Writer: Terry Nation
Director: David Maloney
Producer: Phillip Hinchcliffe
Companions: Sarah Jane Smith (Elizabeth Sladen), Dr. Harry Sullivan (Ian Marten)
No. of Episodes: 6
Season: 12, ep. 4
Summary: The Time Lords have taken control of the Doctor’s TARDIS for the first time since the Third Doctor’s era, stranding him on Skaro. He will be allowed to return on one condition: prevent Davros from finishing his tests on the Daleks and unleashing them for the first time.
Review: The Daleks have been a part of Doctor Who since the show began, and their appearance in the second episode of the show’s first season actually helped prevent the show from being cancelled. Yet, by the time this episode was written, something new had to be done. The Daleks seemed to have run their course. Three Dalek stories were done during the Pertwee era, but they weren’t nearly as good as stories from previous eras. Taking the Daleks back to the beginning not only retconned them, but made them better villians.
Davros is a chilling foe. His voice is filled with such bitterness and malice. His crippled frame evokes pity, especially if you watch this after listening to I, Davros, which can be seen as a prequel. I think his defining moment is when the Doctor proposes creating a virus that could end all life. “To hold in my hand the capsule that contains such power. To know that life and death on such a scale was my choice. To know that the tiny pressure of my thumb, enough to break the glass, would end everything. Yes, I would do it! That power would set me up above the gods!”
And of course we have that historic scene that I think defines not only the Fourth Doctor, but the Doctor overall. He has two wires in his hands that could destroy the Daleks forever, yet he doesn’t do it. He realizes that even a species as deadly as the Daleks must be allowed to live, because their terror will inspire alliances that might not have been possible otherwise. Time’s stability is more important to him, and he would be no better than his enemies.
This is a must-see for any serious Whovian.
Overall Review: 10/10
Continuity: The Time Ring, which the Time Lord gives the Doctor to allow him to return to the TARDIS, does not appear in the TV show after this, but it has appeared in a few audio stories. The virus that the Fourth Doctor proposes actually is created by Davros in the 8th Doctor Audio Terra Firma. The Time Lords took control of the TARDIS several times in the Pertwee era, during the period of the era in which the TARDIS was under their control.