This story chose an interesting way to celebrate. The story goes back to the beginning. To Earth. (Of course.) To London. (Of course!) To Totter's Lane. (...Huh?) You remember? From "An Unearthly Child".
The setting of the story is the area that the Doctor found himself staying in during the first episode of the series (back in 1963). It's just a day later. He has unfinished business, and an old enemy waiting for him.
The story opens with notable voices of the early 60's giving famous speeches (Kennedy, King, de Gaulle, etc.). Then a ship appears over Earth.
And the opening titles start.
Ah. It's so late 80's.
The show comes back to the outside of Coal Hill Road, which you may remember from "An Unearthly Child". It was where Susan was going to school. And again, we are near that school. Children come and go outside, and all seems normal.
But then the Doctor appears, and we know things can't be that normal. He's being accompanied by Ace, his companion through the end of the old series. She's a teen with attitude. And a love of high explosives.
They come across the school, and the Doctor looks around, seeming unconcerned. But also noting the oddities around. This includes a van that has some, for the day, high tech scanning technology, sitting outside
The Doctor sends Ace off to get a meal at a nearby cafe. Then, when she's gone, he climbs over the van, working out just where it is focused on.
|"Five, six, seven, eight. There's a doctor at the gate."|
The Doctor decides to head back to the van, and see what is happening inside of it. As he leaves, the little girl watches him. She sings a little rhyme. It's about a doctor at the gate.
In the van the doctor finds a fellow scientist at work. Dr. Rachel Jensen. He's interested in her readings. And she's interested about why he's there, and seems to understand her readings better than even her.
She is tracking a magnetic fluctuations near the school. But there is another source of strange signals nearby, and that begins to spike, leading the military to come in and cordon it off. The Doctor and Ace join Dr. Jensen in checking out the signal.
|"I thought Foreman was spelled with an 'e'?" "...Wibbly|
wobbly, timey whimey...?"
He is standing over a dead soldier. The Doctor checks out the body. He quickly can tell the man was killed with a projected energy weapon ("death ray").
They are joined by a truckload of soldiers, who Captain Gilmore deploys for a fight.
The Doctor warns him that it would be wiser to pull out. But, as always, the military wants to face the threat head on.
But as they open fire, they discover something that is also ready and eager to fight. A Dalek.
After a long fight, the Dalek is finally killed, taking a number of soldiers with it. The Doctor turns to Ace's homemade explosives (Told you she loved the stuff.) to take out the Dalek.
Finding the Daleks present, the Doctor wants to return to the school, to complete his investigation. Something isn't right.
On the way the Doctor starts opening up to Ace about what is happening.
The Daleks have come to Earth. Ace wonders if it's an invasion. And the Doctor derides this. They won't invade for another two centuries. But they are a danger, particularly if the military tries to engage the whole force of Daleks hidden in London.
What's worse is that the Dalek that appeared was the wrong one. As has been seen before, there is more than one faction of Daleks, which has lead to a civil war. And now that war has reached Earth. The Doctor needs to be careful, or the Earth will be at threat.
Also the Doctor admits he knows why the Daleks are bothering with Earth at present. The Hand of Omega. It's a powerful tool of the Time Lords. It is used to move stars around. And once it was used to jump start Time Lord efforts to master Time. In the hands of Daleks it could be horrific.
The Doctor knows the answers lie at the school. And there we get to see more tie to "An Unearthly Child". They go to the chemistry classroom, which was Ian's classroom.
|What? it looks different now?|
As the Doctor looks around he spots the blast pattern from above. Ace notes that it could be the landing sire for a ship.
Meanwhile a rather nasty man is meeting the Dalek Battle Computer (a tool that Daleks turned to to improve combat effectiveness, with creative thinking.). He informs it about the Doctor, and they begin tracking him.
|"Yeah. I can fly? What|
slurs have you been
Once upstairs they manage to dispatch the Dalek. But the Doctor knows for sure now that both Dalek factions are on Earth. But can he keep the humans out of the middle of their squabble?
The Doctor is troubled. He contemplates what he is planning to do. It could have such repercussions. It harkens back to an earlier internal debate that the 4th Doctor had in Genesis of the Daleks. But this time the Doctor is going to be choosing the more pragmatic answer.
This is an example of the change that came to Doctor Who with this season. The first season of the 7th Doctor was more light. He was more clownish and flippant. He still will be, but an added layer appears. The Doctor seems to be on a schedule. He has a mission. Many missions. Things are coming to a head, and he's late to the tea party. Also they hint heavily at his origins. He may be older and more powerful than he can appear. Heck, this season we learn he was Merlin.
And among his secrets is that he has and took the Hand of Omega from Gallifrey. He then hid it on Earth. Where? At the undertaker. Where else?
Now he's come to retrieve it. First though, he places Ace's baseball bat in it, to give it a bit of umph.
|Imperial Dalek Faction|
|Renegade Dalek Faction|
Ace left to go searching on her own. The Doctor sent her away to keep her out of trouble, until he could figure out where the Daleks were going to strike. But Ace finds out on her own. And sees how well the amped up bat works. It works like a normal bat on a plastic prop. Really good!
While the Doctor is busy the Renegade Dalek allies find and dig up the Hand. Then they return it to their base.
The human allies are feeling very cocky, thinking they have the power now to take over the world. But the Daleks disagree. The battle computer reveals it's using the young girl who has been wandering around in the background. And then the Daleks proceed to execute their human allies.
He doesn't want the Hand back. He wants one of the factions to take it. The other faction.
To help that happen, the Doctor screws up their time travel device. So they are temporarily trapped.
Then, when the Imperial Daleks land, he convinces the military to back off, and let the Daleks destroy each other. Now it's a matter of letting the more powerful Imperial forces sweep in and win.
|Hey! 3rd Doctor did this in "The|
On board the Doctor seems that the plan is to launch the Hand to reach Skaro, the Dalek homeworld. It's perfect. Everything is in place for what the Doctor needs to happen.
Meanwhile the battle rages. Imperial forces strike. And they even bring out the dreaded the Special Weapons Dalek. The Renegades are made short work of.
Then the Imperial Daleks capture the Hand. And now the Doctor contacts the Imperial Dalek Emperor. He learns that is Davros. He's gained control of the dominant faction of Daleks.
Davros mocks the Doctor. The Daleks will now become the lords of time. They will sweep the Time Lords away.
"The Daleks will sweep Gallifrey away!"
The Doctor responds, belittling Davros.
Davros flips out, and launches the Hand. It's off to Skaros, where it will turn it's star into a power source.
But things don't go to plan. The Doctor reprogrammed the Hand. It was set to make star become a supernova.
And Skaro is no more. (...Until it is again...)
Then the Hand reverses course and begins heading back to the Imperial Command Ship. Davros begs the Doctor to pity him. And the Doctor says that he does pity him. Davros ejects from the ship, leaving it and it's crew to die.
The Imperial Dalek presence on Earth is quashed,
Then the Doctor sends the Hand back to Gallifrey.
With that done, all that is left is to remove the last of the Renegade Daleks, And the only one of them left is the Supreme Dalek.
The Supreme Dalek is overwhelmed. It self destructs, having no options left.
And it's lucky it did this. The battle computer/little girl had stalked Ace and was readying to kill her, when her connection to the Daleks was broken. Luckily this is one of those Dalek stories where they don't kill everyone
She asks, "Doctor? We did good, didn't we?"
He responds, "Perhaps. Time will tell. It always does."
What are the results of this fracas? Let's consider that with a Prelude to the Time War.