In the only Doctor Who story to not have the Doctor, a couple astronauts find a secret Dalek base on the planet Kembel.
Three astronauts (Cory, Lowery, and Garvey) from UN Deep Space Force Group 1 are on Kembel, the most hostile planet in the universe. Garvey accidentally pricks himself on a thorn and goes crazy, saying “Kill, must kill,” over and over again. He reaches for his ray gun to make good on his word and kill Lowery, but Cory shoots first and Garvey is dead.
Lowery freaks out, but Cory explains that Garvey was pricked by a Varga thorn – when that happens to someone, they go crazy then eventually turn into a Varga (alien plant monster) themselves.
Cory then goes on to say he is a secret agent on a secret mission no one knows about, and even shows that he literally has a license to kill. He’s investigating renewed presence of Daleks in the sector and needs to see what they are up to.
We move to the Dalek outpost on the planet, where a group of Daleks meet with a bunch of alien delegates from the “outer galaxies” – their new allies.
They all plan to take over the Solar System by attacking Mars, Venus, Jupiter, the Moon Colonies, and Earth. Yep, that’s their grand plan. Nothing special, but with all these aliens working together, that’s the only plan they need.
Back to the Astronauts
Cory and Lowery hear a group of Daleks closing in on them and their space ship, so they flee deeper through the jungle. Lowery accidentally brushes his hand on a Varga plant and gets a thorn in his hand!
While Lowery tries to suck the Varga poison out of his wound, Cory scouts ahead and sees the Dalek city, which broadcasts the Dalek Alliance’s plan to destroy the Solar System on loudspeaker. He returns to Lowery, who is showing signs of turning into a Varga plant, and kills him.
Cory records a message on a beacon with all the information he gathered on the Daleks and prepares to launch it into space on a rocket, but the Daleks find and kill him before he can do so.
This story served as a prelude to the upcoming 12-part (!) serial, The Daleks’ Master Plan, and is unique for being the only Doctor Who episode to not include the Doctor or any of his companions at all. Not even a cameo. It was made as a sort of backdoor pilot for a Dalek-centric spinoff, that obviously never came to fruition.
It felt a bit like an extended teaser for Master Plan, or, if it was released today it would have been a webisode, but it stands pretty well on its own. I thought Lowery and Cory got a decent amount of characterization for what little screentime they had, and the downer ending was a really nice touch.
Although this is one of the missing episodes, notable Doctor Who fan Ian Levine financed an animated reconstruction that is worth checking out.
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