A Guest Blog by Hevy782
After a bit of a mixed bag last week we go into our second full episode with Peter Capaldi as the Doctor, incidentally we also go into a Dalek. So that’s the general premise of the episode, the Doctor is shrunk down to size and enters a Dalek. A bit like the classic story The Invisible Enemy except this time we’re going somewhere far more dangerous than the Doctor’s brain. This is a very original and intriguing premise and one I find to be the most original idea for a Dalek story since the show got rebooted. So no problem there right? Well unfortunately there is as it lacks a good, solid reason as the why they need to go inside it. Another thing that I like about the premise of the episode (which is also carried over to the execution) is that we have a Dalek story not set on Earth (something that all of the Dalek stories of RTD’s era weren’t) that has a good roundup of supporting characters (something that Asylum of the Daleks lacked) so it’s also got that going for it. The realisation of this is very well done with some very impressive CGI, especially in the opening scene.
Now lets again talk about Peter Capaldi playing the new Doctor, and there is one scene in particular that we really need to talk about. That is of course the scene with Ross’ death and the Doctor’s reaction to it. I’m sure for some this will go down the same route as the Sixth Doctor’s acid bath scene in Vengeance on Varos but for me it was suitably well done. We are once again seeing the darker side of the Doctor that was present in the Seventh and a bit of the Fourth. I’d also like to say that (unlike Matt Smith’s Doctor) it isn’t just Peter Capaldi’s acting ability that’s holding his Doctor up but he also getting the right lines to say as well which is great. This story also introduces Danny Pink but unfortunately it spends too much time doing so in a story that has nothing really to do with him. While I like his character I just wish that had been done in another episode as it took valuable time away from this one which it desperately needed, more on that in a bit. Clara was great and is once again showing signs of developing as a character, something that is long overdue. However, the slap was slightly unnecessary in my opinion and some strong dialogue would’ve been much more effective in its place.
The direction in this is once again amazing and Ben Wheatley really has done a great job with what he was given. There is some good Dalek action in this and there were some nicely done pieces of Dalek destruction, the likes of which we’ve never seen before and they go beyond the convention explosions which we’ve had before. There is only one main Dalek to focus on in this and that is ”Rusty” who the Doctor has so aptly named. The look of the inside of it is nicely done but the bit with the star being born is a bit of a flimsy reason. It also seems a bit far fetched that this one damaged Dalek was able to wipe out an entire platoon of fully battle ready Daleks, but I digress. We then get onto the ending which is unfortunately rushed and this goes back to what I said earlier about the Danny Pink stuff wasting too much time. If that was taken out then we’d have enough time to round it off properly rather than ending it with them suddenly being out of the Dalek and it simply going off to kill more of its kind. However, the stuff with the Doctor hating the Daleks and that carrying over to Rusty is very powerful stuff and is probably the main point of the episode, is he as good man? Capaldi does a great job playing that stuff and his disappointment at the Dalek only seeing his hatred feels totally genuine. We also get that nice call back to the Ninth Doctor episode Dalek where Rusty calls the Doctor a good Dalek, great stuff.
Overall, a definite improvement over last week and this could very well be the best Dalek story since Dalek. So this time it goes up to an eight-out-of-ten which means so far so good with series eight. Next week we’re going to Sherwood forest and meeting Robin Hood in a story which looks to be quite promising but until then, be sure to sound off your thoughts on the episode in the comments below.