All that I knew about this episode before viewing it, was that it featured Daleks. This on its own was enough to get me excited, the Daleks are a fantastic enemy both in appearance and in character. For some time in Tennant’s era I was somewhat off about them as I felt they were slightly over used. It seemed they popped up at the end of each series, however I truly believe that Moffat and Smith’s era revitalised the Daleks to some extent, making them interesting again. Asylum Of The Daleks was particularly great for the Daleks and it seems since around that time, every episode they have appeared I have been more and more enthusiastic about it. So, when I found out that the Daleks would get to meet the Twelfth Doctor I was more than excited, Capaldi has been fantastic so far and it is always interesting to see a new Doctor facing off against his oldest villain for the first time.
I believed, quite wrongly that though it will no doubt be fun, the episode will be no different to the typical Daleks versus the Doctor episode. In truth what aired was a very unique and fresh concept brought to an old adversary. The Doctor and Clara, along with a few soldiers were shrunk down and placed inside a Dalek. I love that they are trying out these new, interesting concepts, holding nothing back. The premise provoked some incredible visual moments, one that comes to mind as one of the most enjoyable was the gang swimming through the Dalek’s eye. Not only did we see some insane visual effects, as ant-sized Doctor and Clara waded through blue gel, we learnt something new about the Daleks. That is that the blue in the eye of a Dalek is gel of some kind, it may be behind glass, but inside the eye is definitely some kind of blue liquid or goo. The visual effect of the Doctor emerging from the miniaturised pod and swimming through the eye of the Dalek is an incredible and quite psychedelic visual effect.
An interesting theme running through the episode was whether the Dalek could be truly good or whether it is just malfunctioning. The Doctor and his team go on an expedition into the Dalek itself to try and find the solution to this issue. What follows was a pretty fun romp down corridors and tunnels, evading the anti-bodies of the Dalek’s immune system, while being observed by the Dalek itself, nicknamed Rusty by the Doctor. In this episode, writer Phil Ford really pushed the idea that the Doctor may not be as moral as many people think. It seems Capaldi and show runner Steven Moffat are looking to show the character’s darker, fiercer side with this incarnation. Which I personally love, the character’s seemingly jolly and moral yet secretly dangerous personality has echoes of the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton. In their quest through the belly of the beast the gang mistakenly fix the Dalek, making it evil again. The Dalek is back up to full power and cured of the radiation sickness that is making it act against it’s nature. This leads to a particularly visual and well acted scene where the Doctor psychic links with the Dalek as he attempted to bring the Dalek back to the good. The Doctor fills the Dalek’s head with the amazing things he has seen, however during the psychic link it sees hatred for the Daleks in the Doctor. This provides a bitter sweet ending, as though the Doctor has saved the humans on the military base by turning the Dalek on his own kind, he has not successfully created a peaceful being.
What I find fascinating as the series unfolds is the developing plot line with the mysterious woman in what she calls “heaven” with characters that die in the episode. This is one of the overarching plot lines in Doctor Who that I genuinly cannot predict. I shall be watching these scenes at the end of each episode with extra care in an attempt to find some clue as to where this plot is going. Mr Pink the former soldier who is now a teacher at Clara’s school seems to be an interesting character, rumours online (POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD) are that he may be a second companion on board the TARDIS. If this happens it will be another way that the new series is similar to classic who, an older Doctor with two companions.
Overall it was another great episode. It felt rather short, however this may be due to the fact that the premier episode was extra long and more like a movie than a TV episode. Every episode cannot be expected to be like this, however this doesn’t matter as soon we will be back into the flow of things, enjoying episodes completely rather than comparing them to the first episode, whether it is consciously or not. Based on the scenes from the next episode, Robot Of Sherwood looks to be a more humorous, light hearted episode. Doctor Who is great at not taking itself too seriously though some episodes are quite dark, personally I like this darker tone, but it doesn’t harm to have a lighter episode every now and then.