|Recursion of the Daleks|
The Previous Doctor
|Main Setting:||Skaro, 51st-52nd century|
|Total Running Time:||120 minutes|
|Guest Player(s):||Joseph Scrimshaw|
|Previous Story:||The Enemy of the Good|
|Following Story:||Everything Must Go|
Recursion of the Daleks is a Doctor Who Day Special released on October 23rd, 2020 as the final entry in season 2. The special was announced via social media on October 23rd, 2020, followed by a trailer on November 11th. This is an "extended-length" episode, with a runtime of approximately 2 hours, and marks the debut appearance of the Daleks.
The Doctor (Riley Silverman) and her companions (Dan Peck, Kate Lê) join forces with the Previous Doctor (Joseph Scrimshaw) to battle the Daleks for the safety of history.
A man waits in the ruins of a colony until he hears the sound of a TARDIS materializing. Upon hearing it he packs his things and heads towards the source of the sound. He reaches the source - the Doctor's TARDIS - and knocks on the door. The Doctor opens the door, and the figure asks: "Hello! Are you me?" Now standing face to face with her previous incarnation, the Doctor is not entirely sure why she is here, but alludes to recent difficulties with the Time Lords. The Previous Doctor is introduced to Carrie and Travis, and offers them granola bars.
The Previous Doctor says there is somewhere he needs to take the Doctor, and asks her to follow him. As they journey northwest through the ruins of the colony, the Doctor, Travis and Carrie recognize the ruins as those of Colony 47. As they make this realization, the ground rumbles and the ruins fade away -- in their place, the Silver City of the Daleks appears on the horizon.
The Doctors become aware that their respective TARDISes feel unwell, and Travis detects a dampening signal coming from the Dalek city. Our Doctor reminds the Previous Doctor to "always check for Daleks". The Previous Doctor writes this down on a note and places it in his pocket. Our Doctor then finds the same notes in her pocket, crumpled and covered in crumbs from a cookie she'd given to Carrie earlier, with the words "check for" rubbed off due to age.
They head towards the city to investigate. Upon arriving in the city, they see a large dish on top of a Dalek hut. They pick up humanoid lifesigns, and the Previous Doctor heads over to investigate. He finds Steven Stephens, a former security guard at Colony 47. He brings Stephens back with him to the rest of the team. Stephens is asked how he survived the collapse of Colony 47, and he reveals he didn't -- a Dalek eyestalk emerges from his forehead, revealing him to be a Dalek Puppet. The team struggles with Stephens -- the Previous Doctor incapacitates him by placing a Ziploc bag he used to keep granola bars in over his eyestalk. Stephens then shuts down, broadcasting the location of the Doctors to the Daleks as he does so.
Alarms begin to sound, and Daleks approach their location. Quickly, the group converts Stephens into a remote-control automaton and, with Carrie's experience with puppets in her dayjob, she uses Travis' Game Boy Color to control Stephens. Unfortunately, Stephens is not convincing enough, and the Daleks exterminate him.
The two Doctors, Travis and Carrie make a run for the hut with the satellite dish, which is the source of the suppression field. Once there, the Doctors discover the technology is 50 times more complex than it needs to be, and the dish is part of something far, far worse. They the computer terminal and discovers the dish is part of a network of 64 similar dishes all across Skaro, all connected to a device at the core of the planet. The machinery exists to exploit and widen a gap in the Web of Time which, like the Daleks, has been restored in the wake of Rassilon's defeat. But it has not finished knitting itself back together, and the Daleks are holding the gap open preventing it from closing for reasons unknown.
One by one, each of the group tries to destroy the machine by hitting it, but they all fail. Travis also changes the location of the Dalek alert, making the Daleks believe the intrusion is occurring on the other side of the planet.
Once the coast is clear, the four head across the road to a large, ornate wooden door made of a deep, dark wood, with brass handles where you would expect them to be for a humanoid. They walk through the door and head down a long corridor to a large chamber containing a Mind Probe.
While in the chamber, the Doctor becomes aware that someone is watching from the shadows, and is able to indicate this to everyone else.
The Previous Doctor investigates the Mind Probe to find it is very new, with a terminal behind to read data extracted. The device is also designed to extract genetic data as well as mental data. The two Doctors coordinate a plan where the Previous Doctor will try to draw the attention of the observer while the Doctor, Travis and Carrie move into flanking positions. The Previous Doctor begins hitting the Mind Probe with his walking stick and loudly exclaiming. The unseen observer steps forward, revealing herself to be Joan Hodgman.
After a struggle, the team are able to force Hodgman into the Mind Probe. The Previous Doctor activates it, and pulls a wealth of information from Hodgman's mind - she is not the original Hodgman, but rather a copy from a near-identical parallel world who was pulled through during the reality collapse that occurred at Colony 47. He also learns the reason why the Daleks are holding open the gap in the Web of Time - they intend to seek revenge on the Time Lords for erasing them from history by pulling multiple duplicates of Skaro through the gap, placing a new Skaro in every solar system in the galaxy.
Travis, wanting to keep the Daleks off their tail, attempts to push a signal to deactivate all Dalek technology on the planet, but does not know whether he is successful.
The Doctors also learn that the chamber they're in now is, in fact, an elevator down to the core and engage the controls. Once there, they find the core is already on fire and about to go critical, but there would not be enough time to get back to the surface and to their TARDISes before the core exploded, taking the planet with it. The Previous Doctor steps in to try and control the explosion - a spherical forcefield is generated around him, and he tries to contain the release of deadly radiation, but fails, absorbing it all.
They return to the surface, where they find the Daleks have been immobilized thanks to Travis' previous interference. They carry the Previous Doctor to the location he'd wanted to go to in the first place - his TARDIS. Once there, they are greeted by Roman who demands that no one he hasn't met yet enter the TARDIS - this is revealed to be all of them, as he has only just regenerated and, from his perspective, has not met them yet. Travis, Carrie and the Doctor enter anyway. Once inside, they see Roman trying on various jackets. Our Doctor recommends he "go with the pink" as it suits him.
Roman helps the Doctor onto a swing seat so that he can "always keep moving forward" as he regenerates. The Previous Doctor asks Roman for a push, and Our Doctor steps forward to offer a push. As she does so, she turns to Travis and Carrie and says, "Funny thing about swings. In order to move forward, you also have to go back."
She reaches into her pocket and pulls out the "always // daleks" note, grabs a pen from the TARDIS console, and writes "RUN". She then pins it to the Previous Doctor's shirt, commenting that while it won't make sense for a long time, it will eventually "make all the sense in the world."
She looks at Roman and the Previous Doctor and says, "Okay. Here's the plan." She explains the destinations she's been to, how she met Travis, Millie and Carrie, where she met Roman for the first time, how she stopped the Wire, and reached Colony 47, and everything else that led her to Gallifrey to defeat Rassilon. It is revealed in this moment that the Randomiser is, in fact, an autocue.
The Previous Doctor begins to regenerate, and Our Doctor, Travis, Carrie and Roman depart the TARDIS - Roman activates the autocue as he leaves, and they watch as the TARDIS dematerializes. Travis then suggests that Roman check out a coffee chain called T'zim-Shawtons. Roman then tells the trio to head back to their TARDIS, as the Time Lords will likely be by any moment to collect him. Maxil arrives a moment later.
Moments after regenerating, the Doctor wakes up in her TARDIS. She has crashed, and there is much damage. She looks down at the note pinned to her jacket that says, "Run." As she gets up to head out and look for components to repair the TARDIS, she sees a walking stick on the ground. She picks it up, places it in the umbrella stand, nodding respectfully.
Our Doctor, Travis and Riley have returned to their TARDIS, and the Doctor asks Carrie where she wants to go. She reveals her dream destination: Toontown.
- Joan Hodgeman
- Steven Stephens
- The Doctor - Riley Silverman
- The Previous Doctor - Joseph Scrimshaw
- Travis - Dan Peck
- Carrie - Kate Lê
- Engineer, Steven Stephens, Roman - Michael Nixon
- Game Master - Ben Paddon
- Editing and Sound Design - Ben Paddon
- Theme music arrangement - Drew Krassowski
- Recap Theme - Luke Baldridge
- Story - Michael Nixon, Ben Paddon
- Special Thanks - Ken Haberman
- This is the first appearance of the Daleks in the podcast proper (not counting live shows such as Valentine of the Daleks).
- The episode is set on Skaro, and sees Team TARDIS briefly return to the ruins of Colony 47 approximately 500 years after the events of Getaway before it fades away revealing the Silver City of the Daleks.
- Following the destruction of the Perfector and the undoing of Rassilon's plan in The Enemy of the Good, Skaro has been restored, with the Daleks aware of their removal from the timeline. Ironically, Rassilon's efforts are what inspire the Daleks to build the Skaro Recursion.
- The Skaro Recursion was constructed with the assistance of a parallel-universe version of Joan Hodgeman, who was converted into a Dalek Puppet.
- The Previous Doctor's presence in this episode mirrors, to an extent, the presence of the First Doctor in The Doctor Falls and Twice Upon a Time. As in those stories, a prior incarnation of the Doctor appears at the very end of the first story, leading into the second in which they figure prominently. The mirroring extends even further when one considers that The Enemy of the Good was the season finale, and Recursion of the Daleks is a seasonal special episode.
- The Previous Doctor's cause of death also mirrors that of the Tenth Doctor, who also absorbed a lethal amount of radiation.
- Riley's Doctor, upon the appearance of the Dalek City, asks where they are in the Dalek timeline, and specifically references static-powered Daleks. (The Daleks)
- The circumstances of the Previous Doctor's regeneration into the current incarnation are revealed, as are the cause of the Doctor's inability to remember these events. (The Cost of Progress)
- Riley's Doctor uses her Sonic Screwdriver as a magnifying glass. (The Inside Job)
- Steven Stephens, a security guard from Colony 47, remembers the Doctor. (Getaway)
- The Doctor stops Carrie from attacking a Dalek with her softball bat, and recalls Ace doing the same thing. (Remembrance of the Daleks)
- The origin of the Plan is revealed - the Doctor explains the Plan to Roman and the Previous Doctor at the end of the episode.
- The Randomiser is also revealed to be an autocue, with the destinations the Doctor visits during seasons 1 and 2 pre-programmed into the device.
- This is the very first "Doctor Who Day Special".
- This is also the first story in the podcast to have a dedicated trailer. The trailer revealed that this episode would pick up where the previous serial ended, and that it would feature the debut appearance of the Daleks in the series (excluding live show appearances).
- This is the second episode to be edited by Ben Paddon.
- The episode does not begin with a "previously on..." recap, instead beginning with the sound of the TARDIS dematerializing, which blends into the opening theme.
- At 120 minutes, this is the longest episode of The Game of Rassilon to date.
- Throughout, the two Doctors are referred to as "the Riley Doctor" and "the Joseph Doctor" to avoid confusion. This is the only time Riley Silverman's Doctor has been explicitly referred to using her name as opposed to "Our Doctor".
- Ben Paddon has described this adventure as "the end of our Rassilon Arc", and indeed each episode on the website has now had the tag "Rassilon Arc" added. This would suggest a closing of the storyline that began way back in The Cost of Progress.