OW, STOP TWISTING MY NECK! IF I GRABBED YOUR HEAD AND STARTING TWISTING, WOULD YOU EXPECT CONDIMENTS TO COME OUT OF YOUR BUTT?
H: So, twelve episodes, was it worth it?
P: Now it is.
S: I've watched enough terrible movies and MST3K that I recuse myself.
R: I was kind of begging the Daleks to kill of Mavic Chen at the end. I was like “DUDE, LET'S KILL THIS GUY.” But when it became apparent that they were killing off Sara I was like “That sucks.” I really liked her character and I thought she was getting interesting. Not to mention a woman in uniform and all that.
C: But she killed her brother!
R: You did see the Troy one just before, right? Not necessarily a disqualification.
Sc: I feel this story arc was one of the lower quality stories we've seen. I think the high points were in the earlier episodes, but things got dragged at the end. So I'm really glad to see it over.
H: I felt that it was several story arcs, with the Egyptian thing in the middle.
S: I thought the Egyptian story arc gave it scale. But it probably could have been about 7 episodes and had really been strong. But it gave Kevin Stoney (Mavic Chen) to the world, and that was worth a lot.
Sc: I liked a lot of the characters and concepts that were introduced, but the whole thing didn't work very well for me. I liked the Evil Model UN – I wanted to see more of that.
H: Final thoughts?
P: It's kind of a shame that this story arc is ending in some ways, because this weapon could have been explained better to the viewer than just “impending danger.”
H: On the one hand, it's cool to leave it mysterious. But you have a point, it could have been developed better.
P: Maybe that's a little too much hand holding for some people.
R: They had plenty of narrative space to have explained it.
H: I will say that this story is the first one that feels like it had the “I'll explain later” trope in Doctor Who.
P: It's nice to see the story close. I think the recon was well worth it's efforts.
S: “Mavic Chen will never do anything...”
S: Seriously, he's dead. I'll miss making fun of him. I gotta get a new tag line.
Sc: I don't really have anything more to add.
R: I think the bits of this arc that I will remember will be better than the arc itself. I will remember the secret transmission from space and the guy who died to tell them the thing they already knew. I'll remember Bret. I'll remember Mavic Chen. And I'll remember Sara Kingdom. But the rest will likely go away.
K: I'll remember teeth guy. But then he turned into wiggle face guy and died horribly.
C: This was the first full story arc I've seen since joining the project. And by the end of it I was feeling like it's the Doctor Who that I'm used to watching, which is the new ones. But I thought the reconstruction was really good. People were moving, stuff wasn't boring. Sara Kingdom's death had animation to it. I was really excited to see this one, unlike many of the other ones.
K: I knew Sara's death was going to happen, because I'm such a big time Doctor Who fan and know that stuff. But the event was horrible even knowing it was going to happen. I've been sort of waiting for it for the last two episodes, but wow. That was harsh.
H: Do you have any comments about the story as a whole?
K: Too long. Loved model UN. Sara's turn around from fratricide to heroine was odd. Egypt was stupid.
H: Even the Monk?
K: Except for the Monk. The Monk was awesome. Wish there was more Monk. Glad the story is over, it was too friggin' long.
H: I'm going to be doing a big wrapup post for the whole story, so I should save some stuff for that. But I will say that this is one of the “holy grails” of missing Doctor Who. I'm glad I've seen it. I agree that it was too long, but I enjoyed it. And the recon was awesome.
K: We do say awesome a lot, don't we?
H: MiniSpoo says awesome a lot. :)
And there we have it, "The Daleks' Master Plan!" As I mentioned above, there will be a wrapup post coming, before Friday if all goes to plan. As before, I want to apologize for how late these posts are getting. We're still watching them on Friday nights, but the summaries have been really taking some time. I hope you've all been enjoying them; I've tried to give those who haven't been able to see these episodes a good sense of what it's like to watch them. Hopefully I've succeeded...and that's a great segue to my standard Loose Cannon Productions plug. In all seriousness, check out their work. It's absolutely fantastic.
And next, we have something completely different. Until then, I remain
NEXT WEEK: "WAR OF GOD"