After last week, I was begining to worry that Doctor Who was losing it. I still think it’s time Moffatt handed over the reins to someone else, but he did at least redeem himself last night.
Orders of magnitude better than Deep Breath, Into the Dalek was mostly a fun homage to Fantastic Voyage and contained an extraordinary number of nods, not to mention many outright steals, from Star Wars.
And ‘Lets Kill Hitler’.
And ‘Asylum of the Daleks’.
(A good Dalek)
(‘You would have made a good Dalek’)
And ‘Journey To The Centre of The Tardis’
(Next Season, Into the Sonic Screwdriver)
And possibly The Stolen Earth/Journey’s End.
(For a while there, we thought the damaged Dalek might have been a pre-insanity Dalek Sec.)
Okay, it was fun, I’m getting a bit fed up with knowing nods to previous episodes. It’s getting a bit… well, it’s like sampling in music, isn’t it. Nothing new, just rehashes of old songs.
But the best thing was that we finally get something of an insight to who Capaldi’s Doctor is; an odd mixture of Pertwee and Ecclestone, it seems – damaged, social nicety filters switched off and with a modicum of flamboyance. It was good to see Clara’s character grows some more and her burgeoning relationship with Danny Pink is rather sweet. Whether he turns out to be a new co-companion, an enemy of some sort or the reason Clara leaves – assuming she does – I don’t know, but it is at least an interesting start. Of course, the Doctors refusal to take Journey Blue into the Tardis because she’s a soldier, is obviously setting up confrontation with Danny and the Doctor for a later episode. The subtlety of that scene was um… not subtle.
The dalek looking into the Doctor and seeing beauty and hatred, again gives a further insight to Capaldi’s take on the character and I get the impression we haven’t seen the last of that dalek.
Missy appears again, and I still think I know where that might be going, okay I have two theories and one favourite one, but again… not saying.
I liked Ben Wheatley’s direction on this episode, far more accomplished than the uncertain work on the first episode, despite it looking a bit like a show reel to give to the producers of the new Star Wars movies – he is after a job on Star Wars, right? I mean we had the scenes from the Asteroid sequence, the shoot out in the prison block, the garbage shute, the opening scene with Vader and the rebels . . . not that this is a criticism, it was very well done.
Ultimately though, it was pretty much what I want from Doctor Who; a good Doctor/Companion relationship (or carer, “She cares so I don’t have too” was a very good indication of where his character is going), a good story with thrills, scares and a little gross out here and there (“Top layer, if you want to say a few words”), snappy dialogue and just plain good fun.