It’s the middle of the serial, so here’s a spoiler warning!

Episode 4:

The Doctor is shocked into unconsciousness. He awakes later, to see the on a video screen that the Kaled dome is breaking up. The Thal leaders celebrate and order for the launch of the rocket.

In The Bunker, Davros’ Elite (scientists and security alike) watch as the Kaled dome breaks up. The scientist who confessed to Ronson that he was not alone asks out loud how this could happen. Nyder says someone has betrayed them. Davros says that someone has and their treachery has led to the extermination of their people.

The countdown on the rocket launch nears zero; The Doctor stares at the console – there’s a green launch button marked FIRE and a red abort button marked DESTRUCT. He makes a dash for it with seconds left, but the Thal leader presses the green button and the rocket launches. He bemoans sending Harry and Sarah there.

In The Bunker, Davros orders the video of the Kaled city being destroyed to be shut off. He says they will retaliate with a historic strike. He presses a toggle on his chair and three Daleks enter the room. Davros orders the vengeance to begin with “the death of the arch-traitor, the Thal spy, Ronson!” He orders the Daleks to exterminate him and they do.

The Thals celebrate and order all prisoners freed, all charges dropped. The Doctor is left behind in the Thal rocket console room. A young Thal woman asks him what he will do now. The Doctor explains why Davros helped the Thals to her, but she says her people will never believe it – Davros is a hero to them.

Davros brings an outline of chromosomal variations to be introduced to the embryonic Daleks to Gharman, who argues, saying they will be without feeling or emotion, but Davros pulls rank on him. As Gharman leaves, Nyder arrives to say the Daleks are in position and Davros says there is no point in delaying.

In the Thal city, The Doctor is greeting by happy Thals. He moves on, and Daleks arrive, killing the Thals. He rescues the young Thal woman from them, as they march into the city, killing (sorry, exterminating) all they encounter. She leads him to a way to get to the wastelands.

Davros ceases all other research in The Bunker, saying all must work on the Dalek project, on creating his army.

The Doctor tells the Thal woman that she needs to collect any survivors to regroup and attack The Bunker. He leaves her, to head back on his own, but he is attacked by mutos. As one is about to bludgeon him with a rock, Harry, Sarah and Sevrin come to his rescue.

There’s a happy reunion and they explain how they didn’t make it to the dome before the rocket struck. Harry and The Doctor explain to Sarah Jane that they need to get back into The Bunker to collect the Time Ring.

Kavell, the sympathetic scientist meets with Gharman, in plain sight of the guards. Kavell is reluctant to act out against Davros, but Gharman persuades him. However, Nyder is listening in from around the corner.

As they approach the caves under The Bunker, The Doctor asks Sevrin to rally as many mutos and find Bettan (the Thal girl) and whatever forces she might have gathered. He agrees and The Doctor and his companions go in without their muto ally.

(I can’t help but wonder at times, what if some of these characters from different serials had joined as companions? Sevrin seemed neat, would have been interesting to have a muto companion for The Doctor.)

There’s a cute bit as the two companions follow The Doctor; Harry asks Sarah if she’s scared and she puts on a brave face, “Of course not!” Harry wins me over again with his honest reply, a softly spoken, “I am.” Ian Marter brought so much to his role as Harry Sullivan. I forgot how much I loved Harry.

Nyder approaches Gharman, saying he needs to talk in private. He tells Gharman that Davros is out of control and must be stopped. They agree to meet at the detention room in the lower level, as Davros never goes to that level.

The Doctor and his companions enter the ventillation ducts, leading into The Bunker.

Nyder and Gharman meet; Gharman says that a number of the scientists agree with them. Gharman says that they must assert that the Dalek research stop unless the emotions are returned to the Daleks. Gharman lists the scientists they can count on, after Nyder says he will see about getting the military Elite to join in.

Surprise of surprises, this is a trick to get the names. As soon as he hears the names, Nyder tells him that is what he needed to know. Davros enters the room from behind Gharman and Nyder knocks the would-be traitor out. Davros plans to perform an operation on him to make him pliable but still useful.

As they prepare to leave, they hear a noise in the ventillation shaft. The Doctor and his companions exit the shaft only to be caught by Davros and Nyder. The Doctor is brought to an interrogation chamber, strapped to a chair. The Doctor tells Davros why he is there, why he is trying to stop the Daleks.

Davros is excited that his Daleks live on, but he wants to know why his Daleks have not taken over the universe. The Doctor refuses and Nyder leaves, while Davros gloats about how the Daleks do not have a conscience.

The Thals and mutos gather in the Kaled trenches; their numbers are not many and Bettan tells Sevrin they must wait to rest and see if any more can join them before attacking.

Harry and Sarah are strapped into machines while The Doctor watches. Davros says if he does not answer his questions truthfully, his friends will suffer. Davros demands to know the knowledge of every Dalek defeat, to record it, to program the Daleks so they cannot lose. Davros begins chanting, “YOU WILL TELL ME!” over and again (much like the Daleks chanting in unison as they often do)… and the credits roll.

That’s a creepy cliffhanger and well done.

Episode 5:

The Doctor gives in and begins relating all the reasons for Dalek defeats. Time passes until Davros turns off the recording device, saying the interrogation will continue later and orders Nyder to take the prisoners to the detention area. Davros asks, politely, for The Doctor to stay and talk, not as prisoner and captor, but as men of science. Nyder takes the tape away.

Harry and Sarah are thrown in a cell with Gharman, and the three of them trade stories. Gharman asks if there have been any executions or arrests, but they tell him it is pretty quiet out there. Gharman says that Davros is being too clever for his own good.

Kavell approaches the guard outside their door, and strikes him with a club.

The Doctor pleads for Davros to stop the production of the Daleks, asking him to make them not evil. Davros insists they are not evil, but good. A classic moment of Who happens, as The Doctor gives Davros a hypothetical – asking if he had a created a super-virus in his laborator, would he allow its use?

Davros answers to the affirmative, that he would – to do so would be like a god and, yes, he would do it. The Doctor grabs his arm and threatens to turn off Davros’ life support if he doesn’t give the order to destroy the Dalek incubator system.

Davros begins to give the order, but Nyder strikes The Doctor down before the final order is given. Nyder reports on the dissidents’ progress, saying the loyalists are outnumbered. Nyder offers to take a group of soldiers to wipe them out, but Davros says to wait, his way is best.

In the Thal city, we see some Daleks still there, still exterminating Thals. They receive an order to return to The Bunker immediately.

Sevrin reports that the Daleks have wiped out most of the Thal city. Bettan tells everyone to get ready to attack the main gate of The Bunker.

Nyder takes The Doctor back to the detention cell, but Harry is posing as a guard; Nyder shoves The Doctor into Harry and makes his escape. Kavell and Gharman are discussing their plans, but The Doctor warns them that he overheard Davros and Nyder talking – they know of the dissidents’ plans. Kavell and Gharman believe their numbers are too great to worry about whatever Davros has planned.

The Doctor tells Harry and Sarah not only do they have to recover the Time Ring (which is in the main laboratory) but also the recording Nyder took away – that has to be recovered or destroyed at all costs.

Gharman leads two fellow dissidents; they attack two armed guards and one of the guards is killed in the fight. The guards were guarding a weapons locker and the dissidents start grabbing the weapons (despite Gharman’s big talk of a bloodless revolution.) Kavell arrives to say that others are flocking to their side in droves.

Davros sits in the main laborator as sounds of firefight can be heard in the halls. Nyder enters, saying they must act quickly. Davros orders Nyder to have his men surrender to the dissidents. It’s obvious that Davros is still up to something.

The Doctor and his companions skulk through the corridors (away from any fighting, it seems.) They find raided weapons locker and use the device Gharman used to unlock it to unlock another. Inside they find explosives and a detonator; The Doctor says he will use the explosives to destroy the Dalek incubator room.

Davros and Nyder meet with the leaders of the dissidents. They give their demands on the behalf of the Elite Science, Security and Military. They demand that the research return to the initial concept of the Dalek project. Davros stalls, taking time to consider their demands.

The Doctor and his companions reach the incubator room. They set the charges.

Davros announces that he accepts the ultimatum on one condition – that he be allowed to speak to an assembly of the Elite. He wants to speak to them, then a representative of the dissidents can speak, upon which a vote will be taken and Davros will abide by the majority decision. The dissidents agree and a meeting is set in one hour’s time.

When they leave, Davros gloats that they have won – he says that they are cowards for wanting democracy.

The Thals and muto (I think Sevrin is the only muto with them) are near The Bunker entrance, hiding in the trenches from the Daleks returning to The Bunker.

In the incubator room, The Doctor places the charges. Outside, Harry wires up the detonator. Suddenly, The Doctor bursts out of the room, with a Dalek creature wrapped around his neck, choking him… and the credits roll.

Excellent cliffhanger, even if the organic Daleks don’t look like anything alive.

Episode 6:

Sarah and Harry help The Doctor fend off the Dalek. He then takes the two detonator strands but has trouble bringing himself to do it.

Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished? Do I have that right?” He goes on to list the good that comes about because of the Daleks. He even, without naming Hitler, posits the “could you kill Hitler as a child” question.

Before he decides, Gharman arrives to inform that Davros has submitted to their terms. The Doctor says he is grateful and pulls the explosive wire out away from the room, before joining them in attending the meeting.

The meeting his held; Davros speaks first, saying he has given his life work for the future of their race. He and Gharman begin debating.

The meeting is in the lab, and Sarah grabs The Doctor’s sonic screwdriver and other possesions, passing them to the Time Lord. However, the Time Ring is not there.

Davros shows a destruct button that will destroy the entire bunker except for that room. Gharman takes his turn to speak, making the case of the dissidents. It is put to a vote.

Sarah finds the Time Ring, but The Doctor says he has to find the recording, and tells Sarah and Harry to keep an eye on Nyder as Davros gives the assembly two minutes to decide.

Daleks move to the front gate of The Bunker; behind them, the Thal forces led by Bettan arrive. The doors open (triggered by Davros) and the Daleks enter. The Thals follow, carrying explosives, setting them along the beams of the entrance. Sevrin goes into The Bunker to find The Doctor and his companions.

Davros says for those who vote along with him to join him, to stand at his side. Only a handful step over to stand with him. Nyder slips off, and The Doctor and his companions follow. They corner him in the corner and subdue him, but in the struggle, the Time Ring falls off The Doctor’s wrist and lands in a corner.

Nyder says he is getting away “while I can”. The Doctor tells him to lead them to where the tape recorder was taken. He reluctantly opens the safe and hands over the recording. While The Doctor uses a Dalek gun to destroy the tape, Nyder dashes off.

The Doctor says it’s all right, it’s not important; they’ve destroyed the tapes, recovered the Time Ring and Davros’ power is broken, so they can leave. But they discover the Time Ring is lost again.

The Thals are nearly done wiring the charges.

The Doctor tries to open the door from Davros’ office with the sonic screwdriver, but it doesn’t work. Sarah Jane activates a monitor that shows the laboratory and they wonder why the meeting still progresses.

Davros again makes an appeal for others to vote with him. He then breaks the charade, and says that he only played this out to see who was loyal and who was not. He flips a toggle and the Daleks enter, surrounding the Elite. On Davros’ order, they exterminate the Elite who did not vote for him.

The Doctor and companions watch in horror at the scene, but then Sevrin opens their door and tells them about the Thals setting explosives. They leave to get the Time Ring, but quickly are chased by Daleks. The Doctor gives Sarah the Time Ring and tells Sevrin to take her and Harry to the front gate.

The Doctor heads to the incubator to destroy the Daleks this time.

Davros tells his loyalists that work on the Dalek project will continue full speed ahead. Nyder arrives to inform Davros that the prisoners escaped and the Daleks are ordered to find and exterminate them.

The Thals, having set all the charges, retreat.

The Doctor rewires the charges and then picks up the wires. Just then, a Dalek enters the hall and opens fire; he’s forced to drop the wires and hide.

Sevrin, Sarah Jane and Harry reach the front gate and beg Bettan to wait longer for The Doctor. (So, imagine this… what if The Doctor was killed and Harry and Sarah used the Time Ring to return to the TARDIS, which is still on Space Station Nerva… then, unless the Time Lords returned them to their proper time, they would have been stuck in the… year ~40K AD. Now that’d be an interesting story…)

The Dalek moves forward down the corridor, looking for The Doctor. The wires lay in the center of the hall and The Doctor sees that the Dalek will roll right over them; he dashes away down the side hall he’s hiding in and when the Dalek does roll over them, contact is made, detonating the explosives.

At the gate, one of the Thals taps into the monitor system and sees the main lab. Everyone gathers around and watches as Davros dispatches Daleks to the main entrance. Bettan gives orders to close the doors, she cannot wait any longer.

In the lab, Davros notes that the automated Dalek production line has been started. He says he gave no such order and asks who did. One of the Daleks says it gave the command. When Davros says that they will obey his command alone and the production line is to be shut down for the time being.

The Daleks do not respond and he demands that they obey. When they do not, he sends Nyder to turn off the controls and the Daleks exterminate him for trying. The Daleks say production will continue and close in on Davros.

At the gate, Bettan gives the order to fire, but just then The Doctor comes running down the hall, pursued by Daleks. He squeezes through the door and Bettan gives the order again. The door is slammed shut and the explosives set off.

On the monitor, The Doctor watches Davros argue with his Daleks. “I created you! I am the master, not you!”

One Dalek replies, “Our programming does not permit us to acknowledge that any creature is superior to the Daleks.” Davros insists they cannot exist without him. They say that they are programmed to survive.

Another Dalek reports that the main exit is blocked for a length of at least 1000 yards.

At the main gate, The Doctor says he was able to blow the incubator room, with help from a Dalek, but he’s only given them a set back, perhaps 1000 years.

The Daleks kill the scientists and military who sided with Davros, despite his pleas to spare them. Davros begs the Daleks to obey him as he is their creator, and the Dalek goes into a monologue that has always resonated, haunted me, since I first saw this serial back as late pre-teen or very early teenager, watching back on PBS.

We obey no one. We are the superior beings.” Davros moves to strike the detonator button, but they exterminate him. The Dalek then goes on to say, “We are entombed but we live on. This is only the beginning. We will prepare, we will grow stronger. When the time is right, we will emerge and take our rightful place as the supreme power of the universe!” All said with bombastic score music playing, well written and orchestrated.

Goodbyes are said as the Sevrin and the Thals head off. The Doctor and his companions put their hands on the Time Ring. Sarah Jane asks if they failed, but The Doctor says no (as the three walk in a circle doing a herky-jerky dance), not really. He says that out of the evil of the Daleks, soemthing good must come about. We see the three of them spiraling through the stars… and the final credits roll.

Yep, still an amazing serial. Quite likely still going to be my all time favourite, but we shall see. Oh, yes, we shall see. Great writing, iconic characters, concepts. A lovely serial all around.