Here is the second episode of season 8 of Doctor Who. It is also the first episode where the Doctor is 100% 12th, with any remnants of number 11 fading away after the last episode (I hope you all understand that I mean “fading away” in reference to the regeneration process only, and not the Doctor in general. Of course you do. You are smart people). Here is the synopsis for “Into the Dalek.”
A fighter ship is flying through space, under heavy fire from a Star Destroyer sized vessel. The pilot of the fighter is attempting to reach her main ship, the Aristotle. The co-pilot seems dead. The large vessel follows the fighter ship into an asteroid field, where it revealed that the pursuers are the Daleks. A few moments later, the fighter ship is destroyed by the Daleks, but the surviving pilot is not killed. Instead she awakens inside the T.A.R.D.I.S., being looked at by the Doctor, who for some reason is holding two cups of coffee shop coffee. The pilot, who identifies herself to be Journey Blue of the Galactic Resistance asks where her brother Kai (the co-pilot) is. The Doctor reveals that Kai is dead, and that he saved her at the last possible second. Journey points her gun at the Doctor, demanding to be taken back to the Aristotle. The Doctor agrees, but only when he forces her to ask nicely. He transports the ship inside the Aristotle, which is hidden behind one of the larger asteroids in the field. The Leader of the resistance, called “Uncle” by his men, is grateful that the Doctor saved journey, but still has to kill him, not taking the risk that the Doctor is actually a Dalek spy. This helps reaffirm the Doctor’s distaste for soldiers. Journey is able to convince Uncle not kill the Doctor. They have a patient that needs assistance. To the Doctor’s shock, it is a captured Dalek.
- This is the prologue the episode. I REALLY like the new intro music. I believe I said it last week, but I am saying it again.
The next scene opens with an army drill instructor yelling at “soldiers.” These soldiers are students and Clara’s school, and the drill instructor is the new math teacher Danny Pink. Later that day in class, a student asks Danny, a former ACUTAL soldier, if he had ever killed a man. After sidestepping the question, Danny is brought to tears when asked if he had ever killed a civilian. Danny has a very awkward first meeting with Clara, and then after ANOTHER awkward, yet sweet, interaction the two decide to grab some coffee.
- Interesting use of the back and forth camera shots between Danny in his classroom and the conversation with Clara. I haven’t seen the show do something like that before. It’s a nice change of pace.
Clara goes into a supply closet and almost walks right into the Doctor, who is there with the coffee he was sent to get…three weeks ago. He questions why she is smiling, knowing she met someone, then tries to deflect the issue by making fun of her age. He says she needs her help, and he starts the T.A.R.D.I.S. back up to return to the Aristotle. We then see the “Am I good man?” conversation that was featured in the trailers. Just like the trailers, Clara doesn’t know.
They return to the Aristiotle and begin to examine the Dalek, who doesn’t recognize the Doctor as his race’s greatest enemy. Clara questions why he wants to help the Dalek. “A Dalek so damaged it’s turned good? How can I resist?” Using a “shrink ray” the rebels use for surgery, The Doctor, Clara, Journey, and two more soldiers are miniaturized and inserted into the Dalek to discover the problem and hopefully repair it.
The group enters “Rusty’s” brain, and discover the electronic memory bank system. This houses all of the Dalek’s memories and represses any that would bring about emotions of joy and happiness, leaving only hatred at the forefront. One of the soldiers, Ross, uses a grappling hook to ascend to another level, but this hurts the Dalek, forcing it to release its internal antibodies, just like any other living creature. The antibodies kill Ross, but not before the doctor places a tracker in him. They follow the tracker down a shaft into the Dalek’s protein reserves. Since everything in it is already dead, the antibodies would have no reason to travel there, buying the group time.
After traveling through the Dalek, the group discovers a high level of radiation throughout. The Doctor realizes that there is a radiation leak in the Dalek’s system, and that is what is poisoning it. While searching for the leak, the Doctor asks the Dalek why it has changed. It responds that he has seen the birth of a star. With all the destruction the Dalek race has caused, life prevails, and resistance to it is futile.
The group reaches the heart of the Dalek, and the Doctor repairs the leak with his sonic screwdriver. However, they then realize that the poison from the leak was affecting the Dalek’s brain chemistry. Once the leak was fixed, it reverted the Dalek back to its old self. The Dalek breaks free from its room and begins killing the crew of the Aristotle. It is then able to contact the Dalek fleet and reveal the hidden location of the rebel ship.
Feeling defeated, a slap from Clara puts the doctor back in his place, and he comes up with a plan. The Dalek was good once, and it can be good again. He sends Clara and Journey back up to the electronic memory bank in an attempt to get the Dalek to remember the birth of the star. Realizing how far it will be to climb, Gretchen, the other soldier, sacrifices herself and uses the grappling hook to get Clara and Journey to safety. After a failed attempt to fight off the antibodies, Gretchen screams…and then stops. She opens her eyes and is sitting at a table across from Missy. Missy welcomes Gretchen to Heaven, and pours her some tea.
- Nice little twist. You think this is a one-off episode, but it isn’t. Everything has some meaning.
Clara and Journey reach the memory banks, and are able to reignite the memory of the star into Rusty’s brain. The Doctor takes it a step further. He rewires Rusty and is able to let it see into his mind. The Dalek sees the same beauty the Doctor has seen, but also the hatred the Doctor has for the Dalek race. It is too much for Rusty, and the Doctor’s hatred becomes Rusty’s hatred. Rusty then begins to kill the Daleks that breached the Aristotle, just before they were about to wipe out the entire crew.
In the aftermath, Rusty communicates to the rest of the Dalek fleet that the Aristotle has self destucted. Rusty will return to the fleet, because he has “a lot of work to do,” meaning more Daleks to kill. Unhappy with what he inadvertently caused, the Doctor returns to the T.A.R.D.I.S. without saying goodbye to the crew. Journey pleads with the Doctor to take her with him. “Underneath it all you’re kind. Definitely brace. I just wish you hadn’t been a soldier,” was the Doctor’s response as the T.A.R.D.I.S. leaves…without Journey.
Clara is about to go on her date with Danny. Before she leaves she tells the Doctor she still doesn’t know if she’s a good man. But she knows he’s trying to be…and that’s probably the point.
- “Not like that. Not like that. Get it right.”
- “It’s smaller on the outside.” “It’s more exciting when you go the other way.”
- “I got distracted.” “With what?” “You can always find something. C’mon.”
- “That’s right. She’s my carer. This way I don’t have to.”
- “Is Ross in here?” “Yes. He’s the top layer if you want to say a few words.”
- “You have to get up there and find that moment and reawaken it.” “ME?” “Yes, you. Great idea.”
- The Doctor had more one liners that last week. Regardless of the dark tone they may be leaning towards, the WIT always needs to stay.
- Danny Pink. Great job with making you want to like him right away.
- Making you realize that Missy IS important to this season’s story, and we will NOT forget it.
- No frame of reference as to where and when this whole battle was occurring. Usually with the Daleks we know why they are where they are. This just seemed like “random space battle number 15.”
- That slap was WAY too loud. It seemed almost cartoonish.
- Danny crying in class seemed a little over the top.
- Setting up the eventual conflict between the Doctor and Danny was a little TOO obvious.
Overall Grade: B
So far nothing A+ yet this season. However, Capaldi and Coleman are NOT the reason why, that’s for sure. Think of them as Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone from Amazing Spider-Man 2. Whatever problems you had with that movie, those two were NOT it.