Into the Dalek
Phil Ford and Steven Moffat
Spoilers Sweetie – watch the episode before reading on.
The other day expecting an inspiring discussion, I was introduced to someone who considers himself a Doctor Who fan, as a fan. Looking forward to the opportunity to discuss the intricacies of the series with someone like-minded, I was disappointed by the reality. Art is subjective, and so it seems, are fans. The first thing the fan told me was, “I don’t like Moffat.”It kind of stopped the conversation in its tracks. What can you say to that? I’ve read the spread of nay-saying opinions and I don’t agree with most of them, I think Steven Moffat is a great writer with his exciting plot twists and extensive creative vision constantly growing a show with a huge backstory and history. Sometimes he leaves plot-holes but I think that gives the show a sense of scalability.
Naturally, I enquired of the fan the nature as to why he held such a strong opinion, and he admitted that it was because he didn’t understand the stories – that he found them too complicated. What this conversation did is point out that in amongst the vast volume of data pumped out during the season’s run, people might be getting lost in the forest. Hopefully this set of analyses I’m writing will not only give me something different to write (practice), but may help shed light on the deeper intricacies for those that don’t have the time to randomly browse through the mega-essentials crammed into the Tardis Wikipedia.
“It’s Daleks again” moan the fan-collective perhaps not realising that the second story after the “The Unearthly Child” with the First Doctor William Hartnell was called “The Daleks“. It seemed a fitting theme. After almost failing to garner any viewers on the night “The Unearthly Child” first aired, which was when JFK was assassinated, the next story excited the viewing audience (mostly children), and quite unexpectedly boosted the show’s popularity.
Coal Hill School was introduced in the first Doctor Who episode ever. It was where Susan (the First Doctor’s granddaughter) attended, and from where his first two companions taught.
“Into the Dalek” is the second episode of the eighth series of the British science fiction television programme Doctor Who, written by Phil Ford and Steven Moffat, directed by Ben Wheatley, and first broadcast on 30 August 2014. Ford has previously written for the show, co-writing 2009’s “The Waters of Mars“. Starring Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman the episode also introduces Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink.
The Initial Verdict
“Into the Dalek” offered an unprecedented opportunity to see inside the new Doctor, while crawling around inside his old enemy, and providing a mirror for the different perspectives we’ll need on this journey, and perhaps to re-relate to his new persona. As far as stories go, this one could be enjoyed in isolation of the wider arcs. Tension and speculation surrounding Missy both provide lively online discussions, and keep the media focus on the show high.
Overall I thought this was a solid episode, on point, and consistent, with the rebooted character dynamics coming into sharper focus. It was better when viewed a second time because there’s a lot to miss. I am not sure if it was deliberate or not, but I still don’t know where Rusty ended up. I am arguing with my husband who seems to think he stayed with the Aristotle crew to carry on fighting the “Good Daleks” … I think he left them after signalling to the fleet that the Aristotle self destructed.
What stuck out for me was the sheer scale of the sets despite being in a tiny confined space was epic, and for me the miniaturisation was seamless.
I noticed that the Doctor said to Rusty, “You have unfinished business…” and “Till next time…” as he left the Aristotle… but what are catch phrases to an alien?
I have many unanswered questions which is what I expect of Steven Moffat – it’s the thing I’ve come to love of the show. Nothing is ever answered until it’s exactly the right time. It’s also very difficult to create an objective review in the heat of the focus forge.
Doctor Who is like a fine liquor, it improves over time. I don’t like scoring, as a fan I enjoy the whole thing for what it is, and I’ll point out the little things that don’t sit right and I’ll try not hurt anyone’s feeling while doing so.
© Screen grabs courtesy of the BBC
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