The Daleks’ Master Plan

Only four of the episodes exist in completed form, but due to the good audio quality and the large amount of visual material available, the reconstructions are the best I’ve seen so far. They even made some CGI Dalek sequences.

As for the plot, it is a long-winded one, entirely hinging on the Doctor stealing a core component of the Daleks’ new time-destructor weapon, thus halting their invasion of the universe and causing them to chase him through time and space for a bit.

The Doctor steals the Daleks' crucial and irreplacable McGuffin.

The Doctor steals the Daleks’ crucial and irreplaceable McGuffin.

There is a low-point in the middle, a dreadful Christmas special shoved into the story, which is the worst episode of Who I’ve ever seen, taking its cues from those awful parts of The Chase but somehow even worse, and ending with the Doctor turning to the camera and wishing us all at home a merry christmas. I guess it was supposed to be charming and whimsical, but in the context of an epic disaster serial, it really didn’t work.

"And a merry Christmas to you at home as well!" 'The Feast of Steven sets the trend for awful Christmas specials.

“And a merry Christmas to you at home as well!” ‘The Feast of Steven’ sets the trend for awful Christmas specials.

The time-meddling monk from a few episodes prior makes an unexpected return near the end, perhaps to pad out the story some more, but this is handled rather well, and I suspect he will return again in later stories for his revenge (I hope so, anyway).

Also, the galactic council, previously seen in the one-off Doctorless episode Mission to the Unknown, returns, headed up by the ruler of the solar system (turned power-hungry traitor) Mavic Chen, who provides backchat for the Daleks and is generally enjoyable to watch in all his scenes. Obviously, he’s betrayed by the Daleks in the end.

Mavic Chen and the Daleks. An alliance that cannot last.

Mavic Chen and the Daleks. An alliance that cannot last.

Again, the scale of the plot is laughably unbelievable. The rulers of the other galaxies are planning to invade the solar system (sol). That’s like the leaders of Asia deciding to invade the inside of my shoe.

Still, despite its length (and awful sagging in the middle), this was an enjoyable serial, with the Daleks at their most ruthless and evil. Plenty of deaths, too. I was hoping Space Police Officer Sara Kingdom would survive for more adventures, but she died rather spectacularly to the ravages of accelerated time. Interestingly, the Doctor did not, suggesting for the first time ever that he may age considerably more slowly than everyone else.

Space Police Officer Sarah Kingdom doesn't live for long. Shame.

Space Police Officer Sarah Kingdom doesn’t live for long. Shame.

As Katerina departs, I will summarise and comment on her (brief!) role.
A temporary companion, she believes the Doctor is the god Zeus. She helps him out of duty, but also fascination at the Doctor’s miraculous ‘temple’. She’s not in it for more than one story, and she doesn’t have much of a character to speak of. It could have been interesting to have an ancient human as a regular, but it never went anywhere this time. She ends up dead, unfortunately. Although her sacrifice was not in vain – she intentionally jettisons herself and her assailant from an airlock of a spaceship, to stop him from taking over. The Doctor had the Daleks’ secret weapon component in his possession, and needed to get away quickly. She basically saved them all, in her service to her ‘god’. Since she thought she was in the afterlife anyway, I suppose it didn’t matter too much to her!

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