Into the Dalek

into the dalek - the doctor and rusty

Synopsis

Into the Dalek is the second episode from Series 8 of Doctor Who and takes us into a journey into the darkness.

The Doctor saves Lt. Journey Blue from death, a space fighter pilot that has been shot by the Daleks, and takes her back to her spaceship, the Aristotle, which he soon discovers to be a hospital ship. He is met with fear and hostility by the Aristotle’s crew members. They only agree to keep him alive when Lt. Blue tells them that, beyond saving her, he is a doctor, and after all they have a patient on board who certainly will need him.

Mostly to his own surprise, the Doctor is led to a very damaged Dalek. The Aristotle’s crew members had found it adrift on space and tried to disassemble it unaware that it was a living being inside the dreadful machine. He strongly denies the Dalek’s requests for help and is only convinced when he finally realizes that the damages were so severe that he can be before the most perfect contradiction in the entire universe: a good Dalek.

He then returns to Earth in search of Clara’s help. The young woman, after his disappearance in the last three weeks, is now living a quite normal life as a school teacher. So normal, that now she has a romantic interest, the new Maths teacher, Danny Pink, a former soldier who seems to have a painful past.

Back to the Aristotle, Clara, the Doctor, Lt. Blue and two other soldiers are shrunken to be placed into the Dalek with the mission of repairing the damaged creature. After facing an angry bunch of Dalek’s anti-bodies, diving into something that appears to be the Dalek’s stomach’s contents and walking around its internal structures-organs, they finally find the damaged site. The Doctor uses his sonic to close a crack from where a huge amount of radiation is leaking only to find out that the cure restored the Dalek normal behavior. Now an enraged Dalek wanders around the ship corridors in its mission to exterminate the humans while it sends to the Dalek fleet the Aristotle location.

There is only one way to prevent the Dalek’s victory and, while the Aristotle’s crew fight to stay alive in the face of an invasion, Clara and Lt. Blue need to get to the Dalek’s memory center to activate the good memories that will make him once again to be a good Dalek. Meanwhile, the Doctor tries to distract the Dalek coming face to face with the evil creature himself.

When Clara finally enables the right memory cell, the Doctor binds himself to the nerve centers of the Dalek. This creates a connection between the Dalek’s mind and the Doctor’s and allows the creature to see what is inside the Doctor’s mind. But the Dalek, the most evil being in the universe, is able to see not only the beauty and the divine inside the Doctor. He can also see darkness and hatred, hatred of the Daleks. The creature again directs its basic instinct of destruction against its own race and attacks the Daleks that had invaded Aristotle just in time to save the last of its crew members.

With the battle inside the Aristotle won, the Dalek sends a message to the Dalek ship leading them to believe that the human ship had began its process of self-destruction. The Doctor then, still shaken by what the Dalek had found inside him, comes to the conclusion that there can’t be a good Dalek.

Back to Earth in time to her date with the new school teacher Danny Pink, Clara is finally able to answer the Doctor’s iconic question. She really doesn’t know if he is really a good man, but he tries to be, which is what really matters.

Review

The teasers and trailers promised that Into the Dalek would be exciting and everyone was hoping to see a great duel between the new doctor and  his greatest enemies. The opening sequence showing the desperate flight of a space fighter chased by a Dalek ship is certainly juicy. And even while Lt. Blue finds herself inside a mysterious ship in the company of a very sarcastic and bad-tempered saviour, you can hope for a episode full of witty remarks, dark humour and all the very Doctor-y craziness.

DWS8E02-into-the-dalek-035

The sense of adventure is there also when, in a moment that reminded me of Land of the Giants, the Doctor, Clara, Journey Blue and a team of soldiers, are miniaturised and placed inside the damaged Dalek, so they can fix it. Remember, they are inside the most evil being in the universe, the most terrifying creature of all galaxies (despite the look of a saltshaker which I find incredible cool). It was expected that there were more dangers than Dalek’s antibodies in the form of balls and the cliche of diving into a compartment filled with an unknown gooey liquid. Or am I too picky?

It’s not that Into the Dalek is a bad episode, but, unfortunately, it lacks all the emotion that has been promised in the previews. But there are good things in it, Capaldi and Jenna Coleman deliver very strong performances. There are funny and ironic moments enough to make you smile.

DWS8E02-into-the-dalek-055-you-are-a-good-dalek“You are not my boss. You are one of my hobbies,” Clara says at one point to a bad-tempered Doctor.

“Fantastic idea for a movie. Terrible idea for a proctologist,” says the doctor after discovering that the Aristotle has a miniaturisation machine and that they used it to put the physician inside the patient for the treatments.

“She cares so I do not need to do it,” he explains to the Aristotle’s crew when Clara claims to be his carer.

It was also fun watching Danny Pink (good start for Samuel Anderson) banging his head on the table in frustration at his inability to invite Clara to a date, which she managed to do brilliantly by herself sometime later. But the most brilliant line of this episode is from the baddie, Rusty, the damaged Dalek.

“You are a good Dalek”, he says at the Doctor and his attack brows. But you know that this is not the first time the Time Lord had been called like this.

Cast

Peter CapaldiThe Doctor
Jenna ColemanClara Oswald
Zawe AshtonJourney Blue
Samuel AndersonDanny Pink
Ben CromptonRoss
Laura dos SantosGretchen
Ellis George Courtney
Nicholas BriggsVoice of the Daleks
Michelle GomezMissy (uncredit)

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