Now we had been introduced to the new Doctor (Peter Capaldi), the second episode of this season was free to start shaping the new Doctor’s personality. This episode was the first time this Doctor would meet his oldest enemy, the Daleks. The episode also sees Clara (Jenna Coleman) struggling at times to accept the choices the Doctor makes.
The Dalek that the Doctor meets is being held captive by a group of soldiers fighting a war against the Daleks. This particular captive Dalek seems different to any other Dalek. He is “ill”. It seems that the Dalek hates other Daleks, and wants to destroy his own species. In the beginning of the episode we see the Doctor as grumpy, and rude to the soldiers. I think this will be the new Doctor’s character on the surface, but deep down there will be a human feel to him, and hints of past Doctors’ personality traits.
The Doctor and Clara, along with three soldiers, get miniaturised in order to enter inside the Dalek so the Doctor can fix it. There are some casualties along the way, which seems to be the norm in Doctor Who; soon the group is down to two soldiers, the Doctor and Clara. This episode seems to serve as a biology lesson on the inner workings of a Dalek. What the Doctor thinks is going on soon turns out to be wrong. This episode had many similarities to the episode Dalek back in the first season of the relaunch, where Christopher Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor and companion Rose (Billie Piper) meet what is apparently the last Dalek in the Universe, and through Rose touching the Dalek it creates a human connection, meaning it can feel pain and suffering.
Back in this season, it turns out that the Doctor soon dooms the space station and endangers all the characters’ lives as he thinks he fixes the problem with the Dalek, nicknamed Rusty by him. We’ll just say that a battle ensues as some enemies find the space station.
There was a lot of action in this episode; it did feel to me though that it ended abruptly. It felt like the writers, once again Steven Moffat along with a co-writer Phil Ford, seemed to have run out of time in the episode and had to end it quickly. I think Capaldi was getting his teeth into the character in this episode and there were flashes of the passion and anger that could drive this version of the Doctor forward. It’s good that in the past two seasons of Doctor Who the showrunners have cut down on the regular companions in the TARDIS; it was starting to seem a little crowded with Amy (Karen Gillan), Rory (Arthur Darvill) and River Song (Alex Kingston) dropping in and out. Sometimes it’s nice to have just one companion for a while to focus on the chemistry between the Doctor and that companion, at the moment Clara.
When I saw the trailer for the next episode, Robot of Sherwood, I couldn’t wait, as this episode would be written by Mark Gatiss. Alone. Finally Moffat lets someone write an episode with no contribution from him!