The Daleks have always been a not-so-subtle allegory for Nazi Germany, the “master race” wanting to purify the species and take control of everything, so it was inevitable that they’d feature in an actual WWII episode eventually. Winston Churchill’s war room has supposedly built these new weapons, which Professor Bracewell calls “Ironsides”, but obviously the Daleks have their own plans and their loyal servant routine is just a facade. While the Doctor spends much of the episode trying to persuade Churchill that the Daleks are remorseless creatures with an ulterior motive, I was reminded of the rather excellent Power of the Daleks, in which much the same thing happens. Unfortunately, this episode doesn’t handle it so effectively and the story is pretty much nonsense.
So, the last of the last of the last (really, this time!) of the Daleks, having slipped back through time, have found a special Dalek-growing device that will reboot the entire race, but they’re not pure enough to activate it, so they need to construct an implausible scenario where the Doctor will inadvertently confirm the Daleks’ identity to the Progenator Device, by building an android scientist (Bracewell) and infiltrating the London war room during the blitz. Ooooo—kay. After their plan actually works, they attack London indirectly by turning its lights on during a blackout, but we then learn they could have blown the Earth up with the bomb inside Robo-Bracewell anyway, so what was the point of that? And I don’t care how advanced he is, there’s no way he could have built spaceworthy Spitfires and trained pilots to fly them in ten minutes. That’s just ridiculous.
The episode does have its strengths, however. When the Daleks are playing their role as slaves, they’re arguably more menacing than when they’re being up-front and honest. They certainly get the Doctor nervous. Servant Daleks asking people if they want tea in loud Dalek voices, and, later, the Doctor bluffing his way onto their ship using a jammy dodger, are examples of the British humour that permeates the show in its more whimsical moments. It’s also interesting that the Daleks actually sort of win this time. Finally, there’s the added mystery about the crack, which now appears to have removed memories of the previous Dalek invasions from Amy’s mind, or possibly erased the events themselves. Intriguing.
Ultimately, though, the plot is flimsy, purely a setup for the new Daleks (who were wasted on a mediocre adventure game released around the same time) and, presumably, an excuse to sell a colourful range of toys. Shameless!