While I wasn’t thrilled with last week’s Season 8 premiere, I do like Capaldi enough to keep going with the series. The second episode, Into the Dalek, pits the Doctor and Clara against the Doctor’s oldest foes, the Daleks. Well, just one Dalek anyway. It is the future and the Doctor inserts himself into a human/dalek conflict when he saves a female rebel pilot just as her ship is destroyed. Returning her home, he find a Dalek who appears to be good. Left to drift in space, he has seen destruction and creation and wants to see the Daleks destroyed. The Doctor runs off to grab Clara and their off on a “Fantastic Voyage”-esque journey into the dalek to try to heal it. This of course leads dalek “Rusty” back to his old ways of “Exterminate”, and it’s up to the Doctor and Clara to remind him of the beauty he saw and stop the extermination of the rebel humans.
I once again come away from this episode feeling meh. The Fantastic Voyage story line has become cliché. The Fourth Doctor did his own version of it back in the episode The Invisible Enemy. And going inside a Dalek seemed even more uninteresting. I did like that the trop-iness of the plot was acknowledged in the story, but that was only good for a short laugh. The overall story was rather boring. I felt no tension as Clara struggled to reactivate Rusty’s memories, or with the sacrifice of Gretchen. She wasn’t given enough to become someone to care about when she died.
What I disliked the most about this episode was the scene with the Doctor in Rusty’s mind. The Doctor calls upon the mysterious beauty of the universe to try to help Rusty return to his being “good”, but what Rusty latches onto is the Doctor’s hatred of the Daleks, a feeling he takes into himself as well. It makes him turn on his fellow Daleks and save the humans, but the Doctor is disappointed that Rusty saw that side of him. I think there would have been something wrong if that side of the Doctor hadn’t been shown. The Doctor is a Time Lord, but he is not perfect, I like him best when he admits his faults. He isn’t the “god” that Moffat kept calling him all through season six. He is an imperfect man. He is long-lived and has more time to learn and correct his mistakes, but he isn’t a god, and I resent Moffat continuing to try to make him one. I also didn’t care for the “You are a Good Dalek,” line that was thrown in. The Doctor has been many things, but a Dalek isn’t one of them, good or not. It’s this angst that keeps getting thrown in that I also despise.
And what was up with the color name scheme? Danny Pink. Journey Blue. Speaking of Danny, I liked him. I loved the conversation he had with himself about what he should have said when talking to Clara in the staff room. He’s got a back story that could be interesting, but I’m not liking the conflict that appears to be in the making between him and the Doctor. I didn’t like that the Doctor dismissed Journey so quickly just for being a soldier. There should have been a better reason for refusing her than just that. But, we are still getting to know this Doctor, so I hope there is a really good reason for the dismissal.
I‘m still not liking Clara. The slap to the Doctor’s face was so unnecessary. I want to say it was out of character, but I feel like I don’t know who Clara is anymore. I’m not really sure she has a character to be out of. I also didn’t care for her comment at the end about not knowing if the Doctor was good, but that she thought his intentions were. That only brought up the old saying to me: “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” She should know the Doctor’s basic character. As Moffat was so happy to beat into our heads Twelve and Eleven are the same person. If she thought Eleven was basically a good person, she should have no reason to doubt Twelve. That is, if she really believes they are the same person, which I still have my doubts she does.
It was just an okay episode this time. I do still like Twelve. I can see a lot of Four’s resolute spirit and alien way of thinking. He just doesn’t have the more quirky personality, which is fine by me. I’m not holding my breath for the next episode, with the journey to the past to meet Robin Hood. But, maybe I’ll be surprised.