Written by Terry Nation
Directed by Douglas Camfield
Pursued by Sara Kingdom, The Doctor and Steven are accidentally transported to the planet Mira.
“There are small, white creatures inside. They may be hostile.”
When you strip away the James Bond trappings, The Daleks’ Master Plan really shows similarities to The Chase. Certainly, the tone is darker, but the plot centers around The Doctor and his companions being chased by The Daleks and Mavic Chen. They are pursued to Desperus, Earth, Mira, and many more places in the upcoming episodes. In truth, Terry Nation seems to enjoy these quest-type stories. Keys of Marinus, The Chase, even The Dalek Invasion of Earth seems to have some amount of running around from location to location.
I must admit that The Daleks as a concept are running a bit thin at the moment. Honestly, I find Mavic Chen a relief because he is more interesting to watch. It is similar to personifying evil in Sauruman in The Lord of the Rings films even though Sauron is the ultimate evil. We find the human mastermind much more fascinating, and in both cases this works. The Daleks, despite being intensely popular, really don’t have much range, especially at the hands of Terry Nation. They rarely seem capable of carrying a six episode story, and I think even Terry Nation realized this because he eventually created Davros.
Anyway, this episode sees The Doctor and Steven woo Sara Kingdom to their side in part through charisma, logic, and Sara’s guilt over killing Bret. It turns out Bret was her brother. This will make Christmas dinner awkward. The arrival of The Daleks on Mira help cement her allegiance to The Doctor.
The Doctor, Steven, and Sara actually need the Daleks, however. They were transported to Mira in an experiment involving matter displacement. Their bodies were broken down to the molecular components, then transported and reassembled. They are on Mira with no escape, at the mercy of The Visians–invisible predators. The Daleks arrive just in time to save The Doctor, Steven, and Sara from a Visian, then capture them. And the Daleks have shown just how cruel they are when they killed some innocent, white lab mice.
Finally, Mavic Chen has begun to give in to his ego when he realizes that the only reason he is part of the alliance with The Daleks is due to The Solar System’s knowledge of mineralogy. The Daleks need the Teranium, thus The Daleks need Mavic Chen. Perhaps Zephon’s words are rubbing off on Chen.