Written by Terry Nation
Directed by Richard Martin
The Doctor and Ian are taken prisoner by The Daleks while Barbara and Susan make their way with the underground.
“Hold that and shut up, will you?”
Terry Nation is much more blatant with his World War II imagery in this story than in his previous Dalek story. We even have a scene where survivors huddle around a radio listening to Dalek propaganda which urges the humans to surrender. The survivors plan and engage The Daleks in guerilla attacks. Dortmun, one of the leaders of the survivors (who is in a wheel-chair, incidentally) has developed a bomb that he believes can crack Dalek casings. David, another survivor, has seen The Doctor and Ian being captured by The Daleks.
Ian engages in a bit of continuity discussion, trying to understand how The Daleks could be on Earth when they had been defeated on Skaro. The Doctor says that what happened on Skaro was in the far future. I guess this works. Ian also notices that The Daleks have an odd disc on their backs. The Doctor posits that this allows them to move on surfaces other than metal. No static electricity needed. The Doctor, Ian, and the other prisoners are loaded onto a transport ship, the very ship that the resistance is planning to attack. They have gathered Robomen headgear which Barbara says will allow them to go in disguise.
The Daleks immediately single out The Doctor for testing since he displays a greater intelligence. We also learn how The Daleks invaded. It seems that there was a meteor storm which bombarded the Earth for ten years. When it ended, people began dying from a plague. The Daleks invaded after the population had been decimated. Not a bad invasion plan, really. Attack from space then move in later. The Daleks then divided the population into small communities which would be too small to combine to pose a threat. I almost wonder what the population of the Earth would be at this point. The Robomen were developed to humiliate the humans and to control them. It seems The Daleks have a giant mining facility in Bedfordshire. No one knows what they are looking for.
The Doctor manages to get the prison door open, which The Daleks were hoping for because it proved The Doctor could be robotized. They take him for his operation as the resistance arrives. A poorly choreography battle occurs while the undercover members of the resistance infiltrate The Dalek ship.
The story is still moving along at a cracking pace. The members of the resistance are starting to become identifiable. What is particularly interesting is the decision to put Dortmun in a wheelchair. He has become the strategist of the resistance, but he still wants to be able to fight. This is why he has worked so hard to develop the bomb. Craddock is an interesting new character. In prison with Ian and The Doctor, he mainly offers hopelessness to the situation. But he has a good look. I don’t know why, but the pessimism appeals to me. Of course, in a way he is correct. The attempt to get out of the cell was useless. In fact, it put The Doctor in a worse position.
One thing that is a shame about these early episodes is the choreography of the fight scenes. This is particularly disappointing in this episode. The Dalek costumes (for lack of a better name for them) are not very maneuverable, nor do they allow for quick movements or for the operators to see very well. New Who has solved this problem with the use of CG, but at this point in the show’s history, this is not an option. Even laser effects are merely achieved by having the entire film turn negative then back again. As a result, when the resistance attacks The Daleks, it is incredibly difficult to tell what is happening. Since The Daleks themselves just seem to move back and forth, it seems like the attack must take place largely in our minds.
As much as I praised the Robomen in the previous review, here I have to admit that their effectiveness diminishes when they speak. It seems as if they are attempting to speak in a manner somewhere between Dalek voice and mind-controlled voice. In general, they are failing. The visuals of the Robomen are better than the realization of them at this point. Which again makes them ripe for an update.