Kyle J. Steenblik

Doctor Who: Into The Dalek was revealing and fun

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Clara sent The Doctor for coffee, and along the way, he got a bit distracted.  Peter Capaldi continues his journey, or we could say this is where he begins the journey, to discover who he is as The Doctor.  It is still a bit amazing to me that the title character of this show is still mysterious.  I would suppose that has a large part to do with the regenerations essentially rewriting the character’s personality.

Into the Dalek
Season 8 | Episode 2 | Original Airdate: August 30th, 2014
A Dalek fleet surrounds a lone rebel ship, and only the Doctor can help them now… With the Doctor facing his greatest enemy, he needs Clara by his side. Confronted with a decision that could change the Daleks forever he is forced to examine his conscience. Will he find the answer to the question, “am I a good man?”

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Into The Dalek was a remarkably fun episode to watch.  I believe Capaldi is hitting his stride as the ever-enigmatic Doctor.  Now as he has only had one full episode all to himself I can’t stand up and say he is my new favorite.  I mean I could, but it would be premature, and no one likes when I’m premature, so for now I’ll only stand and say; I like Peter Capaldi’s Doctor very much, and if Sylvester McCoy were not such a sweet man I’d say his place in my heart would be in danger.  I mean I could say his place in my heart is in danger but only because of what I ate for dinner, and that is jeopardizing every place in my heart.  I’ve already grown attached to this Doctor, which places him at least half a season ahead of Matt Smith, Colin Baker, Tom Baker, and Paul McGann (although to be fair to Paul, he didn’t get a real crack at the role until recently, and that was for only about 5 minutes).

Where Capaldi really starts to define his character is the absolute separation he places between himself and humans.  This is best displayed in the way he informs the humans which whom he is interacting that they have asked a question in an incorrect manner.  A tenured university professor would offer a similar correction to an adolescent vastly out of their depth.  While at the same time, he is so alien as he seems similarly out of his depth while trying to simply fetch coffee.  Capaldi plays with this fantastic juxtaposition as if it was an erector set.  This playing with the character is clearly visible in Into The Dalek each time The Doctor interacts with the human soldiers and Clara.  This playfulness is underscored with The Doctor’s interaction with the Dalek, the only character he seems to view as his peer, to his distaste.  This interaction drips with centuries of bitter hatred, and remorse.  The performance offered here are almost staggering in their layers of complexity, and simplicity.

Aside from Capaldi, my favorite moment from this episode comes from Clara’s interactions with new cast member Danny Pink (Samuel Anderson).  The play between these two is surprisingly difficult to explain unless you have been unfortunate enough to think of the right thing to say the moment you have left the room.  Similar to The Doctor Danny Pink appears to a much more complicated character than he initially appears.  A veteran of the current Iraq and Afghanistan wars our initial introduction comes when one of his math students asks if he has killed anyone.  All told, he had very little screen time, but the budding relationship between him and Clara should provide ample opportunity for his character to expand.  Much the same way we say Mickey grow on past seasons.

Into The Dalek was an impressive second episode to what I am sure will be one of the premiere seasons of the series.

 

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