‘Doctor Who’ Recap: “Into The Dalek”

By August 31, 2014

“Am I a good man?”

The question is up for debate as the adventures of the Twelfth Doctor continue.

More acerbic than his predecessors, the Doctor is definitely missing a sensitivity chip this time around. He rescues Lt. Journey Blue, but callously tells her to quit crying over her dead brother.

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When the Doctor says Clara cares so he doesn’t have to, he isn’t kidding. And though the episode itself is well put together, I find myself longing for the days of the Tenth Doctor profusely apologizing every time something went terribly wrong.

And yet the Doctor does care whether or not he is a good man. Moreover, he still cares about making the universe a better place. Which is why he can’t resist when he has the chance to go into the brain of the first good Dalek he’s ever met (Oswin Oswald excepted).

This damaged Dalek wants to exterminate Dalek-kind, for he claims he has seen beauty in the universe. Clara, the Doctor, and a team of soldiers descend into the body of the Dalek, “Fantastic Voyage”-style. It’s the most dangerous place in the universe, and it isn’t long before its antibodies kill the first soldier to pierce its insides with a grappling hook.

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Unfortunately, a healthy Dalek is not a moral Dalek, and the minute they fix him is the minute he returns to his evil ways. Frustrated, the Doctor claims that they have learned that there is no such thing as a good Dalek, but Clara balks. Soon, the Doctor sees it her way; if he can just reboot the Dalek’s memories of beauty, he can get the pepper pot cyborg to become a creature of good…and if he can change one Dalek, he can change them all.

Soldier Gretchen sacrifices her life to the cause, shooting another grappling hook so that Clara and Journey can rappel up into the Dalek’s memory banks. But death brings her to Heaven…and to Missy.

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Clara reboots the Dalek’s memories, and the Doctor links his mind to the Dalek’s, trying to show him beauty. Unfortunately, the Dalek also sees the Doctor’s hatred, and latches onto that instead. It is a bittersweet victory: the Dalek is now determined to exterminate Dalek-kind…but he isn’t “good.” Worse yet, he tells the Doctor that he is a good Dalek.

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This isn’t the first time the comparison has been made. Back in 2005, in a chilling scene where the Ninth Doctor yells at the Dalek before him, it responds that he would make a good Dalek.

But whether the Doctor is a good man or not, Clara says comfortingly, it doesn’t matter – because he tries to be. And, for all his faults, perhaps that is enough.

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And though he is now cold, people are still attracted to the Doctor and his lifestyle. Journey asks to accompany him in the TARDIS, but he turns her down. Though he thinks she is probably a good person, he doesn’t do soldiers.

And speaking of soldiers…Clara has a new love interest! Danny Pink, math teacher and a former soldier himself, is described as “a ladykiller,” but is actually a bit bumbling and shy around Clara. He rejects her for a date, and then berates himself in his classroom afterward because he is, in fact, attracted to her. But never fear – Clara is persistent! By the end of the episode, he’s taking her out for drinks.

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Though we don’t know much about Danny, there is clearly intrigue in his past. It’s implied that he’s killed someone…and that it still haunts him. A single teardrop slipping down his cheek tells us that much. But who was his victim?

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So what do you think, fellow Whovians? Is the Doctor still a good man? Does a single drop of hatred in his soul take away from all the kindness he’s shown over the years?