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Doctor Who #802 - Into the Dalek Review

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The Doctor and Clara shrink down to fix a broken Dalek

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Engaged in a war between humans and Daleks in space. The Doctor saves a woman while her ship is blowing up. He finds himself aboard a ship hidden from the Daleks where the Doctor and Clara shrink down to go inside of a captive Dalek to ask the question "can Daleks be good?"

The second episode was a big step-up from the first episode. We get a better glimpse of what Peter Capaldi's version of the Doctor is going to be like. He's not as jokey as previous incarnations. There is a sense of humor to the character, but he doesn't spend his time trying to charm the pants off of everyone he meets, at least not here. Also, the Doctor's new outfit matches his personality incredibly well. It's straight to the point with very little frills, but it means business. Seeing Capaldi as a new Doctor is the best part of the episode. Personally, I haven't been this excited about how well an actor as so quickly made the role of the Doctor his own since, well... ever.

As far as the story goes, it felt like a weird, updated version of the film Innerspace. The Doctor, Clara, and a few members of the military have to go inside of a Dalek to find out what's wrong with it. Normally, the Doctor would pass on this opportunity, but in this case, the Dalek wants to kill other Daleks.

The group shrinks down and heads inside the Dalek and finds what has made him want to exterminate all the Daleks. The episode poses quite a few questions. The two main ones are "Are Daleks capable of good?" and "Is the Doctor a good man [Gallifreyan}?" While, on its surface, the episode is pretty mediocre, pondering these questions is what makes this episode not only deeper, but a worthwhile watch.

On the down side of things, or complainy side of things, aren't we Daleked out yet? While this is easily one of the better recent Dalek episodes, it feels like the creative team constantly goes back to this well when they're out of ideas. At least this episode added something to the mythos of these creatures instead of delivering something flat.

Clara is still pretty flat, as far as the writing goes, but things get better as we deal with a "meet cute" between her and a new teacher at the school. It's a tired trope, but Doctor Who uses it well and it's nice to give Clara a little more depth than the woman who seemingly can't function without the Doctor being around, which has been insanely frustrating.

"Into the Dalek" builds a bit more on the over-arcing story of a woman collecting people in "heaven." This story is pretty interesting and being paced out well for the beginning of the season. I can't wait to see where this leads.

Sometimes, the writing is rough, but overall, this episode was a bit better than last week's. It poses some interesting ideas about what a Dalek is or can be and gives viewers a good look into what makes them tick. Once again, Peter Capaldi is the real stand-out here and I'm loving what he is doing here. "Into the Dalek" really gave me some hope that this can be a great series.