Well that was interesting. A single episode story and zero appearances by the travelers. Or, at least, not OUR travelers. It wasn’t bad, I suppose. In fact it was kind of good. Of course, this story is entirely missing and therefore received the Loose Cannon treatment. What I like best about these reconstructions are the introductions from the actors. First, there was the awkward introduction by the character Ian Chesterton — that wasn’t so good. But I did enjoy the intro by Peter Purves for Galaxy 4 and now this one from Edward de Souza, who played Marc Cory the main character.
One thing he says in the introduction is that this episode was designed to be a teaser for the Dalek’s Master Plan, set to air a month later. Without that information I would have been a bit confused (until I read up on the story after viewing, of course). It was probably very disappointing for Who fans when it originally aired, not including any of the cast, not connecting to any other serial that they could tell. Quite the anomaly. But, now, the story itself.
We start with a man, whom we actually saw at the end of Galaxy 4 when Vicki wondered what was happening down on a planet they were passing, crawling through the jungle chanting that he must kill…kill…kill. He approaches his crew mates from their crashed spaceship and luckily Cory spots him and shoots him first. Turns out he had been stabbed by a Varga plant, a poisonous plant from the planet Skaro. And he knows this because he has a license to kill and has been sent to hunt the Daleks. This is a great scene, when we get a close-up on his actual license to kill. That’s right — a photo ID card. Not the metaphorical license to kill — the real thing. In case he gets stopped by some intergalactic police officer. I don’t think I have ever actually seen this metaphor in its literal form. I was quite amused. I tried to find a picture, but there is none. You’ll just have to watch the episode to see what it looks like so you can forge your own license. HA!
At any rate, this story happens 1000 years after the Dalek Invasion of Earth, putting it in the 32nd century. And, now, the Daleks want to invade Earth again. This time they aren’t messing around, though. They’ve got a whole interplanetary alliance going on. They’ve got one that looks like he’s made of stone, a couple with helmets, and one that appears to be wearing a leftover Sensorite costume. They’re going to take over Earth, but first they need to exterminate the pesky Earthlings that have landed in their evil plan convention center. They eventually make short work of it, turning Cory into a photographic negative. But, this is not before Cory is able to make a tape recording with all of the important information to send to Earth. As the episode ends, we see the tape lying on the ground, presumably forgotten. De Souza’s closing remarks, though, tell us that the Doctor will find the tape in the first episode of the Dalek’s Master Plan.
Overall, the story is OK. I wasn’t excited by it, but I wasn’t bored, either. I think that the existence of this episode is another testament to the creativity of the Dr. Who team. To put a seemingly entirely unconnected episode smack between two serials and then revisit it later is a neat (and effective) move. I am now looking forward to the epic master plan, if for no other reason than to see the recovery of the tape and find out more about the Evil Alliance. Whether it was effective or well-received at the time, I cannot say. But it was a good attempt and not a bad story.