Wow! What a piece of work! Watching this on a Monday evening or two in 1984 aged 9 was akin to being bludgeoned. It was like the scene in American Werewolf In London where the Nazi monsters burst in on the family watching The Muppet Show and massacre them, only stretched over the course of 100 minutes.
This is proper nightmare television. Sudden death lurks around every corner, often meted out with - presumably unintentional - agonizingly clumsy slowness (Mercers death is oddly effective in its fumbled confusion: no one is sure who to shoot). Faces melt off! People scream and judder grotesquely when exterminated! The woman from Play School is machine-gunned to death! British bobbies shoot innocent passers by!
And like all the best nightmares or perhaps Tegan is imagining all this whilst lying in bed with a high fever nothing makes any sense. The Daleks wield a kaleidoscope of nonsensical plans that manage to cancel each other out. No one is who they seem; and if they were it wouldnt matter anyway. The whole thing is one big frightening scattershot bloodbath that appears potentially quite logical to the casual viewer but is in fact all happening completely at random, as if generated by a computer or a madman.
It is, of course, all baloney of the highest order. It appears to have been written by a man with severe sleep deprivation in a single sitting, just typing the first thing that comes into his head, wired on coffee and amphetamines. It has its detractors and rightly so but would you really swap it for another Power Of Kroll, for example? Its nice that the more thoughtful or mysterious or comic adventures can be off-set against this kind of macho nonsense; you wouldnt get an episode like this in Quantum Leap after all, would you?
And you wouldnt laugh at a Dalek troopers hat in real life either.