Monday, September 01, 2014

My Review of Doctor Who's 8x02: "Into The Dalek"

Written by Phil Ford And Steven Moffat
Directed by Ben Wheatley

Rusty: “Victory is yours but it does not please you.”
The Doctor: “You looked inside me and saw hatred. That’s not victory. Victory would’ve been a good Dalek.”
Rusty: “I am not a good Dalek. You are a good Dalek.”

I have to be honest; I had initial mixed feelings about this episode. On one hand, I was delighted that Phil Ford was finally getting another chance to write for the series after his wonderful contribution in 2009 but at the same time, I wasn’t particularly in the mood for a Dalek episode.

It’s not that I didn’t want Peter Capaldi to have one in his first series but after having the Daleks play such big roles in Matt Smith’s final two stories, I was sort of hoping that the inevitable Dalek episode for this series would’ve been later rather than the second episode. It’s still a viewpoint that I maintain but on the other hand, this was a genuinely cracking episode.

Getting into the inside of a malfunctioned Dalek named Rusty meant that the Doctor and Clara, along a group of soldiers named Journey Blue, Ross and Gretchen Alison Carlisle would raise the question as to whether or not there could be such a thing as a good Dalek. This episode raised the possibility but ultimately nixed it by Rusty’s sudden morality being down to a malfunction and that even fused with the Doctor’s memories, the Dalek would always have a desire to kill – even if it’s Daleks themselves.

The Doctor might have stopped Rusty from wanting to kill humans but at the same time, his own hatred for the Daleks influenced Rusty into turning on its own race and the last exchange where Rusty told the Doctor he would make a good Dalek was certainly chilling, even if it isn’t the first time that’s been said to him.

As for the soldiers of the episode – the Doctor’s hostility towards them isn’t new terrain either. He’s always had something of an awkward relationship with military forces, even when he worked with UNIT but in this episode, he was especially hostile towards the Aristotle crew that the slap he got from Clara halfway through the episode was kind of deserved actually.

He was too cold about Ross being killed by the Dalek antibodies, relentlessly hostile towards both Journey Blue and her uncle, Morgan and even a little cold when Gretchen sacrificed herself as well. I think the worst part was his outright rejection of Journey later in the episode but clearly this renewed hostility towards soldiers will factor into his eventual meeting with Danny Pink.

Speaking of Mr Pink – Danny certainly made an interesting impression with the few scenes he had in this episode. I liked that we found out quickly he was a former soldier (who may have killed someone important/a civilian), a current maths teacher and possibly a lady killer. Either way, Samuel Anderson is a welcome addition to the series and the dynamic between Clara and Danny felt pretty natural as well. I can’t wait to see Danny go on that drink with Clara after this episode.

As for the other new character of the episode – Missy popped up again to offer the newly dead Gretchen some tea and a splosh of milk. I really don’t know where Moffat is going with this arc involving Missy but I’m still convinced that she’s a new character nonetheless. Still, I’m not sure why she seems to be collecting certain casualties like Gretchen and Half Face Man or whether or not she’s a friend or foe but for the time being, I’m still interested in the character.

Also in “Into The Dalek”

This is the first co-written episode we’ve had since Phil Ford’s last contribution to the show. Let him write solo for next series, please.

Danny: “How long have you been there?”
Clara: “Longer than you would like.”

Interesting pace with Danny’s dream/reality sequences with Clara. Is it the first time the series has done that?

The Doctor: “Clara, be my pal and tell me, am I a good man?”
Clara: “I don’t know.”

Rusty (to the Doctor): “All Daleks must die! I will destroy the Daleks! Destroy the Daleks! Destroy the Daleks!”

There was a lot of colour themes here – Danny Pink, Journey Blue, Missy dressed in black, the pink/blue/white lights inside the Dalek, the orange TARDIS interior etc.

Clara: “I’m his carer.”
The Doctor: “Yeah, my carer. She cares so I don’t have to.”

Journey (re Ross): “I thought you were saving him.”
The Doctor: “He was dead already. I was saving us.”

I think this is probably the first Dalek story in a long while where we’ve seen some proper deaths.

The Doctor: “Resistance to what?”
Rusty: “Life returns, life prevails. Resistance is futile.”

Journey: “You were supposed to be helping us.”
The Doctor: “I gave it a shot, it didn’t work out. It was a Dalek, what did you expect?”
Journey: “No more talking! You are done!”

Courtney popped up at the start of this episode. Maybe I’m jumping the gun here, but I’m really not interested in getting to know her as a character.

Missy (to Gretchen): “Hello, I’m Missy, welcome to Heaven. Would you like some tea? Little splosh? Lovely!”

Standout music: Some great score music here from Murray Gold. As for the theme/title sequence, still not that keen on it.

Rusty: “I see into your soul, Doctor. I see beauty. I see divinity. I see hatred.”

Chronology: Three weeks since the end of “Deep Breath”. Apparently that’s how long it will take this Doctor to fetch coffees.

Despite my reservations of having another Dalek episode so soon, I really did like this one. “Into The Dalek” riffed off some familiar ideas but found a way to make them work in a thrilling setting and I think this was an episode where the Daleks (Rusty specifically) just had the right amount of bite for good measure. As for the partnership with this new Doctor and Clara, it’s certainly getting more and more interesting to watch.

Rating: 9 out of 10


Anonymous said...

I think it was good to have a Dalek episode early because they won't be the Big Bad of the season finale this time.

shawnlunn2002 said...

Yeah, it's nice to not have them in the finale and I did enjoy the episode loads, but I still probably would've done it as episode 6 or 7 though.