Quick word association game, you ready?
OK. Here goes, first word that comes in to your head when I say:
I will share mine, it’s “Ughhhhhhhhhhh.” Now allow me to elaborate. ‘Victory Of The Daleks’ and ‘Evolution Of The Daleks/Daleks In Manhattan’ have scorched the remaining goodwill/pleasant nostalgia out of my brain, for The Daleks. They may have been scary to the majority of kids in the 60’s/70’s but so was the prospect of a Radio 1 Roadshow. I personally think, especially with the creation of The Weeping Angels/Silence, there are better/scarier villains in the Whoverse. That is until Moffat writes an episode where the main villain is a clown and sock puppet hybrid.
It’s with a refreshing lack of contempt that I type this and think 8.2: Into The Dalek was a success. The episodes premise, miniaturized Doctor et all, was absurdly childlike. That’s a good thing. Too often Who gets forgetful of its core audience. Whilst the premise is hardly original, it still gave us a good slow burn into our relationship with the new Doctor. Capaldi’s Doctor seems to be a stern Chameleon that suffers no fools. The script in parts was very sharp – “Yes, she’s my carer. She cares so I don’t have too.” Theres also nods to former Doctors again and former stories, ‘Genesis’ and ‘Remembrance’ in particular. Phil Ford(big fan!) has written an episode here that underpins the Doctors moral compass. An ambiguous task, coldly allowing death, to a subtle poignant message – The difference between good and evil is the ability to see beauty in the universe.
Despite it being a Dalek Story, it remained focused on the Doctor and his cohorts. The direction of the episode(Ben Wheatley smashing it again) was extremely slick and had some glorious sequences. The scene where they enter the Dalek in particular was simply stunning. Also a quick HUZZZAHHH!!!! for the return of models. The ships were models and looked beautiful. A well shot model is streets ahead of what the Beeb can afford in CGI
Capaldi, as the Doctor, continues to find his feet. He is an amalgamation of previous incarnations but by god when he does a monologue, the hairs stand up on my neck. He’s delightfully smooth. As smooth as George Clooney in a velour tracksuit serving you an Nespresso whilst making small chat. You know what the end result is going to be and resistance is a waste of everybody’s time. Capaldi had a strong script, great throwaway lines and some deep moments – “I think you’re probably nice, underneath it all I think you’re kind. Definitely brave. I just wish you had not been a soldier.” – There see what I mean. Wow. Hairs on your neck. A beautiful, calm put down that absolutely crushes Journey Blue. Riddled with confidence and self doubt – “Am I a good man?” he’s a contrast. I love it. His interactions with Clara are absolutely brilliant as well, with a sizzling chemistry(Not that way!). It’s really nice that they have made Clara the apologist for The Doctor. His curt, short and stark interactions alienating him. It’s certainly going to be interesting.
The episode, brimming with positivity, also had its flaws. Clara meets Danny Pink. Yuck. You see, if you haven’t noticed Clara is a woman and she can’t interact with new male characters without a unsubtle head bludgeoning romance and flirtation. Danny Pink as well, even Clara sensed his acting was off – “Is the wooden sound you or the desk?” and he cried when he talked about a dark secret. HE’S SENSITIVE DON’T YOU KNOW!!! The unsubtle introduction further fuels the trope that this show has an issue with female characters(Not just Moffat!). The typical racist approach to Glasgow as well “Three weeks in Glasgow, that’s dead in a ditch!” – Two in two weeks. You see Glasgow doesn’t have a vibrant multicultural art, music and theatre scene. No it’s just full of people stabbing each other. That’s two in two weeks from Moffat & Co. Maybe I am being sensitive but it’s still an overarching theme from London’s Beeb attitude. I was so excited for Michael Smiley to be in the show, only to see him reduced to uttering verbal cliches and rhetoric. A sad waste of a talented actor.
Anyway. A really strong episode again. Another death, another visit to Missy(You worked it out yet?). Usual criticisms aside it’s nice to have a strong Doctor again. That’s not dismissing Smith and Tennant’s run but Eccleston was my NU-Who Doctor. I think you will see a lot more of that in Capaldi’s run
+ Great script for the Doctor
+ Great premise which allowed character development
+ Decent Dalek story
– Clara’s biological clock still dictates her interactions with men
– Waste of Michael Smiley
– Danny Pink deserved a better introduction
This piece was written by: Andrew Melrose
You can follow Andrew on Facebook @ Ed Nygma