Review of Series 8: Episode 2: Doctor Who – Into The Dalek

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.

The Aristotle hiding from Dalek Fleet
The Aristotle hiding from Dalek Fleet

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.

Dalek Brain

 

 

 

 

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 

© Nicki Ki, All Rights Reserved 

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3 thoughts on “Review of Series 8: Episode 2: Doctor Who – Into The Dalek

  1. As a fan,I couldn’t even watch last nights episode. I started to watch it but finally, I just turned it off. I was so bored, I couldn’t even MAKE myself watch it. I’m sorry about that, because I have enjoyed this series for years and years. I’ll try again next week but my interest is all but gone. Clara, who always seems exactly the same, no matter what the situation, looked like a girl in a high school play, in her red dress, and the merry band of men…well.

    I’m happy that you have high hopes and I’m happy that this Doctor does it for you, he sure doesn’t do it for me. His angst about whether or not he’s a good person..he’s always wondered about that. What constitutes being a good person anyway? The Doctor isn’t even a real person, he’s so much more than that. Soon he will start taking psychotropic drugs for his anxiety disorder. I don’t want a Doctor who needs the reassurance of others to feel better about himself. He has always had doubts. We know he is seeking, lonely, unsure, at times. I don’t want that to become part of the plot. “The Dalek saw hatred,” okay, more , self doubt. Look, if The Doctor can’t figure out who he is is, and what he’s all about, after living FOREVER, what chance do any of us have? The new Doctor said he’s 2,000 years old, but The Doctor has been around from before the beginning of time…so what’s that all about? I liked the first episode, I watched the second, but couldn’t watch the third. If I can’t watch the 4th, I just might wait for new writers or a new Doctor because in spite of my love for this series, I’m not having a good time anymore. So, I guess that a makes me a Dalek.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah that’s sad, but I think watching these when all the hype has died down and the greater story arc is revealed is a lot better, more relaxed. Clara’s character has developed, she’s a lot stronger and having watched a lot of back room footage, I believe that the Doctor’s angst is probably part of a broader storyline.

      When Tom Baker first started, he took people a bit aback… It took a season for him to integrate with the role properly. We expect perfection, but whatever it is, it’s entirely subjective. I find it interesting that mirrors are a theme each week because when we watch we are watching through the windows of our own context… I don’t particularly like Peter Capaldi’s doctor – I hope he gets better because he’s a pain in the ass. I enjoyed it when Clara slapped a little sense into his head though. I decided long ago that I needed to accept each character as they are and get as much enjoyment as I can from it – being detailed oriented, it works for me, and as for last night’s episode, there was a nonsense golden arrow moment in it, but we need to keep our sense of humour about the show. It used to be made out of tin foil and painted ducting and there are some stinking doozies in the Classics.

      And if all else fails, “EXTERMINATE!” “EXTERMINATE!” 🙂

      Like

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