You know, that young guy with the bad Tennessee accent looks a little familiar…wait, is that Andrew Garfield? The forgotten Spider-Man? Someone alert Jimmy Impossible!
Also, there are Daleks in Depression-era New York City.
It sure does seem as if Martha’s one trip is taking a bit longer than anyone would have thought. Perhaps in an effort to take her somewhere where he hadn’t taken a previous companion, the Doctor plops the TARDIS down next to the Statue of Liberty, and the pair see the Empire State Building is under construction. As the Doctor tries to calculate the year, Martha figures it out very quickly with a discarded newspaper.
Said paper mentions disappearances happening in the local Hooverville, a homeless encampment inside of Central Park.
As someone whose been to Central Park, I think it is safe to say they did not film the episode on location for at least the shots inside the Hooverville.
Well, it turns out there are people disappearing, and someone inside the Empire State Building is pushing its workers to finish the thing a month early. And when some shady guys offer a whole dollar to clear a sewer blockage, the Doctor is already investigating, so he volunteers first. That means Martha is going, as is wise Great War vet Solomon and Garfield’s Freddy.
There’s no blockage down there. There’s just some pig men, mindless slaves taken from among the missing homeless. They’re serving the Daleks in building the Empire State Building and its true purpose. There’s one pig man who only got a partial transformation, a stage hand for a local vaudeville-type show, and he keeps mourning how he probably lost his singer/dancer girlfriend, but she seems a lot more accepting than he might have given her credit for.
Regardless, the Doctor does find some weird jellyfish brain thing, and a quick scan with equipment he put together at the theater gives him a baseline understanding that the thing is an artificial life form created from Dalek DNA.
See, it’s the Cult of Skaro again, and their job is to find ways for the Daleks to adapt by thinking more like Dalek enemies (and Dalek enemies are, well, everyone who isn’t a Dalek). As such, they’re doing something since there are millions of humans but only four Daleks.
That comes to a head when Martha gets nabbed by the pig men. The Doctor, with help from half-pig man Lazlo and Lazlo’s girlfriend Tallulah, does follow Martha down, sees the Daleks divide the group between smart people and less smart people (less smart become pigs, smart are set aside for something else), and since the Doctor would be spotted, he gets Martha to ask what’s going on.
Oh, it’s simple: they are making human-Dalek hybrids.
And they just finished the first one.