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Recap: Doctor Who S2 E2 "The Dalek Invasion of Earth"

"We are the masters of Earth!
A Dalek

After the runaway success of "The Daleks" in season one, the Green Blobs in Bonded Polycarbide Armour are back. And they've invaded Earth.

It's the future — some point after 2164 — but our heroes don't know that yet. They've landed the TARDIS in London, and take a while to notice that it's become a post-apocalyptic Crapsack World. Susan investigates, and manages to simultaneously twist her ankle and drop half a bridge on the TARDIS, leaving them stuck in place for a while.

When Susan and Barbara wander off a bit, they're taken in by La Résistance, led by wheelchair-bound Dortmun, who explains what's going on. Ten years ago, the Daleks brought a plague to Earth. Then war. Then slavery. Then conversion into mindless robomen. These are later Dalek models than the ones the Doctor found on Skaro, and they're stronger as well. Barbara immediately sets to work in La Résistance's kitchens, and decides to fight the Daleks as best as she can. Susan befriends a soldier named David Campbell. Meanwhile, Ian and the Doctor are treated to a more intimate encounter with the Daleks, and find out that the Daleks are mining into the core of the Earth (in Bedfordshire of all places).

It turns out that they are planning to plant a bomb in the Earth's core which will hollow out the planet, so they can replace the core with an engine and pilot the planet around like a spaceship.

Ian rigs up a barrier in the mineshaft which detonates the bomb prematurely, conveniently destroying the Dalek mothership and most of the Daleks in the process, not to mention creating a new volcano in Bedfordshire. Barbara and the Doctor imitate Daleks and command the Robomen to atteck their pepperpot masters. Susan has meanwhile fallen in love with David Campbell, and is absolutely torn between the choice of staying with her grandfather and making a life of her own rebuilding Earth. The Doctor catches on quickly, mumbles an excuse, goes into the TARDIS and vworps off before Susan can protest.

The Doctor: "One day, I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs, and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine. Goodbye, my dear. Goodbye, Susan."

Watch it here.

It was adapted as Daleks' Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D., the sequel to Dr. Who and the Daleks. Susan returned in "The Five Doctors", and her fate on future Earth would eventually become the main plot of season four of the Big Finish Doctor Who New Eighth Doctor Adventures.

Tropes

  • After the End: Most of the human race is dead, their cities are deserted and the survivors are more concerned with just staying alive than fighting back.
  • Alien Invasion: Obviously.
  • Almost Kiss: Susan and David actually start, but the sudden appearance of The Doctor from off camera cuts it short.
  • Apocalypse How: Class 1
  • Artistic License - Gun Safety: David at one point takes a clip out of his gun while pointing that very gun at his head.
  • Black Market Produce: An old woman reports the main characters to the Daleks and is rewarded with food, including an orange. "I haven't tasted an orange in years..."
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Instead of just Exterminating Barbara and Jenny, the Daleks leave them to die in an explosion. They live.
  • Characterization Marches On: While better than the last time we saw them, the Daleks seem to have a lot in common with the Cybermen this serial.
    • The Daleks get overpowered by a mob of humans and robomen. Later Daleks would have just exterminated the lot easily.
    • The Daleks have already been deactivated at the time, since they're dependent on radio signals in order to operate on Earth, and Susan and David blew up the local mast. This is another weakness that will never be seen again.
  • Continuity Nod: Part of The Doctor's farewell speech to Susan is based off of a line he said in "An Unearthly Child".
  • Darker and Edgier: Much more so than previous serials.
  • Day of the Jackboot: Draws overtly from World War II occupation tropes with La Résistance and Les Collaborateurs.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin
  • Exty Years from Now: It's some point after 2164.
  • Fake Shemp: William Hartnell was injured during filming of the third part of the serial, and so suddenly passed out without explanation at the start of the fourth (something that tended to happen throughout the Hartnell era, whenever he was unable to appear for whatever reason), with body double Edmund Warwick playing the Doctor in this episode.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Being a Roboman is said to be this.
    • Driven to Suicide: As seen in the beginning of this episode, Robomen eventually malfunction and kill themselves.
  • The Future Is Noir
  • Hand Wave: As the first (of very many) examples of attempting to explain how the Daleks can still be around despite being totally destroyed in their last appearance, the characters decide that this must be an earlier point in history, and they really were destroyed forever last time.
    • The novelized version of the serial comes up with an alternative (and much more plausible) explanation, with the Doctor speculating that there were other Dalek cities on Skaro.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: A ton of them. If there is a character that's not The Doctor or a companion, there is a 1 in 2 chance they will die trying to protect someone. And most of the others die anyways.
  • Idiot Ball: The Doctor shows a rare case of it on the Dalek spaceship. After discovering that his cell contains exactly what they need to escape captivity he tries to escape. It turns out it was an intelligence test to find suitable slave labor.
  • Les Collaborateurs
  • Logic Bomb: Ian breaks a Roboman by telling him to "get new orders."
  • Mayfly-December Romance: David and Susan.
  • Monumental Battle: Not a battle so much, but Barbara and Jenny's flight through London with Dortmun takes them past Daleks milling around some of central London's most prominent monuments, such as Westminster Bridge, the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square. The 'Daleks parading across Westminster Bridge' image in particular has become quite iconic, and has been restaged for publicity shots several times since.
  • Monumental Damage: The characters are shocked to discover that one of Battersea Power Station's iconic chimney-stacks has collapsed, presumably during the chaos of the Dalek invasion.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: While "The Daleks" had elements of Fantastic Racism, here the Dalek = Nazi parallel becomes overt. For example, Daleks greeting each other by jerking their plungers up in the air (see photo above) and referring to the genocide of humanity as "the final solution".
  • Newspaper Dating: The TARDIS crew discover the year is 2164 (or later) via a calendar in an abandoned warehouse.
  • No Peripheral Vision: The Doctor avoids the Daleks by pressing himself up next to a door. It works.
    • Slightly justified as later we get a Dalek POV shot that reveals the limitations of the eyestalk. It still doesn't excuse the Dalek who looks right at The Doctor. And you.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Wells uses this against the Daleks in his first scene.
  • Patrolling Mook: The Robomen.
  • The Power of Love: Larry uses this in an attempt to free his Robotized brother of the Dalek conditioning. Sadly, it doesn't work out so well, and they end up killing each other instead.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: William Hartnell was injured during filming of episode 3, so episode 4 was rewritten so as to have the Doctor out of commission for the duration and a body double filled in as the unconscious Doctor.
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: The Slyther - a man-eating creature the Black Dalek keeps as a "pet".
  • Sound-Only Death - As Susan and David crouch in a corner hiding from the Daleks we hear a man in the street begging a Dalek for his life before he gets killed.
  • Too Much Information: One sign which appears in shots it shouldn't appear in reads "It is forbidden to dump bodies into the river."
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: The Robomen.
  • Vichy Earth
  • Wham Episode: This episode is significantly more serious than the rest of Doctor Who thus far. This was also the first time the TARDIS crew changed at all, with Susan leaving at the end of part six.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Dortmun and most of his resistance colleagues are under the illusion that he's The Hero who is destined to take down the Daleks, and that the Doctor is just some fool who's in over his head. They're wrong on both counts, of course.
  • The X of Y
Doctor Who S2 E1 'Planet of Giants"Recap/Doctor WhoDoctor Who S2 E3 'The Rescue"

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