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So, they have returned to their creator. Like an errant child, they have come home once more, but this time they will not abuse me. This time, I shall take my rightful place as their Supreme Being, and under my control, the Daleks shall once more become triumphant!
Our Dalek story this time opens up in the middle of London, circa 1984. We watch a bum watching several oddly-dressed people attempt to escape from a random warehouse... only to be gunned down by British cops wielding modern (for 1984) submachine guns. The bum is then, of course, gunned down himself. The cops then pull out a remote and make the bodies vanish in a glow of red light. However, one man was able to hide...
On the TARDIS, however, the Doctor and our companions are right where we left them, busy shaking around and clinging to the TARDIS as the Doctor exposits that they're being dragged along a time corridor for some reason. He doesn't know where they're going, but it turns out that the TARDIS lands on the exact same street that the massacre just occurred on. But that's certainly never going to be significant.
One of those cops, named Lytton, somehow transports himself aboard a rather sweet looking spaceship an untold distance away from Earth. As it turns out, he's working with... evil people. Doing evil things - though this is self-explanatory when it turns out they're working for the Daleks. Their objective? To invade a space-prison that holds Davros, creator of the Daleks! Why? Well... we don't know. But ignore that, we've got a story to tell. And by "story" we mean "show the Daleks wiping out everyone on that prison station as they liberate Davros."
Meandering around the streets of London, the Doctor and companions run into that lone survivor: a terrified, stuttering man named Stein. Since the Doctor is totally caring for the man's situation, the Doctor immediately recruits Stein into helping his party search for the right warehouse which has the time corridor in it. However, before they can go much further, the Doctor and crew stumble across a bomb disposal squad. As it turns out, they've been called in to dispose of several things that are supposedly unexploded bombs, despite looking like naff props from a 1980s science fiction show. Turlough, for his part, stumbles into the time corridor - winding up on the alien ship. The rest of the crew are updated soon enough, however, as the time corridor activates again... revealing a Dalek! Good golly gosh, it certainly would be fantastic to have a companion who is a robot, probably couldn't die easily and can generally be awesome, wouldn't it? Keeping his cool, the Doctor orders the (magically fully-armed) bomb squad to shoot wildly at the Dalek before getting miffed at nothing actually happening and... throws the Dalek out a third-story window instead. Yeah.
Tegan, for her part, is hit by a ricochetting bullet and is out of action for almost the rest of this serial.
Back at the space prison station, it turns out that a few of the crew are still alive, and they're planning to re-take the station. By activating the self-destruct system and blowing it all up, of course. Meanwhile, Lytton and Davros have a discussion where Davros bitches about the Doctor for a time before being told why he's needed: one of the many enemies of the Daleks made an anti-Dalek virus, and Davros is needed to make a cure. One typically loud Davros rant about how the Daleks kick ass later, the man has vowed to help... with his fingers crossed behind his metaphorical back.
Back on Earth, the Doctor and the bomb squad drag in the remains of that fallen Dalek - but are assaulted by the squiggly blobby Dalek that piloted the unit. After nearly shooting a cat, the Doctor pumps the blobby Dalek full of lead. Good grief, looks like we're not going to be seeing the Technical Pacifist side of the Doctor today! Anyway, the Doctor takes Stein with him into the TARDIS and they go inspect the other end of the time corridor. Once there, though, Stein declares that he's an agent for the Daleks! The Doctor is then, for some reason, taken into custody. Turlough continues to evade capture as he joins up with the few remaining guards of the space prison and vows to help them blow things up.
Back on Earth, more people die as those evil policemen begin to kill off parts of the bomb squad. But they're not important, so back to the Doctor!
Dragged into a special room and shoved onto a table with widgets attached to his head, the Doctor questions the Daleks as to why they need him. Well, it turns out the Daleks want to clone an evil version of the Doctor and his companions, send them off the Gallifrey and then have them wipe out the leadership of the Time Lords. Obviously, the Doctor does not take this well. Stein begins the process of cloning the Doctor's memories while the Doctor tries his best to screw with the Dalek programming on the poor guy by... being generally annoying.
Off with Turlough, he and the remaining guards attempt to set off the self-destruction device... only to have most of the guards die. Quickly. And on Earth, the Daleks capture the entire bomb squad and the useless-for-this-episode Tegan.
Luckily for everyone, the Doctor's meddling begins to break down Stein's programming and delays the process just long enough for Turlough to pop in to save the Doctor (and Tegan, who is now magically there). Stein is, strangely enough, allowed to tag along as the Doctor and Turlough attempt to stop the Daleks from... whatever it is they're doing. However, the Doctor figures he needs to kill off Davros because he feels he should, and so takes off with the guards and Stein - abandoning Tegan and Turlough in a pre-programmed TARDIS that whisks them off to the Earth.
The Doctor confronts Davros and the two of them engage in a lovely debate at gunpoint... until Stein's programming takes control again and everyone else in the party dies for some reason involving Dalek-controlled-humans and extermination. Well, shit. The Doctor and Stein escape again - but Stein runs off, refusing to risk the Doctor's life by staying around him. As it turns out, Davros has been reprogramming Daleks and random humans to obey only him, and the regular Daleks don't like this. As he begins his big escape, Davros drops a vial of the anti-Dalek virus to prevent the regular Daleks from killing him off - destroying several Daleks in seconds, making them spout lots of shaving cream as they die.
Back on Earth, however, a massive battle is going on between the Daleks and Davros' Army. The Doctor, back on Earth, figures out those 'bombs' are really giant capsules holding more samples of the virus. and sets them off, killing all the Daleks off instantly. Lytton, for his part, escapes and puts on a cop's uniform - wandering off into the sunset, to...somewhere.
Back on the space prison, Davros himself begins to escape until he also begins to spray shaving cream from his wheelchair - he too is vulnerable to the virus. Stein activates the self-destruct with his dying breath - taking out the remaining Daleks and pretty much tying up the plot in a neat little bow.
Satisfied with the completely happy ending, the Doctor calls for everyone to come back to the TARDIS. Tegan, though, refuses to come back. She says she's tired of the hectic life of the TARDIS and all the death... which is a little odd, as she's seen so damned little of it compared to the Doctor or Turlough. But anyway, she's done. So Tegan runs off as the TARDIS vanishes - and everything's hunky dory... except for the masses of dead people floating out in space, of course, but they're not Time Lords or their companions, and Earth hasn't been invaded, so who cares?
Oh, but wait. Somehow the Supreme Dalek appears on the TARDIS scanner, and tells the Doctor that the Dalek conquest of Earth is "imminent". The Doctor takes the most sensible course of action possible - he goes to inform the authorities. Bet that went over well!
This was Peter Davison's only encounter with the Daleks during his time as the Doctor - and it was specifically brought in so he could have his Dalek story before he left at the end of the season. In fact, Davison had requested it for the previous season - but a strike wound up delaying it until season 21... which also left the original Davros (Michael Wisher) unable to reprise his role. This gave us the Third Davros, Terry Molloy, who would remain in the role for the rest of the classic series as well as the audios.
Also, this is Janet Fielding's final episode as Tegan... but her final adventure was actually supposed to be the next serial alongside Turlough. Producer John Nathan-Turner decided that another companion should be introduced to make another cross-Doctor link, thus forcing Tegan out one serial early. It rather shows in the rushed final scene, too, as Tegan really doesn't give a solid reason to leave... but that's fine. At least she got a somewhat happy ending, compared to some companions.
Finally, due to the 1984 Olympics, this serial was presented in two parts rather than the typical four - with episodes 1/2 and 3/4 being joined into episodes nearly an hour in length. This format would be reused for Season 22. 
Watch it here
- Big No: The Doctor's protest is rather... exaggerated.
- Captain Obvious: "The Dalek ship has been destroyed." Said by the Doctor right after... everyone sees the Dalek ship being destroyed.
- Although at a stretch it could be Handwaved as them only seeing the internal view of the Supreme Dalek suddenly exploding, though the editing makes this hard to explain away.
- Continuity Cavalcade: When the Doctor's mind is analyzed by the Daleks' machine, every companion (except Leela for some odd reason) and Doctor up to this point is shown in backwards order.
- Distressed Dude: The Doctor, once again.
- The Doctor Grabs a Gun: And not just the compact fluorescent bulb gun pictured. Earlier, he unloads a clip of pistol on a Kaled mutant.
- Downer Ending
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Davros is apparently killed by the Movellan virus, and his body blasted to oblivion when the space station self-destructs. This was intended to kill off Davros permanently, but Terry Nation kicked up a stink, and so he got better for the next story.
- Face Heel Turn: Stien.
- Heel Face Turn: Stien, again.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: On the one hand, it's Davros. On the other hand - serious Moral Dissonance. Oh, and Davros talks his way out of it
- Kill'Em All: This serial has the highest on-screen body count in a Doctor Who episode to date, with a total of 60-75 deaths.
- Think that's shocking? At the time, it had a reputation for having a higher on-screen body count than The Terminator, for Chrissakes!
- Moral Dissonance: Questionable. The Doctor isn't able to kill Davros but happily wipes out several Daleks. Of course you can argue he thinks Davros has a shot at redemption, while the Daleks are incapable of positive growth or that his failure to kill Davros drives him to kill the Daleks.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Davros mocks the Doctor's lack of conviction in killing him:
Davros: You hesitate Doctor. If I were you, I would be dead.
- Rule of Cool: The plot's convoluted, but most people are too busy looking at the decent (for once) production values and exploding Daleks to notice. And there's that awesome shot of the Doctor chucking a Dalek out of a second-floor window.
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: Every episode bar the first features someone trying to activate the space prison's self-destruct sequence; Mercer and Dr. Styles in the second and third episodes, and Stien in the fourth. The latter actually succeeds at the story's conclusion.
- The X of Y
- ↑ And when they do the work of the Daleks, they wear Dalek-themed helmets.
- ↑ To his credit, he decides to hide rather than be captured in seconds.
- ↑ Although it is not true that the decision to have season 22's episodes at 45 minutes was a result of the success of this story - the decision had already been taken when this episode needed to be re-edited.