Dalek Sec is reborn in human form and plans to build a Dalek empire in Thirties New York.
While Martha fights for her life at the top of the Empire State Building, the Doctor must enter into an unholy alliance in order to change Dalek history for ever.
Finally, a brief review.
Like a Rubik's Cube, EVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS had spades of potential, colourful & bewildering for children and rewarding when complete.
Like a Rubik's Cube, EVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS will end up in the back of the cupboard, incomplete, for many years and ready for the next "yard sale".
The episode could have been impressive, stimulating and intelligent but it ended up as a frustrating tapas of concepts, DOCTOR WHO folklore, styling & editorial comment, and broad acting (even comical, at times).
Even Dalek-Human Sec had a nasal that warranted a re-name to "Dalek Vicks" (North American visitors read: "Dalek Rhinocort"), and the design of this "head" seemed more homage to John Holmes than to Terry Nation. It was surprising that even his Cult of Skaro colleagues seemed to be afflicted by personality malady. A couple of Dalek "fish wives":
INT: Following the pursuit of the Doctor through the sewers:
First Dalek (about Dalek Sec's ambitions): You have doubts?
Second Dalek (eye stalk spins round to ensure that Dalek Sec was not eavesdropping): Affirmative.
Was I watching an episode from the CLASSIC SERIES Season 17? This minor scene echoed the 1970s Les Dawson comedy-sketch TV show, as Ada & Sissy gossip about their neighbour's voluminous "bloomers" blowing on the nearby washing-line.
As a generality, the introduction of the Cult of Skaro theme has, sadly, undermined the very concept of the Dalek race as created throughout the early 1960s (with EVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS re-working or plainly plagiarising former episodes from the CLASSIC SERIES - see DALEKS IN MANHATTAN review), and the theme must be exorcised with the Dalek race reinstated as the all-conquering power of the universe (even an episode - Doctor-lite, as they call it - with just the Dalek plotting a new scheme would be welcomed mirroring the 1965 episode, MISSION TO THE UNKNOWN).
However, there were some redeeming features that commend congratulation. The night assault by the Dalek slave Pig-Men establishes that DOCTOR WHO technicians & creative teams are highly skilled in managing stunning action sequences. The design (and destruction) of Hooverville was perfection personified, from the type of canvas tents to the oil burning lamps to the minimal "john".
The struggle by the Doctor on the Empire State Building's mast to remove the Dalekanium plates, and eventual electrocution was thrilling (echoing the thwarted plan of the Fourth Doctor in the 1975 GENESIS OF THE DALEKS story), and continues to demonstrate that Tennant is the all-round Time Lord for a new generation of fans.
Amid the turgid script that would make EASTENDERS look like Bertolt Brecht, there were some gems that like, again, the 1975 GENESIS OF THE DALEKS Doctor & Davros "virus vial" dialogue will be examined and recounted for decades.
Dalek Sec: Consider a pure Dalek. Intelligent but emtionless. Doctor: removing the emotion makes you stronger. That's what your Creator thought, all those years ago.
Dalek Sec: He was wrong.
Doctor: he was what?
Dalek Sec: It makes us lesser than our enemies. We must return to the flesh, and to the heart.
Doctor: You wouldn't be the supreme beings anymore. And that is good?
Dalek Sec: That is correct. Daleks are supreme.
Doctor: No, not anymore.
He was correct, and within minutes Dalek Sec was subordinate, in chains and scorned as an inferior race by the unsullied Cult of Skaro. Humiliated, but in saving the Doctor from a Dalek energy weapon proved that the Cult's re-thinking for the Dalek race was borne out - Daleks with emotion were not all-powerful.
Finally, it had to happen, one Dalek (Dalek Caan) survives to fight another day (another time). It had to happen, and we are back where DALEK episode began - seemingly a single Dalek existing in the universe.
Overall, EVOLUTION OF THE DALEKS (alongside DALEKS IN MANHATTAN) could have been a single episode - without the Doctor - as a prelude to the re-conquering & re-population of the Dalek race after their (supposedly) extermination at the hands of Rose Tyler (see PARTING OF THE WAYS).
But it wasn't. A long and drawn out mélange of DOCTOR WHO folklore detritus with "pick of the best" from CLASSIC SERIES Dalek stories glued deftly together by Helen Raynor.
Like Mark Gatiss, Raynor must be given an opportunity to write again for the NEW SERIES (she was unceremoniously dismissed from the post of NEW SERIES Script Editor) but delivering new ideas, new threats and original resolution.