"I wonder what happened to the real you."
IN THIS ONE... The Doctor is to be duplicated, the station is to be destructed, Tegan tries to escape, and Davros builds his army.
REVIEW: The gap continues to widen between the fairly useless Daleks and their creator Davros. He's turning human troopers and Dalek drones alike into brainwashed minions, draining the Supreme Dalek's forces, who in any case are derided by their human "duplicates" as stupid and impulsive, hardly able to resist killing the very beings they need alive. For all their technology - the time corridor, the ability to duplicate people's bodies and minds, nerve gas and battle cruisers - they still lost the war with the Movellans and still need Davros to find a cure to the Movellan virus for them. And seeing a chink in the duplication process, the Doctor is able to draw out Stien's true (stammering) personality from his conditioned self, all the while throwing mental images of his former selves and companions a big screen TV. Scarier is the Dalek plan to make the Doctor's duplicate assassinate the Time Lord High Council, which seems to me an important piece of the Time War, and retaliation for Genesis of the Daleks (which made me think of something else, see Theories). Despite their ambition, it's clear the Daleks are vulnerable, but Davros hopes to create a better race of Daleks, something Saward will follow up on during the 6th Doctor's era.
To keep the energy level up, the program cuts between the various factions and characters at a rapid pace, though we can't say each scene really moves the story forward by much. Turlough, stuck with Styles and Mercer, is in the ropiest thread. It's a lot of Styles poking randomly at buttons until the station's auto-destuct can be used. She fails at the last minute and her entire team dies violently. Meanwhile, Tegan is down on Earth trying to get away from the duplicate army boys, an escape that costs Professor Laird her life (again with the violent screaming), but doesn't amount to anything because Tegan is soon recaptured. The sequence has a function - Tegan sees a man shot down in cold blood, another drop in the already overflowing vase that's about to make her come to a fateful decision. Davros, the Daleks, Stien and the Doctor's scenes seem a bit more meaningful by comparison.
THEORIES: Retracing the events that led to the Time War, or indeed, that are PART of the Time Was, I've concluded that the first action might be the Daleks dabbling with an anti-time device in The Daleks' Master Plan. This would have made the Time Lords (or at least, the CIA) take notice of them and send the Doctor in to prevent their creation in Genesis. The Daleks discover the attempt and following the Movellan War, hope to assassinate the High Council. Here's the thing though. Why wait until now, and how did time travel figure into their war with the Movellans? Is it possible the Movellans were time sensitive too? Back when I reviewed Destiny of the Daleks, I mentioned the theory that the Movellans were created by the Daleks themselves and rebelled, which might certainly give them the same temporal capacities. But is it also possible the Movellan War is a chapter in the great Time War? Could the Movellans be, knowingly or not, agents of the Time Lords? Did the Time Lords supply them with the virus in order to break the stalemate? Did the Time Lords free, reprogram or even create the Movellans themselves? If they did, that would certainly justify the Daleks' current agenda and why they're focused on Gallifrey and not the Movellans.
REWATCHABILITY: Medium - Plenty of action so you might not notice a lot of it is fairly pointless padding. I suppose that's when padding becomes excusable.