If it’s New Year’s Eve, then the Thirteenth Doctor has to face off against the Daleks.
The premise here is fairly simple: the Doctor and her friends touch down in a storage facility on New Year’s Eve. Regular folks Nick and Sarah are already there. Nick is a regular customer/visitor and Sarah runs the place and would rather not be there. Yes, Nick is in love with Sarah, and yes, they will be a couple by episode’s end. Anyway, there’s an Executioner Dalek in there, along with one or two others. Said Executioner, who has a gatling gun style blaster, then successfully exterminates Nick, Sarah, Yaz, Dan, and the Doctor.
Huh. This was a short episode.
No wait, there’s a time loop. Everything gets reset, and the Doctor and her human friends old and new remember what happened, so they can avoid dying painfully again, right? Not really. See, the Daleks also remember what happened and react accordingly.
Oh, and the Daleks are there specifically for the Doctor. They didn’t cause the time loop, but they will gladly exterminate the Doctor each and every time they have to. The TARDIS seems to be causing all this in a manner that involves a remodeling or something–odd since this Doctor has only two more adventures left–and each time loop is shorter by one minute. So, the Doctor can see what’s happening, and even if she or one of her friends figures out something, the Daleks will just counter it next time.
Now, sending an Executioner seems a bit extreme, and the reason comes out eventually: the Daleks are mad so many Daleks were killed at the end of the Flux storyline and are blaming the Doctor.
OK, small problem here: that was surely not the only time the Doctor’s plans managed to take out large number of Daleks. Heck, the Seventh rigged an old Time Lord weapon to take out the Daleks and their homeworld. Why did this one set the Daleks off? Especially since it wasn’t the Doctor’s plans but actually the Sontarans?
You know what? It doesn’t really matter. The Doctor just needs to beat the Daleks once, and it’s on the last loop when she’ll only have a minute to save the day. In the meantime, Nick will take out two Daleks with a well-timed duck, Dan will basically move around a Dalek faster than it can rotate and stay just out of range to act as a distraction, and the various characters will, at one point in time or another, just let the Daleks blast them because they’ll just come back. Ultimately, the Doctor just tricks the Daleks into blasting a pile of fireworks and blow up themselves and the entire building that they’re in.
And…that’s it. For this era, a fairly good adventure. The extra characters are kept to a minimum, even if the “two people fall in love by episode’s end” thing is a bit overused. Yeah, it’s the usual Thirteenth Doctor era rushed and cramped, but it’s basically a simple story.
But the Daleks would be better off if they just let the Doctor have a peaceful New Year’s Day.