I know a big piece of this serial and, based on that, I feel I’ve seen part of it, even possibly just that one scene. But, hey, Daleks, can’t be bad, right?

Episode 1:

In the TARDIS, The Doctor is working on K-9, who apparently has caught laryngitis. He calls for Romana, but the woman who enters the console room more resembles Princess Astra from Atrios! (It’s Lalla Ward!) The Doctor asks what she’s doing, and she answers she’s regenerating.

The Doctor argues that she cannot go wearing the look or someone else, but Romana asks why not. He tells her to “go try another one,” and she comes out in a shorter form. Then, she tries a third form, which The Doctor shakes his head vehemently.

Her fourth attempt is an amazon of a woman, which The Doctor says is too tall. He tells her to try something with style. She comes out, again in the “Princess Astra” form, but wearing a coat, hat and scarf just like The Doctor’s. Of course, he congratulates her on the style.

He gives in, allowing her to keep the Astra form, but telling her to get rid of the silly clothes. As she departs, she asks where they’re going, but he says it depends on the randomiser.

(So, that’s it? No injury, no farewell scene for Mary Tamm as Romana? Well that kinda sucked.)

Shortly thereafter, the TARDIS materialises under a rocky outcropping. The Doctor has Romana take some anti-radiation pills before they exit. There’s a bit of comedy involving K-9 that I won’t even bother relating.

They step outside, and The Doctor says he thinks he’s been there before. Romana seems at ill ease, but The Doctor wants to find out where they are, why it seems famiiar.

He collects some stones, saying they’re geologically more precious than diamonds. The Doctor finds a large piece and they identify it as concrete. Exploring further, they see a tall structure, a possible ruins of a city. In the distance, they hear rumbling and go a different way to the ruins.

The rumbling increases and the ground shakes, the bits of concrete scattered about being bouncing. After it subsides, Romana says it sounded like drilling and they keep searching. Seeing a procession of people carrying someone on a stretcher, they hide.

Observing the people (who unload the body from the stretcher and begin to cover it in pieces of rocks and concrete), the Time Lords decide to get closer. As they watch, Romana makes a comment about “the living dead”, and The Doctor says something about zombies. That’s not remotely the reference I would have ever expected.

After the people have left, The Doctor moves to uncover it, wanting to get a good look at the body whie Romana keeps watch. The body has a badge/ID of some sort, which he dusts off and looks at. He moves to Romana and tells her the deceased was a combat pilot “serving with the third Galactic Fleet of the planet Kantria”, which is supposed to be a “tropical paradise”.

As they talk, they see a flying craft. They move to see where it goes, leaving the ruins and enterring a sandy area. The ship lands as they watch from afar. Romana says, based on the ship’s design and size, that it had intergalactic range and time warp capabiity. She says most likely from “star system 4-X Alpha 4”.

The Doctor makes a crack at not having his Jane’s Spacecraft of the Universe book (another reference I never expected, how delightful!) he couldn’t dispute.

The ship, once landed on the surface, begins to drill into the ground. The ship burrows into the ground, until only the top is exposed. The Time Lords approach the ship but something or someone fires at them (or explosions in the ground are being detonated). The Time Lords run back into the ruins and go inside, finding a great deal of disarray and disrepair.

One explosion goes off and parts of the ceiling and wall falls; Romana avoids being crushed, but The Doctor is knocked down and covered by a large part of the wall. Romana cannot free him, so she rushes off to fetch K-9.

As Romana heads back to the TARDIS, she is trailed by a man with a coil of rope slung over his shoulder. AS she nears the TARDIS, she trips and falls. Just then, a series of explosions (the mining ones) go off and the TARDIS is competely blocked off!

Romana’s radiation beeper goes off, a reminder to take more radiation pills. She sets off back the way she came, still being watched by the old man.

The Doctor’s beeper goes off and he takes his pill, saying he must remember to remind Romana to take hers. He finds three people in white suits pointing some form of blasters at him.

Romana returns to the ruins (still being followed) and discovers that The Doctor is gone. She finds his book laying on the ground and begins to search around for him. There’s an explosion nearby, and just then the man following her walks in. He approaches her and she backs away, fearfully, screaming as she slips down a chute.

The man takes off his rope and ties it around a pilon, preparing to descend after her.

The Doctor is on the ship they saw and, walking about as a bunch of the white-suited crew work at stations. He talks to them, but they pay him no mind at first. One of them does speak to him and The Doctor asks where they are; the man says it is not a place one would visit by choice. He says it is listed as “D5 Gamma Z(ed) Alpha”, but when The Doctor says he prefers names, the man says he believes it called Skaro!

The Doctor questions why they are here, but they assert their mission is secret. He demands to know why they are on Skaro.

Romana wakes and gets to her feet, limping. She searches her surroundings, looking for an exit. One wall seems to be shaking and she listens at it. Above, the old man lowers himself into the chute.

Two Daleks burst through the shaking wall and take Romana prisoner… and the credits roll.

Excellent cliffhanger, or it would be if we didn’t know the serial already had the Daleks in it. You know, cuz, the whole title and all? Still effective, even so.

Episode 2:

The Daleks scan Romana for weapons and determine she is unarmed. They tell her she will accompany them and obey orders and ask if she understands. For some reason she doesn’t reply right away and there’s an overly melodramatic moment as the Dalek repeats, “Speak! Speak!” and the score intensifies and Romana screams YES!!!!! I don’t know what the intent was, but it comes off as forced and grating.

Romana is taken away for interrogation. As the three Daleks take her away, the old man watches.

Again, The Doctor demands to know why they are there. The commander of the ship says they’re there on a mission against the Daleks.

Romana is in a truth detector machine and is being interrogated. They accuse her of coming to sabotage their operations. Again, we get overly dramatic acting and writing. Seems Romana’s new regeneration is a bit of a simpering whiny girl. (I don’t see Mary Tamm’s Romana being such a whiner, even when faced with the Daleks, which she doesn’t know anything about, so why she’s so terrified, I don’t really get.)

The Daleks determine that she is “category nine” – no threat to them, but she will be assigned to a labour force or she will be exterminated.

On the ship, the old man is brought in. He introduces himself as “Starship Engineer Tyssan, serving with the Deep Space Fleet out of the planet Earth.” He says he’s been a prisoner of the Daleks for two years. (Earth years? Skaro years? Galactic Space Fleet years?)

Romana is in the caves with a bunch of the people, including those burying the body earier. She talks to several, finding they’re from different planets. They tell her they were kept on a prison ship but were brought here to work. They say that escape results in five remaining being executed.

Suddenly, Romana seems to be pretty knowledgeable about the Daleks, knowing they were once humanoid themselves… so perhaps she was playing the screamy, whiny girl as a role? Are the Dalek truth detector machines easily fooled?

A Dalek guard orders the workers to silent, instructing them to get to work. Romana gets woozy from the radiation, saying the radiation is affecting her and she has to get out. The others argue with her, reminding her of the consequences.

The Dalek says if she’s unfit for work, she’ll be exterminated.

The Doctor asks Tyssan what the Daleks are mining for. He says he doesn’t know, but tells The Doctor that the Daleks got Romana. The Doctor asks Tyssan if he can help him sneak into Dalek Control and the commander of the ship says they will accompany them.

Romana is digging when she collapses. The two workers she’d been talking to try to tell the Dalek guard she’s dead, but it argues that they should return to their work, she can be disposed off after the work cycle is complete.

Tyssan drops down the chute and slips through the wall the Daleks burst through. The Doctor follows and tells Tyssan to go back, but he argues. The commander and two others of the aliens are with them. The commander asks why the Daleks have come to Skaro, and The Doctor tells them that this is where they were created.

The commander says this doesn’t explain why they’ve returned or what they’re mining for. The Doctor seems to have an idea but says it’s too fantastic, “even for the Daleks.” He says the answers will be found in the control room. He leads them through (though how he knows, I’m not sure.)

In the control room, the Daleks prepare to drill into a lower level. Security sensors detect movement in section seven and units are dispatched to deal with them.

The commander leaves one of his men behind to guard the exit, in case they need to escape through there.

When the work cycle is complete, severa of the workers are instructed to remove Romana’s body. They place her on a stretcher and carry her out.

Tyssan directs the group towards the main control room. They enter just after units four and six report in that they’re reached section seven. The Dalek there moves into another part of the room to “advise”. The Doctor, Tyssan and the commander enter, the other alien, Agella, set guard at the entrance.

The Doctor finds some explosives. The commander is examining a map on a display and The Doctor recognises it as the floor plans for the old Kaled city, saying they’re on the first underground level, pointing it out on the display.

The Doctor says he has an uneasy feeling he knows what the objective of the Daleks is. When he looks for a plan of the fourth level, there’s none to be found. Tyssan suggests perhaps it’s been destroyed. The Doctor agrees, saying there’s a shaft that leads from the surface directly to the fourth level – he posits that the Daleks must not know about it, else they would have used it to access the fourth and burrow up to the third (where their goal seems to be located. I wonder if it is what I think it is.)

The first alien guard, in section seven, hides from the Dalek patrol but is shot by one of them. The patrol reports in that the intruder has been located and exterminated.

Agella reports that Daleks are approaching and they take cover in the control room. As they escape the control room, the Daleks notice and sound an alarm.

On their way back, the commander and Agella find their dead comrade. They stop The Doctor for checking on him, saying it is against their code of honour to allow aliens to see them in death. (There’s a pause in there, one that makes the statement highly suspect.) The Doctor agrees, though it’s obvious he’s not buying it 100%.

They move on, The Doctor hushing Tyssan as he inquires about that. They return to the shaft, The Doctor and commander arguing over who should go first (“After you,” “No, after you!”)

The Daleks arrive at the chute after they’ve gone up, but The Doctor remains at the mouth of the chute to taunt the Daleks, “If you’re supposed to be the superior race of the universe, why don’t you try climbing up after us?” He says “Bye bye” as a Dalek fires a blast at him, but he’s safely gone before it hits.

The Daleks set a guard at the chute.

On the surface, The Doctor sees a burial mound marked Romana and starts digging, but Romana shows up, saying the only way to escape was to fake her death. She and The Doctor set off to do some “Dalek hunting,” returning to the ruins, followed by the others.

Back there, The Doctor says if he is right, the shaft leading to the bottom level should be located there. It turns out he is right and finds it. He says if the Daleks are after what he thinks they are, they need to get there first.

When he suggests the aliens leave, the commander says Agella will accompany The Doctor, as they are “as anxious to find what the Daleks are looking for as you are.” Reluctantly, The Doctor agrees, and leads Romana, Tyssan and Agella into the complex.

Tyssan questions how The Doctor knew to get there and he says, “Call it local knowledge gained a long time ago.”

They hear the sounds of drilling starting up again. Tyssan asks what they’re looking for, but The Doctor won’t divulge.

In Dalek Control, the order to find and kill the intruders is given. The Daleks discuss that the drilling has recommenced and shoud penetrate “objective area” very soon. The order to advise Space Command is given.

The Doctor leads his party into a room and says, “Just as I thought,” and it seems I was right, too – sitting in the room, covered in dust and cobwebs is none other than Davros!

Agella questions that he was the creator of the Daleks, that he was the objective. The Doctor agrees. There’s some exposions nearby and Agella moves off to investigate, but part of the roof collapses and she is covered.

The Doctor moves to her, taking her hand. While holding it, he turns to Romana to say he was right. Tyssan reports that the Daleks are breaking through.

Davros’ fingers wiggle. His orbital unit in his forehead lights up… and the credits roll.

Okay, well enough, good cliffhanger, but not terribly surprising.

However, that’s the cliffy you’ll get for now – see you Wednesday!

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