Written by Terry Nation
Directed by Richard Martin
In the wake of the attack on The Dalek ship, our heroes must make their way out of London before it is destroyed.
“I never realized walking was so difficult.”
The attack is a mess. Many of the resistance are killed, others scattered. Even Susan is lost. Barbara, Dortmun, and a young woman named Jenny set off on their own to find a new base. London is to be destroyed by The Daleks. The ship is recalled to the mines. Ian is still on the ship, but he is in hiding. Craddock is also on the ship. He hopes to find his brother, who was sent to the mines.
Susan and David are chased by a Dalek through the ruins of London. We also have a bit of foreshadowing when Susan laments that she wants to leave. David says he cannot leave because Earth is his home. Susan says she doesn’t have an identity or a home, and David tells her one day she will have to stay somewhere. One day she will arrive. As the moment threatens to grow more intimate, they are reunited with The Doctor.
The next few minutes are spent watching Barbara, Jenny, and Dortmun run through the streets of London, trying not to be spotted by The Daleks. This scene seems to be present to emphasize The Daleks are on Earth as we see them and the survivors running past famous landmarks. Having never been to London, I really can’t feel the emotion of these scenes. I get what the director is going for, it just doesn’t work for me and it seems to go on a bit too long. The music is fun, however.
At an abandoned base, Dortmun feels that his bomb is finished (again). He wants very much to meet The Doctor, wishing to meet a man of science. Jenny gets some characterization in this scene. She is strong, a survivor. However, she has a strong cynicism from years of fighting The Daleks. Dortmun sends Jenny and Barbara to prepare for departure. While they are gone, Dortmun decides to try his bomb on The Daleks that have been following them. He hopes to buy the two women time. He is killed as he throws his bomb, which proves ineffective.
The episode ends with Robomen moving bombs into position so that London can be destroyed.
The tone of this episode has shifted somewhat, moving away from the eerie dread that defined the two previous episodes. The sense of urgency is still present, but this story is one of regrouping and planning. Each group plans to abandon London for the north, for the mine. This is convenient. We also see Susan and David growing close to one another. There isn’t a lot of chemistry, but Susan does talk about him a lot and she even contradicts The Doctor with advice David had given her. The Doctor is put off at first, but when David defers to him, The Doctor decides he likes the boy. I must admit that wasn’t as much fun as the previous episodes, but it is by no means bad. We are transitioning to the next phase of the story. We have moved from horror to adventure. This probably means we’ll get some caves before too long.
Dortmun was a sad waste of potential. Yes, the pace was fast in these stories, but we hardly had any time with him and we didn’t really get to know him beyond his leadership position and the fact he is in a wheelchair. His death was tragic, but not terribly emotional. But as stated before, Jenny is becoming a strong character. Even Craddock is getting some good moments. Since these latter two are still alive and Dortmun isn’t, perhaps Dortmun should have been given priority.