[SPOILERS] This week’s Doctor Who ‘Minute Review’ truly is minute. Terrible word play that doesn’t quite translate to written work aside, it’s Minute Review time again because no one really reads the full reviews anymore, do they? Let’s skip those lofty paragraphs and get right to the bullet points…
Doctor Who Series 8 Episode 2
“Into the Dalek”
Review by Randal Silvey
- Leading the “Pros” column again this week is Peter Capaldi himself. Obviously, I’m pro-Capaldi (sorry, that was the last joke). Once again captured my attention immediately, this time with his stern and commanding “No, not like that.” bit.
- The show is making a bold move letting Capaldi’s inner Malcolm Tucker out. Not that this feels like his famed The Thick Of It character has taken over the Doctor but the writers are certainly playing to Capaldi’s range. Perhaps specialty would be the word for it at this point. Either way, this is a plus as far as I’m concerned.
- Overall, Into the Dalek had a more consistent tone and look than Deep Breath excluding the Danny Pink introduction which I will touch on further down the list.
- Speaking of Danny Pink, he looks like an interesting companion. The character already comes across as likable and the idea of having a male companion (who may become the “central” companion after Clara leaves?) is exciting.
- The episode plays on some interesting themes with the Doctor’s view of soldiers. Juxtapose the Danny Pink character, whom we know to be an upcoming companion, with the Doctor’s refusal to accept Journey Blue as a traveling partner because she is a soldier.
- Missy returns, if only for the briefest of scenes. This whole Heaven thing worries me. Typically these season long “mysteries” woven into the current Moffat era of Doctor Who tend to fall very flat. The origins of River Song, the impossible astronaut, the impossible girl… they all build up towards a grand reveal that ultimately feels rushed, disappointing, and sometimes ridiculous. These certainly make for the worst aspects of new Who in my opinion. In the long run if I’m wrong, and I hope I am, I will be the first to say so. Perhaps Moffat has a truly invigorating twist around the bend for us but I feel burned more often than not by these large arcs.
- Returning to the introduction of Danny Pink, these scenes felt out of place. One could even say “tacked on” though it does tie into the soldier theme of the episode.
The 12th Doctor is admittedly jarring, particularly following the more approachable modern incarnations. He is far from acting out of character though. Compare his attitude to the 4th Doctor, who is not even considered the most brash of the classic Doctors, in one of my favorite stories ‘The Horror of Fang Rock’.
[37 YEAR OLD SPOILERS] In that classic story we have the Doctor and Leela stumbling upon a situation at a light house that escalates into an alien threat against the entire planet Earth. Naturally, by the end of the adventure the threat is neutralized and Earth is saved. Who is not saved however, is EVERY SINGLE BEING that you see in the episode excluding the Doctor and companion. Six human characters, one on-screen alien, and an entire spaceship of aliens, all dead by the end. Sure, Earth is saved but everyone who came into contact with the Doctor and Leela are dead. On top of that, the end of the episode doesn’t see the Doctor, head hung low with a heavy heart. No, it is a jovial Doctor chuckling with Leela and spouting poetry as they depart for the next adventure!
Referencing that is more anecdotal than anything but the point is evident. It does wrap this back around to the classic series once again which isn’t accidental. So far both episodes of series 8 have drawn several references and parallels to the classic series so I will leave you with another classic clip this week. Here we have the 4th Doctor and Leela on their own “Fantastic Voyage.”