After a humdrum opening episode, it’s time to kick off Doctor Who’s latest era at full speed, or relative jumps in time and space at least. And who better a foe for the Doctor to face, than his age-old nemeses the Daleks? Ever since they burst back onto the scene in 2005’s “Dalek”, the genocidal war machines have been a constant thorn in the side of the Doctor, even though they may not know who he is anymore after the events of Asylum Of The Daleks.
Also, spoilers. Consider yourselves warned.
And once again, an age-old theme is explored in this episode. Sure, the Daleks may run on hate, but so does the Doctor. The Matt Smith Doctor was quite vocal in his general animosity for the staccato-voiced terrors, from Victory Of The Daleks all the way through The Time Of The Doctor, and Peter Capaldi’s Doctor is no different, believing that it is impossible to rehabilitate a Dalek beyond the path of universal extermination.
And yet when faced with the predicament of a Dalek that seeks to kill its own kind, after having witnessed true beauty for the first time in its wretched existence, the Doctor is at a fascinating crossroads. He just can’t let go of his hatred for the Daleks. And ultimately, this proves to be his undoing.
Once again, his hatred hasn’t exactly helped stop the Daleks. In Victory Of The Daleks, that hate helped bring back the Dalek empire. In Asylum Of The Daleks, his hate actually inspired them. In essence, the Doctor is making things worse, and that’s something that he realises far too late in the episode as he tries to turn Rusty, after some slap-based inspiration from Clara.
And still, the Doctor can’t help but be defined by the Daleks. As he reminsces with Rusty, he reveals that he chose his trademark moniker because it sounded cool to him. But after meeting the Daleks, he knew that his title would define him, and his opposition to their plans for universal extinction.
Now make no mistake, the Daleks are still as deadly as ever. Their shock value may have diminished ever since their reappearance in the new series, but when you need a squad of homicidal Nazi pepperpots to barge in and murder everything on sight, there’s no better alternative. And thanks to some fantastic shots, this episode has helped create some new iconic images of the famed foes.
It’s as mad as an episode as can be, with the Doctor, Clara and several unlucky soldiers being shrunk down to explore the inside of a Dalek. But everything is just so beautifully framed, and it’s damn shame that director Ben Wheatley is only around for two episodes.
There’s also Missy, who pops up once again, having seemingly rescued another victim of the Doctor’s adventures. I’m quite keen to see how her story fleshes out.
But the biggest theme in this episode, is change. It’s not just the Dalek that has a chance to at least be something different than a killing machine (Instead becoming a Dalek-killing machine Dalek but hey that’s progress), but for characters such as Journey Blue to also question their orders and be more than just a soldier. Not that it matters of course, because Capaldi’s Doctor is a magnificent asshole, thanks to lines such as “You don’t have to be liked, you’ve got all the guns,” and his general indifference to splashing into a pool of previous living humans.
And I’m looking forward to seeing more of Clara’s love interest, Danny Pink, in the show. He seems like a great character, and he has some funny and poignant moments in the show. I’m also hoping that this romance doesn’t go horribly overboard like it did with Rory and Amy Pond, which was just plain annoying most of the time.
But a good episode nonetheless, with plenty hidden under the surface.
Last Updated: September 1, 2014