Forging straight ahead into episode two, Into the Dalek gives us a taste for what this season has in store as Doctor Who begins to settle into his new self and the Clara we’ve been waiting for finally seems to be coming around.
The basic synopsis of the episode (which you should have already seen if you’re reading this) revolves around a Dalek that has been critically injured and “turns good”, or suddenly discovers emotions and beauty from the sight of a star being born. The Doctor finds himself rescuing a rebel fighter pilot, Journey Blue, and returning her to her crew only to find them rather hostile of outsiders and in possession of a morally aware Dalek. As is typical of every iteration of Doctor, the Twelfth Doctor must investigate and goes Into the Dalek (get it) to find the cause, and chaos ensues.
Truth be told, I’ve been a little reticent on my thoughts about this episode because, on the whole, the plot was rather disappointing. If the “shrink down” trope didn’t remind me of practically every The Magic School Bus episode, perhaps I’d have a more shining and less critical opinion of the story. As much as it is an interesting idea to explore, it really needs to be done well to keep the suspension of belief and not distract from the story. This time around my belief was gone the second the red-shirt-away-team-imbecile fired his grappling gun and I found myself paying more attention to being annoyed with flying anti-bodies and inconsistencies with Dalek anatomy than I was paying attention to the rest of the happenings in the show.
Despite my poor opinion of the plot, there was a lot of good things happening with the characters themselves. The Clara we’ve all been waiting for seems to have finally showed up, not only finding her time-legs (like sea-legs, but with less water) and a new love interest in Danny Pink, but she’s moved on from mooning over The Doctor and even put him in his place during their exchange on what to do about the Dalek.
Capaldi was allowed to stretch his wings a little bit and it was evident when trying to convince the Dalek to be good again and the Dalek finds the Doctor’s hatred instead. The revisiting of the Doctor’s inner struggle on whether or not he is a good man tells us that this is probably going to be a central part of his character development and won’t be going away any time soon, especially since nobody really knows yet.
As I said about last week’s episode, Twelve mirrors much of Ten’s attitude in the beginning – angry, capricious, but now with a new-found apathy to the human race he spent so much time protecting in his last life. His dismissal of Journey Blue because of her soldier status, allowing red-shirt number 2 to fire her weapon and get destroyed by antibodies in hopes to save the universe from the Daleks without blinking, calling Clara his “carer”, so he doesn’t have to care, the Twelfth Doctor certainly has a long road ahead of him to fit into that semblance of a man we all know and love.
And, don’t forget the second sighting of Missy, the ever mysterious “girlfriend” of the Doctor and caretaker of “Heaven”. The build-up on her part of the story arc is palpable and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what she has in store for us, and more importantly the Doctor.
Tell us what you think of the this week’s episode!