Dr.Who Episode 2 - "Into the Dalek"
Doctor Who meets Innerspace in this weeks episode, as the Doctor and Clara go on a mercy mission inside an old foe. An interesting concept and, for the most part, quite an entertaining episode. Yeah, I enjoyed this one.
Aboard the Combined Galactic Resistance ship Aristotle, the Doctor runs into his oldest adversary and his newest patient. An injured Dalek, one that has seen the beauty in creation and has somehow found morality. Is it a ruse? A result of it’s injuries? Or is this a genuinely good Dalek? The Doctor can’t resist finding out.
Back on Earth there is a new teacher at Cole Hill, a former soldier named Danny Pink, who catches the eye of Clara... and thus begins another love story arc. Just when we thought we were done with soap opera in Doctor Who it comes right back. It dragged out the episode and took up time that could have been better used on the philosophical issues in the story line that only ever got briefly touched upon. A bit of a negative in my mind for this episode, though I suppose it’s better to get that out of the way now than have it drag throughout the series. The Doctor eventurally dashes and back and picks Clara up, saving the audience from having to endure anymore awkward flirting.
Returning to the future, with Clara now in tow, the Doctor, his companion and a handful of soldiers, are shrunk down so that they can get inside the Dalek and find out for themselves.
Inside the Dalek we are treated to a few new pieces of information. We discover that the Dalek casing has “antibodies”, as well as a secondary digital brain that acts as a back up, and which seems to hold collective memories. We also see a new side to this Doctor.. “He was already dead, I was saving ourselves” is a line I didn’t expect to hear from him, especially as the actions that preceded it indicate premeditation on the Doctor’s part. This pricklier Doctor is more the pragmatist then ever before it would seem.
Moving deeper into the Dalek, the Doctor finds a radiation leak that is poisoning their host. He fixes it and, sure as apples is apples, the Dalek reverts to Operation: Kill ‘Em All, going on a rampage throughout the ship, as well as calling in reinforcements. Clara then races against time to try and reboot the secondary brain in an attempt to trigger the memories that first set the Dalek down the path of good, whilst the Doctor attempts a mind merge with unexpected, and potentially huge, consequences.
A minor niggle is that all this would have been better if some of the support acting had been up to par. Despite an onslaught from the Daleks towards the end there was never any of the sense of terror and fear that these creatures should be invoking. Say what you will about Christopher Eccleston, I know he wasn’t a lot of peoples favourite Doctor, but his reaction in “Dalek” was far and away the best of any of the new Who’s in my opinion.
The problem is that at this point in their life cycle, the Daleks have effectively become the equivalent of WWE “enhancement talent”. Which is a polite way of saying they’re a jobber who is sent in to lose in order to put over a new talent. That talent in this case is Capaldi as the Doctor who, sadly for the Daleks, doesn’t need a cheap victory to get over with the audience; he has an icy exterior and calculating approach which is doing just fine.
What the Daleks need now, more than anything else, is a check mark in the win column. “Into The Dalek” doesn’t quite deliver that, but there is perhaps a promise that there will be fallout from the Doctor's actions.
What it does deliver is a pretty good episode once you get past the soap opera stuff in the first few acts. There’s some cracking interaction between Clara and the Doc, including a well earned slap. As with Eccleston’s episode “Dalek” there is a reminder that less is more with this particular enemy, a single Dalek can be more menacing than a host of them. There’s more set up for the upcoming series as well as Missy makes another appearance, bringing another lost soul to heaven. Though this time her name sounds more like Miss C when she pronounces it. Is this a clue perhaps? Is this maybe Lady Cassandra before she becomes nothing more than a stretched face? Who knows, only time will tell, but I like the way the mystery is being seeded from the outset.
So far, so good for this Doctor then. Next week, Robin Hood...
Quote of the Week:
Doctor: “Yeah, my carer. She cares, so I don’t have to”