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"I know that although the Daleks will create havoc and destruction for millions of years. I know also, that out of their evil, must come something good."
—The Doctor ponders his navel.
Genesis begins with the Doctor and companions being hijacked on their way back to Nerva Beacon and deposited instead on Skaro, home planet of the Daleks. The planet is at an early stage in its history, with a long war of attrition currently ongoing between its two human-like native races, the Kaleds and the Thals. The ultimate result of this war is that the Kaleds will mutate and build themselves travel casings to remain mobile - and become the Daleks. The Time Lords instruct the Doctor to either prevent this entirely, or at least divert the Daleks' development into a more peaceful form. They give him a "Time Ring" to allow him to return to the TARDIS once this is done.
The Doctor and companions make their way past horrific mutants, victims of the war's atomic exchanges, into the Kaled bunker, where mad scientist Davros and his henchman Nyder are conducting genetic experiments to discover the final form of mutation for the Kaled race and developing a new "Travel Casing" for the results, which Sarah and the Doctor instantly recognize as a Dalek. The Doctor and Harry escape from the bunker and persuade the Kaled leaders to put a stop to the experiments, but Davros colludes with the Thals to open the Kaled City's defenses and allow it to be destroyed. He then activates his experimental Daleks and uses them to kill the Thals.
The Doctor makes his way back into the bunker and sets explosives on the Dalek breeding tanks, needing only to touch two wires together to prevent the Daleks from ever existing. However, he can't bring himself to commit genocide, and reasons that much good will come out of the undoubted evil of the Daleks, and who is he to play god like this and so on. This fascinating debate is then interrupted by the arrival of a Dalek, forcing the doctor to drop the wires and leg it. As the Dalek pursues it runs over the wires, blowing up the tank anyway.
Meanwhile, some of Davros's fellow scientists are uneasy about the experiments and demand they be stopped. Davros turns the Daleks on them, but his creations then turn on their creator and Davros himself is exterminated (he gets better). Thals who survived the massacre destroy the entrance to the bunker, sealing the Daleks inside, while the Doctor and co make an escape thanks to the Time Ring. The Doctor estimates that his interference will have put the development of the Daleks back by a thousand years, but inadvertently fires the first shot of the Time War that will eventually rage across the universe.
- Absolute Xenophobe: Take a wild guess.
- Always Save The Companions: Davros forces the Doctor to give him information about future Dalek defeats by torturing Harry and Sarah Jane.
- Bizarre Alien Biology: Although we don't get specifics for another eighteen seasons but the insides of the Kaleds are so different from those of Time Lords and humans that Ronson is utterly gobsmacked by their x-rays.
- Black and Gray Morality: Both Davros and the Daleks are portrayed as utterly evil with the Thals and Kaleds paling in comparison. However the war between the two races is Gray and Gray Morality at best and comes very close to being Evil Versus Evil. The Kaleds are Nazi allegories who desire the destruction of the Thals, while the Thals use disposable slave labor to build weapons and murder the vast majority of the Kaleds to bring about peace, a sentiment Davros himself echoes later in the story.
- The Chessmaster: Davros, in a way not repeated until "Revelation Of The Daleks" in Colin Baker's era. Watch closely - for the whole 6 episodes, he is not so much as momentarily inconvenienced by any of the events of the serial until the very end.
- Cosmetically Advanced Prequel: The first Dalek that trundles out of the laboratory was built in the 1980s and is therefore a good deal shiner than the earlier models in "The Daleks." It even has the slide slats that the first '60s Daleks lacked and, unlike its successors, is capable of movement without a constant source of static electricity.
- Depending on the Writer: What were the lasting effects of the Doctor's meddling in Dalek history? Among the many theories offered:
- The Doctor changed nothing. He was always meant to be there.
- The Doctor delayed Dalek evolution by maybe 1000 years or so.
- The Doctor made it so that Davros survived, causing the Dalek race to never properly unify, thus Retconning their encounters with the First and Third Doctors, and making them just a bit weaker.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Thals have blonde hair and are warriors, the Kaleds have brown hair and are scientists. Now consider what the Daleks were inspired by, and their combined legacy is the Daleks...
- Domed Hometown: The Thal and Kaled Domes.
- The Dragon: Nyder, Davros's nearly emotionless right-hand man.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Even Nazi-analog Kaleds find Davros' scheme abhorrent.
- Likewise, Davros is quite upset when the Daleks kill Nyder, and when they move to kill his only other loyal supporters too, he is shocked and tries to think up reasons for why the Daleks ought to let the men live.
- Nyder subverts this when this when told by Davros of his plans to exterminate the Kaleds as well as the Thals, for a moment he seems truly shocked that Davros would really do such a thing, before immediately deciding he did not care.
- Evil Cripple: Davros.
- Exact Words:
- Davros tells the Thals that he's tired of war and wants to rebuild Skaro. At no point did he ever say that he was going to help the Thals rebuild Skaro.
- Davros programmed the Daleks to exterminate all non-Dalek life. It didn't seem to occur to him that he wasn't a Dalek.
- Fantastic Racism: Even the Thals, who are usually portrayed positively, fall into this, with their treatment of the prisoner workers for handling radioactive material.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: The repellant Nyder.
- Genocide Dilemma
- Gone Horribly Right: You wanted merciless half-machine beings that bowed to nobody and nothing, Davros? You got it.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Daleks were programmed to exterminate all non-Dalek life. And Davros isn't a Dalek isn't he?
- Human Aliens: Time Lords and Kaleds are outwardly indistinguishable from humans. Inside is a very different story.
- If You Exterminate Them You Will Be Just Like Them: Spelled out for the viewer in almost those exact words.
- Improbable Age: Lampshaded with General Ravon, who would owe his rank to both his fanatical dedication to the Kaled cause and the fact that he started as a Child Soldier.
- Innocuously Important Episode: This episode was the first strike in the Last Great Time War.
- Irrevocable Order: The Doctor almost gets Davros to do this. The Doctor has control of Davros' life support system and tells him to give the order to destroy the proto-Daleks or else he'll turn it off.
Davros: This is Davros. Elite unit seven will go to the incubator room. All survival maintenance systems are to be closed down. The Dalek creatures are to be destroyed.
- Joker Immunity: The real reason the Doctor couldn't bring himself to wipe out the Daleks.
- Also the reason why Davros comes back after being exterminated by the Daleks at the end.
- Lack of Empathy: The Daleks, as well as Nyder, Davros' soulless right-hand man.
- Land Mine Goes Click: "Harry. I'm standing on a mine."
- Mad Scientist: Davros. Duh.
- My Greatest Failure: Unsurprisingly, the Doctor would come to regard not touching those two wires as this.
- Mythology Gag: One of the Dalek defeats that the Doctor mentions sounds very much like the events of Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It only becomes obvious later that the events of this episode were the beginning of a chain of events that directly led to the Last Great Time War and the destruction of both the Daleks and the Time Lords, first mentioned in "The End of the World", "The Unquiet Dead" and "Dalek".
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: If the Doctor is to be believed, then the threat of the Dalek Empire will see the rise of several galactic alliances.
- Nuclear Weapons Taboo: Despite claims in much earlier and later Doctor Who canon, and the assumptions made in some of the individual trope write-ups on this page, the word "nuclear" is never mentioned in "Genesis of the Daleks", and problems that are usually associated with radiation are ascribed to mysterious "chemicals".
- Oh Crap: See Land Mine Goes Click above and Villainous Breakdown below.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Davros hasn't quite got this far (yet), but his 'virus' speech shows us that if he had that kind of power, he would use it, just for the sake of having it.
- Putting on the Reich: Kaled dress, propaganda, medals, and salutes. As if the very nature of what Davros was creating wasn't enough to clue you in.
- Redemption Equals Death: Most of the surviving Kaleds try to oust Davros from his position of authority at the end. Davros proposes a vote, so he knows who to shoot.
- Refuge in Audacity: The line the Doctor uses to distract some Thal guards while breaking in to their city to rescue Sarah Jane:
Doctor: Hello, I'm a spy.
- Retcon: In previous episodes the Kaleds were called the Dals, and the war between them and the Thals lasted just one day (i.e., implied to be a nuclear war). Here the war has been going on for a thousand years.
- Then again, the Thals admitted that their records were spotty at best.
- A later retcon would try and split the difference: After the early Daleks had wiped out most of the Thals, the remnants tried to destroy the burgeoning Daleks only for the Daleks to drop a neutron bomb.
- Schizo-Tech: Mentioned in Part One. The war with the Thals has been going on so long that instead of using expensive laser weaponry, they're down to conventional gunpowder arms, and if things keep up they're going to finish with bows and arrows.
- Start of Darkness
- Thrown From the Zeppelin: When Davros confronts dissenter Gharman and his scientists and guards and asks who is with him and who is against him, a few step over to join him and Nyder. No prizes for guessing what happens to Gharman and the others.
- Took a Level In Jerkass: Up until this story the Thals were the Daleks good counterparts. All that changes as it turns out they use mutos as slave labour or simply shoot them if they're unfit, infect their prisoners with radiation poisoning, psychologically abuse Sarah for kicks and not only butcher the entire Kaled population but force the Doctor to watch. Possibly an inversion, as all their previous stories are set later on in their history.
- Undying Loyalty: Nyder to Davros.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Kavell, the Kaled scientist who frees Harry, Sarah and Gharman, disappears between Parts Five and Six. He's last seen midway through Part Five leaving with Gharman, but isn't with him and the other Kaleds when they're confronting Davros in Part Six. Unlike other MIA Kaleds (Ravon and Tane especially) it can't be argued he died in the Kaled dome when the Thals blew it up since that happened a couple of episodes earlier.
- Villainous Breakdown: Davros very quickly lapses into one when his creations betray him.
- The X of Y: In proud Dalek tradition.