Essentially a procedural episode that moves the characters into place for the final two episodes. The two plots of the Dalek resurgence and the internal politics of Vulcan begin to converge, with the rebels, egged on by Janley (the best female villain since Maaga) co-opting the Daleks as their soldiers.
Connecting everything is the Doctor, who flits between locations for a series of one-on-one confrontations with the key players – Bragen, Lesterson and Quinn – in a way that’s surprisingly like the seventh Doctor’s typical MO. He reveals various bits of information – that there are multiple Daleks; that Bragen is the leader of the rebels; that he is not the real Examiner – that nudge the colony’s leaders to act differently. He’s the random element that’s destabilising everyone’s plans, and causing things to come to a head.
He also gets some laboured business with a noticeboard, which is by far the dullest and most mechanically-plotted bit of business in the episode. But not everything can be gold.
With the Governor out on the perimeter visiting the miners, Bragen is free to exercise his authority, principally designing himself a new uniform which elicits a mocking response from the Doctor: ‘I should like a hat like that’.
The strongest part of the episode is Lesterson’s gradual breakdown. Always nervous, the revelation that the Daleks killed Resno, and that they are reproducing, is enough to tip him over the edge. His long journey inside the Daleks’ dimensionally-transcendental capsule (its roundel design implies some sort of TARDIS-style technology) to discover their production line, and a bubbling vat of Dalek mutants being deposited inside casings, is one of the all-time great cliffhangers even despite the obvious presence of toys and blow-up Dalek photos
Next episode: The Power of the Daleks – Episode Five