Peter Capaldi hits his stride in this confident meeting with the Doctor’s arch-enemies the Daleks.
As iconic and as popular as they are, great Dalek stories have been thin on the ground since the BBC reinvented Doctor Who for the digital generation in 2005.
Over fifty years what new ideas could they possibly think of to keep the pepper pots interesting?
Steal with glee is the answer.
Miniaturising the Doctor, Clara and his soldier escorts and injecting them “Into The Dalek” through its eye-stalk is a steal from a 1960s film called “Fantastic Voyage” and a more recent 1980s film, “Inner Space”.
Both feature shrunken Doctors attempting to cure their patients from within.
The visuals and direction in the episode also have a distinct “Star Wars” feel. The Dalek saucer pursuing a rebel ship through an asteroid field at the start of the episode relives similar scenes of the Imperial Star Destroyer chasing the Millennium Falcon though rocks in “The Empire Strikes Back”.
The Doctor and party slide down a tube into a pit full of putrescent gunk reminiscent of the garbage compactor in “Star Wars A New Hope”. And blast doors being blasted and space ships docking and enemies bursting through bulkheads to attack echo similar scenes from the Star Wars franchise.
Ironic then that for an episode that borrows so heavily from other science fiction films, Into The Dalek is a fresh new take on the Daleks.
Capaldi commands all of his scenes. He’s more alien than Matt Smith. Shows a disregard for his companions. Dismisses the deaths of those around him with mean one liners. But he’s captivating.
“She’s my carer. She cares so I don’t have to.”
His encounter with the Dalek (from the inside) and his desire to see a “good” Dalek makes for tense scenes. Whilst outside the miniaturised environment the main attacking force of Daleks arrive to a cinematic battle with explosions and exterminations galore.
Of course it isn’t a good Dalek. It’s simply a broken Dalek. And the Doctor repairs it. But what he doesn’t get. And what it takes Clara to make him realise (with a good hard slap), is that a good Dalek is possible. From that realisation onwards Capaldi has a mission.
Once again the pace is different to Matt Smith’s era. Longer scenes. More talking.
I liked Danny Pink’s introduction and the developing love interest for Clara and the fact he is a soldier and that our new Doctor so obviously has a problem with soldiers.
I predict interesting times as this story arc develops.
Another strong episode therefore, cementing Capaldi confidently into the role, and perhaps the best Dalek story for many years.
Will this quality continue as we head into Sherwood Forest next time to meet The Robot of Sherwood?
Now it’s your turn:
Do you agree with my review of Doctor Who Into The Dalek? Please leave a comment or leave a link to your own review. Share this review with your friends. You can use the share buttons just below.