Thoughts on this episode (warning: spoilers):
- I liked how the setting of this episode was basically an average day for the Daleks themselves. They’re not the last Daleks in existence, they’re not being threatened by their own asylum of insane specimens – they’re just another battalion on their universe-wide mission of extermination.
- On the other hand, I didn’t like how we didn’t immediately continue on from the end of the last episode, time-wise – I would have liked some emphasis on Clara still getting used to the new Doctor, at least for this, Capaldi’s second full episode.
- Definite Star Wars vibes from that beginning shot of the giant Dalek spaceship chasing the little rebel fighter.
- The idea of minaturised heroes going into a Dalek is an interesting one, and the episode has a good play with it; it’s pretty cool to go into detail about the Dalek’s innards. However, the climax doesn’t feel tense enough despite its best efforts.
- You can definitely see what Peter Capaldi meant by a “less user-friendly” Doctor. The point where he actively deceives Ross and the others and then declares “He was dead anyway!” without any apparent regret – would other Doctors do that? While I didn’t like the action itself, I did like seeing this new edge to the Doctor. Maybe he’ll lighten up a bit with time, but it would still be interesting to see how his attitude affects things if he doesn’t.
- One wonders if the Doctor’s attitude towards the Daleks has similarly regressed a little in this new incarnation, given how determined he is that any and all Daleks can go ahead and die, and how he considers a good Dalek to be totally impossible. The Tenth Doctor was less than happy with his clone killing all the Daleks in “Journey’s End”; and the Eleventh Doctor actually raises the possibility of how there might one day be a good Dalek in the short story “Nothing O’Clock” (when discussing how murder is wasted potential), though I suppose that one’s not necessarily canon.
- The twist as to how Rusty becomes “good” again is a good one – but the thing is, he ended up much the same as he appeared to be when we first saw him at the beginning. At that point, he was just shouting about how he wanted to kill all Daleks, yet this led the Doctor to assess him as a “good Dalek”, which seemed off to me. It wasn’t until we saw him talking later – and I do really like his “Resistance is futile” bit – that he properly seemed like a “good Dalek”.
- “You are a good Dalek.” Was this supposed to be taken in the same context as when the Ninth Doctor was told something similar in “Dalek”? Or maybe Rusty meant that the Doctor is what a Dalek would most likely be like if it became good: moral, capable of compassion and pity, but still with the capacity to kill underneath. After all, the Doctor may want to know if he’s a good man in this episode, but perhaps “good” is too simple a term – everything has its darker layers.
- Not much to say on Danny Pink right now. He seems like an okay guy with good potential, though that single tear was rather cliche – but it seems strange to introduce him at the beginning and then not actually use him in the meat of the episode.
So, another average episode – good, but not great. Rating: 3.5/5.