Sunday, August 31, 2014

Doctor Who 8.02: "Into the Dalek"

“You looked into me and saw hatred. That’s not victory. Victory would have been a good Dalek.”
- The Doctor

Overall, Twelve’s second adventure was decent. Sure a lot of it felt overdone but that’s just the problem of Moffatt having a hand in writing the script. We kick off with a woman in a ship and she’s about to get blown up by some Daleks. The Doctor plucks her out of the ship a second before it explodes (and she would have died). She’s not too grateful for it. And for some reason he’s extra crabby with her until she just flat out asks him to “please” take her back to her ship (which is a medical ship). As soon as he does, he’s whisked off to see their newest patient, a good Dalek that the Doctor nicknames Rusty. The medical ship people want the Doctor to help the Dalek. This will of course require pulling Clara away from her normal life (and a date with the new math teacher Danny Pink). Danny and Clara kind of had a season 1 Rose and Mickey vibe going. Danny is also a former soldier and I’m guessing he’s got some form of PTSD (a student in his class asks if he’s killed someone who wasn’t a soldier and he kind of goes stone faced and monotone repeating the homework assignment). I don’t know why but a lot of things about Twelve and the way people interact with him is very reminiscent of Eccleston’s short reign. I guess that makes some sense since the romance between the Doctor and his companions didn’t really start until Ten came along.

Much of the episode is spent with the Doctor, Clara and some of the medical staff/soldiers miniaturized (Tessalecter anyone) and inside Rusty. They’re trying to find out what made the Dalek go “good”. It wants to destroy all Daleks. It was kind of interesting to see the inside of a Dalek shell from the inside. It made me wonder why they didn’t just open him up to fix the ultimate issue, which turns out to be a radiation leak. Along the way, we learn that the Dalek has memory storage even for memories it ultimately represses and it has antibodies which really made me think of “Let’s Kill Hitler”. Although these ones didn’t warn you that your death would be painless. I enjoyed the antibodies from “Let’s Kill Hitler” more. I’m not entirely sure but the radiation leak looked a bit like the crack from series 5. It feels a lot like Moffatt is trying really hard to make little connections to the past with Twelve. I can’t tell how much of it is deliberate and how much is the fans just reading into things. Anyway, as soon as the leak is repaired, Rusty reverts to being a normal Dalek. He breaks free of his confines and summons the rest of the Dalek fleet to the location of the rebel ship. Oh and the Doctor, Clara and two of the soldiers are still miniaturized inside of Rusty.

Looking back on the Daleks invading the rebel ship, it kind of reminded me a little of “Bad Wolf” from series 1. For one thing, people seriously don’t know that you need to aim for the eye stalk to take out a Dalek. I mean come on, shouldn’t that be common knowledge by now? Anyway, the Daleks board the rebel ship and start taking out soldiers. Some of the Daleks get blown up but clearly not enough to stop the mini invasion. It’s up to the gang inside Rusty to save the day and solve the problem. The main reason that Rusty turned “good” based on the radiation leak was because he saw a star being born and found beauty and happiness in that moment. The Doctor thinks they need to retrigger that memory so that Rusty can turn “good” again. He sends Clara up to the memory banks to kick start those memories while he goes down to have a sort of face-to-face chat with Rusty. The Doctor doesn’t know yet what he’s going to do to make Rusty see reason but he seems fairly confident that Clara can do something clever to get the memories flooding again. I wondered if he sent her up there before she’d been a Dalek once before. That I’m probably reading too much into, though.

It takes the death of the second to last soldier to get Clara and the other soldier where they need to go. We get a quick glimpse of the dead soldier appearing in “heaven” with Missy. They share some tea but that’s about it. I really have a feeling she’s just collecting people that the Doctor killed or who died for him for some nefarious purpose. A time lord take on the zombie apocalypse maybe? Anyway, Clara manages to crawl around and jump start the memories they want. But that isn’t enough. Rusty is still resisting the good memories. And can we just hit pause for a second to say that Rusty totally stole the Borg’s catchphrase. Yes they both want perfection but come on! The Doctor somehow links his memories with Rusty in a sort of mind-meld way and it totally backfires. Rusty sees the Doctor’s hatred of the Daleks and calls it beautiful and now he’s back to wanting to kill all Daleks. Which he does rather handily. Somehow, the Doctor, Clara and the remaining soldier get returned to their normal size again and the Doctor leaves without even saying goodbye. The soldier tries to become a new companion but the Doctor isn’t fond of soldiers (Demon’s Run perhaps?). Rusty goes off to presumably massacre his own kind (and then maybe self-destruct). The Doctor drops Clara back off about thirty seconds after she left (and she’s in a different outfit). We’ve also established that the Doctor isn’t sure if he’s a good man anymore. It seems Clara isn’t so sure either, but by the end of the episode she thinks he might be on the right track to getting there.

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