TV Review: “Doctor Who” – “Into the Dalek”

Written by Caitlin Cooper August 31, 2014

Doctor Who

With the huge hype surrounding the new season of “Doctor Who”, and the success of season 8’s first episode, people have been simply excited for each new episode. There’s a new Doctor (Peter Capaldi) who we’re still learning about, who’s unpredictable and darker than the previous ones played by David Tennant and Matt Smith, respectively. The big baddy of “Deep Breath” was able to be reasoned with, so what sort of villain will “Doctor Who” tackle next, and will it be the sort of villain that can be reasoned with?

 

“Into the Dalek” follows the Doctor and Clara (Jenna Coleman) on yet another adventure. When a spaceship is under attack and the Doctor rescues one of the soldiers, named Journey Blue (Zawe Ashton), he learns they need his help with a Dalek who they injured. Asking the Doctor to help a Dalek is pretty audacious; the two alien species’ have been enemies for centuries. The Doctor decides to pick Clara up from work because he “needs her” to come along with him on this crazy task. The Doctor, his companion, and some soldiers are shrunken down to a small size so they can literally walk inside a Dalek to repair whatever malfunction has turned the alien against its own kind. The Doctor intends to discover whether a Dalek can really turn good. Naturally, the expedition goes awry and everyone is in danger.

“Well, it’s a roller coaster with you, isn’t it?”

I wish I could say that I like “Into the Dalek” as much as I have enjoyed other “Doctor Who” episodes, even the first episode of season 8. The writing for this episode was a little shaky. Phil Ford penned the script for “Into the Dalek” and while it has really good aspects, there are also some weak aspects. Puns – which are a huge part of the Doctor’s dialogue – fell flat sometimes; though the Doctor’s line that Clara is his carer and so “she cares so I don’t have to,” was blunt and dryly funny. Instead of providing a good balance of drama and comedy, other characters were largely left to do this. Namely, Clara and new character Danny Pink.

Doctor Who

Judging by the first and second episodes of this season, the show will really explore Clara. In “Into the Dalek” we join her at school where she’s an English teacher – cheers for her being a book nerd. And what does Clara do when the Doctor becomes cynical about Daleks? She teaches him to have hope. I think in with this incarnation of the Doctor, Clara will act as his guide in many ways. She’s done so before like in the 50th anniversary special in which she convinced the Doctor (Smith) to change his history, to save the other Time Lords rather than kill them; he doesn’t have to kill his own species to save the universe, he can save both. It’s a good thing Capaldi and Coleman have gained such strong footing with the acting so far because their interactions are the foundation for “Doctor Who”.

“Isn’t the universe beautiful?”

Perhaps Clara will have a healthy relationship with a human like Amy (Karen Gillan) had with Rory (Arthur Darvill). In any case, the interactions between Clara and Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson) are entertaining. He’s quite shy – and he seems to have PTSD – so he is too afraid to accept her offer to go out for drinks. A hilarious scene ensues in which he imagines he gave her a completely different answer, and Clara catches him acting this out. Also, an interesting little bread crumb was dropped for us. Danny’s last name is a colour just like the alien warrior, Journey Blue. Is Danny an alien? A new story-line has been introduced, and I hope this mystery is solved in an upcoming episode.

Doctor Who

Another mystery to be solved is that of heaven. In “Deep Breath”, we see the villain go to heaven after his suicide. In “Into the Dalek” after a soldier is exterminated by a Dalek, he also goes to heaven. Is this mysterious place actually heaven? It seems suspicious to me given the nature of “Doctor Who”. In past episodes, ghosts haven’t actually been ghosts, and vampires aren’t actually vampires. So, is heaven another trick or illusion due to some alien plot or villain? Hopefully we’ll get somewhere with that sub-plot without having to kill off a main character.

“I don’t know if you’re a good man, but you try to be. That’s what matters.”

Overall, the second episode of “Doctor Who” season 8, called “Into the Dalek” brings the Doctor on a more intimate level with Daleks. The writing is a little shaky, but the introduction of a new character, the increasing complexities of Clara, and the new and unpredictable Doctor are enough to save the episode.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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