Just what did happen to Davros after the collapse of the Kaled city in Genesis of the Daleks? While we’re led to believe that history played itself out as normal – Daleks battled Thals, invaded the Earth, followed the Doctor through time and space, and got their city blown up – Destiny of the Daleks sees them returning to the ruins of their planet in search of their creator and master, who has been held in suspended animation for hundreds of years.
The futility of war is the main theme of this story, as the Daleks have reached a stalemate in a war with the robotic Movellans. They want to revive Davros in order to give them new programming that will win them the war, the twist being that two computerised minds cannot outthink one another, amusingly demonstrated by the Doctor doing paper/scissors/stone with one of the Movellans. As a theme, this works quite well, and there’s a threat of planetary annihilation to add some suspense.
But, ultimately, it feels a bit wasted. Davros is brought back, but he’s more of a liability than a threat, and he and the Doctor don’t exchange enough good banter. The Movellans, who are made out to be an even bigger threat, have the most ridiculous weakness, falling over incapacitated when their “batteries” (which they keep within easy reach on their belts) are removed. Additionally, what should be quite a serious situation is punctuated by a few too many silly moments, worst of all being the introduction of the newly regenerated Romana, who changes her appearance as if she was choosing a new outfit – since when was regeneration such a casual occurrence?
So, is it good to see Davros back again? Not really. While the story had potential and interesting themes, it didn’t really work for me. On the plus side, it leaves it open for more Davros appearances in future.