Who's Bloggin' Who: Series 8 "Into The Dalek"
Hello Everyone! Jake from the Worlds Almost Finest here, and allow me to let you in on what this is all about. Recently, I sat down with Josh and we discussed one of my all-time favorite fandoms, “Doctor Who”! And I gotta tell you, I had so much fun rooting through the universe of the 2,000-year-old Timelord from Gallifrey that I decided to sit down each week and write a review of the latest episode, and where I think the Tardis will take the Doctor and Clara next! With that being said:
PREVIOUSLY ON DOCTOR WHO: After spending many, many years on the planet called Trenzalore, saving the town called Christmas, and being given a new regeneration cycle thanks to the Time Lords, the Doctor regenerates into a new man right in front of his current companion, Clara Oswald! Together, the two somehow land in the realm of dinosaurs, and the Tardis is eaten by a female T-Rex. Soon, the T-Rex AND the Tardis time travel to Victorian London, where, together with the Paternoster Gang, The Doctor and Clara defeat the self-rebuilding robots and, after a phone call from his previous self, Clara finally begins to accept that this new man in front of her is, in fact, the Doctor. And now…
“INTO THE DALEK”
Written by: Phil Ford and Steven Moffat
Directed by: Ben Wheatley
In the second episode of the new series, we are immediately thrust into space, as a battle is being waged between a space shuttle and the Daleks. Piloted by a rebel fighter named Journey Blue, she is about to meet her doom, until she opens her eyes and realizes that she is no longer in her shuttle, but is instead inside the Tardis, having been transported there by the Doctor just in the nick of time. Quite honestly, the biggest thing I loved about this opening is when Journey first sees the Doctor, and he’s standing there with coffee. It’s one of those whimsical moments that Doctor Who is used to doing. Like Matt Smith showing up on a battlefield with a fez. Or David Tennant in the middle of a battle between Daleks and Cybermen, and he’s wearing red and blue 3D glasses!
Journey demands that the Doctor return her to her space station, using the code name Aristotle, and even pulls a gun on him. But the Doctor refuses to do so until she asks the right way. This showcased to me exactly the type of Doctor that Peter Capaldi is going to give us. He didn’t even flinch when Journey pulled the gun and started making demands. He just rolled his eyes and lowered his head in disbelief, and when she finally lowers the weapon and asks nicely, then he helps her out. That’s been one of my gripes about Nu-Who. Everyone always thinks that they can shout out demands, and the Doctor usually begrudgingly follows suit. Not Capaldi. He’s a man who knows what he wants now, and that’s how its going to be.
While onboard the Aristotle, the Doctor meets team leader Colonel Morgan Blue, Journey’s Uncle, who thanks the Doctor for saving his niece, but immediately wants him killed so they can protect security. Seems a bit much, but alright. Journey explains that he is a Doctor, and they have a “sick patient”, which of course turns out to be a Dalek! You know, there’s been a lot of criticism since the 2005 re-launch over the constant use of the Daleks. But I gotta say, I’m okay with how they’ve been used. They’re the Doctor’s most hated enemy, and they will never stop trying to find a way to make the Universe their own. Capaldi’s reaction to this Dalek immediately reminded me of Christopher Eccleston’s performance in the 2005 episode “Dalek”, as the fear in his eyes set the tone for the rest of the episode. The Dalek soon begins proclaiming how he has seen a star being born, and it was so beautiful to him that he must destroy the rest of the Daleks! This, of course, knocks the Doctor completely loopy for a few moments. As it would anyone.
But where, you may be asking, is Clara? Well she’s back on Earth in her day job, teaching at Coal Hill School, where we are introduced to a former soldier-turned-teacher by the name of Danny Pink. It appears that Danny and Clara have become somewhat smitten with each other. I like this new character, and how he appears to be haunted by his past as a soldier and the things he has done. I can’t wait to see how he progresses throughout the rest of the series. The Doctor soon arrives, still with the coffee that Clara asked him to get for them…3 weeks ago! Man, the Doctor isn’t much for arriving ON TIME, is he? The pair travel back to the Aristotle, where they are miniaturized and sent inside the Dalek to try and figure out what is wrong with it. Kind of reminiscent of Series 6 and the Teselecta, right? Journey and another soldier named Gretchen accompany them as backup, because the Doctor “hates babysitters”. Classic line!
From this point, the action is definitely ramped up a notch. From fighting back against Dalek antibodies, diving down open passages, landing in a puddle of green goo that apparently used to be humans, dealing with radiation poisoning, finding a crack in the Dalek’s power center…wait, a crack? Yes, maybe not the same type of crack that we kept seeing all throughout Matt Smith’s run, but still a crack nonetheless! Man, Moffat sure does love his cracks, doesn’t he? Anyway, the Doctor mends the crack, and the Dalek once again turns to the side of evil and alerts the other members of the Dalek fleet to his location. Thus we get a battle on both fronts, inside AND outside the Dalek. Sadly, Gretchen is one of the casualties, sacrificing herself so that Clara and Journey can try and find a way to remind the Dalek of the beauty it witnessed from the birth of the star. But, we next see Gretchen wake up at a table in the same place where the self-rebuilding robot from the previous episode ended up. The same woman, who calls herself Missy, is right there as soon as Gretchen wakes up, welcoming her to Heaven. Who is this Missy? And why does she keep calling the Doctor her “boyfriend”? To tell you the truth, I actually want to see a meeting between her and River, just so River can clock Missy. That would be fun to see.
The main reason for the Doctor to remind the Dalek of all the wonderful beauty that the Universe has to offer is because the possibility of a Dalek actually becoming GOOD is too much to pass up. He feels that if he can turn one, then he can save them all, and maybe stop all the fighting. The Doctor enters the Dalek’s conscious just as Clara is restoring its memories, and allows the Dalek to see into his own mind and find all the good that there is. Of course, being a Dalek, he immediately latches on to all the hatred that the Doctor has for the entire Dalek race, and decides the Daleks must be destroyed once and for all, much to the Doctor’s chagrin. You can almost equate this to a sober person attempting to get a drug abuser to stop using. And after so much work, and some progression, the abuser slips back into their old habits, and the realization happens that not everyone can be saved.
The rogue Dalek then destroys all the other Daleks that have boarded the Aristotle and are attempting to kill all the humans. After finding a way out, the Dalek actually gives one of the most chilling lines to the Doctor that I have ever heard: “I am not a good Dalek. You, Doctor, are a good Dalek”. Seriously, the look on Capaldi’s face when the Dalek says that is priceless. It’s almost as if he somewhat understands, yet is still caught off guard. As the Doctor and Clara go to leave, Journey asks nicely if she could also travel with the Doctor. Sadly, the Doctor explains that he’s sure she’s a nice person, and he would have been glad to take her, had she NOT been a soldier. Kind of makes you wonder how he’ll react when he meets Danny Pink? Time will tell, I guess.
All in all, this was a really good episode. It further showcases how Capaldi is still trying to find his version of the Doctor, and that’s no more evident then in a scene in the Tardis when he asks Clara “am I a good man?” to which she doesn’t have an answer. She may have started accepting that this is a new man by the end of the previous episode, but she’s still not completely sold on exactly who he is right now. She realizes that it’s not just his face that’s changed, but his personality as well, and when he looks at her, he doesn’t have that same childlike grin that the previous incarnation had. His eyes have gone darker, almost cold. I think the next few episodes are going to be very telling for the progression of their relationship. Especially with Danny Pink’s introduction to the Tardis on the horizon, and of course what we know is coming in the Christmas special. But that’s still a ways off.