Written by Dennis Spooner From an Idea by Terry Nation
Directed by Douglas Camfield
Held prisoner by The Daleks and Mavic Chen, Steven and Sara must find a way to prevent the final Dalek Plan. But where is The Doctor?
After all that has happened in this story, this is a very dark ending. We don’t know the instigating factor, but Mavic Chen has gone quite visibly mad. The scene where he believes The Daleks have decided to submit to him is both amusing and chilling because you know that he is mere moments from death. Yet that death cannot occur in the control room because the Time Destructor is highly unstable. A careless shot would destroy everything. This is the key to escape the situation, a weakness that The Doctor reappears and exploits as he activates the Time Destructor and uses it as a shield. The only problem with this particular method of escape is that everything within the field of the Time Destructor will be faced with accelerated time. The Doctor rapidly ages, as does Kembel around him. Steven is able to get to the TARDIS safely, only to find Sara is not with him. She returned to help The Doctor.
The Time Destructor cannot be destroyed, it can only burn out. The Doctor believes he can neutralize the effect if he can get back to The TARDIS. Unfortunately, the effects of the device are too powerful. He collapses and even Sara succombs, aging rapidly and dying. Steven watches this unfold from the TARDIS. Horrified, he rushes to grab The Doctor, and is able to save him. It is too late for Sara.
Once the Daleks reach The Time Destructor, they attempt to destroy it. They fail. As Steven and The Doctor watch from the safety of The TARDIS, The Daleks’ casing decomposes and the creatures inside wither and die. Only then does The Time Destructor burn out, leaving Sara and The Daleks dead and the planet Kembel a devastated wasteland.
The Doctor has won, but as Steven reminds him, the stakes were quite high. Katarina, Brett, and Sara all gave their lives to stop The Daleks. Kembel is destroyed. But the invasion has been prevented, the fleet now destroyed. The Doctor even posits that The Daleks may be completely destroyed. Reeling from their losses, The Doctor and Steven leave the planet Kembel.
As I said, a bit of a downer for an ending. It works, however, and The Destruction of Time achieves an epic quality. I’m still not sure that twelve episodes were necessary, but when the story worked, it was extremely good. And it worked more often than not. It is a shame that this story is incomplete.