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Doctor Who - Into The Dalek - Review: "Good and Evil Side of The Story"

Episode 8.02: Into the Dalek
Written by: Phil Ford and Steven Moffat
Directed by: Ben Wheatley
Airdate: 30 August 2014

This week, it really feels like we're back in action and I have to say, I've enjoyed this episode far more than the premiere. It's quite possible that a big part of it is the return of the Daleks, since I've always found (most of) their episodes fascinating but it could also be a result of the great introduction of a new character: Danny Pink or the fact that we get to really learn much more about Twelve. All these things considered, I'd say it was definitely a great episode that I will gladly re-watch a couple more times in the future.

First, let's recap what happened this week on Doctor Who. The Doctor encountered a group of rebel fighters after saving the life of one of the soldiers, Journey Blue. After getting her back to the rebel space station (named Aristotle) he meets her uncle, Colonel Morgan Blue, who, despite the fact that the Doctor just saved his niece from a certain death, wants him killed in case he's a Dalek spy. However, he changes his mind after learning that the stranger is a "doctor" and asks him to help their patient, a Dalek, salvaged from the war and apparently turned good.

Meanwhile, on Earth, we meet the show's new recurring character, Danny Pink. He's a former soldier, clearly burdened by his painful past and a Maths teacher at the school where Clara works. Described by others as a "bit of a lady-killer, but always denies it." He and Clara share a lovely moment, which, after a couple of cute and awkward parts, ends with them going out for drinks, which clearly "seems like a best plan ever." Even though it was only a few minutes of screen time, I think I'm already loving the character. Charming, pretty awkward with a dark past and a great potential. Definitely a big yes from me. And welcome aboard, Samuel Anderson, hope to see more of you!

After a short conversation with Danny, Clara leaves the school with the Doctor and we learn that a three weeks have passed since their last adventure. He needs her help with a "good" Dalek but first, he asks her whether she thinks he's a good man to which she replies: "I... don't know". The two travel back to the Aristotle and, with Journey Blue and two other soldiers, decide to enter the Dalek's head, literally, using a miniaturisation process to enter through his eye in order to find the source of his injury and have a good, healed Dalek on their side.

Inside the Dalek, they soon discover that he has an internal defence mechanism, Dalek antibodies, which attack and kill one of the rebels, Ross, after he uses his weapon and hurts the Dalek. The Time Lord doesn't seem bothered by his death and uses it to locate the organic refuse disposal, logically, "the weakest spot in the Dalek's internal security" where they can hide from the antibodies. From there, they locate the source of the Dalek's damage, the one they came in to repair, a trionic radiation leak which is poisoning both him and the ones inside. On their way to fix the leak, the Doctor asks the Dalek, which he calls Rusty, what made him change so drastically. He tells them about the time he saw the birth of a star, a real beauty and a proof that life always returns, no matter how many times the Daleks tried to destroy it. Quite a life lesson.

Sadly, after repairing Rusty's damage, he changes back to his old, deadly self and starts to exterminate everyone on his way, all the soldiers on the Aristotle. The Doctor's previous statement that there really are no good Daleks seems to be right. But his reaction to this news makes Clara slap him and re-think everything he thinks he has learned. Thanks to her, the Doctor comes up with a new plan and stops Journey from destroying Rusty from the inside. After realizing that the radiation allowed the Dalek to expand his consciousness and that there IS a chance for a good Dalek to exist, he decides that they have to try to make him remember about the now suppressed experience that changed him in the first place and show him something "that will change its mind forever."

The rebels in the space station fight with Rusty and the Dalek ship that went to get him once all of his functions were restored. Clara and Journey work together to unlock the Dalek's hidden memories. The other soldier with them, Gretchen Alison Carlisle, sacrifices her life to get them there in time, putting her faith in the Doctor's plan to turn not just Rusty, but all the Daleks. And after her death we see a short scene of her meeting Missy who welcomes her in a place she calls "heaven". Meanwhile, the Doctor gets to the Dalek's head, connecting their minds after Clara manages to make Rusty remember the Star being born. The plan works quite well, until the Dalek sees the hatred towards his race inside the Doctor's mind. He's no longer interested in killing the humans, just all the other Daleks, now entering the Aristotle. And he destroys them all.

The fight is done. Humans are safe. Rusty decides to return to the other Daleks, to finish his work. Only the Doctor isn't happy with how things ended. Even though Rusty is on their side, he didn't end the killing, just changed his enemy. There are no good Daleks. Unless, like Rusty said, you believe that the Doctor is one. Painful words. Could there be some truth in it? The Doctor just walks away after hearing them, without saying goodbye. And Journey Blue asks him to take her with him but he refuses. He believes her to be brave and kind but he can't take a soldier with him and he leaves with Clara. Just before Clara comes back to her life at school she tells the Doctor that even though she doesn't know if he's a good man, she knows that he's trying to be and that's what really matters. She says goodbye (till the next time) and ends the episode going out with Danny, telling him that she has no rules against the soldiers.

Whovian notes and questions:

1. "Have you ever killed anyone who wasn't a soldier?" I'm really interested to see a story behind the tears. Like I've said before, Danny Pink made an absolutely great impression on me, how about you?
2. We didn't have a chance to see a lot of the new Doctor last week but I think we've learned much more about him in this episode. Peter Capaldi is doing a great work, if you ask me. As for Twelve, I'm quite concerned about his lack of caring at times. I would never call the Doctor "a good Dalek", knowing everything he's done, but I wonder if anyone considers it.
3. Missy and the Paradise, part 2. Strange, really strange. Still not interested about it enough. Hopefully it will turn into a much better storyline than it seems at this point.
4. Favorite scene of the episode: Danny's introduction. The most intense (and painful) moment: "YOU are a good Dalek." The most confusing: Missy comes back.

Thank you for all the comments last week and for reading. Go ahead and share your thoughts about the episode below. Till the next week!

Justyna JJ Kubica
22. Student. SpoilerTV Writer. Loves Movies, TV Shows (Doctor Who, Teen Wolf, Sherlock, Person Of Interest, Arrow, Supernatural (especially 1-5), Agents Of SHIELD, Sleepy Hollow, The Musketeers, Fringe, Psych, etc.) and Books (Harry Potter!). Fantasy & SciFi geek! Scene Of The Week articles author. Member of SpoilerTV team since 27th November 2011.
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