Starring Tom Baker & Elisabeth Sladen
Originally Broadcast March 29, 1975
When we last left the Doctor, he was being electrocuted by the fence surrounding the rocket the Thals were preparing to launch at the Kaled city. Throughout almost the entire run of the first twenty-six seasons of Doctor Who, the beginning of every episode after the first one in the serial always repeated the last two to three minutes of the previous episode in order to catch everyone up on the story and resolve the cliffhanger. There was no special recap with “Last week…” on the bottom of the screen. Just the final few scenes before the music sting and the credits.
The Doctor blacks out and later wakes up in the Thal command center. There was no rescue this time, and the Doctor is hurting after getting shocked like that. He fights through the pain to watch the Thal commander give the signal to fire the rocket at the Thals. The Doctor fights to get up, a guard makes him sit back down by pointing a gun at his face.
The Kaled scientists watch in horror as the dome surrounding the city is shattered and brought down, leaving the city exposed for the Thal rocket. Davros plays it innocent.
The rocket is launched and sails towards the Kaleds. Davros and his first squad of Daleks are ready to seal themselves in and ride out the destruction of their city in relative safety while everyone else dies. Davros obviously not in the happiest of moods. He calls for the execution of Ronson. The Daleks score their first official extermination.
Over in the Thal city, the people rejoice at their victory. The Doctor is not so excited about it. The Thal President chooses to show mercy to the Kaleds and frees any Kaled prisoner they had. The Doctor takes Solace in that, but he is certain there was no way Harry or Sarah survived the destruction of the Kaled city. The Doctor is informed that he is too included in the amnesty and is free to go.
Davros orders another officer to instigate changes in the Dalek make-up. He wants them ruthless, emotionless, cold and calculated killing machines.
Just as the Thals were about to dance in the streets, the Daleks invade and start exterminating everyone. The Doctor runs for cover with a young Thal woman, he promises to get her to a safe place. Out in the wasteland, they run into Harry and Sarah. The Doctor informs them that the Kaleds still have the time ring.
Nyder overhears an officer plotting with a scientist to sabotage Davros’ plans. Nyder lures the officer into a trap by getting him to agree to betray Davros. The officer is brought to a quiet room and knocks him out, but not before he gives up the names of everyone he’s collaborated with. Davros doesn’t want to kill him, but experiment on his brain. The Doctor, Harry, and Sarah walk the stone corridors underneath the Kaled, now Dalek city and try not to get killed. The officer is taken away just in time for Davros and Nyder to watch The Doctor passing them in the hallway. They strap the Time Lord to a chair and interrogate him. Davros demands the Doctor to tell him everything he knows about the Daleks future victories and defeats. The Doctor refuses. Davros assures the Doctor he will eventually relent.
Davros wires the Doctor into a lie detector that will torture Sarah and Harry if he doesn’t answer. Sarah pleads for the Doctor not to tell Davros anything. Davros turns up the juice and starts to scream.
Originally Broadcast April 5, 1975
Davros continues to demand future information about the Daleks from the Doctor. His companions are being tortured, but try to resist the pain but the Doctor gives in and saves his friends by telling Davros every time in the future the Daleks will be defeated. He saves the lives of Harry and Sarah, but at what cost? Davros wants a private word with the Doctor and has his companions taken away.
Harry and Sarah are put in a cell with Officer Gharman, the one whom Nyder forced to confess. Every one planning against Davros should have been dealt with by now, but according to Sarah, there hasn’t been any commotion. Out in the hallway, a scientist attempts to get past the guard.
Davros congratulates the Doctor on his assisting the Dalek movement, refuting the claim that the Daleks are evil, but merely built to survive. The Doctor asks Davros to reconsider. He asks Davros if he had a virus that could kill every living thing, would he use it? In a chilling speech, Davros says he would, stating that such power would set him up above the gods. The Doctor now knows he has a power mad psychopath to deal with. The Doctor gains control of Davros’ chair and tells him to cancel all work on the Daleks or he will die. It’s not often we see that Doctor threaten to kill someone, but here he had no choice. Before he can succeed, Nyder comes up behind them and knocks the Doctor out, but Davros wants him kept alive.
The Thal resistance are waiting to make their move. As the Doctor come to in the cell where Harry and Sarah are being kept. Gharmin and the scientist have subdued the guard and split from the rest in an attempt to overtake some guards without killing them. Teh resistance gains an upper hand over the Kaled guards, but they don’t know who they will eventually be going up against. Nyder begs Davros to let him use his special Elite Guards on the fighters, but Davros refuses. What he has in mind is much more evil. He instructs Nyder to find the Kaled leaders and hand over his weapons to them. That goes for the Elite Guards as well. Davros demands Nyder to surrender to the resistance under the guise of lulling them into a false sense of security. Nyder knows he’s about to get waxed by a Dalek, but carries out Davros’ order anyway.
The Doctor, Sarah, and Harry find some explosives. The Doctor says he has no choice left but to kill all the Daleks and is now set on blowing up the incubation chambers.
Nyder and Davros meet with the scientist resistance. They give Davros an ultimatum, if he wants to continue work on the Daleks, he must not make them so evil or they will have him arrested and all his work destroyed. Davros asks for time to consider the proposal.
The Doctor and friends make it to the incubation chamber. Freshly processed Kaled mutants are growing and waiting to be placed into Dalek casings. The Doctor takes the explosives and heads inside. One of the mutants gets loose and attacks the Doctor just in time for the end credits to roll.
Originally Broadcast April 12, 1975
After Harry and Sarah save the Doctor, he is ready to blow up the incubation chambers. Just as he is about to touch the wires together that will set off the bomb, he begins to doubt himself, giving one of the most important speeches in the show’s history:
The Doctor: Just touch these two strands together and the Daleks are finished. Have I that right?
Sarah: To destroy the Daleks? You can’t doubt it.
The Doctor: Well, I do. You see, some things could be better with the Daleks. Many future worlds will become allies just because of their fear of the Daleks. But the final responsibility is mine, and mine alone. Listen, if someone who knew the future pointed out a child to you and told you that that child would grow up totally evil, to be a ruthless dictator who would destroy millions of lives, could you then kill that child?
Sarah: We’re talking about the Daleks. The most evil creatures ever invented. You must destroy them, you must complete your mission from the Time Lords.
The Doctor: Do I have that right? Simply touch one wire against another and that’s it. The Daleks cease to exist. Hundreds of millions of people, thousands of generations can live without fear, in peace and never even know the word “Dalek.”
Sarah: If it was a disease or a bacteria you were destroying, you wouldn’t hesitate.
The Doctor: But if I kill, wipe out a whole intelligent life form, I’ll be no better than them.
Just as he finishes, Gharman finds them and tells them that Davros has given in, but he wants to address all of the Elite. The Doctor is satisfied and yanks the wires away, disconnecting them from the bomb. He breathes a sigh of relief. There will be no genocide here today.
The Elite scientists and leaders are gathered for meeting with Davros. He pleads his case that the Daleks are the only future the Kaleds have, and that if they are to survive, they need to be aggressive and ruthless.
Meanwhile, Sarah sneaks around in the background and finds the sonic screwdriver but not the time ring.
Davros points out a button that will self-destruct the entire compound killing everything in it and if the Elites are so determined to kill off the Daleks, then why not kill everyone else along with it? No one is brave enough to push the button. Ghelman says that the production of the Daleks can continue only if they retain the ability to choose between good and evil.
The Thals begin to invade, but so have Davros’ squad of Daleks. The Thals are rigging the hallways to explode, one of the Mutos with them go off to find Sarah. She’s with the Doctor and Harry off in a corridor to confront Nyder. They struggle and Nyder drops the time ring. The last thing the Doctor needs is the tape recorder that has all the future information on it. Nyder leads them to a room where he says it is. While the Doctor destroys the tape, Nyder escapes.
The Daleks flood the meeting of the Elites and begin killing everybody. The Doctor sends Harry, Sarah and the Muto off to safety with the Thals, and he is going back to blow up the incubators. They beg the Thals to give the Doctor time to escape before they blow the entrance up. The incubators finally get blown up and the Doctor runs full speed for the entrance. The Doctor explains that he has not destroyed the Daleks, but delayed their development significantly.
In one last display of power, the Daleks kill Nyder. Then they finally turn on Davros. Nothing in the Daleks programming says are they instructed to hold anyone above the Daleks, not even their creator. In the end, they destroy Davros promising to return one day, stronger than before.
The mission is over. The three travelers take hold of the time ring and are whisked away from Skaro. The Doctor explains that he has not failed because out of the Daleks’ evil and destruction, something good must come. Even though the events within this serial are considered to be the opening attack of the Time War, it’s still strong enough to stand on its own after all these years.
This has always been one of my favorite stories from my favorite Doctor. There is no bad acting here as everyone gives a top-notch performance. The sets and special effects are as good as they could have been back then, with not even a wobbly wall anywhere. Genesis of the Daleks prove, to me, beyond a shadow of any doubt that the Classic series can not only stand up to the Modern series, it can surpass the Modern series in certain places. This is definitely better than Love & Monsters for a start. This was also a time during the show’s run where the Daleks weren’t used every single season. Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor only faced the Daleks twice in his seven-year stint. Hopefully, the new production team uses them just as sparingly because the Daleks are most effective when they’ve been away for a while and the fans aren’t tired of seeing them all the time.