by Chad Denton
Ian and Barbara are overjoyed that this time the TARDIS landed near a pier on the Thames in modern London – or so it appears. Their glee turns to trepidation when they find that even though they’re clearly in London there’s no one around, the city is quiet, and their surroundings are decrepit. Susan climbs a wall to look at the street above, causing the decaying structure to collapse, twisting Susan’s ankle and burying the TARDIS under debris just as Barbara and Ian realize they’re actually not at the right London. A furious (and frightened) Doctor and Ian go to a nearby warehouse to look for tools to dig up the TARDIS. While tending to Susan’s ankle, Barbara notices a poster on a wall that reads, “IT IS FORBIDDEN TO DUMP BODIES IN THE RIVER” while at the warehouse Ian sees a calendar marking the year as 2164. A young man, who turns out to be named Tyler, comes across Barbara and Susan. Apparently shocked to see them, he demands that they come with him, going so far as grabbing Susan and carrying her. Barbara reluctantly follows. Back at the warehouse the Doctor and Ian stumble across the corpse of a man wearing an elaborate metallic helmet. The Doctor is curious about what kind of catastrophe befell London, while Ian, naturally, just wants to get back in the TARDIS. As they leave, they spot a flying saucer descending into London.
Susan and Barbara are forced to join with other people who are hiding out in an Underground station and acting as a resistance. After learning about Ian and the Doctor, another young member of the resistance, David, heads back to the pier to fetch them. Unfortunately, he’s a bit late, as the Doctor and Ian have found themselves surrounded by men wearing the same metallic helmets as the corpse, “Robomen.” Their attempt to escape by running into the Thames is thwarted by the emergence of something totally unexpected – a Dalek. The Doctor defiantly mocks the Dalek, who coldly (of course) replies that his people have conquered the Earth and wiped out all the world leaders. As David watches, the Dalek orders the Robomen to take Ian and the Doctor to the ship to be converted into Robomen. In the meantime, Barbara and Susan find themselves drafted into the human resistance. David brings back the bad news and reluctantly informs Barbara and Susan that Robomen are humans who have been taken prisoner, brought to the Daleks’ ships, and forcibly given implants and turned into slaves. Jenny, an embittered survivor, adds that the process is permanent and it is impossible to remove the helmet without killing the victim.