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I want to get a closer look at that body
Well Davros, I see the long dark has done nothing to cure your megalomania. Have a Jelly Baby.—The Doctor
Is there a stowaway aboard the TARDIS? No, it's just Romana, who has regenerated off-screen, for no apparent reason, and chosen to do so into an identical double of Princess Astra. (One might think that she'd had enough of being a princess's exact double after the incident on Tara, but clearly our Romana is made of stronger stuff than that.)
Meanwhile, the TARDIS has arrived on a seemingly deserted planet that the Doctor finds naggingly familiar. Turns out it's Skaro, home planet of the Daleks, which the Doctor last visited five seasons ago, when he crossed metaphorical swords with the Daleks' creator, Davros. The Daleks exterminated Davros when they decided he had outlived his usefulness, but now they need his help so they've come back to find him -- and isn't it lucky for them that Davros wasn't killed, but has only been in suspended animation all this time?
The Daleks' problem is that they've reached a stalemate in a war with the Movellans, and need Davros to cast a fresh eye on the problem. Speaking of Movellans, there's a group of them come to find out what the Daleks are up to, and when they find out they decide that if the Daleks are taking advice from Davros, they'll take advice from the Doctor -- whether he wants to give it to them or not.
This story was a turning point for the Daleks -- every Dalek story for the next decade was more of a Davros story with some Daleks in it than an actual Dalek story.
This story is also known because Terry Nation seems to forget what he himself established about the Daleks, calling them robots and portraying them as perfectly logical Straw Vulcans... even though they're usually the opposite.
Watch it here
- Air Vent Passageway
- BBC Quarry (also see Lampshade Hanging)
- Big Little Man: Romana is trying out different bodies into which to regenerate, while the Doctor is crouched on the floor fixing K9. Romana reappears as a blue-skinned alien babe, towering over him.
Romana: "I thought I'd try this one, but it's a bit short."
(The Doctor stands up, revealing Romana is the size of a child)
Doctor: "Well lengthen it then, go on."
(Exit Romana. The Doctor crawls along the floor for a while and then bumps into a toga-wearing beauty. He stands up...only to find he only goes up to Romana's shoulders)
Doctor: "Too tall, take it away!"
- Costume Test Montage
- Dropped A Bridge On Her: No explanation is given for Romana's regeneration.
- Faking the Dead: Romana
- Finger-Twitching Revival: Twice!
- Hand Wave: K-9 sits out the adventure in the TARDIS with robot laryngitis.
- Human Popsicle
- Lampshade Hanging: "Oh look, rocks!"
- "How can a robot catch laryngitis? I mean, what do you need it for?"
- Lie Detector: The Daleks use one while questioning Romana.
- Magic Countdown
- The Nth Doctor: Romana mk. II
- Not Quite Dead: Davros
- The Other Darrin: David Gooderson as Davros. Also a general Man in a Kilt, as Davros has magically become Scottish.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: K-9's sidelining due to robo-laryngitis. Sources differ on to why exactly this happened -- some say it was because Terry Nation hated K-9 and didn't want to "degrade" his Daleks by making them appear with K-9 on-screen, while others have said that because of the amount of quarry filming in this episode, there was no way that K-9 would ever have been able to play a major part in the episode.
- Ridiculously-Human Robots: The Movellans.
- Rock-Paper-Scissors: Used by the Doctor to show the Movellans the fallibility of fighting only with logic.
- Shout-Out: The Doctor reads a book by Oolon Colluphid. (Douglas Adams was the script editor for this season, and probably added that bit himself.)
- Straw Vulcan
- Suicide Attack
- Weaksauce Weakness: The Movellans can be killed by removing the unprotected power pack on their waist.
- We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: "Humanoids are effective work machines!"
- The X of Y
- You Look Familiar: Lalla Ward, after guest-starring as Princess Astra in the previous episode, takes on the role of Romana; the episode spends several minutes climbing out from under the weight of the lampshade. (It doesn't help that Terry Nation turned in his scripts before Romana's re-casting was confirmed; Douglas Adams had to write the new opening scene himself, and the resultant change in tone is jarring.)