Doctor Who: Into the Dalek – Series 8 Episode 2
Alrighty, time for some Daleks. Some people have been complaining that there are too many classic villains, and not enough new creations in the show lately and I’ve said something similar myself. Though my complaint is there are too many old Moffat characters being used and reused (and sometimes even ruined like those amazing Lonely Angels from Blink who became ridiculous when they took Manhattan). You can’t have Doctor Who without having the Daleks, Cybermen, and Sontarans showing up once in a while. It would be like Star Trek without the Klingons, Battlestar Galactica without the Cylons, or Get Smart without Siegfried (old reference eh?). They were all classic and iconic baddies for their franchises, but they weren’t in every episode. It’s the same thing with the Daleks. They’ve been around since 1963, and they are money. How much Klingon merchandise do you see? Now compare that to the amount of Dalek merchandise you find. Daleks also mean ratings. We were all talking about this episode (either for good or for bad) for a whole week now, so there’s interest, and as they say “any publicity is good publicity”. Higher ratings means more revenue from advertising, merchandise, etc. and that helps keep our favourite show on the air. I agree that overuse can kill a good thing, but thankfully the Daleks (and Cybermen) have been used really sparingly in the new series. Not counting Season 8, the Daleks have been in 10 stories (15 episodes because several were two parters) and the Cybermen in 6 stories (9 episodes) (and really in a few they were both really just enhancement and didn’t have a lot of interaction such as Time of the Doctor). Yes we did get pretty much an episode a season with each, but they were all pretty good episodes if I recall correctly.
The Doctor will never be rid of the Daleks, and that’s fine by me.
Okay, onto tonight’s episode, Into The Dalek. As much as I griped about Steven Moffat last week, it looks like I misjudged a little bit. I had read that this episode was written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat, but other sites listed it as being written only by Ford. There was a single scene in the episode involving “Missy” (Michelle Gomez) which I assume was the only part that Moffat wrote. So I don’t think that Moffat is really writing 7 of the 12 episodes this season, but he is writing scenes into several episodes that he isn’t writing. That makes loving Into The Dalek even easier. This could be my new favourite episode.
The Doctor rescues a pilot as her ship is destroyed by Daleks, and returns her to her command ship which is really a hospital and he is presented with a curious patient. A Dalek. A Dalek so broken that it’s turned good. If you want to find out who the Doctor really is then lock him in a room with his greatest enemy. This was an excellent episode for Capaldi, and the Doctor, but it was also an excellent Clara episode as she truly becomes the Doctor’s companion. She’s not hanging out with her boyfriend anymore, she’s guiding the Doctor, reminding him of himself, and she’s there to argue the human viewpoint, something that the Doctor implicitly asks of her. The Doctor and Clara (as well as the pilot and a few guards) are shrunk down and injected into the damaged Dalek (who the Doctor names “Rusty”) to take a Fantastic Voyage (which they referenced) and in hopes of repairing this damaged Dalek and figuring out why it thinks the Daleks are evil and must be destroyed. As the episode goes on we see the Doctor struggling to be the good man he hopes he is and seems to want to be. But it comes at a cost. And sentiments of Series 1’s Dalek episode are repeated as the Doctor’s own rage are revealed and we’re reminded that he’d make a good Dalek.
Next week: The Robots of Sherwood. Written by Mark Gattis, it looks as though we’ll be free of any Moffat influences as he likely won’t interfere with his Sherlock writing partner) and it looks like it will be of a decidedly lighter fare. Hopefully not a silly one though, those were so Series 5… and 6 and half of 7…