Saturday, 30 August 2014
Doctor Who: Into the Dalek
"Fantastic idea for a movie. Terrible idea for a proctologist."
Peter Capaldi's tenure can now claim two excellent episodes in a row; in hindsight this is both a far better story and a far better study of our new Doctor than was The Beast Below.
The plot is, obviously, Fantastic Voyage, but we also get a bit of Doctor/Dalek moral comparison that both evokes Dalek and gives us an interesting study of our new Doctor, who may not be a good man but is, perhaps, a "good Dalek"; he may be on the side of good, but that doesn't make him nice. Indeed, he says of Clara that "She cares so I don't have to." And yet... this new Doctor is not too alienating; he's witty, and just vulnerable enough. This is The Twin Dilemma done right, and Capaldi simply shines. So does Moffat. He seems to have a far clearer idea of what he wants to do here than he did during Matt Smith's early stories.
There's also some nice arc threads being laid down. This Doctor, even more than before, doesn't like soldiers... and Clara, the Doctor's moral compass and the person, clearly, whom he most respects, is obviously set up to begin a relationship with a former soldier, and one with a troubled military past. That'll be interesting.
Also, of course, we see Missy again. She seems to be collecting people in her "Heaven" who have died because of the Doctor. Interesting. She's obviously a big, mysterious part of this season. And Missy... Mistress? A female Master? Or just clever misdirection? We shall see.
I have to praise the effects here, too, which were outstanding, and the performances in general. This is also the best Dalek story in ages, and the first in ages to actually be about them. They work best when treated as a dark mirror of the Doctor; mirrors of the Doctor seem, so far, to be something of a season motif.
So, Robin Hood...