For those wondering whether or not “Doctor Who” was going to continue to struggle with its storytelling following an extremely confusing premiere episode, the good news is that the show turned things around completely for “Into the Dalek.”
This episode largely revolved around one basic question: Is The Doctor a real hero, or just a man with a black-and-white philosophy on good and bad? As he and Clara discovered a Dalek that appeared to be good, he was cynical about the prospects and was right. This was just a malfunctioning version of one, and in a total “Magic School Bus” twist, they went inside it to understand the reason for its behavioral crisis.
In an effort to better understand the Dalek, however, the team ended up bringing out the being’s true evil yet again … sort of. As the episode went along, though, The Doctor finally managed to let down some of those black-and-white walls and realized that there was a grey area. Just by it turning good under the influence of radiation, we had definitive proof that there as an element of good within it. In order to escape, they had to recreate the “star being born” effect that allowed this Dalek to have a change of heart in the first place.
The entire journey to escape from the Dalek, and turning its behavioral patterns back again, ended up being a whole lot of fun. The action was there, the questions of what is good and bad were present, and Peter Capaldi felt a million more times more comfortable. We saw some of the humor, but also some of the edge. He didn’t just feel like an older Matt Smith. The end reveal that Twelve himself accidentally turned “Rusty” the Dalek into a killing machine for the good guys was surprising, and not entirely what he was looking for. After all, it showed him a very painful side of himself.
“Into the Dalek” was in many ways classic “Doctor Who,” and evidence that the show can still be what we want it to. This was in many ways what we wanted the premiere last week to be, and the introduction of new character / Clara co-worker Danny Pink was fun, and he’s already a likable guy. Grade: A-.
What did you think about “Into the Dalek,” and did it bring season 8 back in the direction you wanted? Share below, and click here to preview the next “Doctor Who” episode “Robot of Sherwood.” Also, you can sign up to get further TV blasts sent right to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter.