The Doctor and Clara journey into the most dangerous place in the universe – inside a Dalek! The Doctor will find the limits of his compassion being tested as he ponders whether or not he is a good man, and more importantly, can there ever be a good Dalek?
Peter Capaldi’s second episode as the Doctor sees him go face to face with his long term nemesis, the Daleks, and sees ultimately the impact of the Battle of Trenzalore on this incarnation of the Daleks. I am very fond of this episode, which obviously pays homage to Fantastic Voyage.
You are a good Dalek.Rusty
This story is one of the best new series episodes to feature the Daleks, and does something relatively new with them. This is not the first time since 2005 where we have seen Daleks seeing the truth about their race, as we have seen this in Evolution of the Daleks and Journey’s End, however, this is the first time that we see this create in effect a good Dalek. The new Doctor’s stubbornness to accept that there can be such a thing as a good Dalek leads him to want to prove that this is impossible, and he does not really care how many lives are sacrificed to prove that he is right. This may be due to the amount of time that the Doctor spent defending Trenzalore in The Time of the Doctor, but when he is called out for this, and when he sees the effects of his hatred when Rusty starts destroying the Daleks, he is horrified.
She’s my carer. She cares so I don’t have to.Twelfth Doctor
We also see the introduction of an important character in Danny Pink, another teacher with Clara at Coal Hill School. The scenes between Clara and Danny are very reminiscent of a previous Moffat series, Coupling, which is a definite strong element in this story. Although he does not encounter the Doctor here, we can tell that there will be issues when the two do eventually meet, as we get other soldiers here in the shape of Michael Smiley’s Colonel Morgan Blue and Zawe Ashton’s Journey Blue, who the Doctor is not in favour of. Journey Blue even gets rejected as a companion due to the fact that this particular incarnation of the Doctor has such an adversion to soldiers. When it comes to Danny, we do get a couple of weird moments, such as the headmaster calling him a “lady killer” and the student asking oddly specific questions about Danny’s military time, which are really weird out of context.
We do get development in the relationship between Clara and the Doctor here though, as prior to this series, Clara had no real character development. With this new and unstable Doctor, Clara is needed to keep him grounded and Jenna Coleman performs the part well here. Peter Capaldi also puts in a strong performance and the fact that it is the most intriguing episode to feature the Daleks potentially since Dalek, really serves to make it memorable.
Verdict: One of the strongest episodes to feature the Daleks since the revival. 8/10
Cast: Peter Capaldi (The Doctor), Jenna Coleman (Clara Oswald), Zawe Ashton (Journey Blue), Michael Smiley (Colonel Morgan Blue), Samuel Anderson (Danny Pink), Laura Dos Santos (Gretchen), Ben Crompton (Ross), Bradley Ford (Fleming), Michelle Morris (School Secretary), Nigel Betts (Mr Armitage), Ellis George (Courtney Woods), Barnaby Edwards (Dalek), Nicholas Briggs (Voice of the Daleks) & Michelle Gomez (Missy)
Writer: Steven Moffat and Phil Ford
Director: Ben Wheatley
Behind the Scenes
- This is the first episode since Nightmare in Silver not to feature another incarnation of the Doctor, and the first since The End of Time Part One not to feature Matt Smith.
- Due to availability issues, and as with Deep Breath, the scene with Missy and Gretchen was directed by Rachel Talalay, the director of the finale.
- In perhaps the best bit of behind the scenes news, Peter Capaldi came to set on his day off for the day that the destruction of the Daleks was being filmed.
- The idea of travelling inside a Dalek was originally conceived by Steven Moffat when coming up with concepts for a Doctor Who video game.
- Michael Smiley previously appeared in the Fifth Doctor Big Finish story Creatures of Beauty, playing Seedleson.
- Michelle Morris would go on to appear in the First Doctor Adventures story The Invention of Death.
When Rusty turns on the invading Daleks on the station.
It’s smaller on the outside.
Yeah, it’s a bit more impressive when you go the other way.Journey Blue and the Twelfth Doctor
Previous Twelfth Doctor Review: Deep Breath