February 16: "Day of Armageddon" / "Devil's Planet"

(The Daleks' Master Plan episodes 2 & 3)

Hooray!  Back on video for "Day of Armageddon", and you can get a bit of a sense of what we've missed by being audio only.  Because let's be honest: in terms of plot, it's not very exciting.  The Daleks burn down the jungle, the Doctor impersonates a delegate to the Dalek conference, and Bret, Steven, and Katarina steal Mavic Chen's ship.  Everything else is just talking.

Bret, Steven, and Katarina prepare to steal Mavic Chen's ship.
("Day of Armageddon") ©BBC
But when you can see the images, you can tell what Douglas Camfield is doing with the camera.  There are some great shots, not just of the Daleks burning down the jungle (which were shots that already existed prior to 2004), but also of the conference.  You can see Kevin Stoney's performance as Mavic Chen, which plays with a sense of mischievous superiority. And seeing pictures of the delegates is one thing; seeing them move and interact is something else quite entirely.  "Day of Armageddon" is largely a setting-up episode (we learn what the Daleks' plans are and how Mavic Chen is involved), but it's directed with enough flair that you don't really notice until subsequent viewings.

Back to the soundtrack for "Devil's Planet" (other than a minute and a half clip from Blue Peter) which seems mainly like complications.  Trantis, the delegate from last time that the Doctor impersonated [edit: the doomed delegate's actually Zephon, not Trantis -- keeping all the delegates straight is hard work], is executed by the Daleks (their word), while the Daleks manage to drag the Spar off course and down onto the planet Desperus, "the penal planet of the Solar System", where convicts try to escape their imprisonment.  Oh! and we learn that the Doctor stole the core of the Daleks' ultimate weapon, the Time Destructor, which consists of a full emm of taranium (Terry (Nation) + uranium, perhaps?), which is both incredibly powerful and incredibly rare.  That's apparently a big deal, and so the Daleks are keen to get it back.  Anything else?  Oh yes, the Doctor produces Marc Cory's last message (as seen, sort of, in "Mission to the Unknown"), so that plot thread is wrapped up.  But this is just another episode marking time, it seems, full of incident but not much plot.  Still, it's a hell of a cliffhanger scream from Katarina.