Doctor Who: Into the Dalek Review

Posted on Aug 31, 2014


Doctor Who - Into the Dalek

Doctor Who – Into the Dalek – Series 8/episode two
Picture courtesy of BBC

When season 8 (34 to us long time viewers and fans) started last week with Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who, many were left unimpressed it seems about the first episode and Capaldi’s début as our favourite time traveller.

For me, I thought the episode was brilliant. The first of a new Doctor is always a bit quiet and is more of an introduction to the new and a last goodbye to the old. Deep Breath did it very well I thought, especially the last few scenes. This I thought is the Doctor we have been waiting for.

But it’s always the second and third episode that you start to see the actor come into his own as our heroic Timelord as he grows into the part, and usually by the end of his first season you start to get the idea of things to come. The second series is where you see the actor truly settled into the part and exploring different aspects of the Doctor. The more he does, the better he becomes. McGann and Eccleston had so much more potential but the former never had the chance whilst the latter didn’t want to go on anymore. I think each actor who plays the Doctor should have it written in their contracts for a minimum of three series at the very least otherwise another twelve lives will be gone before you know it.

So to this second episode with Peter Capaldi as the key-holder of the Tardis.

The story starts with the Doctor rescuing a soldier by the name of Journey Blue who has just lost her brother moments before and takes her back to her ship. They are all under attack from the Daleks and are struggling against them but it seems that they may have a secret weapon for they have a Dalek in captivity and one that is seemingly good and wants to help humankind and the only way to find out is to shrink a small team and go deep inside the Dalek’s shell…

Into the Dalek is pretty much a homage to the sixties film Fantastic Voyage and the eighties classic Inner Space, so any of you that have seen those films will think you know where this episode is going. Think again.

This was a much darker affair than what has gone before it and showed what this new regeneration is capable of. He asked Clara a question, ‘Am I a good man?’ She replied, ‘I don’t know…’ She elaborates on this later with him and you see a deep affection between the two; a nice touch from all the sloppiness and romantic claptrap that went before it. Once again this series and Doctor are saying to fans that this is a show for all the family and not just for teenage girls to drool over.

This episode also focuses on whether evil is inherent and always so or can you change someone and become good and do the right thing? It’s a very deep question and one I find suits the current world climate where wars are continuous and other horrible things go on reported or not. I would hope that evil is just a state of mind that can be repaired sometime in our future and we can become better as a species. As ever though I am an optimist with a pessimist perched on my shoulder whispering in my ear.

This episode also brings into it the character of Danny Pink, a teacher at Clara’s School and also an ex-soldier with bad memories of his past that begs the question is he actually Journey Blue’s brother and has somehow survived? he is also the possible love interest for the beautiful Clara as well.

Also is the Dalek; comically named Rusty, actually Caan from Tennant’s era in The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End?

Also in this episode is the mysterious character of Missy, who Moffat describes as the Gatekeeper of the Nethersphere and who seems to collect a select few of those that die around the Doctor. She tells those that turn up before her that they are in Heaven and all is as it should be.

Into the Dalek by Stuart Manning

Into the Dalek by the brilliant Stuart Manning
view his work at
Twitter: @stuart_manning

You get the feeling though that they are not dead and are being used in some dangerous game. Missy claims that the Doctor loves her but we get the impression that this Doctor is far too busy to think of any romantic notions and complications and is only interested in helping those in need, saving the universe and finding Gallifrey; something surely Capaldi’s tenure will be about. I only hope so for I want Timothy Dalton back as soon as possible!

My final words on this episode are that it was fantastic, well written and acted and brought back the Doctor that we originally had in the beginning. The whole dynamic has changed as well as the style of the show; something I think was done on purpose. It’s more Steampunk and not so much as a reboot as as re-use of different aspects of the much earlier and previous incarnations of the show and our Timelord. And I love it! Finally a Doctor Who where kids may actually hide behind the sofa again instead of being wrapped in cotton wool.

I for one cannot wait for next weeks episode Robot of Sherwood written by Mark Gattis and the rest of the series. This Doctor has been a long time coming…