Review: “Doctor Who – Into The Dalek” (TV Show Episode)

2014 Artwork Doctor Who Into The Dalek Review Sketch

Whilst I don’t plan to review literally every episode of the new series of “Doctor Who”, I’ve just finished watching a recording of the latest one (since I missed it when it was originally shown on Saturday evening) and I thought that I’d take a look at it here.

But, before I go any further, I should point out that this review will contain SPOILERS. You have been warned.

“Into The Dalek” starts out in spectacular fashion with a fighter pilot called Journey Blue trying to outrun a Dalek mothership in an asteroid field. However, the Dalek ship is gaining on her and it manages to fire on her ship. But, a second before her ship explodes, the TARDIS appears and the Doctor rescues her.

After the Doctor returns Journey to a nearby military ship called the Aristotle (which is hiding behind a large asteroid), the captain of the Aristotle wants to kill him in order to keep the location of the Aristotle secret from the Daleks.

But, once the captain learns that the mysterious guest is called “The Doctor”, he decides to spare his life because there is a medical matter that his crew needs help with.

The soldiers lead the Doctor to a room, which contains a malfunctioning Dalek that is leaking radiation. To the Doctor’s astonishment, the Dalek actually seems to possess a rudimentary conscience and it wishes to join the humans in their war against the Daleks.

So, after returning to Earth and finding Clara, The Doctor returns to the Aristotle where, along with Journey and a couple of other soldiers – they are miniaturised into order to go into the Dalek (hence the title of the episode) and repair the radiation leak that threatens it’s life…..

One of the first things I will say about this episode is that the set design is absolutely amazing. Seriously, the Aristotle looks like something from “Aliens”. Not only that, the scenes set inside the Dalek are especially cool and they have a very grimy and industrial “Blade Runner”-like look to them too.

Plus, one rather disgusting part of the Dalek’s anatomy also looks like something from the “Alien” movies too. Seriously, this is sci-fi set design at it’s best 🙂

The writing in this episode is fairly good, although the story is a lot more “serious” than most episodes of the previous series were and there is a lot of heavy-handed introspection about morality, ethics and war. As a fan of military sci-fi shows like “Stargate SG-1” and “Battlestar Galactia”, I was kind of interested to see how a (mostly) pacifist character like The Doctor would react to these kinds of situations.

Another interesting theme in this episode is how the Doctor reacts when he sees a “good” Dalek for the first time. Since he has spent most of his life fighting with the Daleks, this really freaks him out and he spends most of the episode trying to work out whether or not he can trust the Dalek.

And, yes, the episode gets a lot of drama out of all of this stuff – especially in one brilliantly ironic plot twist about three-quarters of the way through the episode, just after the Doctor links his mind to the malfunctioning Dalek’s mind (in an attempt to show it everything good that the Doctor has ever seen). It’s probably just my extremely twisted sense of humour, but I found this scene absolutely hilarious.

In my review of the first episode of this series of “Doctor Who”, I mentioned that I wasn’t sure whether Peter Capaldi was a good choice of actor to play the new incarnation of The Doctor.

If “Into The Dalek” is anything to go by, he might make a fairly good Doctor – yes, he’s grumpy and cynical (and probably interprets the role in a more “old school” kind of way), but he has all of the eccentricities that you would expect from The Doctor.

Also, it might be the different chemistry between her and the new Doctor, but Clara isn’t really as much of a likeable character in this series as she was in the last one. And I was kind of disappointed at the end of the episode when The Doctor declines Journey’s offer to be his new companion because he doesn’t like working with soldiers.

Seriously, now that the Doctor is more gloomy and cynical, it just somehow makes a lot more sense for his companion to be a badass fighter pilot rather than an “ordinary” schoolteacher.

All in all, this is an extremely good episode of “Doctor Who”, with lots of drama and some absolutely brilliant set design. Yes, you probably have to have watched at least a few other episodes of the show to get the most out of this episode (since it relies fairly heavily on the mythology of the show), but it’s still one of the best episodes that I’ve seen so far.

If I had to give it a rating out of five, then it would get five.

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